How to reduce carbon emissions using efficient packaging

Climate change has been a hot topic for years now (literally!), with many of us becoming numb to the very real dangers that it poses.

In fact, recent research from GlobalData suggests that without an ‘all hands on deck’ approach, humanity will struggle to reach net zero by 2050, a target that many climate experts are saying is necessary in order to prevent climate disaster.

Many people feel that tackling climate change is the government’s job, but the fact of the matter is that we all have a part to play, and the sooner we embrace this, the better. 

But what has this all got to do with your packaging?


How does packaging contribute to climate change?

At this point, we’ve heard enough of the doom and gloom, so instead of focusing on that, we want to focus on what issues are with packaging, and what you can actually do about your emissions.

Packaging contributes roughly 11% of a product’s carbon footprint, which is a lot when you consider that it’s often used for a quick journey before being ripped open and thrown away!

If this packaging is non-recyclable (like certain plastics), then it ends up in a landfill, taking decades to fully deteriorate.

So, if we want to reduce our carbon emissions, then it stands to reason that we need to develop packaging solutions that actively reduce the resources we use while maintaining full functionality. 


How can you reduce your packaging carbon emissions?

This brings us to the meat of what we’ll be talking about today – what packaging changes can your business make in order to reduce your carbon footprint?


Packaging design

Tiny products in large boxes, more plastic than product; our team at ESS have seen it all.

Proper packaging design is so important when looking to reduce your emissions. Sure, there’s efficient void fill methods (we’ll talk about this a little later on), but the most efficient way to fill that void is with your products! 

If your product fits snugly in a standard sized box with a small amount of padding, perfect!

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to packaging, but finding packaging in the proper proportions will reduce waste, improve efficiency, save money and mitigate emissions. If you’re struggling to find the perfect packaging products, we recommend getting in touch with us for advice. 


Die cutting

Die cutting is the process of using custom-built machines to cut bespoke cardboard boxes into shape, ready for distribution.

To learn more about die cutting, you can read our blog all about it here!

Because die cut packaging is cut exactly to size, many designs include tabs and slots that fit together to assemble the box itself, meaning that there’s no need for glues, joiners or tape, reducing the required amount of materials.

Less materials = less production which, naturally, means less emissions. Not only this, but your boxes are now much more efficient to build, saving time.


Using recycled materials

Relying on recycled materials is one of the best ways to reduce your packaging emissions. Even if you can’t access 100% recycled materials, if you make sure that your packaging can be recycled itself, you’re ensuring that it’ll be reused down the line rather than finding its way into a landfill.

If you have to use plastic packaging, it’s not the end of the world. Plastic in itself isn’t inherently bad, as long as it’s used as much as possible before being thrown away. Many plastic crates and boxes can be used for years if they’re looked after! 

Avoid single-use plastic, as this makes up the majority of plastic that finds its way to the tip.


Void fill 

Void fill is essential in order to protect your products from the rigours of delivery, this can’t be avoided, but it doesn’t have to add to your carbon footprint. 

Historically, void fill requirements have been met by polystyrene beads and polythene air pillows, which are fine if recyclable, but often aren’t. 

At ESS Packaging, we provide a fully recyclable paper void fill alternative. As most consumers prefer their products to arrive in eco-friendly packaging, paper void fill is a great way to both reduce your carbon footprint and make a good first impression on your customers. 


Educate employees

Businesses that educate their employees about the importance of packaging efficiency often see significant reduction in waste.

The people that handle the day-to-day packaging processes should understand the impact that their job has on your business’ carbon emissions, and how what they’re doing is really important.


Reduce carbon emissions with eco-friendly packaging solutions

At ESS Packaging, it’s incredibly important to us that all of our offerings are green solutions.

We’ve migrated all plastic to greener materials (such as compostable paper bags), all polystyrene chips have been replaced with paper alternatives, and plastic void fill systems have been changed out for paper solutions. 

We understand how essential it is to reduce carbon emissions across the board, that’s why we’ve invested in helping our clients reduce their carbon footprints as much as possible over the years. Want to learn more? Get in touch with our specialists today to find out how we can help – we’re on hand to answer any questions you might have.

Alternatively, give us a call on 01889 272 784, or email us at and we’ll answer any questions you might have.