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Choosing Eco-Friendly Packaging for an Online Small Business

More businesses, large and small, are making the decision to be more eco-conscious. It's good for business and it's great for the planet.

If you are starting a small handcrafted goods business and you want to adhere to an eco-friendly ethos with your packaging, there are several questions that you will have to answer for yourself. In the course of trying to answer these questions, there are many other questions that will come up as you begin the process of setting up your packaging process.

This post will lay out more questions than answers, but I hope that the questions will help you in your decision-making process.

A quick search for eco-friendly or sustainable packaging options will bring up a lot of information, many of which will sound authoritative and definitive, and many of which will have graphics and pictures that are catchy, either in a good or bad way.

Here are some of the questionable claims that you may come across:

  • Paper is always better than plastic.

  • Biodegradable and/or compostable materials are always better.

  • Packaging made from plant-based materials is always better.

And here are some additional questions to ask to help you assess each of those declarations.

Claim 1: Always choose paper over plastic

What kind of paper? What kind of plastic? Is the raw material virgin, renewable, or recycled? If the material is not made of 100% recycled or renewable content, what are the proportions?