What Does ‘Sustainable’ Product Labelling Mean?
Consumers and businesses alike are expecting sellers and suppliers to demonstrate commitment to sustainability. Sustainable packaging can play a key role in taking care of the environment, while at the same time strengthening relationships between brands and their customers.
But given the fact that sustainability means different things to different people, it can be difficult to know what to specifically prioritise. When it comes to product labelling, transitioning to more sustainable labelling practices is something that can be achieved in a variety of ways.
The Meaning of Sustainable for Product Labelling
When most people think about sustainable labels, they think primarily about recyclable materials and the use of recycled materials in the manufacture of the labels themselves.
Labels that are easy to recycle and/or produce from recycled materials hold the key to a circular economy. The opposite of a linear economy, the circular economy focus is on the reuse and recycling of materials already in circulation, rather than manufacturing new materials from scratch.
On the surface product labels may seem like a drop in the ocean, where the world’s biggest environmental issues are concerned. But when you consider just how many hundreds of millions of labels are printed, used and discarded each day it is a significant sector that needs to play its part.
Manufacturers of labels and product packaging are finding themselves with little choice but to pursue more sustainable production methods. For those purchasing and using the labels, there is also much that can be done to minimise environmental impact.
A few examples of how product labels can support sustainability efforts are as follows:
Reusable Labels - The only thing better than a label that can be recycled is a label that can be reused; there are various different types of labels for a wide variety of materials that can be peeled away cleanly, in order to be used elsewhere. This is particularly true when it comes to smooth surfaces like glass and plastic, where the same label could easily be used dozens of times. Making the switch to reusable labels is cost-effective, eco-friendly and a good way of setting a positive example.
Reducing Resources - The more packaging you use to present and sell your products, the bigger their impact on the environment. Slowly but surely, it is becoming the norm for conscientious manufacturers to skip the usual packaging standards altogether. Or at least, use the bare minimum materials to protect their product. If you can include all essential information about your product on a label, why waste money on elaborate packaging that poses a threat to the environment?
Clear Communication - Product labels provide businesses with the perfect opportunity to share important information with their customers. This could include clear instructions on how to recycle the packaging, information on how much of the packaging is made from recycled materials and generally spreading awareness of the importance of sustainability. The easier you make it for your customers to do the right thing with their waste materials, the better.