In 2022 most companies – especially product manufacturers – have a sustainability program. Every part of the supply chain has a sustainability consideration. Given the growing demand for companies to respond to environmental challenges, it’s not surprising that new methods and materials have been introduced to the market.
To reduce single use packaging waste, reusable products are becoming more popular. A reusable or refillable product approach addresses environmental concerns and has become acceptable (if not preferred) for consumers.
How Reusable Packaging Works
For reusable packaging to work efficiently, a company has to establish what the reusable container should be and the logistics for providing refills to the customer.
There are a few ways that reusable packaging can be handled. Before the e-commerce boom, customers could bring empty refill containers to the brick and mortar store and refill in person. The retailer can buy the product in bulk and reduce the eco-footprint.
Reusable packaging can also be sold through e-commerce channels. Customers will typically buy a reusable container and the refill is shipped to the customer in a larger volume and with eco-friendly packaging. Products like soaps and detergent can be shipped in concentrate to save on shipping costs as well.
Either way, reusable packaging makes all of the efforts that went into creating the product (from the transportation costs to the material costs) run that much further.
Refillable Containers and The Environment
Eco-friendly solutions have gone from just the materials that are used to the whole system and lifecycle of the product. Refillable products with reusable containers have become popular for consumables like cleaning solutions, shampoos and more.
There is also a trend in reducing the size of the package by shipping “without the water.” The concept of adding water to the solution after you purchase has a substantial savings for transportation costs and the impact that has on the environment. All of the refillable and reusable markets are geared toward consumers who are earth conscious.
A few other ways that refillable packaging saves the environment include:
- lightweight or bulk packaging for refills
- less fuel and burden on the environment for transportation
- reduced manufacturing costs
- reduced packaging waste from single use containers
Consumers Are Getting on Board
Consumers are more open to eco-friendly packaging than ever before. When it comes to refills, the idea of giving customers a package that they actually like there is even more reason for customers to become fans. Refills also typically cost less which is another benefit for the company and the customer.
Considerations for Packaging Containers
For many refillable or reusable packaging programs, the customer is offered an opportunity to buy the reusable container (for example, refillable soap bottles).
When creating this packaging, companies should consider:
- eco friendly materials are important
- since the customer will keep it the design aesthetic is important
- ability to leverage brand placement
- durability is critical
- ability to easily clean the materials and sanitize for reuse
The Future of Refills
We are seeing refillable and reusable packaging containers in a variety of markets: cosmetics, skin care, perfume, food, water refill jugs, personal care products (soap, shampoo), reusable cups for beverages, and so on. With sustainability at the top of mind, this is likely to keep expanding.