By Michael Labella
Printers who have gone through the trouble of selecting environmentally friendly materials, such as those made with recycled fibers, low-VOC or no-VOC inks, and have worked with designers to create designs that minimize fabric waste, will want to be sure that all their efforts are not wasted through improper or excessive packaging. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as much as a third of the developing world’s nonindustrial solid waste stream consists of packaging. As a result, the choice of materials can greatly influence a package’s impact on the environment.
Choosing packaging components made from recycled materials is a good way to start. Other considerations include a material’s level of biodegradability, how easily and likely it is to be recycled and whether a material comes from a sustainable resource. In the case of paper or cardboard, for example, ask your supplier for information on the mill’s reforestation programs.