Sustainable Packaging Design

Will a sustainable packaging design help your brand?

We all know the saying: Reduce, reuse, and recycle! Sustainable packaging design has become essential for brands to appeal to modern consumers. Consumers are more educated and more inclined to select products with sustainable packaging designs over identical products with unsustainable packaging designs. There has been a shift towards environmentally friendly, recyclable, and compostable packaging design. This shift in focus has put leading brands and companies under scrutiny for unsustainable factors of production. Within the past five years, brands have embraced sustainable packaging design at incredible rates.

Switching to more sustainable packaging is one visible action that brands can take to respond to consumers. Having sustainable packaging is a quick and easy way for a brand to communicate its efforts to change and adopt more environmentally conscious values. Industry leaders are now constantly seeking more sustainable materials and resources. Factors, such as the pressure to have the smallest carbon footprint, are top-of-mind for leaders evaluating sustainable packaging design options and considering alternatives.

Consumers want to buy more eco-friendly products, but their decisions are often based on quick judgments. Some find it difficult to differentiate between an unsustainable and sustainable packaging design, so if you go through the effort to package your product in environmentally-friendly packaging, TELL YOUR CONSUMERS about it. It’s not bragging, it’s helping shoppers make informed purchase decisions. The visual appearance of a package influences consumer behavior. When it comes to making purchasing decisions with sustainability in mind and sorting through waste, research shows this to be particularly true.  This means that your sustainable packaging design is more likely to be chosen and appropriately tossed into the recycling bin.

Sustainable Packaging Design Materials: What are some options?  

When it comes to sustainable packaging, brands are sourcing more plant-based fibers than plastic materials. Yet, there is a growing interest in biodegradable and compostable plastics. Brands are using unique sustainable packaging design materials, as they strive for cost-effective solutions. Here we share five interesting examples of materials to use in sustainable packaging design.


Bulldog uses sugarcane as a raw material to support the sustainable packaging design of their face washes, scrubs, and moisturizers. The tubes are made with sugarcane plastic, which comes from the sugarcane plant, a renewable source.

The main ingredient used in most sugarcane-based sustainable packaging designs is Bagasse, an extract from the sugarcane plant. It is biodegradable, has a high tolerance to heat, and like sugarcane plastic, comes from a renewable source.


Did you ever think to save your coconut shell after finishing a delicious island-themed drink at the beach? Coconut husks can easily mold together with an organic adhesive to become custom cartons for fruits, vegetables, and eggs. The coconut fiber capsules are 100% biocompatible. While coconut shells are definitely a unique alternative, this sustainable packaging flaunts a protective waterproof cushioning. This protects fresh produce during transportation. The hard exterior is so tough it can be dropped from 50-feet without showing any impact.


Mega-retailer IKEA sells household items and furniture and was known to package with polystyrene. This material requires thousands of years to decompose. However, they are addressing this problem by moving towards a more sustainable packaging design that focuses on mushroom-based packaging. The outer shell and roots of a mushroom contain mycelia. When mixed with natural ingredients like oats, the substances bind together to form a malleable solid. A sustainable packaging based on mushrooms and other natural ingredients can biodegrade in a garden within weeks, unlike polystyrene.


Cornstarch is biodegradable and an ideal sustainable packaging option for products with limited, short-term use. For example, cornstarch is a great alternative for food packaging. You may have seen cornstarch take out containers without realizing that was the main product material. Cornstarch also serves as a great alternative to protect and support items during transit. Replacing foam-based packaging, such as the infamous packaging peanuts that won’t decompose for a long time, is another benefit of using cornstarch in your sustainable packaging design. Earth-friendly cornstarch biodegrades and has a minimal negative impact on the environment.

Plant-based paper

Of course, paper is not as innovative, in comparison to a coconut husk.  However, paper is often a go-to alternative for sustainable packaging. Product developers at Paper Water Bottle thought out of the box and into the bottle. This brand re-imagines paper packaging to reduce plastic waste. The world produces 80 billion plastic bottles each year. 80 percent of those plastic bottles end up in oceans and landfills. Plastic requires hundreds of years to biodegrade. Paper Water Bottle uses a blended combination of wheat straw, bamboo, husks, sugar cane, and bulrush to create bottles that are biodegradable and compostable in their consumers’ backyards.

What will your sustainable packaging design look like?

Modern consumers want to make a difference in the environment. Selecting products with an appealing sustainable packaging design is an easy way for them to contribute. Brand companies that listen to their consumers will continue to make strides toward earth-friendly options. Our expert designers at id8 have a passion for sustainability and packaging. Contact id8 to brainstorm your next innovative sustainable packaging design.