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In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, we asked Carrie Kwapick-Nasvik, Retail Product and Brand Manager of Bags & Bows®, about the benefits of eco-friendly packaging and how a business can make the switch from traditional packaging to more environmentally friendly options.

Q. What is “eco-friendly packaging?”

Carrie Kwapick-Nasvik: Eco-friendly packaging is packaging that is easily recycled and is safe for individuals and the environment. It is also known as “green packaging” or “sustainable packaging.” To be considered eco-friendly, packaging must fall into at least one of three categories: It can be reused, it can be recycled, and/or it is biodegradable.

Q. Why is eco-friendly packaging important?

CKN: It’s good for the environment! More than that, many sustainability-minded consumers are embracing green and sustainable practices, and they are looking for companies that do the same. By using eco-friendly packaging, you are showing that your business cares about the environment and listens to the wants and needs of the customer. It’s great for the environment and also great for your business.

Q. What do small businesses need to know about plastic bag bans?

CKN: Plastic bag bans continue to roll out across the country. In 2014, California became the first state to impose a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, which took effect after an unsuccessful referendum challenge in 2016. Since 2014, additional states have focused on implementing effective recycling programs or imposing bans or fees to discourage the use of plastic bags altogether. Each state and city has its own laws and regulations on how they want to move forward with this, but it is important to understand that there is eco-friendly packaging out there that complies with bag ban laws.

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Q. How can I tell if a bag is eco-friendly?

CKN: Most bags will have an imprint on the bottom of the bag detailing how much recycled content (if any) the bag is made of. This is a requirement for many bag laws across the country.

Q. How can my business make the transition to eco-friendly packaging?

CKN: Here are three easy ways to go green with your packaging:

  1. If you offer clear plastic bags now, switch to biodegradable clear bags.
  2. If you offer paper boxes and bags, check to see if they are made from recycled materials. If not, look for the same boxes and bags in a recycled format.
  3. Offer customers a true reusable bag such as a non-woven tote, with a loyalty program attached to it. For example, if the customer returns to your business with the bag, give them a reward for that. It’s a great way to help the environment and increase repeat purchases!
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Q. What else should small business owners know about eco-friendly packaging?

CKN: As environmental awareness and sustainability trends continue to gain traction in the marketplace, it is going to be vital to satisfy your customers’ demands for eco-friendly packaging. Even if there is not a current bag ban in your location, eco-friendly packaging is an ever-growing trend, and there are many different styles and types of eco-friendly packaging that are perfect for your business needs.

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