Minimizing packaging with a view to weight can be realized either by optimization of packaging or by appropriate product design, for instance by casings that endure transportation without or with only a minimum of packaging.
Robust packaging designed for multiple use reduces the overall input for packaging. Returnable packaging is particularly advantageous in the case of direct delivery. The supplier can take back and subsequently re-use packaging material.
The use of renewable raw materials (i.e. non fossil materials, usually made from plant material) not only constitutes an adequate solution for the disposal of packaging material but also takes into account the issue of resources (renewables as an important criterion for sustainability).
Preferably use recycled materials or packaging materials suitable for established recycling processes
Using recyclable materials reduces the consumption of primary materials as well as the amount of waste generated. Materials for which there are already well established recycling channels facilitate recycling of packaging materials.
The materials used for packaging should be environmentally acceptable not only as far as manufacture is concerned but also at the time of disposal. Therefore, one has to determine at what point in the whole life cycle the issue of disposal of packaging arises and how disposal can be realized there.
One of the prerequisites for recycling consists in clear labeling of packaging material. Packaging usually has only a very short life cycle; therefore labeling is particularly important in order to ensure appropriate recycling (value added) or environmentally acceptable disposal.
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