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The rise of sustainable gift packaging

Side profile of person holding Invisible Company's #InvisibleBag
Invisible Company's #InvisibleBag
Jan 21, 2022 By WGSN Insider
Updates from WGSN

Brands and designers created a raft of innovative solutions for sustainable gift packaging to ensure consumers could enjoy a more environmentally friendly Holiday season.

Fresh ideas for sustainable packaging to reduce waste and aid recycling gave eco-conscious buyers options for gifts. New materials are driving innovation and tech will provide more choices in the future.

Uptrending interest

Worldwide Google searches for sustainable packaging are uptrending and hit new highs in 2021. The top rising related searches over the past 12 months include "sustainable packaging solutions" (up 400%), "sustainable packaging design" (up 140%), "sustainable packaging trends" (up 90%) and "sustainable packaging materials" (up 90%).

Food sector developments

In the food sector, British plant-based cheese brand the'artyvegan delivered its cheese hampers with an edible okara ice pack, which consumers can defrost and use to make okara bread. The okara is a byproduct of its Vegan Scheese and Tofu. Meanwhile, scientists at the University of California, Davis, developed a new cooling cube to ship fresh foods without relying on traditional cooling packs. The plastic-free ice cubes do not melt, are compostable and antimicrobial.

Pink gift box
100% recyclable gift box from Eviosys, and Verescence

Beauty packaging is another major area of innovation

Packaging manufacturers Eviosys (Switzerland), (Netherlands) and Verescence (France) joined forces to create a gift box that is 100% recyclable, while US-based company Ecovative uses mycelium and hemp hurd in its Mushroom Packaging. In Latin America, several brands are also starting to use biodegradable packaging peanuts. Other compostable options include Hong Kong’s Invisible Company’s #InvisibleBag and Colombia’s Mahiz Biopack.

Image from Agua de Nube
Agua de Nube's eco-friendly material is made from starch

"An additional 30% of waste is produced and discarded during the Holiday season,” says Emma Grace Bailey, Senior Strategist at WGSN Beauty. “Sustainable gift packaging, whether dissolvable, fully recyclable, reusable, compostable or glitter-free, offers brands and consumers a way to reduce their environmental impact during this time and is a growing area of innovation for packaging designers."

How you can action this

Make zero waste your primary goal with gift packaging. If this can't be achieved, focus on compostable materials consumers can deal with at home easily.

WGSN subscribers can access the full Sustainability Bulletin: January 2022 here.

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