The End of Labels?

William Blake once wrote, “Everything that lives / Lives not alone nor for itself…” While you can interpret this a few different ways, that brief line does remind us that what we do has an impact on the world around us.

As our understanding of the world improves, so does our understanding of our effect on the environment. We now recognize that we can’t simply chuck refrigerators into the ocean or abandon discarded industrial machinery in remote fields without it having a more lasting impact. The resources that we use, how we use them, and how we discard them after they are no longer needed has a direct impact on our environment, which directly affects our lives.

This awareness is changing a lot about the world that we live in. Not only is it affecting what consumers do on a daily basis, but it is also changing the way that products are being made.

Environmental awareness in manufacturing is responsible for new ways of manufacturing, new materials that are being used – or reused- and it’s even changing the way that goods are being packaged.

Green packaging, or sustainable packaging, is basically the practice of reducing the amount of materials or resources used in the packaging process in order to reduce the impact on the environment. You can find countless examples of green packaging with a quick stroll through the grocery store.

The food and beverage industry is making good use of green packaging practices. Chip bags are changing materials and water bottles are changing shape, all to help reduce the amount of resources that are used in packaging. Not only does green packaging help reduce environmental impacts, it can also help save money.

Getting rid of labels on packages creates another opportunity to reduce materials and decrease spending. You might think that one measly little label that costs a fraction of a cent to produce isn’t hurting anyone’s pocketbook, but when you consider how many labels are used during the course of a year, or a decade, those fractions end up costing a whole lot.

There are now machines that allow direct printing onto packages, making labels no longer necessary. Obviously, there are still plenty of products that use labels, but the technology to make labels obsolete is in place. Adoption of these processes may take time, but this sea change in packaging is on its way.