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Why paper-based packaging?

If your products are sustainable, why isn't your packaging? The choices you make for the packaging of your products have implications traveling far beyond the customers' journey. The packaging is the very first physical touchpoint between your brand and a potential new customer. This stresses the importance of making the right designer choices and choosing the right materials. In this blog, we will provide insights on the benefits of using paper-based packaging.

The graphic papers maybe squeezed by digitization, but the paper industry overall has major changes in store and exciting prospects for new growth. Despite the decline in the graphic-paper segment, the global paper and paperboard industry continues to grow. (Source: McKinsey & Company)

A comparison: paper applications vs. plastic ones

Compared to other packaging materials, paper has a minimal impact on the environment. For starters, paper is easier to recycle than plastic. If plastics is recycled at all, only 9% of all plastic waste is recycled, meaning the rest is burned, accumulates in landfills, or ends in our natural environment. In contrast, the recycling rate for paper is as much as 69%, which is the highest compared to other materials. The U.S. recycling rate for cardboard has exceeded 82% since 2009. Paper is made from a renewable resource, as trees are continuously grown to replenish those used to make paper products. This makes paper essential to a circular economy.

Photos: example of paper-based and cardboard packaging solutions from Stitch Fix, Click-Pax and Kinfill

Sustainability at its best - FSC certification

This immediately addresses the main counter-argument to increasing the amount of paper-based packaging solutions, namely the potential contribution to deforestation. Therefore, solely FSC certified paper materials should be used. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit organization that provides a proven sustainable forest management solution. Currently, over 200 million hectares of forest worldwide is certified according to FSC standards. They are widely regarded as the most rigorous forest certification system among NGO’s, consumers, and businesses alike to tackle today’s deforestation, climate and biodiversity challenges.

Did you happen to know that our paper-based packaging is FSC certified?

With one of our recent studies, we discovered that consumers rely primarily on independent certified labels when deciding whether products are sustainable. Our most remarkable discovery? Consumers cannot recognize the most sustainable products without visual clues. This contributes to the power of the FSC label to help consumers make more sustainable shopping choices. We, as Zero Packaging, counter reforestation through our partnership with Landlife Company.

Also read: Sustainable packaging features to find out which features make a packaging appear sustainable.

Customers prefer paper-based solutions

According to these recent studies of ours, the type of material used influences the perception of the packaging. For it to appear eco-friendly, paper or strong cardboard should be used. Where plastics are recognized as not environmentally friendly. Paper-based solutions are well-know to be easily reusable and recyclable, therefore being a popular packaging solution. (Source: Smartsolve)

Another recent study conducted by Ipsos confirmed our earlier findings. Where the majority of consumers prefers to buy products with paper packaging.

For two thirds, paper and cardboard packaging makes a product more appealing (67%), and similar proportions agree that it makes gives a premium or of higher quality feel to products (63%).

Brands that reduce the amount of plastic in their supply chains have the additional benefit of creating a positive image by appealing to consumers' growing environmental concerns. Switching from plastic to FSC-certified paper packaging solutions helps your brand to be on the right side of sustainable progress and consumer preference.


Are you wondering how to realize your sustainable packaging solution?

Do not hesitate to contact us. Together we will determine which solution is best suited for your products.

Zero impact Tailor-made 15 years experience



Ipsos. (2018). Most Americans Say That the Design of a Product’s Packaging Often Influences Their Purchase Decisions. Retrieved from

Smartsolve. (2021). The pros and cons of paper packaging. Retrieved from


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