Sustainable Packaging Trends to Look Out for in 2021

Banded fruits


2020 was certainly an interesting year for packaging. While sustainability continued to be a major industry trend, pandemic related concerns led to an increase in single-use plastics, packaging material, and overall waste. While it seems that the beginning of 2021 will continue to be impacted by the pandemic, the New Year will likely bring about a resurgence in eco-friendly, sustainable packaging trends.



Hexagonal boxes
Courtesy of Patagonia and Capsule

While it is important to consider and address all problems impacting the environment, the packaging industry is most responsible for the problem of waste. According to the EPA, in 2018, containers and packaging made up 28.1% of total waste generation (82 million tons). One way to address this problem is simply using less packaging to begin with. Rightsizing, the “practice of reducing packaging size, fill material, and paper waste through conscious design choices,” does exactly that. One example of this is Patagonia’s new base layer clothing packaging, which uses a hexagonal shape to reduce overall packaging and material size. Banding, one of Felins’ flagship technologies, is also a form of rightsizing. Banding simply wraps a thin band around the product, using significantly less material than traditional packaging and wrapping methods while still holding the product securely.



Courtesy of Rothy's

Another way to address the waste problem is by recycling and using recyclable material. Corrugate and paperboard, the standard rigid packaging materials for e-commerce, are already recyclable and the US has a fairly high paper and paperboard recycling rate of 68%. However, these practices have been in place for quite a while and there is still a significant problem with waste from packaging. One way to take this practice a step further is by using recycled paperboard and other materials in the construction of the product. An example of this is Rothy’s, a company that makes shoes completely out of post-consumer plastic bottles and other recycled shoes.  Felins is proud to offer a variety of different materials that are fully recyclable



Packaged food
Courtesy of Live Food Bar

Biodegradable, or compostable, packaging is another form of sustainable packaging aimed at reducing waste. This form of packaging can decompose naturally by bacteria or other organisms in a waste setting. Some companies have begun to take biodegradable packaging even further by embedding seeds for herbs and other plants in the packaging, so the packaging can be planted. For example, Live Food Bar, a gourmet restaurant in Toronto that caters to vegetarians and vegans, uses recycled paper material embedded with seeds of basil, parsley, and oregano. While Felins does not offer any plant-based packaging, we do offer a compostable material option for our tying and banding machines!


4. reusable packaging

reusable packaging
Courtesy of Loop

A final sustainable packaging trend to look out for in 2021 is reusable packaging. While reusable packaging can take many different forms from consumer packaged goods to e-commerce, all reusable packaging is eventually returned to the consumer so they can use it again. One company that has already begun to gain some success in reusable packaging is Loop, who uses a milkman-like delivery service. All products purchased from Loop’s website use 100% reusable packaging, and once the customer has used up all of the product they simply put them in the Loop delivery tote and leave it at their door. Loop then picks up the tote, washes and refills the containers, and checks for quality before sending them back.


If you have any questions or are interested in one of Felins’ sustainable packaging solutions, you can contact us here.



Want help identifying the sustainable packaging solution that is best for you?

Contact Us