The 20 Best Eco Friendly, Biodegradable Packaging Materials

Biodegradable materials for packaging are a growing trend in the global logistics business when it comes to protecting products as they're transported. These biodegradable materials often work well because they efficiently shield the product from any external damage that would otherwise occur during shipping. Here are top 20 eco friendly, biodegradable packaging materials.

There are billions of waste filing the landfills and causing harm to humans, animals, and plants. Thankfully, people are increasingly becoming environmentally conscious, and there are calls everywhere for environmental sustainability. Consumers of various products worldwide are becoming more aware of sustainable product packaging and are demanding biodegradable packaging materials.

Companies are now looking to fulfill the demand for more eco-friendly packaging materials to fill consumer desires. However, they’re also looking to reduce the impact that these materials have on the planet. Switching to biodegradable packaging and reducing energy use is one of the ways companies can become sustainable.

But what are those biodegradable packaging materials? Paper bottles, plant-based plates, cornstarch packaging, and biodegradable plastic are just but a few biodegradable packaging materials. There are also eco-friendly packaging materials that may not be biodegradable but are perfectly recyclable.

If you’re looking for both biodegradable and recyclable packaging materials for your business or personal use, we’ve got you covered. Here is the list of 20 materials that are biodegradable and recyclable.

1.  Paper Bottles

There’s now a unique way to manufacture paper bottles using recyclable materials. These bottles come with their outer shells made of recycled cardboard and newspaper. The papers conceal the thin plastic liner that’s inside. The paper bottles are products of creative companies working together to create a water-resistant paper bottle used for packaging organic bathing and body products.

These bottles are resistant enough to withstand the pressure coming from the shower. They ditched the glue to come up with an interlocking design that ensures perfect sturdiness. These bottles are also shipped nested, making them more efficient for transportation than other packaging materials.

2.  Newspaper Egg Carton

There’s a lot more you can do with the newspaper than you can imagine. One of the functions of a newspaper includes making creative egg cartons. Instead of discarding those old newspapers, you can now use them to come up with a fantastic egg carton. You can use the egg carton for a very long time because it’s strong and sturdy enough. When it gets old enough, and you need to dispose of it, you don’t have to worry about the environment because the papers biodegrade pretty fast.

A egg on Carton.
You can easily recycle newspapers by creating durable and 100% biodegradable egg cartons.

3.  Reusable Bag

Instead of throwing away those bags after every shopping and ending up filling the landfills, it’s a wise idea to get reusable ones. These bags are made from a few raw materials and are perfectly reusable. These bags save up to 60% of water, diesel, and energy, which is contrary to traditional bag manufacturing. Apart from being reusable, these bags are also very pretty, and you can walk around carrying one very comfortably. Most reusable bags are made of fabric or paper. This makes them easily biodegradable.

A lemon on a reusable bags.
Reusable bags are typically made of fabric or paper.

4.  Leaf Plates

Do you know that you can get plates made of leaf for your events instead of buying disposable ones? There are now food packaging products made from leaves.

The lids of these plates are made with bioplastic or recyclable plastic. The three-layer natural bowl is made of leaves that are also waterproof. These plates are also healthy for the users as they have no glue, additives, or coloring like plastic plates. The plates only take 28 days to biodegrade. You can also find dip pots, trays, and bowls made of these biodegradable leaves.

5.  Biodegradable or Recycled Plastic

When someone mentions the word plastic, you can’t even think for a while that it could be biodegradable. Traditional plastic has been a major concern for environmentalists because they don’t biodegrade. Thankfully, there is now biodegradable plastic packaging that starts decomposing immediately after you expose them to daylight.

A plastic cups.
Plastic bags made from recycled plastic are among the ideal packaging and shipping materials.

These biodegradable plastic bags are perfect for shopping. They’re also used in envelopes for bulk mailing. Recycled plastics also make excellent shipping materials and tools. They’re made of 100 percent recycled plastic. You can use these materials to fulfill your eco-friendly need for shipping.

6.  Corrugated Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap packaging has been used for a long time to protect fragile items while being shipped.  However, these bubble wraps are mostly made of plastic and are not eco-friendly. Thankfully, there are now eco-friendly alternatives that are now more environmentally conscious.

You don’t need to dispose of or recycle post-consumer cardboard waste. They also have small cuts that produce the concertina-type effect to protect against shock and protect the inner content just like normal bubble wrap does. The only difference corrugated ones have from normal ones is that you don’t get to pop the bubbles afterward.

7.  Cornstarch Packaging

Cornstarch is another organic material that has found its space in the eco-friendly packaging world. This material is derived from corn or maize plants and features plastic-like properties. This material can perfectly be used in packaging in place of plastic. Packaging with cornstarch has a wonderful way of adding additional uses. The packaging is made in molded forms, bottles, and loose-fill packaging.

Cornstarch is more environmentally sustainable than petroleum-based packaging. However, this biodegradable packaging material also comes with its drawbacks. Because it’s made from corn grains, this packaging creates great competition in animal and human food supply. This means the prices of these foods will go up.

8.  Organic Fabric

Organic fabrics have come up to work as an excellent alternative for plastic bags. The organic fabrics are reusable hence environmentally friendly. There are different types of organic fabrics in the market, including recycled and organic cotton, hemp, palm leaves, and tapioca.  Once you’ve used these materials and thrown them away, they’ll perfectly biodegrade in just 100 days as compared to plastic bags that take centuries in landfills. These organic fabrics come with many other benefits besides being used as bags.

A organic cotton.
Using packing materials made of organic cotton is totally safe for the environment.

9.  Seaweed Packaging

The agar found in various seaweeds and algae is now turning out to be a very useful substance when it comes to biodegradable packaging. This material is especially useful in the food industry. It’s mostly utilized as a thickener or vegetarian food. It works well as an alternative to gelatin.

This seaweed has recently found another use in the packaging industry. The packaging is made from sustainable raw materials from seaweed. If used correctly, seaweed can turn out to be a perfect eco-friendly packaging material.

10. Paper and Cardboard

Paper and cardboard are perfect for those looking for biodegradable packaging. The materials are also reusable and recyclable, making them ideal for those looking to become more environmentally sustainable.  They come with up to three advantages of eco-friendliness and are also readily available.

To ensure these materials are as environmentally friendly as possible, source them from post-consumer recycled paper or cardboard. You can also use materials marked as FSC-certified, which are derived from sustainably managed forests. However, cardboard and paper that is not sourced sustainably can still have a negative effect on the environment.

11. Mushroom Packaging

Mushroom packaging is increasingly becoming popular as one of the biodegradable packaging materials in the market. Big brands that are already embracing environmental sustainability are now adopting this kind of packaging. These are natural packaging made from fungi. Mushroom packaging has proven to be completely sustainable.

A mushroom on bowl.
Mushroom packaging is a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to non-biodegradable packaging materials.

Mushroom packaging only takes 30 to 90 days to decompose and will pose no harmful effects to the environment in the process. Their biodegradability has made them a huge selling point to people who want to reduce any risk of packaging materials to the environment. These packages are perfect for packing smaller items. They can be molded to form any design of your choice and provide maximum protection.

12. Carton Wine

If you love wine, you probably can’t count the number of wine bottles you’ve used and ended up in the landfills. The glass bottles used for packaging wine require large quantities of resources and generate too much environmental pollution. Glass is known to emit harmful greenhouse gasses when in production. They also produce sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and other extremely harmful particles to the environment.

That’s not the case anymore because we now have wine bottles made from the carton. Winemakers are now becoming more environmentally conscious and are now packaging that can reduce the eco-footprints. Boxed wines now provide environmental responsibility, cheaper production, and excellent shipping quality.

13. Carton Water

Apart from carton wine packaging, water packaging is also ditching the plastic bottles to the carton. They are providing water companies with the opportunity to improve their brand image by reinforcing their eco-friendly identity. You’ll not only be benefiting the environment but also improving customer loyalty if you adopt carton water.

A Biodegradable carton water bottles.
Biodegradable carton water bottles are sturdy enough to hold water without any leaks.

Carton water bottles are manufactured using recycled cardboard and used newspaper. The materials hold the thin plastic used inside these bottles that perfectly hold water without the paper disintegrating. The packaging containers are strong enough to be shipped nested. They benefit the shipping costs and optimize speedy operations.

14. Air Pillows from Recycled Products

Air pillows work as effective materials used to fill the gaps in packaging boxes. They are usually used for small items and can be filled as much as the packaging requires. With air pillows, shipping is made easier, and the products inside are perfectly protected from any harm.  They ensure minimum extra packaging than other cushioning materials.

These air pillows are also easy to reuse, recycle, and biodegradable, making them perfectly environmentally sustainable. Before using the air pillows, ensure they are made from 100% biodegradable and recyclable materials.

15. Biodegradable Packing Peanuts

Biodegradable peanuts turn out to be a more eco-friendly packaging solution than polystyrene and other materials. Biodegradable peanuts break down immediately when they touch the water and leave no waste behind that can cause harm to the environment.

These packaging materials also require less energy to produce and emit fewer greenhouse gases during their production. Large shipping organizations can use these materials for their packaging and reduce their carbon footprint.

16. Single Strip Cardboard Packaging

Many companies package plastic items in small plastic to ensure they don’t get damaged while in transit.  But that doesn’t have to be the case anymore because you can now package the small items in single strip cardboard that are biodegradable and recyclable. These new packaging options are not only friendly to the environment but are also very cheap. They are perfect for items such as light bulbs.

These are also cardboard-savvy ideas that can also work well for display. They are ideal for product advertising and good display. They also ensure high-quality protection for the items inside.

17. Protective Material from Waste

The cardboard boxes also produce some waste that you can recycle and use as protective materials. These protective materials are not only biodegradable but also save you a great deal when shipping fragile products. If you also happen to over-order cardboard boxes, you can turn them into protective materials.

18. Poly Bags

Polybags also make eco-friendly options for packaging as you can reuse them over and over without throwing them away. You can also use these bags for various packaging tasks. The bags are clear enough and perfect for packaging smaller items.

If you use poly bags, you won’t have to worry about leakage or any other issues that come with packaging materials. This makes them perfect for liquid packaging. If you love the environment, using poly bags may be the perfect way to show that love.

19. Edible Packaging

Now instead of throwing away those food wraps, you can eat them after finishing your meal. Edible packaging ensures you don’t have to fill up the garbage bins with all those food wraps. Edible wrappings are common in edible water bottles, which athletes usually use. The edible containers can be filled with either water or other types of beverages. If you finish drinking your water, you can eat the pouch. If you don’t want to eat it, you can throw it away because it can biodegrade in just six weeks.

20. Use Blankets, Towels, and Sheets

If you don’t have money for eco-friendly packaging materials, you can still get creative and use your home items. Your blankets, towels, and sheets can serve the purpose of eco-friendly packaging pretty well. These items work well as cushioning for the green packaging bin.

A Towel.
If you cannot afford to buy biodegradable packaging materials, consider using blankets, towels, and pillows as alternatives.

By repurposing the waste you have in your home, you minimize the garbage that ends in the bins. You have to look for the things within your home and find those you’re no longer using. It’s a wonderful way to pack your items and preserve the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Are Biodegradable Materials?

Biodegradable materials are made with eco-friendliness in mind. These packaging materials can easily decompose when they’re no longer in use and not fill the landfills. Therefore, anything that’s considered compostable after getting used is an eco-friendly material. Other ways to preserve the environment aside from using biodegradable materials is to use recyclable materials. You can reuse or recycle such materials after the first or second use.

Why Use Eco-Friendly Packaging?

Whether you’re considering household or business use, conserving the environment is increasingly becoming important. For businesses, eco-friendly packaging is a wonderful way to get the attention of the eco-conscious target consumers.  These people are growing every day as people are becoming more aware of the damages that poor lifestyle choices are doing to the environment. So very soon, businesses that are not sustainable will be out of the market.

A eco-friendly goft packaging.
Whether you’re considering household or business use, conserving the environment is increasingly becoming important.

Where Can I Find Biodegradable Packaging?

Most biodegradable packaging materials are the works of creative individuals who use their DIY skills to make them from the products they already have at home. If you can’t make them yourself, you can find them in your shipping store with small-scale biodegradable packaging materials. Various home improvement stores also sell these materials.

What Should You Do With the Biodegradable Materials after Using?

Just because the biodegradable materials can easily decompose doesn’t mean you throw them everywhere. You can choose to store the materials in your home to reuse them again. If that’s not possible, especially for the materials that have reached their shelf life, you can take them to your nearest composting center.

Another way is to donate or sell the materials you’re no longer using but feel they can still help someone else. For the recyclable ones, take them to your local recycling center and have them turned into something useful.

Bottom Line

Are you hoping to make the earth a better place to live for the future generation? One way to do so is to adopt eco-friendly packaging and use both recyclable and biodegradable packing materials. This is not only important for businesses but consumers as well. If consumers buy only from companies using biodegradable products, more companies will join the magnitude, and the earth will become a better place for everyone.

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