There is a major anti-plastic movement happening right now. Lego is even switching up their bricks to recycled plastic. 

As the world moves away from plastics (single-use and otherwise) and towards sustainable packaging, already going green can give you a headstart

There are a couple of other benefits to going green! Feel free to check out our guide ‘does being eco-friendly help my small business?’ for more information. 

  • Cellulose nanofibre
  • Kraft paper
  • Cornstarch packaging
  • Minimalist designs
  • Compostable bags

Go green with these sustainable toy packaging materials

Finding the right packaging for your toy business can be hard. You want to find something eco-friendly, which also won’t dramatically increase your costs. 

Cellulose nanofibre

Excellent alternatives to standard plastic packaging are compostable and biodegradable. Cellulose nanofibre is one such product. Typically made from wood pulp, companies are able to use natural materials to create a clear, plastic alternative. 

The production of cellulose nanofibre is quite environmentally friendly too. Since it can be made from hemp, cotton, and wood, it is incredibly renewable. Production of cellulose nanofibre can easily continue without the harmful consequences of regular plastic. 

If you’re questioning how useful this organic plastic can be, you may like to know that it’s currently used in food packaging. The plastic is incredibly safe, and can easily be disposed of in your compost bin at home

Pros:

  • Looks and feels just like plastic
  • Made from a range of renewable resources
  • Can be moulded to suit needs

Cons:

  • Can be costly to use, since the infrastructure isn’t as developed

Kraft paper

One of the biggest contributors to renewable packaging is kraft paper. A strong, durable type of paper, kraft is a great substitute to standard plastic packaging. 

Because it’s completely natural, kraft paper also breaks down really easily when disposed of.  

Due to its sturdy capabilities, one of the main uses of kraft paper is corrugated shipping boxes. These boxes not only have a lovely rustic appearance, but are incredibly good at protecting the products during shipping. 

If you’re sending your toys through the mail, popping them in a kraft shipping box is the way to go. It’s sure to keep them safe and sound. 

Pros:

  • Can be recycled into new kraft packaging
  • Can decompose completely naturally
  • Different types available to suit your needs
  • Easy to apply embossing or foil stamp finishes

Cons:

  • Harder to print on than regular shipping materials

Cornstarch plastic

Cornstarch packaging is a natural, biodegradable polymer, designed to replace both polystyrene and plastics. While currently most commonly used for takeaway food, it is capable of replacing packaging in a variety of industries. 

Cornstarch packaging is just one of the upcoming bioplastics made from agricultural waste. There are multiple grades of plastic made from cornstarch, including types designed for thermoforming and injection moulding. 

These natural plastics can be shaped to fit your toy shape — no matter what it is. 

Perhaps the best selling point of cornstarch plastic is that it naturally degrades. All it leaves behind is carbon dioxide and water, instead of the nasty chemicals that traditional plastics create. 

If you want more detail about cornstarch plastics, click here

Pros:

  • Low long-term impact on the environment
  • Abundance of resources needed for manufacture
  • Can be used as fertiliser instead of binned
  • No harmful chemicals

Cons:

  • May not be disposed of properly
  • Not much infrastructure surrounding cornstarch packaging

Minimalist designs

In some situations, you won’t be able to use renewable resources for your packaging, and that’s okay. What you should do instead, is cut down on the amount of packaging you do use.

Look at a packaged version of your product, and decide how much of the packaging is really necessary. If the packaging doubles (or even triples) the size of your product, you can easily cut that down. 

Using a minimalist packaging design is most useful if the majority of your business is online. Since customers aren’t seeing the packaging before they buy it, you’re not trying to use a cool design as a selling point

It’s a small step, but it does make your business more sustainable. Every little helps

Pros:

  • Cuts down on unnecessary packaging
  • Can cut costs due to less packaging

Cons: 

  • A less effective idea if sold in stores

Compostable bags

If you own a bricks and mortar toy shop, chances are your customers will want a bag with their purchase. This offers you a fantastic opportunity to eliminate a large portion of your plastic waste by switching to sustainable, compostable bags

There are a couple of different ways you can go about this. For example, you could choose to use paper bags, or even go for a bioplastic alternative. 

Plastic bags do have some guilt attached to them. By using a plastic alternative, you’re giving customers a bag without making them feel guilty about not reusing one.

Of course, if your business is primarily online then this will have limited effect

Pros:

  • Cuts down plastic waste
  • Composible alternatives can be disposed of at home
  • Guilt-free alternative to plastic

Cons:

  • Doesn’t change the product’s packaging

Manage additional expenses

Unfortunately, the infrastructure for sustainable packaging isn’t there yet. As such, making the switch to more sustainable materials can be expensive

If you are committed to using sustainable packaging in your toy business, you might need tighter management of your finances. That’s where the Countingup app can help. 

As a two-in-one business current account and accounting software combo, the Countingup app makes it much easier to manage your income and expenses. 

Try it out for yourself.

Download the app for free today.

Where to look next

If your toy shop operates online and you don’t sell on Etsy, it might be worth checking out. Starting an Etsy shop can open your business up to new revenue, and give your customers greater buying confidence. 

If you’re interested, try reading our guide ‘how to start an Etsy shop’. 

On the other hand, you may be more interested in making sure your business is as environmentally friendly as possible. There are loads of little tips and tricks you can use.


Why not read ‘how to be more environmentally friendly’ for our top suggestions?

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