The importance of eco labels for sustainable packaging

Eco-labels on sustainable packaging

It is important for brands to stand out among competitors, especially on store shelves. And while experimenting with unique packaging methods or enhancing product branding can all help, don’t forget that about 85% of consumers claim that reading a product packaging while shopping can help them decide what to choose. Therefore, to really grab shoppers’ attention (and highlight the fact that your products are green and eco friendly), you might want to consider adding eco labels to your packaging designs. 

What is an eco label on packaging?

Eco labels are symbols that have been designed to clearly communicate information about a product that is made of recyclable and sustainable materials. These are then placed on sustainable packaging to help consumers identify which products meet certain environmental performance criteria and are thus deemed as eco friendly or green products. These simple symbols (some of which are obligatory) can be owned or managed by government agencies, non-profit environmental organisations, or private sector entities.

Eco labels can be single-attribute (focusing on a single lifecycle stage of a product or service, like the use phase) or multi-attribute (where they concentrate on the whole lifecycle such as manufacture, maintenance, disposal…). Depending on the symbol’s design, it could address various environmental problems (including recycling, chemical use, etc.).  

What are the benefits of having eco labels on packaging?

Eco labels do more than just differentiate sustainable packaging from those that are not.

  • Boosted branding: Adding an eco label to your green packaging shows the world that your business is serious about the environment, which can raise your brand’s reputation in the eyes of consumers. 
  • Cut costs: Eco labelling goes hand in hand with eco friendly packaging. And since many sustainable packaging materials are recycled, they are usually cheaper than their traditional counterparts, meaning you can spend less on your packaging. 
  • Connect with eco friendly consumers: Many eco-conscious shoppers do their part for the environment by shopping for sustainable companies. They will always support eco friendly companies that are making a positive impact on the planet; thus, you get to connect with a growing category of consumers.  
  • Clear communication: With eco labels on your packaging, you are letting the customer know that your business is dedicated to helping the planet. In turn, this makes the shopper feel good about buying your product and helps build customer loyalty. 
  • Competitive edge: Although interesting packaging design can also grab attention, eco labels immediately appeal to many sorts of demographics, allowing your brand to stand out from the rest.  

What are the different types of eco labels? 

  • ‘Ecolabel’ (also called Daisy or Marguerite) is the basic symbol of the EU, signifying that the product adheres to the strictest environmental requirements set by Member States. 
  • ‘Safe for Ozone’ signifies that the product is free of CFCs (compounds of fluorine, chlorine, and carbon).  
  • ‘Blue Angel’ was introduced in Germany in 1978 and is proof of the highest environmental competitiveness of products from 75 categories (such as building materials and computer equipment). 
  • ‘Energy Star’ (awarded by the US Environmental Protection Agency and used by the EU) confirms the product’s energy efficiency and is placed on consumer electronics and household appliances (like fridges). 
  • ‘FSC’ (or Forest Stewardship Council) means that the wood used in production was not acquired by environmental / forest destruction. 
  • ‘PEFC’ means that the product material comes from a PEFC-certified forest (managed according to the strictest environmental, social and economic requirements). 
  • ‘Rainforest Alliance Certified’ means that the product was made without harming any forests or waterbodies, and with respect to locals. 
  • Green Lungs of Poland eco labels are awarded to green brands in the country’s north-eastern areas that aren’t a threat to the natural environment. 
  • ‘Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX’ certifies textile products that contain no trace of 350 toxic chemicals. 
  • ‘Carbon Reduction Label’ is used to show the minimisation of carbon dioxide emissions while manufacturing a certain product. 
  • ‘Made in Europe’ can mean a lower transportation footprint for other European countries, as opposed to goods produced and imported from overseas. 
  • ‘Biodegradable material’ signifies eco friendly packaging that break down into natural elements once exposed to light, air, moisture and microbes. 
  • ‘Plastic-free’ eco labels are for products that don’t contain any petroleum-based plastics. 
  • ‘Recyclable’ symbols (also called Mobius Loops) are used for products that can be broken down and used as new material. 
  • ‘Recycled content’ labels are for sustainable packaging products that are made up of at least 60% recycled materials.  
  • ‘Reusable’ symbols mean that the product has been specifically engineered and manufactured so that it can be used again after it’s been used for its original purpose. 
  • ‘Recycling Code PAP 20’ specifies the materials used to create the product packaging, with the code meaning to be found in the German Packaging Act (the PAP 20 code refers to corrugated cardboard). 
  • ‘RESY eco labels are always applied to packaging along with its own identification code. All transportation- and outer packaging made of paper and cardboard labelled with this symbol are guaranteed to be disposable and recyclable. 

The way forward

Are your business products or packaging in need of being “greener ? As MBA Green has over a decade’s worth of expertise when it comes to sustainable packaging, trust us to help your company become more eco-friendly and appeal to more environmentally conscious shoppers.