2021: the year of packaging — and sustainability

In 2020 Americans consumed more corrugated packaging than ever before, driven by a breakthrough year for e-commerce. This comes as no surprise, with the pandemic bringing exponential growth for online sales as consumers opt for contactless shopping. With this increase in online purchases comes the opportunity to enhance customer experience, elevate branding, ensure greater product protection, and more through packaging.

Every company strives to make a great first impression with its consumers, and packaging provides the opportunity to grab their attention, communicate the brand, the product, the company's sustainability, and more. Packaging is essentially an opportunity for content marketing, and when that online purchase shows up on a consumer's doorstep, the very first thing they will see and come into contact with is the packaging.

With this opportunity, though, comes a slew of possible issues. Today's consumers want sustainable, eco-friendly packaging, but inside their delivery boxes, they often find more boxes, bottles, plastic, and protective inserts, which they see as wasteful. In 2018, plastic production reached 359 million metric tons. 32% of all plastic packaging is not collected for recycling, and only 9% of the collected plastic is recycled.

The good news, though, is that while paper-based packaging is experiencing record production growth, corrugated recycling is on the upswing as well. In 2020, 300,000,000 tons of corrugated packaging were recycled. While this is great news, a survey conducted in August 2020 showed that shoppers are put off by what they deem as "unnecessarily large boxes." 93% of respondents reported receiving a box with wasted space, and 73% indicated receipt of a box that was twice the size or more than needed. These results show that just a shift to corrugated is not enough to create sustainability; efforts must be made to reduce waste altogether, from the corrugated itself to inserts, protective packaging, and more.

Packaging is essential, and Viking helps our customers leverage packaging solutions to improve customer satisfaction and prioritize sustainability. Our innovative corrugated packaging solutions are designed specifically for your products to minimize waste and optimize performance. Not only do we have a long-standing commitment to the environment by utilizing recyclable, renewable, and reusable materials, but we understand the role packaging plays in creating a positive brand perception. We are dedicated to creating packaging solutions that let your customers know that their experience, from purchase to receipt, is a top priority alongside sustainability. 

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