ELOGISTICS ————  3 September 2021

New shapes and materials for increasingly sustainable e-commerce packaging

New shapes and materials for increasingly sustainable e-commerce packaging - Photo 2

A growing number of consumers is interested in how the packaging industry is tackling the topic of sustainability. According to a survey, nearly three out of four people in the US are willing to spend more on ‘green’ packaging, showing renewed awareness about the environment*. Indeed, issues such as marine and land pollution, deforestation and global warming are increasingly associated with packaging and its dispersal. The topic is closely connected with the development of e-commerce, which has considerably boosted the circulation of goods.

———— Sitma’s answer to the demand for sustainable solutions

It’s called “Zero Impack” and it’s the method behind the creation of innovative packaging, developed by Sitma in order to tangibly reduce the impact of the supply chain on the environment. This philosophy fully encompasses all the activities that come before the packaging is created, from the design of new materials up to the search for the ideal shape. Zero Impack is not just for the e-commerce packaging sector, as it can also be used in all the industries our company operates in, from the publishing world to packaging.

———— Traditional materials vs innovative materials: which is the right choice?

We have been investing for years in the search for solutions to tangibly reduce the carbon footprint of products and manufacturing processes, without starting from preconceived views. This is why we have examined the behaviour of various materials, identifying their critical points and strengths.


Plastic: at the moment only 16% of plastic waste is recycled, while 25% is incinerated and 40% is discarded into the environment**. There will be a decrease in the use of plastic in future, also due to increasingly restrictive regulations and the introduction of taxes such as the Plastic Tax. Yet, if disposed of properly and recycled, plastic can still be a resource. Our company specialises in developing solutions to package with plastic, optimising its use and reducing waste.


Biofilm: these are materials of organic origin with an excellent mechanical performance and they decompose without causing damage once discarded into the environment. Our packaging machines can package various kinds of goods with different types of biofilm.


Paper: after specific treatments, paper can also be used effectively for packaging purposes. Moreover, if it is made, treated and disposed of according to sustainable principles, it is a renewable and low-impact material. Sitma was one of the first companies to invest in paper and today it can offer machines that can effectively use it as packaging material.

———— When form is also substance

The search for the best material is important, but it is only one of the aspects involved in the creation of sustainable packaging. The shape is key as well: on the one hand, it needs to meet the principles of sustainability and on the other, it needs be developed as a solution to specific requests increasingly related to e-commerce. Zero Impack’s approach goes hand in hand with the need to support the value of the customer’s brand by applying an eco-friendly attitude.


Custom packaging: ‘customisation’ is the key word. With our experience in the packaging sector, we are able to create ad-hoc shapes to meet various marketing and communication needs, e.g. by conveying graphic messages through the packaging or inserting leaflets and other material inside it.


When less is best: The trend is to develop increasingly smaller packages whose shape reflects the contents, regardless of whether they contain books, cosmetics or clothes. As well as being more practical, a compact package has a number of advantages in terms of transport and storage, thereby helping reduce the carbon footprint.


Zero Impack is the path traced by Sitma to create compact, tailor-made packages.


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