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Release Notes: 7 New Sustainability Properties to Reduce and Reuse Packaging

By Katelan Cunningham · April 21, 2020

Sustainability is complex and notoriously hard to quantify. That's why on Earth Day 2019, we launched the Lumi Sustainability Framework.

Each sustainability property in the Lumi framework defines attributes for your packaging with supporting data and research. Choosing your priorities and ranking them helps your company make sustainable choices more rapidly.

This year, we added seven new properties, giving you a total of twenty ways to measurably reduce the environmental impact of your packaging.

New recovery properties

Ru Reusable
Rt Returnable
Rf Refillable

We've introduced a brand new category of design properties, color-coded in red. At the earliest stages of conception, these design decisions eliminate impacts that flow through the entire lifecycle of your packaging.

If you listen to our Well Made podcast, you know that we've been exploring how brands can introduce reusability into their business model. Our new recovery properties help your team plan approaches for your customers to reuse your packaging.

We've also added renewable energy to our production properties, which is becoming an important aspect of helping you source from sustainable factories through the Lumi Marketplace.

Now let's explore some examples of each new property added to Lumi.


Component reduction

Maude reduced components by using Lumi Experts to switch from product-specific inserts to modular inserts that adapt to various combination of SKUs Release Notes: 7 New Sustainability Properties to Reduce and Reuse Packaging
Maude reduced components by using Lumi Experts to switch from product-specific inserts to modular inserts that adapt to various combination of SKUs Release Notes: 7 New Sustainability Properties to Reduce and Reuse Packaging

Maude reduced components by using Lumi Experts to switch from product-specific inserts to modular inserts that adapt to various combination of SKUs

Using fewer packaging components may be the most impactful change you can make to improve the sustainability of your packaging. It's the first strategy we recommend for any company. 

Reducing components means less material used, less energy, less production waste, less fuel burned in transit, less space in storage, and less packaging that needs to be recycled or disposed.

For example, Maude reduced components by switching from product-specific corrugated inserts to modular inserts which adapt to different SKU assortments as they continue to scale their product line.


Material reduction

Yes Plz switched their coffee subscription shipper from a corrugated box to a paper mailer reducing both the footprint and thickness of material used Release Notes: 7 New Sustainability Properties to Reduce and Reuse Packaging
Yes Plz switched their coffee subscription shipper from a corrugated box to a paper mailer reducing both the footprint and thickness of material used Release Notes: 7 New Sustainability Properties to Reduce and Reuse Packaging

Yes Plz switched their coffee subscription shipper from a corrugated box to a paper mailer reducing both the footprint and thickness of material used

Material production is one of the main drivers of carbon footprint. When you can shrink your packaging, you can shrink your footprint. Material reduction can also led to lower weight and volume, meaning you can ship more for less. 

By switching from corrugated boxes to paper mailers, Yes Plz reduced their material usage by over 66%. This change not only uses drastically less material by using a single layer of paper (instead of the three layers used to make corrugated), the blank size of the material is smaller and they'll see a significant volume reduction when shipping.


Print reduction

Function of Beauty worked with Lumi Experts to reduce ink from a flood coat to a positive print to eliminate 90% of the ink usage Release Notes: 7 New Sustainability Properties to Reduce and Reuse Packaging
Function of Beauty worked with Lumi Experts to reduce ink from a flood coat to a positive print to eliminate 90% of the ink usage Release Notes: 7 New Sustainability Properties to Reduce and Reuse Packaging

Function of Beauty worked with Lumi Experts to reduce ink from a flood coat to a positive print to eliminate 90% of the ink usage

The more ink you use, the more toxic heavy metals and VOCs you may be releasing. Alternative inks such as soy or algae-based inks can decrease the amount of VOCs and heavy metals in your packaging, however based on our extensive research on this topic, the most effective way to reduce the impact of ink is to use less of it.

You can make a significant environmental impact by using less ink. Function of Beauty swapped out a reversed out flood coat for a positive print, cutting down their ink usage by over 90%.


Returnable

Bombas uses Lumi to produce returnable mailers with double perforations and resealable strips Release Notes: 7 New Sustainability Properties to Reduce and Reuse Packaging
Bombas uses Lumi to produce returnable mailers with double perforations and resealable strips Release Notes: 7 New Sustainability Properties to Reduce and Reuse Packaging

Bombas uses Lumi to produce returnable mailers with double perforations and resealable strips

For most companies, returns come as a cost of doing business, and that cost is not only detrimental to your budget. When customers have to use new packaging to ship back returns, your company's material footprint can double for that order. To get more mileage out of materials, returnable packaging is designed for a round trip. 

Bombas ships in mailers with double perforations and an extra adhesive strip for easy returns.


Reusable

Ollie switched to reusable containers and scoops in first-time orders that can be reused for years Release Notes: 7 New Sustainability Properties to Reduce and Reuse Packaging
Ollie switched to reusable containers and scoops in first-time orders that can be reused for years Release Notes: 7 New Sustainability Properties to Reduce and Reuse Packaging

Ollie switched to reusable containers and scoops in first-time orders that can be reused for years

Reusable packaging is meant to have a long life, when compared to single-use items. Up front, reusable packaging often requires a larger investment of money and materials, that's why it's important to emphasize reuse with customers and ensure that the materials live on for a long time.

We talked to Ollie on the Well Made podcast about switching their dog food packaging from single use containers to to injection molded parts produced in Lumi. This durable container with lid and scoop enabled Ollie to reduce the overall amount of plastic by eliminating single use trays and replacing them with vacuum-sealed packets that use less material.


Refillable

Blueland used Lumi Experts to design packaging for cleaning products that use refillable spray bottles and just-add-water tablets Release Notes: 7 New Sustainability Properties to Reduce and Reuse Packaging
Blueland used Lumi Experts to design packaging for cleaning products that use refillable spray bottles and just-add-water tablets Release Notes: 7 New Sustainability Properties to Reduce and Reuse Packaging

Blueland used Lumi Experts to design packaging for cleaning products that use refillable spray bottles and just-add-water tablets

Recently, we've been helping a growing number of brands bring the refill model online and embrace packaging that to reduces the overall amount of packaging.

By making primary packaging refillable, CPG brands like Blueland not only cut down on plastic use, they cut down on the volume needed to ship refill reorders. Blueland's cleaner refills come in the form of a small tablet in a compostable sachet.


Renewable energy

Sourcing manufacturers that use renewable energy for your packaging comes down to finding a factory that runs on power sources such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass. 

These factories are not yet widely available but alleviating these emissions will go a long way to lowering your company's carbon footprint. With the new marketplace features added to Lumi, we’re adding more ways you can choose manufacturers based on their sustainability, including renewable energy.


With these seven new properties and our full Sustainability Framework, talk to your team about choosing your company priorities and implementing sustainable practices.


How are you prioritizing sustainability at your company? Have an idea for a new property? We'd love to hear your thoughts! Share your ideas with us on Twitter or send us a suggestion.

Innovative brands use Lumi to manage scalable and sustainable packaging.

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