One word: plastics. No question this virtually indestructible material changed the world over the last century or so. Today, humans produce more than 380 million tons annually, and some studies say up to half for single-use. In the consumer electronics industry, single-use, unfortunately, means plastic disposable packaging – a problematic issue for an industry that prides itself on goals of innovation and forward-thinking.
Today CE manufacturers have added a new and just as important goal, sustainability. And to help achieve that, many companies like Samsung, Apple, and Microsoft are switching to some form of sustainable or recycled packaging. Technological strides in smart and environmentally-friendly packaging are being driven by some of the top minds in CE product design, and for an industry dedicated to positive change, the future does indeed look green!
It’s also encouraging that consumers are increasingly aware of the need for eco-friendly packaging, and several studies have shown that they’re willing to do their part and even pay extra for it. A recent survey by the Boston Consulting Group reported that nearly three-fourths of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging.* And of those, nearly one-fourth are willing to pay an increase of 10% or more.
Reducing e-waste and promoting sustainability must be at the forefront of planning in every aspect of our business. When I founded Austere in 2019, I made sure we were deliberate when developing our home theater accessories packaging, using recycled material and boxes that are designed to inspire consumers to reuse them. The boxes are made of non-plastic, eco-friendly materials emblazoned with sleek and sophisticated design, making them ideal for gift boxes, storage containers for desk supplies, and even a place to store chocolates and other foods.
To help achieve the goal of sustainability, we follow these key steps at Austere:
- First, identify areas in your business that can improve in sustainability. Packaging is, of course, a necessary ingredient for success, as well as an integral in-store promotional tool. But by examining closely ways in which sustainability can be achieved, a company could decide to use recycled packaging material and intentionally designed the packaging for reuse.
- Next, e-waste from unrecycled components is a separate but equally challenging issue that should be addressed. Work closely with factories to find ways to take back older products and re-use or recycle parts is a great starting point.
- It’s also recommended that companies create a detailed sustainability plan with clear, reachable goals and actual steps on how to get there.
- Finally, engage your company – make it a point to remind everyone that sustainability has become a core value to the company from product and packaging design to everyday common office waste, including dedicated use of recycling bins, reuse paper as scrap, and discouraging plastic water bottles and other single-use items in the office. A great way to start is volunteering as a business to participate in local environmental community projects can also help instill a sense of the importance of sustainability.
Undoubtedly, switching to a sustainable waste-reduction mindset is a major challenge for the consumer electronics industry. But by demonstrating our collective willingness to lead the way and change for the better, we can not only help save the planet, but solidify our loyalty among our sustainability focused customers.