How often do you consider a product package when you shop for something, whether it's a bottle of wine or a new tech gadget? I'm not talking about the pretty design of a product's box or wrapping paper. I’m talking about goods that are distinguished by their green packaging.
An article in the Los Angeles Times suggests that more consumers take a product package into consideration when they shop. According to the story, "36 percent of shoppers in 2011 were likely to choose environmentally friendly packaging, a 29 percent increase over 2010. Half of the shoppers polled said they were willing to pay more for such packaging ... and a quarter of the shoppers said they have switched brands for more eco-friendly packaging."
This proves that consumers are responding to green initiatives with their money. I believe it's a positive consumer trend, one that signals the growing environmental consciousness of shoppers across the nation.
Mycelium: Green Packaging from Mushrooms
Another story from USA Today discusses the growing green packaging industry that seeks to capitalize on the growing demand for eco-friendly product packages. The story covers a start-up company whose revenues from green packaging material made out of mushrooms are sprouting like, well, mushrooms.
The company, Ecovative Design, was founded by two engineering students who saw a big opportunity in green packaging. They found that they could harvest and shape mycelium -- the specific component of mushrooms roots -- into packaging to be used to pad a variety of products.
Ecovative grows mycelium over a short period of time in custom-shaped plastic molds. The material is safe enough to eat (though you might not want to), and is biodegradable, breaking down in less than a year. The packaging costs little more to produce than polystyrene, the typical white Styrofoam-like packaging that's common today. But unlike polystyrene, mycelium is neither toxic nor a hazardous threat to the environment.
As further evidence of green packaging's bright future, Evocative has announced a deal with Sealed Air Corp., the giant packaging company best known for making Bubble Wrap.
What are your thoughts on green packaging? Would you be more likely to purchase a product if you knew that the packaging was either recycled from previous materials or easily recyclable as is? And if you're interested in green packaging, would you be willing to pay the higher price to offset the cost of producing a greener product?
Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie who blogs about accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments: alvina.lopez at gmail.com.