With a commitment to environmental preservation, sustainable packaging companies use eco-conscious materials, energy-efficient production processes and recycling to reduce their ecological footprint and foster a more sustainable future.
Yet the absence of a crucial service may thwart their efforts to safeguard not only the environment, but their clients’ reputations … many of whom have the same sustainability goals.
In today’s global market, there is an important need for packaging companies to incorporate certified product disposal into their waste management procedures. Certified product disposal ensures branded products and their packaging are properly disposed of according to the wishes of your packaging company.
In other words, certified product disposal ensures all of your packaging safely arrives at recycling facilities (or the appropriate disposal facility) and doesn’t end up in the hands of unauthorized parties who want to use the packaging for counterfeit products.
This crucial safeguard protects both the environment and your brand’s integrity, reinforcing the circle of sustainability while deterring potential illicit activities within the grey market.
How The Grey Market Impacts Packaging Companies
Packaging companies are responsible for prepping products before they hit the market. That means they handle both the packaging materials and products themselves - and both are usually branded with the client’s logo or other identifying information.
If either the packaging or the product can no longer hit the market, packaging companies are often the ones tasked with ensuring both are properly disposed of. There are several reasons why this can occur, from overproduction to quality control issues, design changes, product recalls and items that have exceeded their expiration dates.
The question many companies face with their branded products revolves around what happens to them if they fall into the wrong hands. The grey market is often the answer.
What is the grey market? The grey market refers to a marketplace where goods are bought and sold outside of authorized distribution channels, often bypassing the manufacturer’s intended route to market. “Grey” implies that the transactions aren’t explicitly illegal, but they exist in a legal or ethical “gray area.”
The grey market is thriving in various industries, from beauty and wellness to consumer electronics and even food. While it impacts major brands, the grey market can be detrimental especially to small businesses that rely on word-of-mouth reviews.
The grey market typically involves the trade of genuine products that were originally intended for sale in a specific region or market, but are diverted to other regions or sold through unauthorized channels. Grey market goods may be genuine and identical to products sold though official channels, but may lack the manufacturer’s official warranty or support. Products may not meet the specific regulations or labeling requirements of the region where they are being sold, especially if outside the United States.
The grey market could also involve the unauthorized acquisition of discarded or improperly disposed of packaging materials from packaging companies. Counterfeiters may use branded packaging to imitate genuine products or deceive consumers into believing they are purchasing authentic goods.
This not only poses a risk to the brand’s reputation, but also the packaging company’s reputation who will have to answer to the client for failing to dispose of the client’s branded packaging properly. If your client is relying on you to ensure its sustainability initiatives are upheld, you could risk losing your customer’s trust while contributing to packaging waste and pollution if grey market products are eventually disposed of in landfills.
Packing Company Products Most At Risk
While sustainable packaging companies often focus on less packaging or environmentally-friendly packaging solutions, any branded packaging is at risk for ending up on the grey market without proper disposal procedures in place.
Common types of green packaging that may include a company logo include:
- Corrugated boxes or custom packaging boxes
- Other packaging solutions that offer custom packaging design
- Custom mailer boxes
- Tissue paper
- Larger custom boxes that hold many products for transportation
- Product labels and stickers
- Retail or shopping bags
- Tags and shipping tape
- Wrapping paper
- Plastic bottles and pouches
- Paper products
- Personal care or product instructions
- Inner packaging like inserts, dividers and cushioning materials
These various types of eco-friendly packaging present valuable opportunities for companies to showcase their logo and brand identity.
Certified Product Disposal And Ensuring Sustainable Choices
Certified product disposal companies are experienced in ensuring products and packaging are disposed of according to your client’s goals. A certified product disposal company should provide you with authentication that gives you and the brands you work with confidence that the items you need to dispose of are safely destroyed or recycled.
That’s due to a strict chain of custody that the best certified product destruction businesses have to verify that once products leave your warehouse or facility, they are properly disposed of and do not end up in the hands of unauthorized dealers.
Your disposal plan should be tailored to your needs and the needs of the business owners you work with, and should include:
- A written plan
- Photographic or video evidence (both of storage and disposal)
- Paperwork and permits
- Certificate of destruction
It’s also important to verify with a waste disposal company you are considering that it offers 24/7 surveillance in their disposal yards or storage facilities so that any perpetrators found near the products can be dealt with before they can obtain any branded materials destined for disposal or recycling.
In addition to these services above, a secure product destruction company will:
- Be certified, licensed and bonded
- Offer a detailed and transparent plan
- Offer assistance with manifest forms required for disposal processes
- Provide quality customer service and answer any questions you have
As a sustainable packaging company, your goal is to not only meet your clients’ needs, but also improve your environmental impact, promote a circular economy, reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a greener future.
A certified product disposal company should address your unique goals - and your clients’ unique goals - in your waste management plan and ensure your sustainability goals and clients’ reputation is of utmost importance.