Sustainable Packaging Questions to Ask That Can Save You Money

What is luxury?
What is sustainable packaging?
How can we save money?

I'll answer those in a second but first let me explain, what you need to ask. Those first three are logical questions to ask, but there are critical questions you can't be afraid to ask.

We know this, because we've done our research and know there are questions brands are not asking.

Here are 3 questions you should always ask:
What certifications does the factory making my packaging have?
This is important if you are buying from a packaging reseller because many purchase from multiple factories. Often those factories subcontract overflow work to smaller factories without any certifications. If you don't ask, you'll never know, and there's a lot of unknowns. Like this next question.

Are the materials still recyclable once combined to make my packaging?
Many laminates and foils are available that are recyclable and backed by data to that effect. But once those materials are combined to make packaging they are no longer recyclable. Materials and finishes can impact recyclability of your packaging.
But the question that can help save you money comes next.

Am I using the right sized packaging for my brand?
We know many packaging buyers are not asking this question because it means slowing down the RFP process to review their current packaging. How this question can help you save money is by shifting your packaging usage to smaller, less expensive packaging from larger more costly ones. 

Packaging resulting from a size audit and designed to use appropriate materials from a certified factory are a great way to find savings in sustainable packaging. A size audit will reveal wastage in your program and identify shared dimensions that can lead to a completely modular packaging program.

Use These 3 Budget Saving Tactics for Sustainable Luxury Packaging

After your packaging has been right-sized via a size audit, it can be light weighted. Lightweighting is a way to minimize the amount of material per packaging component.

As an example, by reducing the GSM of a luxury sheet of paper and increasing the weight of a turn-top reinforcement board we can deliver a paper bag of substance. This magically shifts the costs from the more expensive sheet to the less expensive board that goes unseen.

Luxury is known for its heavy gift boxes that come in all shapes and sizes.
Foldable rigid boxes are a fast solution to reduce your storage requirements and fit more within a container. Maximizing space saving today helps reduce freight charges and storage fees.

Many luxury gift boxes have hinged magnetic closures. FYI, recycling centers hate magnets.
Eliminating magnets and creating a paper-based locking mechanism not only reduces the weight of each box, it also makes the entire box more widely accepted at recycling centers.

Each of these tactics can lead to cost savings, when used in conjunction with the questions above can help improve the sustainability of your packaging.

These questions and tactics are a great starting point for any brand looking to improve the sustainability of their packaging. We're seeing brands doing great things in this space and know you can too. Don't be afraid to ask, and don't settle for "it's just how it's done" type of answers.

You can always challenge the status quo, it's how we improve.

Back to the first questions:

What is luxury?
It's a feeling, not an item or a logo. Luxury packaging conveys an emotion, excitement, and beauty.
Don't lock your brand into a material that's not recyclable because it's what you've always done.

What is sustainability?
Making decisions that allow you to continue flourishing. What do we mean? Making packaging decisions that negatively impact your margins will reduce the ability for you to sustain your business. It means reducing your workforce, impacting your quality, and finally not being able to sustain your business.

Making decisions that benefit your business, employees, consumers, and the planet are the most sustainable ones you can make. Defining what sustainability means to your business is the first step to creating a sustainable packaging program.

Join one of the thousands that have downloaded our sustainable packaging guide, here.

How can we save money?
Schedule your own size audit with IDP Direct and learn how Factory-Direct is leading sustainable packaging,


white and brown Small medium and large paper retail shopping bags for Gant

GANT's Emotional & Sustainable Luxury Retail Packaging

GANT's vision of bold authenticity as envisaged by Pond Design was hand crafted and produced by Intl. Direct Packaging (IDP). Pond's ability to enhance the brand experience through design, material, and a well-crafted unboxing delivers a more sustainable and emotional consumer connection.

Gant Luxury Retail Packaging Design for shopping bag and colored ribbons and branded labels

Pond's touch of the Ivy League heritage with striped ribbon closures creates what Pond calls "Truly American sportswear with European sophistication".

Gant's new sustainable retail packaging replaced materials with FSC certified papers and boards as well as reduced the overall amount of plastics and adhesives.

Luxury blue paper shopping bags for luxury brand Gant

IDP's 100% ownership of our factories allows us to manufacture the corrugated board to specifications needed for an e-commerce luxury unboxing experience. All papers are FSC certified and our factories are ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified as well as perform SedEx 4-Pillar audits. Sustainable packaging and environmental assessments are serious business.

Learn More.

Interactive wine box design

3 Types of Interactive Drinks Packaging to Increase Consumer Engagement

The art of simply applying a label to drinks packaging is dead.

Today interactive drinks packaging is king. Whether analog or digital, consumers are looking for something new, interactive, and engaging. Make it worth talking about amongst friends and on social media. Before Living Wine Labels brought us 19 Crimes or Walking Dead, there were interactive packaging designers creating technical unboxing movements by hand.

We're going to show you how to deploy interactive packaging to get noticed, get purchased, and become the drink of choice for today's consumer.

What is Interactive Drinks Packaging?

Simply put, Interactive Drinks Packaging encourages active engagement vs passive consumption.

3 Examples of Interactive Drinks Packaging

1. Manual Interaction, Empathy Wines

Empathy Wines Packaging Design
Photo: Constellation Brands

Empathy Wines is an example of manual interaction, due to the consumer-generated movement that reveals and removes the product. Empathy requires the user to open, lift, and remove the tray containing the individual bottles of wine. The interaction comes in the form of the box's functionality but also reveals key messaging along the way. It's that hidden messaging that allows Empathy Wines to make this list.

By having messaging that rewards the consumer for looking under or behind panels, it encourages that behavior.


2. Analog Interactive Drinks Packaging, Eleven Wine

Eleven Wines is a completely analog example of interactive packaging. The packaging uses magnets along the inner walls to repel each other and open as the sleeve is lifted. This action reveals the bottle within slowly and dramatically.

This type of analog interaction isn't easy. It requires engineers and manufacturers working closely to execute with a high degree of certainty.

Digital Interactive (AR) Drinks Packaging, 19 Crimes

19 Crimes augmented Reality wine label design
Photo: Treasury Wine Estates

19 Crimes is the most recognized wine label using the Augmented Reality app Living Wine Labels which brings the characters to life and engages with other bottles. The labels tell their story, set the tone, and encourage the consumer to invite other characters into the conversation by buying more wine.

Last Word: Interactive Drinks Packaging

Yes, there's always going to be a place on the shelf for beautiful wine labels, but the drinks aisle isn't a museum, it's a battlefield. This competition isn't won by labels alone, you need every edge you can get to encourage that consumer to pick your bottle up and be driven to try it out. After that, it's up to the product to make a repeat buyer out of a first-timer.

Schedule a consultation here.


Tata Harper Packaging

How to Package Sustainability Like Tata Harper

You’ve seen beautiful green glass Tata Harper packaging with contrast yellow print on branding mood boards, packaging Pinterest boards, and if you’re like us it’s in your vanity.

The brand's website explains the materials used in Tata Harper’s packaging and provides the reader with the reasoning behind those material selections. Tata and her husband both Baranquilleros (Viva Colombia!) have been able to craft a brand story that informs consumers on the power of natural and non-toxic beauty. Because as they ask “isn’t health the ultimate luxury?”

Here’s what you can learn from the beautiful Tata Harper packaging.

1. Branding is more than a logo

Tata Harper puts her money where her mouth is by living and breathing her brand promise. Sustainability is more than just words for the brand. It’s easy to tell because choosing FSC papers for packaging isn’t ever the cheapest option. They don’t believe in short cuts or more importantly, they don’t believe in outsourcing. So Tata Harper has built their labs and farms to oversee everything that goes into their bottles.

If you’re building a brand that believes in sustainability and putting people over profits, it needs to show in everything you do. 

2. Cellophane level transparency

Each Tata Harper bottle has the batch number etched into the bottom of the bottle that allows you to enter it on the website to see when it was made and who made it. Complete with photos of the team that made your product providing transparency from Farm to Face.

Their paper cartons use FSC materials which the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifies the paper has been harvested responsibly. FSC paper certification also comes with an FSC number that allows you to enter it into the FSC site to know where the material came from and where it was produced. Part of FSC certification is its chain of custody process which keeps certified and non-certified materials separated throughout the supply chain. Tata Harper’s packaging also uses 100% PCW (Post Consumer Waste) in its recycled paper boards.

3. Become the expert

You may not be an industrial engineer like Tata Harper, but you can still learn how things are made to make the right decisions for your consumer. By picking the right partners and hiring the right employees you can learn enough to fill in your knowledge gaps. You don’t have to know everything, but you need to know you’re asking the right questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

When it comes to packaging there are many materials out there that claim to be sustainable, do your research. For instance, Tata Harper’s glass bottles are surely more costly than acrylic bottles but because glass is highly recyclable that material aligns with the brand they’ve built. The materials you choose say a lot about your brand.

Like Tata Harper, Intl. Direct Packaging has built our factories to produce everything we sell from making our corrugate board to rigid gift boxes and bags. Our teams of industrial engineers have patented many box constructions that are widely used in the market today because we believe in innovation over the status quo.

Each one of our master cartons shipped to clients include a hand-signed label by the person responsible for quality assurance of the product in that box. Our 100% quality control means we inspect every item we produce and can manage a transparent supply chain from start to finish. 

No shortcuts.

No middlemen.

We are the factory.