Sustainable Packaging Icons, What to Know.

Energy & Sustainability Director

November 13th, 2021

3 Minutes

Brands are seeking new ways to communicate how they are making more sustainable choices and the biggest question today is, “what sustainable packaging icons do I need?”. IDP launched a new website to share how we’re helping brands like yours become more sustainable.

Sustainable packaging icon requirements have created issues many decision makers within brands are unsure how to address. Twenty years ago, brands could choose any material and any process because awareness about sustainability wasn’t what it is today.

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Consumers want to recycle and are interested in alternative materials. Consumers are also learning that all infrastructures are not equal. This is great news for the brands that want to educate their consumers to help them become more sustainable. But there is still room for confusion.

Words Matter

When communicating instructions to consumers on how to properly dispose of your packaging, words matter.

Recycling Claims

Can only be applied to packaging as long as over 60% of the population has access to recycling.

Compostable Labeling

Does require a timeframe as to how long a material will take to compost. The material must compost as quickly as the other materials it is being composted. So if you’re composting with leaves, your packaging better breakdown as fast as leaves.

Recycled Content

Brands must identify the quantity of material that was recovered or diverted from a waste stream.

Want to learn more about FTC Guidelines in the U.S. click here to download the complete FTC Green Guide.

As brands continue to expand into new markets, sustainable packaging icons become more difficult to navigate. For example, France, Portugal, Japan, and California each have their own requirements, and many times each destination does not allow the other’s icons to be on the same pack in order to avoid confusing the consumer.

Interested in learning how we’re communicating sustainability on packaging delivered globally? Set up a consultation today to begin a sustainability communication campaign with your packaging.

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Enjoy our new site to learn about our packaging design process, innovations, and how we help brands like yours deliver their message into the consumers hands.

Our global showrooms are ready to meet with you in the local language and we’re here to help direct you to the right material for your product and delivery method.

See what’s new and learn from the team at

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