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Sustainable Packaging Companies vs. Greenwashing Setting the Record Straight

A cardboard box with tissue paper and a garment inside

Sustainability has become a major buzzword across industries in recent years, and this is no different for the global packaging sector. With most consumers demanding a more sustainable end product, it’s no surprise that most retailers are working towards adopting new habits and business practices. In most cases, environmentally friendly packaging products are a fundamental shift toward more eco-friendly practices.

While this is an exciting shift in the business world, there is still a fair amount of 'greenwashing,' a strategy that exploits the growing demand for sustainability while deceiving consumers in order to maximize profits.

In this article, we’ll explore greenwashing in the context of packaging and describe the characteristics of a truly sustainable packaging company so you can make the right choices for your business.

What is Considered 100% Sustainable Packaging?

Truly sustainable packaging has a few key characteristics. It is manufactured from renewable resources, is either compostable or recyclable, and does not have any negative impacts on the environment. 100% sustainable packaging is typically designed to be recycled, reused indefinitely, or composted in a way that is completely safe for sensitive ecosystems.

Sustainable packaging is typically made out of materials including:

  • Compostable bio-plastics

  • Plant-based plastics

  • Biodegradable materials

  • Sustainably sourced or recycled glass and metal

  • Recycled cardboard and paper

The packaging should also be designed to be easy to use, reuse, compost, and recycle. All while offering enough strength and durability to protect and preserve consumer goods.

What is Greenwashing in the Context of Sustainable Packaging?

Greenwashing in the sustainable packaging industry is becoming more commonplace as the demand for environmentally sound solutions rises. Some businesses make false or misleading claims about the environmental impacts of their chosen packaging materials, including those pertaining to the manufacturing processes, materials, and end-of-life disposal processes of the packaging in question.

Greenwashing in packaging is not always easy to identify, as some companies make vague or overly ambitious claims about their packaging solutions. Certain businesses assert that their packaging is sustainable, biodegradable, or eco-friendly without providing any specific details as to why. If a business uses vague or excessively ambitious claims about its packaging, fails to provide evidence of these claims, or makes irrelevant assertions about its packaging materials, it may be using greenwashing tactics.

How to Identify and Avoid Greenwashing When Choosing Packaging Providers

There are a few effective methods you can use to ascertain whether a packaging provider is the real deal or if it’s guilty of greenwashing.

First, check for third-party certifications such as a Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s How2Recycle label, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, or Sustainable Packaging Alliance SFI label.

If in doubt, you may approach the packaging provider and ask them about their sustainability practices. Inquire about the materials and manufacturing processes they use and their end-of-life disposal processes. It’s also worth checking if their packaging is fully compostable or recyclable before investing in it.

Genuine sustainable packaging companies will always be honest and transparent about their sustainability practices. A reliable provider will readily provide you with specific details about their manufacturing processes, materials, and end-of-life disposal recommendations. We recommend conducting research into the reputation of any packaging provider you’re considering. Check reviews from past clients and note any accusations of greenwashing packaging or false claims.

Key Criteria for Assessing the Legitimacy of Sustainable Packaging Providers

Use these criteria to assess the reputability and legitimacy of potential packaging providers:

Third-party certifications

Providers of truly sustainable packaging will be certified by third-party organizations like the FSC or SPC.


Providers should always be transparent about the materials, manufacturing processes, and end-of-life processes they use in their operations.

Use of sustainable materials

Reputable providers will use materials that are compostable, renewable, or recyclable. They will avoid using materials that damage the environment, such as non-recyclable plastics and virgin cardboard and paper.

Use of sustainable manufacturing processes

Trustworthy providers will use highly efficient manufacturing processes that minimize energy and material wastage.

End-of-life disposal policies

Sustainable packaging suppliers will always have a clear end-of-life disposal plan in place. This ensures that packaging is recycled, composted, or disposed of in an environmentally-friendly manner.

Strong reputation

Reputable providers will have a notably positive industry reputation and be widely recognized for their commitment to sustainability and customer satisfaction.

Responsive customer service

Providers of genuinely sustainable packaging should provide solid customer service and respond to questions from potential and current customers. Additionally, they should provide advice on a wide range of sustainable packaging topics and challenges.

How Cruz Foam Exemplifies Genuine Packaging Sustainability

Our packaging products meet the highest sustainability standards to provide fully recyclable and compostable packaging solutions. Cruz Foam is the first product to score a full 100 on the Lomi-approved test. This demonstrates that the product can decompose in a Lomi countertop composting appliance within just one cycle.

We are also part of the USDA BioPreferred ProgramⓇ. All of our products contain 100% USDA-certified biobased content. Additionally, Cruz Foam meets the ASTM 6400 and D6868 standards for compostability, reaching a level of 97.9% biodegradation within 60 days.

The Benefits of Partnering with a True Sustainable Packaging Provider

There are many benefits to partnering with companies with sustainable packaging solutions. The right partnership can significantly reduce the environmental impacts of your products and operations, improve your brand’s reputation, and enhance your financial savings. Doing so will position your business as a leader in the movement toward sustainability.

Partnering with a reputable provider can also assist you in complying with changing environmental regulations, attract and retain more environmentally-conscious customers, and aid you in supporting the growth of the sustainable economy.

Choose Genuine Sustainability with Cruz Foam

Cruz Foam offers genuinely sustainable packaging solutions to meet the needs of every industry, business, and brand. Contact our team to discover which of our environmentally friendly packaging options are right for you.

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