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The Essentials of Sustainable Packaging Core Content

Developed by The Sustainable Packaging Coalition®

Part of the full Essentials of Sustainable Packaging Training Program

The Essentials of Sustainable Packaging’s Core Content traverses the business and environmental cases for packaging sustainability, strategies for optimization, design considerations for recovery, and key concepts for sustainable sourcing. Five modules and specific case studies take you on a journey through packaging’s many sustainability considerations. 

Why Packaging? starts with a compelling discussion of the drivers in business, marketing, and public relations for sustainable packaging. Optimize the Design highlights ways to leverage the product-package system, avoid product and transportation waste, as well as tailor packaging for both retail and e-commerce environments. Design for Recovery analyzes how human behavior impacts recycling, how best to communicate recyclability to consumers, and how to think about recyclability holistically from access to sortation and reprocessing to end markets. Source Sustainably brings in considerations for virgin and recycled content for a host of materials, touching on available certifications, environmental stressors, and environmental impact tradeoffs. Planetary Boundaries zooms out to put your packaging portfolio into the context of the fourth industrial revolution and climate change, demonstrating ways to become more resilient. 

Course curriculum: 

  • Why Packaging – Today’s drivers of sustainable packaging 
  • Optimize the Design – Efficiency in transportation, use, and retail
  • Design for Recovery – Holistic look at recovery options and limitations
  • Source Sustainably – Tradeoffs and certifications for various materials
  • Planetary Boundaries – Packaging’s role in the fourth industrial revolution

Course length: Approximately three hours

Learning Objectives: 

After taking this course, the Learner will be able to:

  1. Identify the role of packaging in municipal solid waste systems
  2. Pair environmental challenges to both under- and over-packaging
  3. Outline the considerations for designing recoverable packaging 
  4. Outline the considerations for sourcing materials sustainably 
  5. Match packaging issues and considerations with planetary boundaries 

What learners are saying:

  • It gives clear ways you can start using/designing sustainable packaging right away and it shows the context-dependent nature of sustainable solutions. 
  • Good introduction for people who are new to sustainability. 
  • This is a really good course for someone (like myself) who is not an expert in this topic. The content was basic enough for a lay-person to grasp, but also deep enough to be a meaningful learning experience.  
  • Enjoyed the recaps at the end of each section with key takeaways.  
  • I enjoyed the conversational way the information was presented; it did not feel like I was being lectured to by a professor.

Part of The Essentials of Sustainable Packaging Training Program:

The Essentials of Sustainable Packaging’s Core Content course is included in the online subscription to The Essentials of Sustainable Packaging.

Courses in The Essentials of Sustainable Packaging:

Essentials of Bioplastics
Project 1 of 4

Essentials of Bioplastics

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Essentials of Sourcing Fiber
Project 2 of 4

Essentials of Sourcing Fiber

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Essentials of Compostable Packaging
Project 3 of 4

Essentials of Compostable Packaging

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Essentials of Material Health
Project 4 of 4

Essentials of Material Health

Learn more

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