A Strategy to Overcome the Cost of Biodegradable Packaging

Overcome the cost of biodegradable packaging

A Strategy to Overcome the Cost of Biodegradable Packaging

Most businesses probably have a desire to be environmentally responsible.  With the global shift towards sustainability and the devastation caused by waste clearly visible, who wouldn’t want to go green?

Many countries and cities around the world have started placing bans on single-use plastic items and South Africa is steadily heading that way too.  With Pick N Pay recently switching to compostable bags and franchises like Ocean Basket refusing plastic straws, it’s clear that change is inevitable.

So why isn’t everyone on board yet?

The Problem

It seems like the number one reason businesses shy away from switching to biodegradable packaging, is simply because it’s more expensive than cheap, readily available plastic packaging.  Until biodegradable packaging becomes the norm and floods the market, like plastic did way back, cost will remain an obstacle for some.  So how do we overcome this?

The Responsibility

It’s important to realize that the move towards sustainability is everyone’s responsibility.  Although businesses should be held responsible for their impact on the environment, whoever is pointing the finger, shares that responsibility.  You often see restaurants named and shamed on Social Media for using plastic.  But before we start typing away furiously on our keyboards, we need to ask ourselves the question: Am I willing to pay a little extra for a sustainable choice?

A Possible Solution

What is the one thing almost everyone wants?  Choice of course!  A strategy that businesses can employ to help with cost, is to simply let the customer share the cost if they want to.  Why not give them that option?  For example, if your client wants a doggy bag, give them the option of opting for a biodegradable container at an extra cost charged to their bill.  It’s likely that many environmentally aware patrons will be happy to pay a little extra (if they know why they are paying extra). R 2 -3 extra on a bill of say R 300, will be hardly noticeable to many.

A brilliant example of a similar strategy is KFC’s Add Hope Foundation.  You are given a choice to add R 2 to your bill to support a charity that feeds thousands of children.  For very little money, you are given the option to make a positive change.

Practical Implementation

If your business simply cannot afford to switch to biodegradable packaging completely, why not start with a small amount and take it from there?  Have a few biodegradable containers, cups or whatever you use on hand and give clients the choice.  Monitor client feedback and response to help you anticipate future volumes.  Social media and some marketing material can help you make your clients aware of what you are doing, so make sure you get your message out there.  You may even gain some clients and followers!


The strategy above will likely have to be tweaked and adapted for your specific business.  It won’t be a one size fits all and will require some brainstorming.

How great would it be if we all partnered to make the world a greener place?

If you have some thoughts and ideas regarding this topic, we would love to hear about it so feel free to leave a comment below!

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