A sustainable packaging breakdown

Getting that package with a new “treat yourself” item you just had to have should be fun, but it can also feel like a guilt trip as boxes often come filled with excess plastic, tape, and even styrofoam (the horror!). Sustainability is a top priority for Gen Z and Millennials, and as concern for our planet and the climate crisis escalates, they’re turning an even more critical eye towards brands yet to deliver their products in sustainable manners. Cassandra spoke directly with Gen Z and Millennials to hear how they feel about the ever-important sustainable packaging evolution.


Sustainable packaging is important to both Gen Z and Millennials looking for companies to lead the charge. Whether it’s biodegradable, non-excessive packaging, or strong, truly reusable packaging, Gen Z and Millennials feel it's well past time for brands to step up and prevent contributing to more trash.

“I think of biodegradable packaging [when I hear sustainable packaging].... I feel like it's the responsibility of the company.” - Danita, 20, PA

“Yes, [sustainable packaging is important]! Sometimes people go overboard with excessive packaging that could’ve been spared. With the album I bought recently, the artist made sure his packaging was sustainable & I loved that he did that. If things don’t need to be so wasteful, why make them like that?” - Kimberly, 25, TX

    “Being environmentally friendly is important because the packages are just going to get thrown away once the contents are removed. And if the package holds the same amount of durability, then it has more advantages.” - Gwen, 17, NC

      “Sustainable packaging is definitely my preference because I hate tossing out packaging that I could only use one time. I usually try to reuse the packaging somehow in my home to give it a second life at least before throwing it out. Our world already has too much trash, we don't need more.” - Daphne, 36, MN


        Gen Z and Millennials don’t see enough brands bringing sustainably innovative solutions to their packaging. Of the few brands mentioned, their packaging stood out for the design that could be used as decoration or the effort put in to make every part of the package sustainable. However, with many still unaware of brands leading in innovative sustainable packaging, this white space is ripe for the taking.

        “There's a Taiwanese tea chain that recently opened near me called Machi Machi. They have decided to use these nice looking bottles rather than disposable cups for their blended drinks. You can reuse them as water bottles or for decoration. I think they look pretty nice and it's better than just chucking your temporary drink in the trash when you're done.” - Rebecca, 25, MN

          “When I think [sustainable] innovation I think of Rare Beauty. I love their message & I know for a fact they do a lot to reduce waste. Their packaging is 100% recyclable & of recycled material. Down to the tape they use, it's all sustainable. Also their products are amazing AND they donate money to mental health organizations like.. what’s not to love!” - Kimberly, 25, TX


              Gen Z and Millennials want companies to think critically about packaging, then take real, impactful action. Bristling at messaging that it's the consumer’s job to save the planet, Gen Z and Millennials feel strongly that it must start with companies themselves. Youth are looking for brands to produce the most sustainable packaging possible and want them to partner with consumers on how they can reuse or recycle the item–all without paying significantly more.

              “I would just like brands to think critically about their packaging. Look at the contents in the package and make the package accordingly. If the package is just a few little things, then don't make it a huge box with a billion plastic sleeves and fancy paper. A good example of excessive packaging I saw was in this youtube video for a make your own soap kit.” - Melissa, 23, FL

                “Brands should give notes on the package of how I can reuse the package and for what kinds of items I can use it for. Maybe even placing other household/grocery items in the package itself.” - Robert, 26, WI

                  “I would like packaging to be more sustainable but not increase the price a whole lot to do it.” - Nicole, 27, PA