Achieve Sustainability Goals for Packaging & Products

The requirements for Sustainability are increasing in all industries, driven by customers, shareholders, global regulations, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) objectives, and others. However, implementing changes required to implement Sustainability goals may affect an ecosystem. Therefore, a holistic approach concerning customers, product and package system design, materials, suppliers, distribution partners, quality, and field returns may be required.


Sustainability Strategies

A few of the strategies companies have available to achieve packaging and product Sustainability goals may include:

  • Implement Sustainable Packaging Design Practices
    • Reduce the use of plastic
    • Use less material
    • Remove unnecessary packaging components (e.g., secondary carton, cellophane wrap)
    • Reduce unnecessary documentation (e.g., instructions, manuals, warranties)
    • Minimize the amount of packaging through the application of Damage Boundary principles
  • Reduce Product Weight and Cubic Volume
    • Replace heavier materials with lower-weight materials
    • Remove components by implementing new technologies
    • Eliminate parts by combining

  • Reduce the Damage Rate of Shipped Products
    • Fully understand and quantify your product’s distribution and storage environments early in the design processes
    • Improve product robustness
    • Adequately test and confirm the package system’s effectiveness in protecting the product during distribution
  • Implement a Circular Economy
    • Use recyclable and compostable packaging materials
    • Avoid using single-use plastics and packaging materials
    • Develop safe, durable, reusable, and repairable products
    • Reduce the carbon and environmental footprint
    • Implement a packaging and product return system for reuse and recycling
  • Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    • Change to more energy-efficient manufacturing processes
    • Increased use of bulk shipments
    • Minimize air shipments
    • Maximize truck and shipping container utilization
  • Source Materials Locally

Testing Supports Sustainability

Manufacturers can achieve sustainability goals by focusing on product and package design, production, distribution, and storage. Many rely on Westpak to validate the effectiveness of the transformative changes often required through:

  • Verifying the efficacy of the package system to protect the product
  • Evaluation of product performance and durability to meet requirements
  • Material testing and evaluation

Earth-friendly, sustainable packaging materials can be specified during development and used in production. Optimized product and package designs can economically deliver damage-free goods to their destinations to avoid costly and Earth un-healthy returns.

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How Westpak Can Help You

Regardless of the strategies and tactics you may use to attain Sustainability goals, you’ll need to verify the effectiveness of the changes with testing.

Contact us early in the Sustainability planning cycle with questions regarding test specifications, plans, strategies, samples, and whatever else you might need. Westpak can partner with your team to develop a plan, plus budgetary and cycle time estimates and a timeline if needed.

For example, we can evaluate materials, perform a Product Fragility Assessment, or begin Accelerated and Real-Time Aging on updated products or materials. Or you may need guidance developing a proprietary test protocol or customizing an existing one. Westpak can help.

Westpak Testing Supports Sustainability

Westpak’s broad range of test capability and expertise is essential to evaluate and optimize materials, products, and package systems that have been transformed to achieve Sustainable objectives.

Sustainable Product and Package Testing


Sustainable package design may be enabled by applying Damage Boundary principles to establish product fragility. Once fragility is quantified, an optimized package system utilizing sustainable materials can be created in which a minimum of materials is needed to protect the product during the distribution process.


The best way to ensure products will be delivered damage-free is to perform Distribution Testing at an accredited test laboratory utilizing ASTM or ISTA test protocols. These tests simulate the distribution environment and potential hazards your product may encounter during transit.


When performed using ASTM or ISTA protocols in a controlled test environment, Drop Testing accurately simulates impacts on the package from free-falls, tumbles, and other types of handling in the shipping and distribution environment. The anticipated shipment method, assurance level, and the package's physical dimensions and weight are some considerations available when choosing test parameters.

Medical Device Packaging Tests


Accelerated Aging, also known as accelerated shelf-life testing, is a standard practice in several different industries. The test determines the effects of time, if any, by subjecting samples to elevated temperatures. Westpak conducts Aging studies on a variety of products including medical devices and pharmaceuticals.


Test samples are exposed to various Temperature and Humidity levels using tightly controlled environmental test chambers. Calibrated instrumentation within each chamber produces Temperature and humidity (RH) data. The test protocol and customer requirements specify the temperature, RH levels, and length of exposure.


When performed using ASTM or ISTA protocols in a controlled test environment, Drop Testing accurately simulates impacts on the package from free-falls, tumbles, and other types of handling in the shipping and distribution environment. The anticipated shipment method, assurance level, and the package's physical dimensions and weight are some considerations available when choosing test parameters.

Cold Chain Package Testing


A typical Cold Chain valuation involves physical and thermal inputs to the package system. The testing can help ensure that perishable products such as medical, pharmaceutical, and food remain within the desired temperature range as they move through the supply chain.

Sustainable Product Testing


Establishing your product's fragility may be critical in attaining sustainability goals. For example, depending on the product and the anticipated distribution environment, a more robust product should require less packaging than a fragile counterpart.


Temperature and humidity testing exposes samples to various simulated environmental conditions encountered during transit, storage, and in-use environments. With temperature and humidity testing, manufacturers can obtain advanced insights into how an object will respond to the environmental conditions it will encounter throughout its lifecycle.


Vibration testing aims to learn how a product will respond to various mechanical inputs in the distribution or in-use environments. For Sustainability projects, Vibration testing may be a valuable tool in helping to prevent costly and Earth unfriendly returns. The testing can be performed on a product to understand its robustness or packaged product to evaluate how the system will respond in the distribution environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to our most frequently asked questions.

Why is sustainability important for businesses?

Sustainability is vital for everyone, every business, and the Earth itself. Companies can only exist if they have adequate resources to develop, manufacture, and deliver products to their customers.

What is sustainable packaging?

Sustainable packaging is more than an environmentally-friendly product. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition has defined Sustainable packaging as:

  1. Is beneficial, safe & healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle 
  2. Meets market criteria for performance and cost 
  3. Is sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy 
  4. Optimizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials 
  5. Is manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices 
  6. Is made from materials that are healthy throughout the life cycle 
  7. Is physically designed to optimize materials and energy 
  8. Is effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial closed-loop cycles

What is sustainability testing?

Sustainability testing measures a test sample’s performance against predetermined standards and acceptance criteria.


Testing at Westpak has been accredited by A2LA to comply with ISO 17025.

Westpak testing labs are ISTA certified to perform a variety of tests.


If you have any questions or are not sure where to start, our Westpak experts are here to help!

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