6 Ways to Reduce Your Packaging Remorse This Christmas

Do you ever get Packaging Remorse after all the presents have been opened on Christmas Day  or are you just fed up with the extra bags of rubbish waiting for the first collection after the holiday?

It’s not always possible to choose low packaging options if your loved one has their heart set on the latest toy or technology, but where you do have a choice here are some tips on how to reduce your packaging waste over Christmas;


1. Use Your Own Bags When Christmas Shopping

Since the introduction of the 5p bag tax last year, we’ve got used to taking reusable bags food shopping, but how many of us them for gift shopping too?  Every single bag refused by a customer, whether paper or plastic, means fewer raw materials used and less energy used to produce, transport and recycle/ dispose of it.

My Christmas shopping in the rucksack I’ve bought for the Rucksack Project Barnsley, more on that below

My Christmas shopping in the rucksack I’ve bought for The Rucksack Project Barnsley, more on that below


2. Choose Gifts in Secondary-Use Packaging

Packs with a secondary use are a good way of making fabulous looking gifts – there aren’t many households without a repurposed traditional biscuit tin, even if it’s just used for keeping more biscuits in (which is a very noble cause if you ask me).  More up to date examples include chocolates in a jewellery box from M&S and, Muc-Off (the bike-cleaning experts) personal care kits in a tub perfect for keeping bike odds and ends in.

M&S Chocoates in packaging reusable as a gift box

M&S Chocolates in packaging reusable as a jewellery box

Muc-Off body products in reusable container with closures in their signature hot pink

Muc-Off body products in a reusable container with closures in their signature hot pink

On the other hand…


3. Beware of Gift Packs!

Retailers and manufacturers are wise to the fact that we like an easy life and package gifts in easy to wrap boxes designed to make them fly off the shelves.  These packs often contain large amounts of plastic packaging that can’t always be recycled, but we only really notice at the point of disposal.  Consider buying the components separately and putting in a homemade gift box (see 6.) for a personal touch.  However, gift boxes can be very competitively priced versus the individual components so some inconvenient plastic could be a small price to pay for a bargain – only you can decide that.

Reusable and recyclable gift boxes from the Body Shop

Value for money, reusable and recyclable gift boxes from the Body Shop


4. Shop at Your Local Craft Market

Handmade gifts from craft markets use less packaging as they have not had to be protected with as much secondary transit packaging, usually unseen by us as shoppers, in order to ship it halfway round the world.  Not only are you saving on packaging, but buying unique items, supporting your local economy and probably having a much better shopping experience – sipping mulled wine and listening to local musicians.

I’ll be going to the Etsy Local event in my local town of Barnsley on 3rd Dec organised by Crafty Business – check this link for one near you.

Banner advert for Crafty Business, Barnsley

Banner advert for Crafty Business, Barnsley


5. Choose Recyclable Wrapping Papers 

No-one can deny that half the fun of receiving a present is the unwrapping, and the fancier the better, but the decorative effects that make the papers so attractive make them difficult to recycle – many local councils don’t accept wrapping paper for recycling (or greetings cards) for this reason. Choose papers that have been decorated with print, not foil and glitter.   Curling ribbon and premade bows are difficult to recycle too – it’s difficult to find recyclable alternatives – if anyone comes up with anything please let me know!

Recyclable and non-recyclable wrapping papers. The one on the left is printed, the one on the right decorated with glitter.

Recyclable and non-recyclable wrapping papers. The one on the left is printed, the one on the right decorated with glitter


6. Make Your Own Reusable Boxes

I guess most of us have reused a gift bag at some point but how about covering old boxes with wrapping paper and lined with tissue paper to make reusable gift boxes?   The photo shows a covered shoe-box my mum made a few years ago for a pair of vintage Babycham glasses for me.  OK it takes a bit of time and planning, but you’ve got something that can be used again next year or if you’re conservative with the wrapping paper design the giftee can use it as a storage container.

Reusable gift box made from a shoe box covered in wrapping paper - it's seen better days, but you get the idea

Reusable gift box made from a shoe box covered in wrapping paper – it’s seen better days, but you get the idea!

Of course if you really wanted to reduce packaging, you could look at giving gift vouchers, tickets, or a donation to charity on someone’s behalf – no packaging at all, except the envelope for the gift card.  This year I’m sitting somewhere in the middle – giving smaller presents and spending the difference in donations to The Rucksack Project Barnsley – you get hold of a  rucksack and fill it with warm clothing etc.  The ruscksacks are then given to people sleeping rough this winter.

Whatever you decide to do, Happy Christmas!

If you need help with the development of your packaging for 2017, please contact me.

Sarah Greenwood,

Sarah Greenwood Packaging


07826 791 045

Brand New Image!


So here it is, my new business name and logo. After working in Packaging Development on well-known brands for years, it’s been so exciting to work with a designer on my own branding.

Created by Steph Cronin of Black Bee Creative in Barnsley, my brief was for the logo to look professional but to avoid appearing too corporate – I work with large companies and also early stage start-ups so it needed to appeal to both.  The name has also had a makeover – ‘Greenwood Packaging Consultancy’ is now proudly relaunched as ‘Sarah Greenwood Packaging’.

I’m delighted with the result – I hope you like it too!





Barnsley entrepreneur has it all wrapped up

(from early 2015)

A Barnsley entrepreneur who has set up her own packaging consultancy can trace her fascination back to her teenage years.

Sarah Greenwood, who has already gained contracts to develop packaging for a high street supermarket and a small cosmetics company, admits to collecting biscuit tins as a teenager.

“I know it sounds a bit geeky, but I loved tins when I was a teenager. My fascination started with my dad’s old fashioned Oxo tin. I loved the branding. And pretty soon I had a collection of tins of all sizes and I used to make boxes out of paper,” said Sarah, who went on to study physics and then polymer science at the University of Sheffield.

After working for BP Performance Films, a packaging manufacturer and printer in Darton, and a short spell in the automotive industry, Sarah worked on developing packaging for Asda in Leeds and then Fox’s Biscuits in Batley, before being made redundant just over a year ago.

“I wasn’t sure what to do,” admits Sarah. “But then I attended the business start-up programme called SmartStart and that really got me thinking.”

The SmartStart programme is managed by the Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC), at Wilthorpe, working in partnership with Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council. It has helped more than 200 businesses set up over the last two years with free business advice and workshops.

Greenwood Packaging Consultancy is one of about a dozen companies that graduated from SmartStart to the Genesis programme, which gives Sarah free shared office space at the BBIC, as well as access to a dedicated business coach for up to12 months.

And the contracts have already started to come in, with a start-up cosmetics company employing Sarah to design packaging to send luxury cosmetics through the post, and a bakery in north Wales asking Sarah to design wrappers for bread and rolls to supply a major supermarket.

“The work is fascinating as I get to be involved from the initial design stage all the way through to production. And I get to work with everyone from designers to production managers,” said Sarah.

“The support from the Genesis programme has been brilliant. Six months ago I wouldn’t have dared take on big projects, but the business support available through the BBIC means I now have the confidence, as well as the skills, to do the work.”

BBIC business development manager James Herbert said: “Helping Barnsley entrepreneurs set up successful businesses within the borough is the whole point of the SmartStart and Genesis programmes. So it is brilliant to see that Sarah is doing so well and has a lot of potential for the future.”

The Smartstart and Genesis programmes are part of a wider strategy to help grow the local economy, as set out in Barnsley Council’s Jobs and Business Plan 2014-2017.Sarah Greenwood

Happy (Packaging) Christmas 2014!

For many packaging professionals Christmas 2014 was done and dusted weeks, if not months, ago and some of us are working on Christmas 2015 already.  With less than a week to go, here are my favourite (and not so favourite!) picks of the season:


1. Glass Bauble – Molton Brown Scented Washes

A beautiful glass bauble designed to be hung from the tree from a classy looking closure.  What initially looks like an unnecessary box protects the product from breakage during transit and makes it easier to wrap.

Molton Brown Baubles


2. The Old-Fashioned Sweet Tin

Slowly but surely, the traditional tin of sweets is being replaced by colourful plastic tubs.  Tins are now more upmarket novelty affairs – such as M&S musical Christmas tree or alarm-clock shaped tins available in Debenhams (pretty but not much cop for keeping things in).  That’s why it’s so refreshing to see the good old fashioned Quality Street tin is still with us.  It comes with a decent 1kg weight of product as well – at £7, much better value than buying two tubs of 400g for £4 each.

Old Style Quality Street Tins


3. Jagermeister Gift Pack

It’s a bobble hat in a box, with the bobble sticking out of the top! That’s all there is to say. Oh, there’s a miniature of the liqueur in there too.



4. Body Shop Lollypop

An unusual, fun looking pack.  With a recent Which? Report warning consumers about poor-value gift sets*,  it is good to see that the cost of the gift set of 5 lip balms is the same as buying them individually, giving the perception of value, if nothing else.

Body Shop Lollypop

*although they only managed to name two packs.


5. Worst pack of the season – HP Gift Pack

The physical packaging itself which looks fine and seems to protect the product well, but the description of what’s inside is the issue here.   The contents include a ‘Man’s Mug’ and the gift on display in the ‘Gifts for Him’ Section in Asda (similar gifts are also in Tesco etc).  A more suitable description would be ‘Tea Lover’s’ mug or something similar, surely?

HP Mug and Sauce


6.  Ferrero Rocher – Various

This year Ferrero have produced a gift pack for almost every price point including Christmas tree stars, a kit for a DIY Ambassador’s Reception-style pyramid, and my favourite, a giant Ferrero Rocher.  The merchandising units for larger stores are made from foil-backed corrugate and look absolutely stunning.

Giant Ferrero Rocher


If you need help with the development of your packaging for 2015, please contact us.

Happy (Packaging) Christmas!

Sarah Greenwood

Greenwood Packaging Consultancy