Developing more sustainable appliance packaging

We are reducing the environmental impact of our packaging while ensuring that appliances are fully protected throughout their journey to the consumer.

The Electrolux Group global packaging working group is developing packaging that is both more sustainable and fulfils its primary function – to contain, protect and market products. In 2022, the team developed global procedures and tools that will consistently support the design and development of packaging solutions in all Electrolux Group product lines and business areas.

“The balance between packaging sustainability and functionality is complex,” says Maria Chiara Frijia, Sustainable Materials Innovation Expert working with packaging. “We are looking into more sustainable packaging solutions that are cost-effective and provide excellent protection, while reducing environmental impact, promoting circularity and decreasing carbon emissions.”

Reimagining sustainable packaging for large appliances

The team evaluated the feasibility of the total replacement of Expanded PolyStyrene (EPS) with paper-based materials but found that this actually increased the environmental impact in some cases – such as for heavy products.

“Packaging for household appliances with only paper-based materials might require a lot of cardboard and we found that the environmental footprint and the quantity of waste generated can actually be higher than with EPS, explains Frijia. “Our demanding packaging testing also concluded that paper-based materials alone might not sufficiently protect some product categories, like large heavy appliances, especially in certain environmental conditions such as high humidity.”

 The team is now working to identify. sustainable packaging concepts based on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which guides us towards solutions with the lowest possible environmental impact.

“Changing to new materials involves rigorous testing and refining the material formulations to maintain their protective qualities,” says Frijia. “We are also re-designing our packaging to reduce the total amount of packaging we use as well as building a solid supply base and sourcing materials with a lower carbon footprint.”