Private Brand Innovates in Sustainability

Private Brand has come along way over the last few years and sustainability has begun to play a significant role for Private Brands and the retailers who own them. Trade publication Brand Packaging features several Private Brands in its Sustainable Packaging Design Gallery. The online gallery showcases packages that have creatively addressed their impact on the environment.

Amazon sells hundreds of products under its Frustration-Free Packaging initiative, which requires smaller, easy-open, recyclable and self-shippable packaging. This fall, with its AmazonBasics launch, the retailer added dozens more to the mix. Optimizing the product-to-package ratio to minimize excess material, the store brand employs brown, kraft-corrugated packaging and limits printing to just one eco-friendly ink color; materials incorporate at least 70 percent recycled content. The package itself is designed to be opened without tools, and with all contents removed, in under 120 seconds. In all this, Amazon ensures performance doesn’t suffer: packaging must pass a testing protocol that simulates the environment of delivery systems like FedEx.


  • Recycled materials
  • Source reduced
  • Resource optimized

ASDA fabric softener
United Kingdom
In January, ASDA stores began testing fabric softener sold from vending machines in reusable pouches, marking the start of a revolutionary retail concept. The stand-up pouches feature a spout, cap and RFID tag and are made from PET/PA/LLDPE plastic laminate. The pouches can be refilled up to 10 times, saving the shopper £0.40 ($0.62) each refill as compared with purchasing the product in a traditional plastic bottle. In addition to shopper savings, the retailer also benefits by reducing its carbon footprint, freeing up shelf space and saving on transportation and storage costs. The trial is still underway, but ASDA reports positive consumer feedback.

Trial Partners

  • Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP)
  • eziserv
  • McBrides
  • Oakdene Hollins
  • Unilever


  • Reusable format
  • Resource optimized

Tri Ply pans
United Kingdom

UK housewares retailer Lakeland commissioned a design for its Tri-Ply pan packaging that would reduce costs and capture shoppers’ attention. The solution turned out to have sustainable attributes as well. Because the unique tripod shape of the carton closely follows the profile of the pans, it essentially “designs out” over-packaging. The boxes incorporate 100 percent recycled material, and are designed as self-erect packages (no glue), which means they can ship flat. When compared to an equivalent rectangular carton, the smaller box offers material and transport savings of 50 percent. The larger sizes also offer the convenience of a carry-home handle.

  • Package Design
  • Nicepond


  • Source reduced
  • Resource optimized

See the entire gallery.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.