Companies are where most of the world’s pollutants lie. We find ourselves as consumers wanting to be greener, a noble effort, but how can we be green when the things we buy are not? If we truly desire to be “green” or “eco-friendly” we must find ways to encourage companies to do the same. It would be simple to start small and go from a few points of significant concern and then whittle away until we have gotten as “green” as possible. Starting with something such as packaging, as it is a large contributor of waste, would be a great place for companies to start. There are many companies, large and small, who have done this without detriment to themselves.
LUSH, a hair, and body care product line, is a leader in the world of earth-friendly packaging. They model their efforts in “green” packaging not only in-store but in their shipping processes as well. When someone orders from LUSH, they receive a box, which is compostable, with their items inside. To keep their products from cracking or becoming damaged during travel to their new owner’s LUSH packs with packing peanuts, but not traditional packing peanuts. “We use plant-based packing peanuts to protect the products in our gifts and mail-order packages. Unlike Styrofoam, these are 100% biodegradable: to dispose of them, just toss them in your compost (Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, 2020).” A simple organic mix allows LUSH to maintain their item’s integrity without putting harmful plastics or styrofoam into the world’s waterways or land. This is just one of many ways LUSH works to be a more “green” company. It is important to follow their lead because in a world that relies so heavily on online shopping we must find ways to reduce our waste. LUSH is modeling it is not only possible but very much a reasonable way to ship.
Another company, much smaller than LUSH, is also doing work to lead the way in environmentally-friendly packing. Albatross designs have worked to make their safety razors eco-friendly and their commitment to the world’s cleanliness is evident in their packaging as well. The company is small but they model, like LUSH, with the way their business practices. Modeling just how eco-friendly aspects can be easily integrated into every model of shipping. When someone orders from Albatross razors they receive a package of cardboard with their razors in a paper wrap and their razor handle in a burlap bag. It allows Albatross to follow their own vow. “We’re on a mission to Eliminate Plastic from Shaving […] (2020).” Being an example for other companies who care about the earth they realized how many different kinds of plastics can arise within the process of their business. They cut back when they made their razors of metals, but they took the next crucial step of even removing the plastic in their packaging. Many companies are “green” but are hypocritical in their delivery to their customers. Companies and organizations can follow in LUSH and Albatross’s footsteps and find alternatives.
These mindful packing choices are important to the health of the world because it means fewer plastics in the oceans. Many plastics will fall into waterways and end in the oceans where they are consumed by fish or other marine animals. While saving them is important it is also important to remember how the chain affects the whole planet. The marine life then impacts the coastal life which impacts mainland life and the whole planet is negatively pushed away from its healthy previous state. Companies need to acknowledge their role on this planet and how their piece of this chain is a big one. LUSH and Albatross are just two of the many companies acting in more environmentally mindful ways. With their ideas online and clear for everyone to see we as consumers can reach out to our other beloved brands and encourage them to follow these “green” practices. It’s all of our jobs to be a better friend to the earth. We can let big groups like companies know how they can do the same.
Essay by: Morgan Lee Crosby
Western Washington University