Imagine our planet wrapped in bubble wrap and our oceans filled with so much plastic you could make two more Texas’. Our planet is fragile and once the tipping point is reached with pollution there is no recovering. 80 percent of our world’s pollution comes from plastics. 40 percent of that plastic comes from packaging where it is used once, discarded, and rarely recycled. Companies must adopt environmentally friendly packaging to reduce waste and prevent our environment from collapsing. If company’s shift to environmentally friendly packaging it will be sustainable, decrease the cost of shipping, and causes less damage to the environment.

One of the biggest contributors to environmental pollution is plastics. The majority of packaging is made from plastics, which takes hundreds of years to decompose. Crude oil, which is used to make plastic, comes from a vigorous process of mining and releases harsh toxins into the atmosphere. Plastics have many downsides from where and how we get it, and how we dispose of it. Most plastics are recyclable but even then, most of them end up in landfills or as pollution in the environment. In 2019 Oceana predicted that Amazon’s air pillows used for shipping, that year alone, could be wrapped around the earth over 500 times. Since then, online shipping has grown exponentially creating an overwhelming amount of pollution. Shifting to sustainable materials, companies won’t create long-lasting negative impacts on the environment. Eco-friendly packaging is required for the health of the environment and humans. Companies that turn to environmentally friendly packaging will be seen by consumers as companies who are thinking about protecting everyone’s future.

Sustainability is a popular topic today for many people and companies. Environmentally friendly packaging increases a companies’ sustainability because it reduces their carbon footprint. Compostable materials used for packaging decompose into compost, which promotes the health of our soil. Many sustainable materials can be reused multiple times. This will decrease the amount of material in our landfills. Environmentally sustainable practices increase appeal from customers. In a recent survey by McKinsey & Company, 66% of respondents and 75% of millennials said they would choose a company practicing with environmental sustainability practices over one that is not. Showing commitment to sustainability will draw in more customers with similar beliefs and show authenticity. Sustainable packaging allows companies to better their relationships with customers and the earth; reducing waste and increasing consumer appeal will highly benefit any business. Businesses must commit to protecting nature and our environment.

Environmentally friendly packaging doesn’t only reduce waste but can reduce the number of materials needed to make the packaging. For example, folding boxes that don’t require glue, single materials that are easier for disposal, and flexible pouches that take up less space in transit and more. These few examples are what can help companies start their transition to environmentally friendly packaging. When the weight and size of packaging decreases so does cost. Companies must not rely on governments to make this switch, and consumers have to demand environmentally friendly packaging and sustainable practices. If a company can save money from it, why haven’t more changed? Coca-Cola claims since switching to green packaging, they have saved over 180 million dollars a year.

Overall, there are so many benefits to eco-friendly packaging but sustainability, the health of our environment, and cost are three highly influential reasons. Companies that shift to green packaging are doing what is right for the environment and will have more satisfied customers. Decreased cost of packaging, also means companies can put more money towards things like products, marketing, and better employee wages. Large companies must lead the change to better our environment and inspire others and smaller companies to do the same.

Essay by: Jaiden Jack Leach
Peninsula High School

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