The world is being overwhelmed with waste and businesses can help us relieve some of that burden. A large majority of waste in the oceans is plastic and non-biodegradable objects and landfills are filled with such an abundance of waste that could have been recycled. Both issues are caused by people who are not aware of the harmful impact it is having on the environment or are too negligent to care about it. So, if companies started adopting a more environmentally friendly approach, we could curtail some of the waste.

If more companies used biodegradable packaging, the unaware consumer would be causing less damage as the packaging could dissolve into the environment. For example, a plastic straw can take up to 200 years to decompose and is dangerous to wildlife if eaten. Whereas a paper straw will decompose within 2 months on land and within 6 months in saltwater and is much safer for the wildlife if eaten because it is more digestible.

If companies were to use all or mostly recycled items for their packaging, we would start to see fewer trees cut down, which would help with the clean air from the trees and less wildlife becoming extinct. It would also cut down on the number of chemicals needed to make the old-style packaging which could help keep the air cleaner and less chance of chemical spills and leaks in the water and land. This wouldn’t necessarily cut down on the waste in the landfills, but when the landfills ignite their fires, there would be less methane released into the air which would help with our climate crisis.

When companies take the environmentally friendly route, they can save money for themselves and release fewer carbon emissions during production. They can save the consumer money in shipping costs as they will weigh less, which in turn will help make the consumer more likely to use these services more. Some of the packagings is also reusable which is also very convenient to the consumer. The companies will be able to advertise going green and can keep the consumer’s attention since they will be saving money while making more people aware of the environment. In the long run, it could potentially raise awareness enough that the consumer starts looking at other objects in their homes and lives for alternatives they can do to help. Some examples include recycling more or properly disposing of their trash, so it doesn’t end up in the oceans or the wild. The packaging materials also tend to be free from harmful byproducts that can cause physical health concerns.

To encourage more companies to go the eco-friendly route, there are programs and incentives from many environmental organizations and government initiatives. Should companies adopt environmentally friendly packaging to help with the waste in the environment, workplaces would be safer for employees, raising awareness to the consumers, saving money for themselves and the consumers. This is just one of the many steps that we need to start taking to help sustain our planet and make sure there will be a bright future for all of the generations to follow.

Essay by: Alexis Bond
Arizona State University

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