Companies like Amazon, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Nestle need to invest in green packaging alternatives for their products. The negative environmental impacts that plastic pollution has caused globally are too hard to dismiss. Plastic pollution affects the human population, animals’ species, and natural ecosystems. Although plastic is lightweight, resistant, and inexpensive, it takes many years to degrade, resulting in leaching our water resources, and posing of a hazard to many animal species.
Recycling alone is not a solution, as throughout the year’s plastic pollution continues to increase in our landfills. As this plastic sits it slowly degrades, resulting in leaching of our water resources. Studies have shown that many of these chemicals end up in our water supply or in the food we consume. A study done by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health found that even before plastic ends up in landfills, plastic storage containers can affect our health even before ending up in the landfill. “Exposure to BPA, used in the manufacture of polycarbonate and other plastics, has been shown to interfere with reproductive development in animals and has been linked with cardiovascular disease and diabetes in humans.” (Carwile, 2009). The health issues caused by these chemicals are some of the hidden cost that consumers must pay, making plastic more expensive than other green alternatives.
Natural ecosystems work together to provide natural services that humans benefit from. If disrupted these benefits become weakened thus impacting our quality of life on earth. Wetlands have been greatly impacted by plastic pollution; in the United States we have disrupted about half of our natural wetlands. A significant number of animals native to the wetlands spend most of their lives in these waters, but due to the significant increase of plastic pollution we have disrupted the biodiversity in this natural ecosystem. “More than half of the 800 species of protected migratory birds in the U.S. relay on wetlands. The vegetation found in wetlands is also unique as they have evolved to survive in seasonally flooded and saline conditions.” (Ramos, 2018). The wetlands coexist with these unique species to provide us with many natural services like freshwater filtration, flood mitigation, fisheries, and protection for coastal cities when it comes to hurricanes and typhoons.
Large corporations that use plastic packaging need to invest in green alternatives. The companies that deny the negative environmental impact that plastic waste produces, should do their part to reduce their carbon footprint. As society is becoming more informed of the impact we have on this planet, there is an increasing number of consumers adapting sustainable living habits. These includes choosing sustainable products when purchasing online or in person. It is in a company’s best interest to find green alternatives for their packaging needs if they want to attract the growing population of environmentally aware consumers. The fate of humanity on earth rest heavy on everyone in doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint. Many of the professionals who handle packaging related decisions for companies like Amazon, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Nestle have families and children. It should be of their interest to make responsible decisions today that will impact the world they are leaving for their children in the future.
Essay by: Edgar Chimal Hernandez
Arizona State University