How to Reduce Packaging Waste in the World’s Oceans
The global ocean waste crisis affects everyone and everything, from you and your family, to our oceans’ plants and animals. The first step to solving marine pollution is understanding the source of the problem. In terms of packaging waste, both consumers and producers alike are the culprits of ocean waste. However, there are definitive steps for companies and individuals to make in the global quest to reduce waste packaging in our world’s oceans.
Ocean Waste Plastics
One of the best ways for large corporations to reduce the immense negative impact of packaging waste is to utilize ocean waste plastic for their packaging. Ocean Waste Plastics is an organization whose goal is to create packaging that supports the environment by using plastic collected from the ocean as the packaging for new products.
Partnering with Ocean Waste Plastics, Kevin Murphy, a hair product company, utilizes ocean waste plastic packaging to produce their hair products’ bottles. The company estimates that by using ocean waste plastic to create their bottles, they remove about three hundred and sixty tons of plastic from the ocean each year. As the first beauty brand to offer packaging made one hundred percent from ocean waste plastic, Kevin Murphy is certainly an industry leader in terms of sustainability.
GOSH Copenhagen is another company partnered with Ocean Waste Plastics. The makeup company’s packaging for their GOSH Dextreme Foundation is currently comprised of forty percent ocean waste plastic. To put it in perspective, every time a consumer buys GOSH Dextreme Foundation, they help to remove ten plastic bags from our oceans.
Organizations like Ocean Waste Plastics make a huge impact on ocean pollution and waste. Contingently, companies like Kevin Murphy and GOSH Copenhagen are taking huge strides in reducing waste in our oceans. When organizations and companies work together to promote such innovative initiatives, plastic waste in our oceans drops significantly.
Individual Ocean Waste Reduction
When confronting the global ocean waste crisis, bystanders often first point to large corporations and the excessive pollution they dump into our water, land and airways. While not untrue that these corporations play a huge role in ocean packaging waste, there are small measures we as individuals can take to reduce marine debris.
One way consumers can reduce ocean waste is to simply be aware of the different sustainability practices the company’s we buy from practice. By purchasing Kevin Murphy’s hair products or GOSH Copenhagen’s Dextreme Foundation instead of alternatives that do not utilize sustainable packaging, we can help induce companies to make a green change.
In addition, the EPA provides a plethora of examples about how to combat personal waste. One conscious change individuals can take is to consider product packaging before making a purchase. Think about whether the packaging is recyclable, or able to be reused for a different purpose. Chinese takeout containers are great to use later when meal prepping or preserving leftovers. Additionally, opt for reusable items whenever possible. Bring your own silverware to school or work instead disposable forks; invest in a sturdy water bottle instead of buying bottled water every day. Finally, learn about local recycling policies and programs in or around where you live. Even if certain items are not recyclable in your regular recycling bin, many municipalities and local business offer drop-off centers for individuals to recycle things like plastic bags and electronics.
Packaging waste in Earth’s oceans is an enormous problem that will take serious time, dedication, and hard work to overcome. However, when organizations and companies follow green initiatives, and individuals work to make smart consumer choices while also actively reducing personal waste, change is possible.
Essay by: Briara Braun
Marquette University Law School