For companies looking to switch to environmentally friendly packaging, a lot of questions arise. Is going eco-friendly cost effective? If we’re just one in a million companies will we actually impact anything by changing? Will our consumers even notice? These are all valid reasons to be worried about going green, but these concerns are all resolvable.
A top priority for most any company is properly managing money and making profit. Though a product wrapped in plastic or cushioned by styrofoam might seem like the cheaper option, eco-friendly packaging actually has some cost benefits. When it comes to shipping from a production site to a warehouse or just making a delivery to a customer, the latter packaging type requires less material and makes the shipping process much cheaper. This is a huge plus to companies that rely on shipping their products out to customers, as reducing a cost from such a large section of their expenses is something any company likely wants. Over-packaging is a common concept familiar to a variety of industries. ((Fix this part)) Have you ever ordered something online and when you went to open up the box you were met with an overload of plastic bags inside of plastic bags held together by a hundred styrofoam packing peanuts? Even if you haven’t, individually wrapped products can sometimes be unnecessarily enclosed in plastic and all of that plastic packaging goes straight to the oceans or landfills. By cutting down on the amount of material used to package products, companies can save money as well as being less wasteful. This is a win-win situation economically and environmentally.
Globally moving towards a cleaner environment starts with individuals and eventually grows to bigger companies and the larger contributors to pollution. “One-hundred companies are responsible for more than 90 percent of all global plastic waste, according to new research from The Plastic Waste Makers index” (Golden). For these leading companies, a huge difference could be made by switching to recyclable packaging or compostable in the best case scenario. Even small businesses contribute to the growing amount of plastic in landfills, oceans, and more. By switching to more eco-friendly packaging, companies can also inspire their consumers to be less wasteful. Not only are they making a difference by not buying and throwing away the single use plastics, but they spread awareness to others.
Not every customer will notice the package their product comes in, but a lot of them do notice. Generally, employees and consumers alike are more drawn to companies that use this type of packaging. “Sixty-six percent of consumers say they are willing to pay more for sustainable brands” (Nielsen). That’s ⅔ of business everyday that might overlook a company simply based on their packaging material.
In recent years, there’s been an upward trend in becoming more environmentally friendly and the companies that are stuck in their old-fashioned ways might fall behind. Becoming an eco-friendly company is more of a social standard nowadays, which brings in more consumers. Even employees could find interest in joining an eco-friendly company, so an increase in employees can grow a business too.
When evaluating the pros and cons of adopting environmentally friendly packaging, a company should look beyond convenience and consider the economic and environmental impacts. Single-use plastics aren’t “in” anymore, join the trend.
Essay by: Erin Elizabeth Hollen
Columbus Catholic High School