When we think of going green in sustainable packaging and the future, we think of more ecofriendly but, what if we took an active step of going green in a more literal sense. Albert Einstein once said “if you want to know the future, look at the past.” what if we did reference the past, we would find evidence that shows plants, leaves and even animal have been used to carry items, or packaging items.

The article “The Root Bridges of Cherrapunji – centuries – old bridges, grown from tangled roots” that is found on the International Society of Ethnobiolgy website describes the living bridges of Cherrapuunji India which are produced by tree trunks. The War – Khasis, tribe in Meghalaya used the roots to produce bridges creating paths that wouldn’t have been there for transportation and road accessibility. This is one of the methods to use biodegradable material for benefiting the human population while being ecofriendly. In the pursuit of more ecofriendly methods there have been companies that started to implement plant-based products. the article from Tree Tribe written by the author Joe, explains the process of making leaf leather wallets using the tree leaves, fungi and other nature ingredients. Although this article is based about the process of making leaf leather. The process in using a form of leaf leather to create re-usable bags to stop the use of plastic bags, and also using a harder form of leaf leather to create packages in order to replace the use of card board boxes or boxes that are less friendly to the environment. A process of leaf wax known as the epicuticular wax mixed with bee’s wax could create a form of translucent bag that can be seal for shipping food, items that would usually be in sealed plastic bags, possible airtight bags, and this could also replace the packaged air bags and packing peanuts for protecting the items when being shipped from one location to another. how the process to seal the epicuticular wax and bee’s wax could be done by a heated press. For bigger items being shipped, those items are usually packed with Styrofoam which can be hazardous and very annoying. A more ecofriendly way would be leaf leather or possibly raw cotton that has bees wax melted on to create a hard mold and cushion for the bigger items replacing the need of Styrofoam in shipping items.

All the biodegradable and ecofriendly options that could be taken for shipping and sustainable packaging would replace the way we ship and package, although the cost efficiency would be low; causing the product to cost more due to having new process of making the ecofriendly biodegradable shipping. The best way to change the way we package, and ship is to solve the problem on hand. Prepping the change of packaging and shipping after the prepping is completed to immediately change the packaging and shipping to biodegradable and ecofriendly, although companies might not want to lose the profit that would endure with biodegradable and ecofriendly changes to shipping and packaging. That is when the companies would have to take the active step into sustainability packaging.

Essay by: Joel Martens
Butte College

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