It is imperative the world adopts environmentally friendly packaging as soon as possible. Our one and only home is being suffocated with plastic and excessive packaging waste that cannot be recycled or reused easily, if at all. It is time for companies to make the switch to a more sustainable future with their products and packaging.

It is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by the year 2050. Nine percent of all plastic is recycled. Twelve percent is burned, and the remaining seventy nine percent is sent to landfill. Only nine percent of plastic is recycled, so this means that whatever finds its way into a recycling bin doesn’t assure that item can be recycled. Recycling plastic can be difficult as is it typically “down-cycled” into a single use material, and then finds its way back to landfill. The plastic that is burned not only contributes to global warming but is detrimental to our health as it provides poor air quality.

This is unacceptable. As stewards of this earth, we cannot allow this to happen. Change must happen now, and it must start with both producers and consumers. As consumers, we buy items that are appealing to the eye, that are reasonably priced, and will add value to our lives in some way. Recently, there has been a shift in consumerism. There is a movement called the Zero Waste Movement which is exactly as it states. People who follow this movement create zero waste from their day to day lives. Similarly, there is the Low Impact lifestyle, in which people live as ethically and sustainably as possible. These people, as well as those who are eco-conscious, refuse to use single use items because they know the horrible affect it has on the planet.

Many people wish to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle not only in part to the climate crisis that is to come, but because they are unhappy with the amount of waste they produce. More and more people are reusing glass jars and containers, refusing to consume items that include plastic or wasteful packaging, and are buying in bulk. This is amazing, but not everyone has access to a bulk store or bulk section in their town. This is another reason companies need to adopt better packaging; Companies will lose customers because they demand eco-friendly packaging. Customers will turn to companies that can deliver an eco-friendly promise when others fail to. Although using eco-friendlier packaging might be more expensive, it is worth it to show people that companies care about what their products are doing to the world and the future of the planet. Not only that, but companies will not lose sales because they actually chose to change their plastic consumption. People are more likely to buy something in a reusable or biodegradable package because it can serve multiple purposes and avoids landfill altogether.

The more educated others are on the plastic crisis, the more people will fight the systems that are destroying the planet. Companies can either make the switch to a more sustainable future or continue to wreak havoc on this earth and all its inhabitants. As blogger Zero X Plastic once said, “if your bathtub was overflowing, you wouldn’t immediately reach for a mop – you’d first turn off the tap. That’s what we need to do with single-use plastics.”

Essay by: Morgan Bosley
Williston State College