Having grown up in a desert environment my entire life, the highlight of every year was going to the west coastline and dipping my toes in the ocean water. I’ve always felt a strange pull towards the ocean which has made us long distance friends. However, every year that went by instead of finding seashells in the sand, I discovered heaps of plastic woven between sand and ocean water. The beach walk was now a plastic-ridden wasteland where birds and fish would be found with soda pack rings on their necks or entangled in plastic netting. Although it might be distressing for us humans to see this, it is even worse for the innocent animals and ecosystems that must pay for our actions. Knowing this, companies around the world need to adapt with the times and switch to environmentally friendly packaging. Packaging may seem like a mindless aspect of a product, but it can completely change the way we perceive our goods and the impact it has on the environment. Instead of vacuum sealing an orange, just let nature’s packaging do its thing. Instead of putting meals in plastic containers, why not use plantable packaging like hemp paper to create less waste. With so many new technologies and bright minds, the creation of sustainable packaging is already here; all we need to do is implement it into our products. Although it may seem like a waste of money to certain companies, people are becoming increasingly open to the idea of sustainable packaging. Over the years, consumers have learned to care more about what their clothes, food, and products are being packaged in and thus find companies dedicated to sustainability more appealing. The best part about sustainable packaging is that there are so many options, you can find compostable or biodegradable packaging, plant-based, plantable, and even edible packaging. And at the end of the day, a company’s main goal, apart from satisfying their customers, is making money. Making profit is an important part of keeping any business afloat, which is why more companies should make the switch to green. Adopting sustainable packaging would boost a company’s environmental and social impact as well as help them increase revenue and sales. While it may take some time to make the complete switch to sustainable packaging across the country, let alone the world, I believe if coastal cities make the switch to green the oceans will become cleaner. The matter of fact is, people litter, so if companies in coastal cities decided to make sure their packaging could in no way harm the environment, then we wouldn’t have to worry about all the microplastics and man-made trash that harms the animals, because it would be green and benign. The next time I go to the beach I hope to see Eco Six Pack Rings on the sand rather than the dangerous plastic pack rings we see today and be a part of a new generation where sustainability is commonplace.

Essay by: Elizabeth Navarro
Arizona State University

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