With the coronavirus disease keeping people in their homes the rise of online shopping and the details sales has increased the need for mail by tenfold. And as we approach years on the horizon environmentally friendly packing is taking a rise. People are starting to care about what their leftover packing does to the environment and where it goes. Sustainable packaging has been on the rise because it makes people feel good about their choices when ordering something through the mail.

The future of sustainable packaging starts with materials. Companies are looking for ways to boost their eco-friendly packaging. Today using recyclable materials is popular, yet not too many people even recycle or take the time to separate their recyclables. Which then brings the invention of cornstarch and mushroom packaging. Cornstarch packaging is similar to the composition of plastic, yet derived from corn and can be molded into containers. Mushroom packaging is similar in the fact that it too can be molded into any shape. It looks spongy in texture and can be composted easily from its raw materials. Using raw organic matter for packaging products helps in the second process given to this new packaging. And of course, there is recycled paper and cardboard, which gives a new life to a product that was disposed of, yet these materials are not as innovative as the others.

From those raw materials, compostable and biodegradable packaging is made possible. One of my favorite new inventions is the creation of biodegradable packing peanuts. They are made from cornstarch or wheat and dissolve instantly in water. This does wonders from its counterpart of styrofoam packing peanuts that I remember from my childhood in electronic packages. There are also beeswax wraps, which can replace cling wrap for packages. They are made from organic cotton and beeswax and are still biodegradable Lastly, another popular way for sustainable packaging is packaging that has two uses. I know I love when I receive a package that I can then use as a container for storage. I feel like this form of packaging allows for people and companies to get a second use for the money they are spending rather than purchasing disposable packaging. Containers made from glass or organic fabrics are my favorites because they can easily become stylish pieces of home decor. It takes a little bit of creative innovation to set up a package to become a reusable item, but it is not impossible.

As we move forward to the future, new inventions for sustainable packing are in the works, yet it is always up to the people to adopt these new ways of eco-friendly etiquette. Recycling gets part of the job done and the other part is for people when they can to make better choices for not only themselves but also for the environment. It is also notable that adherence to eco-friendly living is based on income, and enforcing those who can not afford the same luxuries to sustainable living is not a progression, but a regression. We have a past of plastic but can separate ourselves from those ways to using products that are better for the planet.

Essay by: Ayo Afariogun
The Fashion Institute of Technology

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