Packaging that is not environmentally friendly or biodegradable is one of the major causes for the destruction of the environment. The majority of waste in landfills eventually ends up in the world’s oceans, leading to water pollution and countless deaths of marine life. In order to protect the environment and increase efficiency, businesses should promote sustainable practices to ensure that natural resources are available in the future. More companies around the world should adopt environmentally friendly packaging in order to reduce the amount of man-made waste in oceans while also lowering the companies’ total packaging and shipping costs, as well as to improve their corporate social responsibility.

Environmentally friendly packaging significantly helps eliminate the amount of man-made waste in oceans through the utilization of biodegradable materials, such as cardboard, glass, and other natural items. For example, packing peanuts composed of cornstarch and wheat break down quickly when exposed to water, considerably reducing the amount of waste accumulating in landfills and significantly diminishing pollution of nearby bodies of water. As waste breaks down in the water, many times it adds toxic chemicals which can dramatically alter the ocean’s alkalinity. Animals living in this contaminated environment experience life-threatening issues as a result of the chemical imbalances. Likewise, waste that does not break down, such as plastic bags and six-pack rings, present dangerous living conditions, including suffocation or entanglement. With less waste floating throughout the water, marine wildlife populations can improve and restore to their natural levels; ultimately increasing the life of the ecosystem.

While eco-friendly packaging supports a healthy oceanic ecology, it can additionally decrease a company’s total costs. Businesses can spend less money on packaging since many eco-friendly materials require less resources to manufacture; thus, companies can save more time, labor, and money. Certain materials, such as paper and glass, can be recycled into future packaging, resulting in a reduction of materials needed. Most environmentally friendly packaging is also lightweight and less bulky; therefore, it takes up less room during transportation. As companies ship more products for the same price, they become more efficient in the way they manufacture products and support the environment. With reduced spending on transportation, businesses create more opportunities to allocate funds towards other resources, such as employee engagement and incentives.

An additional outcome of adopting environmentally sustainable packaging is the improvement of a company’s corporate social responsibility. Businesses must uphold their commitment to improving the environment and society through philanthropic endeavors and ethical practices that strive to promote environmental sustainability. Through intentionally protecting the environment, companies can fulfill their corporate social responsibility while also influencing a more positive perspective of their business, resulting in customers being more inclined to purchase their products. As an increasing percentage of the population becomes more aware of environmental crises, businesses need to adapt to the changing consumer interests. Catering to environmentally conscious customers can boost a company’s reputation as well as increase revenue. As businesses continue to evolve, they must recognize the importance of protecting the environment in order to ensure resources for future generations. If more businesses implement environmentally friendly packaging, they can diminish the amount of waste in oceans, decrease their overall production costs, and enhance their corporate social responsibility.

Essay by: Caroline Arias
Arizona State University

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