Trends often have a finite timeline, changing every few years; however, one trend in particular transformed into a grand movement that transcends time and is still prominent to this day. The environmental movement’s history started half a century ago, yet it continues to be as prevalent as decades ago. In addition, the movement has more support worldwide than it has ever before. The deterioration of Earth from environmental degradation is of no surprise. The mix of overpopulation and limited resources can only lead to disastrous outcomes. Companies should adopt environmentally friendly packaging for the sake of the environment and to be more profitable.

Creating a sustainable world begins with encouraging the preservation of Earth’s systems through the recycling of all material and energy sources. The limited supplies of Earth’s resources will not be able to support the continuing growth of the human population, especially during a time in which we are depleting these natural resources at the fastest rates recorded in history. Not only are these resources finite, such as fossil fuels and minerals, but the human activity of retrieving and converting these materials into products has contributed to climate change and loss of biodiversity. Emissions produced by factories and the energy industry pollute the air, releasing greenhouse gases that capture heat in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, habitat destruction occurs during the process of fossil fuel extraction and deforestation. Biodiversity loss is inevitable as a result of the destruction of Earth’s ecosystems.

With the rise of online shopping, especially now with the COVID-19 pandemic, packaging waste is being produced. Each Amazon or clothing purchase comes covered in larger than need-be cardboard boxes and plastic wrapping. Transitioning to eco-friendly packaging would reduce waste and pollution, relieving some of the pressure human-induced climate change has caused on Earth. In the U.S., landfills are the primary method of waste management. Rather than breaking down waste, landfills were meant to store the garbage. However, being in an oxygen-low zone, garbage can slowly decompose because of bacteria. This leads to one con of landfills: methane gas. Anaerobic bacteria produce methane gas, a greenhouse contributing to global warming. Another con of landfills is the toxic waste piling up and potentially seeping into groundwater sources. Instead of adding to landfills and contributing to environmental pollution, reusable packaging can be made. Since the materials are already available, recycled products take less energy to make and produce. If it is not recyclable, biodegradable packaging could also be an option to reduce carbon footprints.

The environment would not be the only one who benefits from companies switching to sustainable packaging. The companies themselves would profit. In recent years, eco-friendly products and products associated with green labels have risen in popularity. Often, businesses use these words to appeal to consumers, whether it be used accurately. If people did not have an interest in being more environmentally friendly, then companies would have no reason to include the labels “green” or “eco-friendly” to their products. Adopting eco-friendly packaging would change a company’s image, resulting in greater trust between its consumers. In return, the business would see an increase in profit.

To preserve this one and the irreplaceable beautiful world, the future needs to be sustainable. Ideally, the goal everyone should strive for is to purchase and consume less, but for now, we can settle for sustainable packaging. Heading towards sustainable and eco-friendly packaging that would tremendously help preserve and protect the frail environment and the various ecosystems involved. These small steps will lead to monumental changes for future and wellbeing of our precious Earth.

Essay by: Valeria Martell
Arizona State University

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