I believe that companies should be at the lead of adopting environmentally friendly packaging. As the source of plastic distribution, companies should not only adopt friendly packaging but be in the lead in understanding the different options available for eco-friendly packaging, working with governments agencies to implement changes and working with local organizations to create recyclable programs.
There is a number of sustainable packaging materials available, including molded paper fiber, Paper Foam, recycled content plastics, paper and biopolymers. Before adopting an eco-friendly packing product, companies should work with scientists to understand the cost to produce these products and the overall impacts they have on the environment. The company forward thinking of adopting eco-friendly products needs to be paired with choosing an eco-friendly product that has minimal effect on the environment. For example, by decreasing the amount of energy it takes to produce a product, the less impact it has on the environment. By choosing local production and distribution of eco-friendly packaging decreases the amount of energy to get the product from the producer to the user. Understanding how the packaging material is produced before adopting it for use, the company will be better able to sell to their internal stakeholders as well as to their outside consumers.
The company should also be in the lead in working with government agencies to implement changes regarding environmentally friendly packaging. In 2015, UK introduced a 5p charge to the use of plastic carrier bags in England. The sales of single-use bags by all large retailers in 2018/2019 decreased by 37%. Sales of plastic bags decreased by 90%. The average consumer in England now buys just 10 bags a year from main supermarket retails. While supermarkets have been reducing the use of single-use plastic bags by 90% since the introduction of 5p charge in 2015. There is no national plastic bag fee currently in the US but eight states in the United States have banned the use of single-use plastic bags. If companies lead in working with government to not only ban the single-use plastic bag but also reduce the cost of eco-friendly packaging to the consumer, the company will have an easier task in selling the idea to its costumer.
The third area that companies should lead in adopting of friendly packaging, is working with local agencies in creating recyclable programs. In 2019 Amazon came under scrutiny after introducing a range of plastic packaging that could not be recycled in the UK. Small items were being shipped in small plastic envelops so as to increase the number of packages loaded on each delivery truck. Amazon had reduced their packaging bulk and therefore reduced their number of delivery runs, but they had created a product that could be locally recycled within their area of distribution. The consumer did not react positively to this change and therefore did not react positively to the company. “Wal-Mart has not only worked with local agencies to recycle their plastic bags but has also enforced it on their manufactures to implement improved packaging programs. Wal-Mart has promised to become “packaging neutral” by 2025, which means that, through recycling, reusing or perhaps even composting, Wal-Mart will try to try to recover as much material as was used in the packaging that flows through its stores.”
Companies should lead in not only implementing eco-friendly packaging but lead in the area of understanding how the packaging product is produced and how it meets the companie’s objectives. The company should also work with government to implement the changes and work with local agencies in meeting it’s recyclable goals. By embracing these three areas, I believe that the company will be able to sell the new eco-friendly product to it’s internal stakeholders and it’s external customers.
Essay by: Joshua Laulom
Arizona State University