As I walk through the shelves of my local supermarket chain stores, I notice that I am in a metaphorical sea of plastic-wrapped single-use products. I cannot help but think about where all of this will end up after the purchaser is done using it. The components of my metaphorical sea will end up in the real sea and instead of me walking through it there will be a helpless creature that is being poisoned and choked by the bits of plastic polluting its home while we don’t even care about anything but buying more. Companies are promoting more and more unsustainable products every day and we as consumers rarely have a reasonable environmentally friendly option. Many consumers would prefer that their products are packaged in an environmentally friendly way but, are not given a choice due to what is available to them. There are several examples of companies being successful and being environmentally friendly, so there shouldn’t be an excuse for large companies to continue on this destructive path. Companies need to care more about packaging environmentally because eventually, these companies will see an impact on their own products if they continue to dump plastics into the environment.
There are plenty of companies out there today that only source their products from providers that use biodegradable and eco-friendly packaging. It has been proven over and over again that this business model works and the consumers will buy sustainably when possible. From grocery stores like Whole Foods to small beauty companies like Seed Phytonutrients, it is proven that there is a way to succeed while packaging their products in biodegradable and recycled materials that have little impact on the environment. Some companies may be scared that they will lose customers if they switch to a more sustainable model but there are thousands of companies that have made it by carrying these products.
Companies that contribute to the introduction of plastics into ecosystems will eventually ruin the very environment that they rely on to make their own products. When plastics are put into any body of water with a current they will eventually break down into microplastics, which are almost impossible to remove from the water. This contaminated water is used to water the organic materials that go back into the product. It is unlikely that the product will turn into plastic itself from this but the PVCs, dioxins, lead, phthalates, ethylene dichloride, vinyl chloride, and cadmium from the microplastics can be absorbed by the product that is being grown. By introducing more of these toxic chemicals into the environment companies are putting their own products at risk. So why continue with this self-destructive behavior when it could mean the end of your company in the future? The best option in order to preserve the integrity of their product is to switch to a packaging that is environmentally friendly.
Companies that switch to environmentally friendly packaging will see nothing but positives in their future. It is the best decision to ensure the consumer, as well as the company, have a safe and happy future with minimal pollution. Most customers would be glad to see their favorite companies switching to packaging that has the health and safety of its customers in mind. Everything considered the obvious choice would be that of conservation and health for the future. The obvious choice is an environmentally friendly packaging solution for companies across the globe.
Essay by: Jennifer Nicole Zapotocky
Arizona State University