Spanning across the West Coast of America to Japan there is a world known, man-made plastic island. As inviting as that may sound, it isn’t. Garbage from all over the world ends up in this patch of junk. It’s known as Pacific trash vortex, and it’s all our faults. This plastic island won’t decompose or simply fade away, it’s there for the long run. It’s hurting marine life, air quality and ruining costal fun. Take into consideration every plastic bottle, cardboard box, and paper you didn’t recycle. Imagine that just sitting in a pile on the ocean’s surface. Gross isn’t it?

Environmentally friendly packaging could be our planet’s saving grace. If at any time we have the option to make packaging compostable, biodegradable, or recyclable, we should jump on it. Many big corporations and companies have this option but refuse to use it on account of cost. Just a simple change from a few companies could lead to the greater part of the world “going green”. Adopting biodegradable packaging creates less waste overall and leads to less being thrown out. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that packaging waste (including plastic) makes up about 30 percent of total U.S. waste yearly. Just for a general understanding the annual waste amount in the U.S. is about 300 million tons. To put that into perspective, 90 million tons of that waste is packaging garbage. Imagine how much healthier our planet would be if we only took the time to use compostable items for packaging.

Now I understand the issues with presenting an idea like compostable packaging for purchases. For instance, it would be harder to keep items inside safe or dry and it may not be cost effective. Environment friendly packaging could be made to withstand weather and shipping, but it could also force those delivering the package to be gentler, which kills two birds with one stone. Whether companies choose heavy duty eco-friendly packaging or just light weight like before, cost will always be a general argument point. Most companies believe shipping and manufacturing eco-friendly packages would cost too much money; this is accurate. Producing and selling green options is substantially more money in the long run, but with that being said, what might the outcome be of our oceans in the long run? This argument works both ways, money in today’s world has proven to not have much value, we use it carelessly. Well-known companies have the time, money, and resources to make the change. It comes down to ethics and what people rule most important: saving money or the planet. Plastic waste doesn’t only end up in the ocean, it’s in rivers, ponds, along highways and even in back yards.

If going green to help the environment isn’t enough, then go green to keep neighborhoods clean. Keep playgrounds and athletic fields clean for kids. Garbage and litter cover the land and water of this planet, and the consequences are obvious. It’s killing animals in forests, fields, ponds, rivers, and oceans; there is no upside to trash. Eventually it comes down to companies and shipping manufacturers making the switch to eco-friendly packaging to better the earth. At this point in time the question isn’t why should companies switch to environment friendly packaging, it’s why haven’t they already?

Essay by: Alanna Keister
Midd West High school

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