Every year, millions of dollars are spent on the bags, containers, boxes, and packages used to hold the products that we consume daily. Packing will always be needed, so it only makes sense that companies adopt environmentally friendly packaging. If companies were to adopt this type of policy, one of the benefits would be that their carbon footprint would be reduced. A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gasses generated by humans’ actions. The production of eco-friendly packaging does not release as many carbon emissions as its regular packaging counterparts. Eco-friendly packaging is also typically made from bio-degradable packaging that is non-toxic and allergy-free. This is an excellent way for companies to be responsible as it pertains to consumer health. Another benefit to adopting environmentally friendly packaging is that it is biodegradable. When products are biodegradable, they are made from recyclable materials and are more disposable. This reduces the matter that eventually ends up in landfills.

Environmentally friendly packaging benefits not only humans but also plants and animals. In California, where I live, local laws have been enacted to cut down on the packaging and waste that ends up in oceans, rivers, and drains. Restaurants are limiting the number of straws that they give out to patrons. Additionally, shoppers must purchase plastic or paper shopping bags. Beverage companies are starting to eliminate the use of plastic six-pack rings. These rings are notorious for ending up in the bellies of fish and marine mammals. Some of the biggest corporations in the world are jumping on the eco-friendly packaging trend, like Walmart.

In 2006, Walmart proposed something called the 7 R’s of sustainable packaging. The seven R’s are remove, reduce, reuse, recycle, renew, revenue, and read. The shoe brand, Puma teamed up with a designer to create sustainable packaging that incorporated less cardboard and tissue paper. Other companies that are following suit are Calvin Klein, Patagonia, Amazon, and Boxed Water. Boxed water touts the fact that their packaging is 100% recycled. Instead of using single-use plastic bottles, their filtered water comes in a box that looks like a traditional milk carton. This leads me to my next point, companies who choose to use environmentally friendly packaging, can separate themselves from their competitors by being creative and unique. Some examples of materials that can be used for environmentally friendly packaging are cornstarch, mushroom, seaweed, and cork.

In this modern-day of social media campaigns, companies can really step up and be influential agents of change. I feel that for the most part, Americans truly want to do their part to stop global warming, but it can feel very overwhelming. However, if people were able to make small changes such as supporting companies who adopt environmentally friendly packaging policies, recycle, purchase electric vehicles, install solar panels, and reduce their carbon footprints, we can truly make a difference for our planet. It is time that companies stop worrying about the bottom line and start worrying about the impact they are making in this world and how they can simply do better.

Essay by: Breahna Joyce Patterson
Cypress High School

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