28% of waste in the world comes from product packaging. That was about 82.2 million tons of waste in 2018. Plastic packaging is extremely harmful to our environment. Much of the plastic used in packaging products is sent to landfills or disposed of into the environment. Some is even put into the ocean which causes marine life to consume it often harming or even killing them. Plastic is not biodegradable meaning its impact will never truly disappear from our ecosystem. Using biodegradable materials and reducing single use plastics would save our landfills and our environment from a lot of negative impact.
Companies should first cut down the amount of packaging they are using. The fewer materials they use, the less waste they will create, thus becoming more environmentally friendly. Most companies strive to make their packaging look pretty, so that when the consumer opens their package, it is a pleasant experience. But at the end of the day all of that packaging is going to be thrown away, no matter how pretty it is. So, reducing the amount of materials in the packaging is a win win. It is better for the planet, and the company will save money buying less disposable materials. And the customer will not know the difference because they were never buying the product for the packaging.
Still, some companies might take great care in their packaging, and may not be willing to reduce the amount of materials they use. But still, they could use recyclable materials. This way, they do not have to sacrifice the presentation of their product but still will be reducing their carbon footprint. One example of this is paper cardboard. It is very light weight and easy to shape and cut into the desired shape and size, making it ideal for shipping.
But why should companies care about their carbon footprint? Well, it’s because the consumers care. Recently our society has shifted towards an attitude of sustainability and care for our planet. People are constantly switching to environmentally friendly products, and practices. Since the consumers are the ones that keep a company afloat, the consumer chooses which company they want to support. And if the consumer cares about the environment, they are going to choose to buy from companies that share the same values.
Not only does a company’s carbon footprint matter to customers, but it also matters to investors, and partners. No company wants to align themselves with another company that does not seem to care about the environment. So, if a company is looking for other companies to work with, it makes the most sense for them to be transparent and work for the common good of the planet for everyone’s sake. But also, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing waste, is not only good for the planet, but it also reduces operating costs, and it promotes employee productivity.
These are just a few logical reasons that companies should adopt more environmentally friendly ways to package products. And more than caring about business it is important to care about our Earth. We only get one planet to live on so it’s important that we all do our part to take care of it.
Essay by: Chloe Graham
Lake Brantley High School