It seems like wherever you look, you’ll find products clad in unnecessary packaging.
From fruit and vegetables at your local supermarket to online deliveries that arrive on your doorstep, an unsustainable level of often environmentally harmful packaging is still being used every time you shop. Although our goods need to be protected during transit, the packaging itself is often doing more harm than good.
Why Is Eco-Friendly Packaging Important?
From the reasonable to the ridiculous, most products need to have some form of packaging to protect them when they’re being shipped from place to place. But, with the current rate of plastic pollution set to rise, the use of non-biodegradable and toxic packaging has become an unsustainable practice.
With more sustainable packaging solutions being implemented by all kinds of businesses –– from takeaway food packaging to multinational online retailers –– eco-friendly packaging is paving the way for a more environmentally conscious future that’ll protect our environment.
Here’s why eco-friendly packaging can no longer be ignored as one of the most important ways to solve our waste and pollution problems:
1.Toxic Waste Is Being Shipped to Other Countries
It’s no secret that environmentally harmful waste generated in rich countries has been exported to poorer countries for years. Although it’s recently been made more difficult to implement this practice, some international waste-disposal companies are still illegally dumping waste.
While some smaller countries simply can’t process such large amounts of rubbish, tension is building amongst nations that are still receiving waste from abroad, creating unrest and highlighting a need for better solutions to our waste management problems.
2. Non-biodegradable Packaging Creates Litter
According to Keep Britain Tidy, more than 2 million pieces of litter are dropped in the UK every day. That’s a lot of waste for local governing bodies to handle, so it’s no surprise that Britain is struggling with a national litter problem. The majority of litter that’s dropped comes from food and drink packaging, indicating that this is a key area where businesses need to improve their products.
While more education is required to help people understand the consequences of improper waste disposal –– nearly half of the UK population admit to littering –– eco-friendly solutions could be implemented to dramatically reduce the environmental damage caused by carelessness.
3. Plastic Packaging Is Polluting Oceans
You’ve no doubt seen the pictures of plastic bags drifting through the ocean or wildlife tangled in drinks holders. Plastic pollution is causing a great deal of harm to marine life, as it takes so long to degrade. Sustainable packaging –– such as paper, cardboard and bioplastics –– don’t have a lasting effect on our environment, whereas the current plastic pollution that’s been created still wreaks havoc on the planet’s delicate ecosystems.
Biodegradable products and packaging degrade naturally and don’t leak chemicals back into the environment, unlike oil-based polymers and plastics, which are often used because they’re so cheap to manufacture.
4. Microplastics Are Contaminating Our Food
Scientists have discovered that babies swallow millions of microplastics a day when fed by plastic bottles. While it was already known that microplastics contaminated human food and drinks, this discovery is a milestone in uncovering the extent to which plastics are affecting our health. No matter their uses, eco-friendly packaging for food and drinks will protect the next generation in more ways than previously imagined.
5. Innovating New Processes and Materials
You can rely on the ingenuity of an environmentally conscious generation to come up with creative strategies to manage our waste and create new, sustainable materials. Innovators like Boyan Slat have revolutionised how we manage our current waste issues, but the introduction of products made from recycled materials is also having a large impact on the environment.
Sustainably managed forests produce timber for paper and cardboard packaging while protecting local wildlife habitats, whereas bioplastics offer a sustainable solution to oil-based plastics that don’t degrade naturally.
Conclusion: Backing Away from Plastic Packaging
As customers and businesses become more aware of the damage that plastic and other environmentally harmful packaging creates, eco-friendly packaging solutions are coming to our planet’s rescue. Not only do they help preserve our natural environment, but eco-friendly packaging also provides a great avenue for businesses to reduce waste, save money and improve their reputations.
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