There is almost 80 million tons of packaging waste each year, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. An 80 million ton reason for businesses to think outside the box when designing packaging for consumer goods. The demand from consumers for businesses to design eco-friendly packing is growing. And some businesses and countries are listening, creating innovative and clever packaging that not only does it job, but is also great for the environment.
In the news you may have read about the ingenious use of banana leaves as packaging in supermarkets in Thailand. What about the Food in the Nude project in New Zealand? Ikea is planning on using Mushroom Packaging, aka as biodegradable mycelium “fungi packaging” that will decompose in your garden, now that’s just clever.
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition provides their members with tools and applications, expertise, education, and work together, all for a common goal – sustainable packaging. They provide a detailed description of what ‘sustainable packaging’ entails.
Sustainable packaging is not just about recycling. Their is a life cycle of a package, from beginning to end. And each cycle needs to be considered in the sustainability of packaging. Did you know that a paper bag is actually less sustainable than a plastic bag? In this article, they talk about what “Sustainable Packaging” really is when you look at the whole picture of packaging. It also talks about:
1. REUSABLE PACKAGING
2. PLANT-BASED PACKAGING
3. EDIBLE PACKAGING
4. PLANTABLE PACKAGING
5. COMPOSTABLE AND BIODERRADABLE PLASTIC ALTERNATIVES
6. MINIMAL PACKAGING DESIGN
7. UPCYCLED AND RECYCLED PACKAGING MATERIALS
When searching for eco-friendly products, you may come across the terms “biodegradable,” “degradable,” and “compostable.” In this article they explain the differences between biodegradable, compostable, and degradable products. They also discuss some of the pros and cons of each. For example, did you know?
“When biodegradable products are dumped into landfills, which happens when they’re thrown into the trash, they often become buried. Beneficial bacteria cannot survive buried underneath that trash because there is very little oxygen.”
Today’s eco-friendly designers and businesses are thinking way outside the box and creating amazing solutions to this 80 million ton problem. Let’s have a look at some of them:
And, Facts and Figures about Materials, Waste and Recycling by the EPA.
It may seem like a small movement right now, but it is growing rapidly and it takes all of us to work together; designers of packaging, businesses that use packaging, government, small businesses, and consumer demand.
Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay