End Plastic Pollution
A packaging problem: The incentive for businesses to go green
August 16, 2022
Ending single use plastic waste needs to be a priority for businesses, especially when it comes to the packaging of their products. Overconsumption is a prevalent threat to our environment as it continues to create mountains of waste that will remain on the planet for multiple generations to come. In fact, nearly every piece of plastic ever made still exists in some way on the planet.
If this continues at the same pace, the earth will become unrecognizable, an uninhabitable wasteland. Even now, it is almost impossible to find a place without plastic pollution in some manner, whether that’s the garbage in the city streets, litter in our parks, or trash islands in the oceans.
However, if consumers and businesses team up to create more sustainable purchasing and consumption habits, we can begin to reverse this trend. Businesses play an integral role in this by choosing whether or not they sell products in sustainable packaging and materials.
The use of plastic for everyday commodities, like food storage or cleaning products, almost always eventually end up in landfills or the oceans. Approximately 380 million metric tons of plastic are produced each year and almost 91% is not recycled.
Packaging production in 2017 totaled to 146 million metric tons and was deemed the highest-demanded use for plastic. Furthermore, single-use plastic spray bottles alone total to 250,000 tons, a staggering amount of waste. These packages are not only very environmentally costly to produce, they are also almost impossible to get rid of and often just break down into microplastics.
The time to act is now. There are many businesses that have begun to make this switch and pave the way for more sustainable practices. Sustainable packaging comes in many forms but has one thing in common; it does not add to the depletion of resources.
By 2050, it is predicted that plastic production tonnage will increase by four times its current rate. We must work to reduce this as the costs are too great if we do not. This issue affects the environment as well as businesses.
If we begin to look into other alternatives, we can reduce waste, lower emissions, save energy, and so much more. Furthermore, businesses can save by reducing labor and disposal costs. Reducing plastic consumption can also help improve stakeholder relationships, compliance with regulations, and greater transparency with consumers.
In fact, a survey completed by the CGS showed that customers of two thirds of survey respondents believed that sustainability is at least somewhat important. By combatting sustainability issues, businesses can strengthen their relationships with their customers while doing their part to address the environmental crisis.
For EARTHDAY.ORG’s campaign, “Invest in our Planet,” we are encouraging businesses to start selling responsibly. We also urge consumers to use their purchasing power wisely and shop from companies that are incorporating sustainability into their business. By investing in sustainability, we can begin to enjoy a more prosperous future and reduce our carbon footprint.