Plastic is a very big part of our daily lives; however, it has gotten to the point where it is a little bit too much. Plastic is a huge environmental issue nowadays and it is causing more harm than ever. A few causes of the plastic crisis are single-use plastic and plastic packaging. These plastics are often non-recyclable, where they end up in landfills than to the ocean or breakdown into microplastic and into the ocean. Instead of keeping on piling up waste, we need a solution, and the current solution is plastic free packaging. Yes, plastic free packaging existed for a really long time, in fact, it was used before we had plastic, however, plastic is relatively cheaper and much more durable than paper packaging, oftentimes companies opt for plastic instead. Luckily, with technology and a rising awareness of environmental issues, companies are developing plastic free packaging that are much more sustainable.
So today, let’s talk about plastic free packaging and why we need more of it.
What is Plastic Free Packaging
First of all, let’s talk about what is plastic free packaging. By the name of it, it can be simply deduced to packaging that does not contain any plastic. The idea of plastic free packaging is to replace plastics with a more sustainable option, such as paper, cloth, glass, metal, or biodegradable/compostable materials. These are just some of plastic free packaging options and fortunately, many brands are adopting plastic free packaging, such as using paper or cardboard boxes instead, or glass bottles. If we go to the supermarket now, we will see rows and rows of food, snacks, and household items wrapped in plastic. The goal is to replace some of the items with more sustainable packaging, aka plastic free packaging.
Why We Need Plastic Free Packaging
There are many reasons why we need plastic free packaging. Reduce plastic waste and plastic pollution is one of the biggest reasons. Plastic packaging not only contributes to the huge amount of waste issue we are currently facing, oftentimes, plastic packaging ends up in the ocean and endangers marine life. To reduce the chance of plastic waste and plastic pollution, the best option is to find alternatives to plastic packaging.
Well, some of us must think a lot of these plastic packaging are recyclable, so what’s the problem with that? While many plastic packaging are recyclable, the problem is they might be recycled.
According to National Geographic, “Of the 8.3 billion metric tons that have been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of that, only nine percent has been recycled. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter. Meaning: at some point, much of it ends up in the oceans, the final sink.”
This can be caused by people not understanding which plastic is recyclable. Plus, if the person is not properly recycling, depending on countries, some places require the items to be washed before recycling. If the plastic is not properly disposed or cleansed, they can lead to the plastic being not recycled at all. Second, not all countries have a well-built recycling system, which can also lead to insufficient recycling. Lastly, while recycling is good, it is expensive and not the most sustainable way. Recycling is considered the last resort in reducing plastic waste.
With plastic free packaging, we can easily limit plastic waste. It is a much more effective way and does not rely on people or the government.
How Plastic Free Packaging is going to change us
Plastic free packaging can change how we interact with plastic for now on. With some plastic free packaging, they can make our lives much easier. Instead of using plastic and worrying about whether or not it is recyclable, plastic free packaging can be much simpler. For example, if it is a paper package, we can easily recycle it with the regular paper waste we have. Or another trend with plastic free packaging is no packaging, such as bringing your own container. Not only does this reduce plastic and waste in general, you can use the same container over and over. Plastic free packaging is going to change in a good way, as we will be more conscious of our actions and how it impacts our environment.
Plastic Free Food Packaging is here to stay!
Since I talked about all kinds of benefits of plastic free packaging, it might still be hard to imagine. Here is an actual example of plastic free packaging doing good, let’s take a look at plastic free food packaging. Many fresh produce and vegetables that we choose to buy at supermarkets are wrapped in plastic wraps, which are not recyclable and quite wasteful. In fact, if we take a look around, most of our food packaging is plastic. With plastic free food packaging, we can reduce so much waste and plastic pollution. While some companies come up with ways to replace plastic with paper wrapper or biodegrade plastic, others have come up with leaves and other materials to keep our food fresh. Check out this article all about plastic free food packaging!
For A Sustainable Future
Now that we know what plastic free packaging is, why we need it, and how much it is going to change our future. While it might seem like it’s the company’s job to come up with these solutions, however, as consumers we have the power to shape the industries. We can use our coins to change the demand for plastic free packaging, we can submit suggestions for improvements, we can advocate for laws and regulations that will encourage plastic free packaging. We are very powerful and we have the power to change our future to be a sustainable one!
Find out more about plastic free here!
Parker, Laura. “A Whopping 91 Percent of Plastic Isn’t Recycled.” National Geographic Society, 1 July 2019, www.nationalgeographic.org/article/whopping-91-percent-plastic-isnt-recycled/#:~:text=Of%20the%208.3%20billion%20metric,the%20natural%20environment%20as%20litter.