Emerging Packaging Trends To Reduce Plastic Waste

The presence of micro-plastic has been reported throughout the globe– from the deepest ocean floors to the highest, snow-capped mountain peak. However, microplastic has now made its way into the human bloodstream.

A Dutch study involving 22 healthy volunteers discovered microplastics in the blood samples of nearly 80% of the participants. The study was published in the Environment International journal.

Half of the blood samples involving microplastic revealed traces from PET plastic, popularly used for drink bottles manufacturing, while more than a third had polystyrene, used for disposable food containers and many other products.

Why Alternative Packing Techniques And Materials Are Necessary?

The 21st century is witnessing nuances of reusable, returnable, recyclable, and even refillable packaging. Unfortunately, many people don’t have adequate information on recycling.

Only 9% of plastic packaging waste is recycled. The rest ends up in the landfill.

Did you know packaging is the largest contributor to plastic waste?

Therefore, recycling alone can’t become a feasible solution to reduce plastic waste. Implementing supportive measures such as eliminating plastic is the need of the hour to reduce plastic waste generated from packaging materials.

Thus, eliminating plastic at a consumer level and brand/industrial level is necessary to combat the raging evil of plastic pollution. Thus, both consumer-level and industrial-level reformations are the need of the hour to reduce the burden of plastic waste from the planet.

Conscious Packaging Trends At Consumer Level

Various studies have suggested that consumers are gradually adapting and grasping the concept of sustainable packaging. The stepping stones in the sustainable packaging trends include:

Reusable bottles and cups

Next time when visiting Starbucks or local coffee shops, opt for reusable cups or bottles rather than disposable ones. Most cafes have their line of reusable cups or bottles available for purchase.

Leading coffee shops such as Starbucks and Tim Horton’s entitle you to a discount when you get your reusable mug to the store.

If you’re a frequent visitor, you can carry your reusable container for regular use.

Infact, individual contribution can make a huge difference.

Switching to a reusable personal coffee mug will prevent 500 single-use plastic cups from getting disposed of at landfills. That’s equivalent to 23 pounds in a year!

By using a reusable water bottle, 167 plastic bottles can be prevented from ending up in landfills each year!

Reusable Non-plastic Bags For Grocery Shopping

Here’s a shocking fact: disposable plastic grocery bags generally take 500 years to completely decompose! Therefore, leading grocery chains and supermarkets are opting for cloth bags.

Various supermarkets and grocery brands are encouraging customers to bringing bags or purchase non-plastic bags for grocery shopping that you can reuse for subsequent shopping.

Order in Bulk/ Avoid Over-Purchasing

A great way to prevent plastic packaging is to eliminate ordering unnecessary products. Less purchase is equivalent to less packaging requirement and less waste generation.

Bulk orders normally require comparatively less packaging and are more economical than buying products individually or in small batches.

Inculcate the practice of bulk ordering for personal-care monthly essentials such as personal sanitary requirements, tissues and wipes, detergent, shampoos, soap, etc.

Biodegradable and Compost Packaging

Biodegradable packaging is embraced by several companies focusing on reducing their environmental impact. Biodegradable packaging indicates that products break down on their own quickly after disposal.

Another excellent approach is to reduce plastic-packaging waste and divert waste deposits from landfills by transforming the packaging into nutrient-based soil. Such packaging solutions are known as compost packaging.

Industry-Level Packaging Trends

At the industry or brand level, better plastic, no-plastic and less plastic are the three common principles driving the reduction in plastic packaging waste.

Reduce Package Volume And Optimize Design

Sometimes an entire renovation in packaging design and volume is the easiest and fastest way to reduce plastic. Reducing the amount of material in packaging, such as reduced weight or minimal space, can make a substantial difference when launched throughout an entire product range.

Better Quality Plastics

Let’s face the fact that plastic is necessary and can’t be eliminated. In some cases, reducing the volume or optimizing the packaging isn’t an option. Thus, using better quality plastic, i.e., bioplastics, recyclable plastics, and reusable plastics, are a great option.

Circular economy, i.e., using recycled plastic for new packaging, is one of the best clean manufacturing solutions.

Eliminate Plastics

Some brands have successfully eliminated the use of plastic in packaging. Reusable metal and glass containers, easily biodegradable and recyclable paper, cloth and cardboard packaging, edible wrapping, plantable mailers, bags, etc., are some of the innovative solutions riding a high wave of popularity.

Wrapping Up

Our environment and natural resources are precious. And we have only one habitable planet. Therefore, the combined approach of both consumers and brands is essential to drive the clean and green planet campaign. Small steps and individual contributions matter. In the essence of 2022 World Earth Day theme “Invest in Our Planet”, let’s invest in building a healthy, clean, and green planet for our future generations together.

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