Despite all the good it does, plastic packaging has taken a beating in the general media for its perceived anti-environment impression. One of the most controversial topics today is how much plastic garbage is in our oceans. By 2050, the World Economic Forum projects that, by weight, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. But Packaging Digest’s Facebook fans have some ideas on how to fix that.
At the end of August 2017, Packaging Digest posted on its Facebook page: “Up to 129M tons of annual plastic usage is disposed of by landfill or incineration & 20M tons of plastic ends up in the ocean. How do we reduce the demand for plastic? Learn more in the Packaging Digest eNewsletter!”
The passionate response from our Facebook fans demonstrates how contentious the issue of plastic waste is for consumers. About 2,600 people have clicked “Like” and more than 2,300 have shared the post as of Nov. 27.
Quite aware of plastic’s negative environmental image, members of the plastics industry and packaging professionals continue to work to improve it. Earlier this year, sustainable packaging thought-leader Chandler Slavin offered some intriguing possibilities on “How to change plastic’s ‘waste’ reputation.” She cited The New Plastics Economy—Rethinking the future of plastics report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. This global initiative, which looks to eliminate plastic waste through innovation and collaboration, is underway…but will likely be a slow process.
Do this, not that
A lot of people think we produce way too much single-use plastic packaging now, though. So what should we do about it? Advice from the 320+ Facebook comments includes:
• Recycle it, even into other items like outdoor furniture or clothes
• Use hemp instead
• Ban/tax plastic packaging
• Go back to glass / paper packaging
• Replace fossil-fuel materials with biodegradable plastics
• Don’t buy/boycott plastic packaging
• Tell companies to stop making plastic
• Filter your water and use reusable containers
• Increase deposits on plastic packaging
Not all the suggestions our fans posted are practical (or, at times, polite). But some make great points. For example…