What is the Sustainability of Plastic Packaging?
When it comes to plastic products, packaging is one of the most widely produced and utilized items around the world. From plastic clamshell packaging for fruit and vegetables to form-fitted plastic packaging for consumer electronics and other goods, plastic packaging is a prominent part of our lives. While plastic packaging has become something of a necessity for businesses and consumers alike, it is far from a sustainable commodity. As a team that is committed to plastic sustainability, Change Plastic for Good knows that the current state of plastic packaging is far from ideal. That is why we have compiled some information to demonstrate what the current sustainability of plastic packaging is, some common problems with plastic packaging, and how it can become sustainable.
Common Problems with Plastic Packaging
The most prominent issues with plastic packaging include:
An Overabundance of Single-Use Items
Most plastic packaging is designed to only be used once before being recycled. This is especially evident when looking at plastic food packaging, as it is solely designed to hold food until it is consumed. Once the food has been eaten or used as an ingredient in another dish, this packaging is promptly discarded. While this may not seem like an issue, most plastic food packaging is not properly cleaned before being placed into a recycling bag or bin, contaminating the other items and causing most plastic to end up in a landfill instead of being used to create new products.
The production of plastic packaging creates a substantial amount of harmful emissions each year. As plastic production continues to increase to meet growing consumer demand, these emissions will increase alongside it. In addition to the emissions produced during manufacturing, plastics produce further emissions and pollutants when they are burned as part of a landfill. To put it another way, we produce emissions when we create plastic packaging and produce even more when we try to dispose of it, creating a cycle of pollution.
The most pressing issue with plastic packaging is that it is frequently thrown in the garbage. As a result, most plastic packaging ends up sitting in a landfill or floating in the ocean instead of being recycled and transformed into new goods. While most plastic packaging is thrown into the garbage by accident, some packaging is not even recyclable to begin with in certain areas of the world. This means that some plastic packaging is created only to be used and thrown away, spending centuries in a landfill.
Can Plastic Packaging be Sustainable?
Despite the many issues surrounding plastic packaging, it can become a truly sustainable commodity through the right techniques, initiatives, and products like BDP®. By adding BDP® to plastic packaging during the manufacturing process, this packaging can now degrade and break down within a few years instead of several centuries. In addition to adding BDP® to plastic products, shifting to compostable alternatives like cardboard packaging and focusing on creating reusable plastic goods instead of single-use plastics can further reduce the negative impact of plastic packaging and make it more sustainable.
To learn more about plastic sustainability, BDP®, or greenwashing, get in touch with the team at Change Plastic for Good. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding BDP® or the movement to make plastic completely sustainable.