We need ways to consume less plastic because it pollutes our oceans, landfills, and even our air. It’s best to start by getting in touch with the source directly. The production of goods, particularly in the area of packaging, is already affecting how plastic waste is managed. There must always be more done to prevent waste if we hope to lessen the enormous amount of plastic trash that currently blights our globe. These simple recommendations could help the industrial sector reduce waste from plastic packaging and containers.
Why is this issue so significant? It is crucial because this particular type of plastic debris makes up a large component of municipal solid waste. An estimated 14.5 million tons of garbage were created in 2018 by the plastic container industry alone. The Environmental Protection Agency defines packaging waste as products that are meant to be thrown away soon after their contents are used. These items fall into three categories: soft plastic food packaging, polyethylene terephthalate water bottles, and soft plastic transport containers.
Some studies claim that the amount of packaging and shipping supplies utilized recently to safeguard the contents of shipments has quickly increased. This may be due to increased food distribution and online shopping. In contrast to estimates issued in 2019, a 2021 research reveals that Amazon’s production of plastic packaging waste increased by 29% during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Food distribution waste will continue to rise relative to the global population if action is not taken soon. This industry makes extensive use of recyclable soft plastic packaging. These multi-material objects, often known as “film” or “flexible packaging,” which are designed to keep bacteria and moisture out, make up about 50% of food packaging and 41% of all packaging.
What modifications can be made to packaging to reduce the amount of waste? Businesses must first and foremost take all reasonable measures to treat their plastic trash more efficiently. Setting up a stringent program to manage trash through recycling, reuse, and reduction is one tactic. Another option is to create environment friendly items.
Despite being simpler to produce, recyclable materials like glass, paper, and cardboard may not be as cost-effective. Modern innovations have made it possible to maintain food-safe packaging while using less energy and waste. Ultrasonic sealing can be used to replace the use of thermal sealing. This method, when used in conjunction with paper goods, can help firms meet their sustainability goals by resulting in a more environmentally friendly finished good.
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for the pollution caused by plastic waste. To repair the amount of harm already done, we must globally untie and work together. But by concentrating on modernizing packaging at the point of manufacture and utilizing cutting-edge production techniques, a shift can be observed right away.
For additional information on reducing waste from plastic packaging, see the infographic below.