Plastic pollutes our oceans, landfills, and even the air we breathe; because of this, we must find ways to consume less of it. A good place to start is by going straight to the source. Manufacturing of products, especially in the field of packaging, is already changing how plastic waste is managed. In order to lessen the vast amount of plastic rubbish that currently blights our planet, more must always be done to prevent waste. By adhering to these straightforward recommendations, the industrial sector can reduce waste from plastic packaging and containers.
Why is this such a serious problem? It is significant because a considerable portion of municipal solid trash is made up of this specific sort of plastic debris. In 2018, the plastic container sector alone created an estimated 14.5 million tons of rubbish. Container and package trash is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as goods that are intended to be thrown away the same year that their contents are used. This group of products includes soft plastic shipping containers, polyethylene terephthalate water and soft drink bottles, and soft plastic food packaging.
According to some reports, the quantity of packing and shipping supplies used to protect shipments’ contents has rapidly expanded recently. Food distribution and online purchasing both contributed to the rise. In contrast to predictions stated in 2019, a 2021 study shows that during the COVID-19 outbreak, Amazon’s production of plastic packaging waste surged by 29%.
If something isn’t done quickly, food distribution waste will only continue to increase relative to the world population. This industry makes extensive use of soft plastic packaging, which is difficult to recycle. About 50% of food packaging and 41% of all packaging are made up of these multi-material items, also referred to as “film” or “flexible packaging,” which are intended to keep bacteria and moisture out.
What changes can be made with packaging that can cut down on waste? First and foremost, businesses must make every effort to manage their plastic waste more effectively. One method is to put in place a strict program to manage trash through recycling, reuse, and reduction. Making products that are environmentally friendly is another choice.
Materials that are recyclable, such as glass, paper, and cardboard, may not be as cost-effective despite being easier to recycle. Today, there are innovative ways to maintain food-safe packaging while reducing waste and energy use. Thermal sealing can be replaced by ultrasonic sealing. When combined with paper products, this method can assist businesses in achieving their sustainability objectives by producing a more ecologically friendly end product.
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for the pollution brought on by plastic waste. There needs to be a lot of worldwide work done to undo the damage already done. However, a change can be seen straight away by focusing on updating packaging at the point of manufacture and adopting cutting-edge production methods.
See the infographic below for additional information on decreasing waste from plastic packaging.