Packaging waste accounts for 40% of all solid waste in municipal waste streams. According to EPA, commercial, residential, and institutional users generate 75 million tons of container and packaging waste each year, but only half of the waste is properly recycled. This means about 37 million tons of packaging waste finds its way into the landfill.
Packaging waste is one of the top concerns that most businesses are facing today. However, to promote sustainable packaging, more and more companies are using materials that are eco-friendly throughout the packaging life cycle.
Here are some ways you can contribute to sustainable packaging for reducing packaging waste:
1. Use Recyclable and Reusable Materials
When you use recyclable and reusable materials, you are reducing the amount of packaging waste that ends up in landfills. Left-over cardboard boxes or paper for packaging can be converted into products that can be used effectively for another purpose. For example, left-over cardboard boxes can be used to store office equipment. Some businesses have gone a step forward to incorporate packaging materials that do not need recycling at all. SmartSolve, for instance, makes water-soluble packaging.
2. Encourage Minimal Packaging
Invest in developing an attractive but minimalistic packaging design that doesn’t use up large amounts of packaging materials. Minimal packaging not only reduces material use but also decreases the product cost because you will be using less energy to manufacture them and less fuel to transport them.
3. Source Sustainable Raw Materials
Turn to sustainable raw materials to fulfill your packaging needs. Source wood from sustainable forests/farms to manufacture packaging materials like cardboards or paper. Consider other sustainable raw materials like new man-made fibers and cotton from sustainable farms.
4. Invest in an Industrial Shredder
It is a good idea to invest in an industrial shredder. The shredder can shred almost anything made of fiber, and that includes paper and cardboard. The shredded material can be used to fill packaging boxes. The shredded paper material is an eco-friendly way of packing and shipping your products. They can do a great cushioning job, protecting the corners of the cardboard boxes.
5. Consider Buying a Cardboard Baler
Cardboard is one of the primary packaging materials, and therefore cardboard waste is generated in large amounts. A cardboard baler can compress this voluminous cardboard waste into small,compact, and easily recyclable bales.This means that by compressing the cardboard waste, you reduce its volume by 90%, the storage space it takes up, and also the waste collection costs.
6. Use Biodegradable Packaging
Use biodegradable packaging materials like corn-based plastic. These types of materials can be easily broken down in a commercial composting facility. When you are using biodegradable packaging material, you are ensuring that none of the packaging material ends up in landfills.
7. Train Your Staff
Your staff has a vital role to play in reducing packaging waste. If the waste is created or not disposed of correctly, it could be because your staff isn’t aware of the waste disposal process your company follows. So, the best thing you could do is train your staff on the best practices for reducing packaging waste. Training your staff would go a long way to not only reducing packaging waste, but manufacturing waste as well.
Reducing waste and disposing of it in an eco-friendly way will not help keep the earth green, but also help your organization economically, both long and short term. Implementing sustainable packaging and encouraging your workers to adopt healthy behaviors aimed at packaging waste reduction throughout the packaging lifecycle will promote sustainability and ensure corporate responsibility.
Author Bio: Erich Lawson is passionate about saving the environment through effective recycling techniques and modern innovations. He works with Compactor Management Company and writes on a variety of topics related to recycling, including tips and advice on how balers, compactors and shredders can be used to reduce industrial waste. He loves helping businesses understand how to lower their monthly garbage bills and increase revenue from recycling.