In our efforts to be more conscious about the way we consume, we may choose to buy “natural” or “organic” products, thinking that once you’ve made the purchase, the work is done. But, have you ever stopped to consider the environmental impact of the packaging of your product? To put our choices into perspective, here is something to consider: There is a patch of floating garbage in the Pacific Ocean which has been measured by satellite imagery, this patch of garbage is mostly comprised of plastic and spans across 1.6 million square kilometers. A lot of this garbage is plastic and has a catastrophic effect on biodiversity and even human health. These microplastics disintegrate when subjected to heat and are consumed by the fish, making their way to the very top of the food chain, so yes, this devastating effect trickles down to you too.
Now, there are garbage patches like this all over the world’s oceans, including our Indian ocean. And each of these patches has an estimated amount of 80,000 metric tons of plastic. Such is the terrible effect of packaging on our planet. After reading these numbers, doesn’t the ban on plastic in the state of Maharashtra make more sense to you? There are plenty of sustainable materials which can serve the same purpose, in fact, many countries are even banning the production and use of single-use plastic.
So what is sustainable packaging?
Simply put, it is packaging which has a longer life cycle and reduces the environmental impact and ecological footprint. It takes into consideration the entire life cycle – from the whole supply chain, from production to the end of its life, everything is taken into consideration.
What can we gain from sustainable packaging?
The long-term goal is to improve the quality of the ecosystems, without compromising on the functionality for the consumer. It’s the brainchild of economics and functionally so that the environment and the future generations do not have to pay the price for our consumerism.
Why is sustainable packaging the need of the hour?
Because we need packaging that’s biodegradable, we need options which allow conscious citizens to recycle or reuse plastic, we need to provide solutions which are long term, and we must take into consideration the ramifications of our actions. There is nothing that’s more important than conserving our natural resources, and sustainable packaging is a huge part of this.
What are the products that you need to be wary of?
There are some products which are used every day and have very short product lifecycles. Such products are single use and are usually discarded within a few hours of using the product. Such products include daily grocery staples such as butter, milk, grains, toothbrushes, earbuds, and razor blades. A lot of this plastic is single use, which means that even if you send it to a recycling facility, there’s not much that they will be able to do with it. As a result, all of this plastic waste gets dumped into rivers and water bodies which ultimately empty out into the oceans.
This vicious cycle continues because simple items like milk delivered in plastic bag are something that we consume every day. So when you think about doorstep delivered milk, for example, not only is the product itself could be adulterated which the packaging can do nothing to prevent, but the packaging is also a major pollutant. What’s more is that you consume milk every day, so you end up being a huge contributor to waste which upsets the ecological frameworks of the planet. Feeling distressed? It doesn’t have to be that way! Tetra packs come with tamper proof sealants and are made with biodegradable materials. These materials are selected based on the supply chain of the materials, important questions such as the greenhouse gases produced in the making of the packaging, the processes involved, and the even the resources spent on sourcing the raw materials required to assemble the packaging are considered. So when it comes to packaging, remember that as a consumer, you have a choice, choose for the planet, and choose sustainability!