Plastic Packaging That Hurts or Helps the Bottom Line

Plastic  Packaging That Hurts or Helps the Bottom Line

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In his seminal documentary about the environment and the effects we, as humans, have on the environment, former presidential candidate and former vice president Al Gore gives a passionate argument why we, as humans, have to change our ways to stop harming the environment.

His lecture, which focuses on carbon dioxide emissions, was one that focused on the misconceptions of research surrounding the issue. He took pains to put it into simple, easy to understand concepts with graphs and charts that showed, among many other things, the steady and then sudden warming of our planet and the melting of polar ice caps.

The documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, one best documentary at that year’s Academy Awards and became one of the most talked about and debated documentaries of that year and and well-after. It is a documentary that, by its very nature and the topic it presents, is considered controversial. Some would even say pseudo-science.

Al Gore, a prominent champion of the movement, said himself that people received a lot of misinformation about the environment, that it remained a heavily partisan issue, and that that misinformation was easy to find on the Internet, as the percentage between “Global Warming Is Real” and “Global Warming Is Not” was split about 50/50.

That documentary took place in 2006 and today we find ourselves in the same or similar struggle outlined in Al Gore’s documentary. Global warming continues to increase and there’s concern about Greenland melting and dissolving into the ocean. The rise of carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase and we are still using fossil fuels to power energy grids.

The ugliness of our political discourse has revealed a sharp trend against global warming, with many called scientists and advocates who speak out about global warming as “alarmists” and make their own “research studies” (which coincidentally are the same scientists that said tobacco was “good for you”).

The difficulty is that our national perception of issues tends to remain on party lines, with the country appearing even more separated than it was two, five, and ten years ago.

But while carbon dioxide emissions are a growing concern, even though many companies are making initiatives to eliminate or heavily reduce carbon dioxide emissions, there is a pressing concern on the pollution front, most notably water pollution. Although this issue receives less attention, it is an important issue to consider, for the fate of our seas.

An estimated 150 metric tons of plastic packaging currently resides in the world’s oceans. A 2016 Ellen MacArthur Foundation report says that if we don’t take action, by 2050 we will have more plastic in the oceans than fish. Although we don’t often think about it when we throw out trash or dispose of items in the recycling bin, these habits help.

Sometimes, however, those items in the trash bin or recycling bin become part of landfills that eventually grow to the point of troublesome and more and more trash gets dumped, sometimes accidentally and sometimes deliberately into the ocean, where it accumulates and causes issues for any number of wildlife.

It is difficult to see images of birds and fowls getting their heads caught in the wrappers around six packs of soda or other struggles with plastic objects that animals encounter during their journey into the sea. There is in fact a two mile wide island of floating plastic items in the Pacific Ocean.

31.9 million metric tons of plastic waste is improperly disposed. And much of it winds up in the ocean, where the plastic causes $13 billion worth in damages every year.

Retail packaging, whether in the form of clam packaging, patented packaging, customizable packaging, or thermoformed packaging, is being chosen more by consumers that are ecologically aware to reduce the amount of plastic being put into our oceans. Packaging with box labels or a user friendly clamshell go a long way to solving the problem.

Retail packaging can be looked at as helpful if it is recyclable or is part of waste management solution. Retail packaging that has to be disposed of in landfills or is not recyclable may hurt the company with a certain type of consumer. Retail packaging can make a product more appealing or less depending on the consumer.


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