Every year, Americans throw away about 33 million tons of trash. That's about 102,000 pounds per hour—the weight of more than one-and-a-half blue whales! The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 40% of all municipal solid waste in landfills can be attributed to packaging and containers alone. That's a lot of unnecessary waste, especially when you consider that much of it can be easily avoided with eco-friendly packaging techniques like reusables and compostable products instead of disposables. Let's take a look at some facts about why eco-friendly packaging is important:
You may be wondering how much waste a person generates by using plastic bottles. Well, the average American throws away 100 pounds of plastic each year and Americans throw away 25 million plastic bottles every hour. That number is equivalent to four times all the bottles used by the entire world in one year! This amount of waste fills up over 46,000 school buses every day—enough to fill up a large stadium every minute!
Did you know that food waste is one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gases?
If you’re not familiar with the term, “Greenhouse gases” are a blanket term for carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases such as hydrofluorocarbons. They trap heat in our atmosphere and contribute to global warming — which can have disastrous consequences for our planet.
You might be thinking: “But isn't CO2 in the air already? Isn't it just going to get warmer no matter what?” When you throw away food without recycling it or composting it properly — like half of all Americans do — you contribute more CO2 than if you ate that food yourself. That's because when your body digests food from plants, those plants' stored energy becomes yours as energy; this process releases carbon into the air as CO2. So by wasting edible produce in landfills or other trash dumps instead of recycling them or composting them properly (which would turn them back into soil), we're essentially releasing more CO2 than if we'd eaten all those plant parts ourselves!
Paper is a major source of waste, with Americans throwing away enough office paper to build a 12-foot wall from New York to California every year.
A lot of this paper comes from businesses that use too much of it, like printing off duplicate copies of things or sending out mailers. But even if you do need to print something out, there are ways you can reduce the amount of paper it takes. Here are some tips:
The average U.S. citizen throws away approximately 240 disposable razors, pens and utensils per year. That’s approximately 1 trillion disposable razors, pens and utensils thrown away every year!
You may not be aware of it, but you're tossing out a lot of organic waste every year. In fact, each American discards about 1,200 pounds of this stuff annually; that's the equivalent to 18 full-sized refrigerators! This organic garbage is one major source of methane gas—a greenhouse gas which has more than 30 times the global warming potential as CO2 over a 100-year period. Composting can help reduce this source of methane and other harmful pollutants by diverting trash from landfills and reducing the need for fertilizer.
Americans produce a lot of waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2015 Americans generated 268 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW), which is the amount of trash that is collected and disposed at landfills or incinerators. The top five materials by weight are:
Eco-friendly packaging uses fewer natural resources to make and transport. That means less energy is used, less waste is produced and less pollution is produced.
Eco-friendly packaging is easier to recycle, which means it's more likely that you'll be able to get the package recycled if you want to. If a package ends up in the trash, it will most likely end up in a landfill or be incinerated. Both of these methods of disposal are not only harmful for the environment but also incredibly unsustainable.
A study done by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation found that "only 14% of all plastic packaging material is collected for recycling globally." Recycled materials can be used in many ways such as making new products or being transformed into other materials like polyester and polyurethane plastic. Eco-friendly packaging has less impact on landfills and oceans because it reduces the amount of waste going there by being recycled (or reused) instead of ending up in those places!
You're probably well aware of the negative effects that traditional packaging has on the environment. The chemicals used in its production have been linked to health issues, such as asthma and cancer, and can also harm wildlife. Not only that but it takes a lot more energy to make these types of plastics than it does with eco-friendly alternatives.
You’re probably familiar with the concept of carbon footprint, but for those that aren’t, let’s break it down. Carbon footprint refers to the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced by an individual or company in a year.
CO2 is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in our atmosphere and causes global warming. It comes from various sources such as car exhaust fumes, industrial processes and burning fossil fuels like coal or oil for electricity generation (among other things).
In Australia alone we produce over 750 million tonnes of CO2 per year – nearly twice as much as China! That may sound like a lot but there are ways you can reduce your own carbon footprint:
The bottom line is that eco-friendly packaging not only reduces waste, but it also helps to protect the environment. If you’re interested in purchasing new packaging or printing your own materials on recycled paper, we would love to work with you!