Packaging can be clearly defined as the wrapping of materials or goods to protect them. Technology, science, and art are usually combined to create innovative ways to move, protect, and sell goods based on consumers' requirements. But the truth is this may come at a cost. We can agree that there may be some negative impacts of human activities on the environment, and even life in general. Just take a minute to think about the number of things you are required to package daily. These packaging processes create varied and extensive negative impacts, ranging from the effects of the manufacturing processes to their disposal processes.
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When we talk about packaging, the main thing that comes to mind is plastic. Plastics play a major part in most environmental issues and are regarded as the single most significant cause of environmental damage in the world today. Making them is almost as harmful as disposing of them. However, there may be other factors we need to consider if the negative effects of packaging will be truly mitigated.
The cost of its production
During the manufacture and distribution of packaging materials, a lot of energy in the form of water, natural resources, and electricity may be used. The processes can also result in manufacturing by-products, which come with their side effects. For instance, aside from the plastics themselves, the creation of these plastics cause toxic gases like carbon monoxide and other toxic compounds to leak into the atmosphere.
The major disadvantage is that most packaging products are now being designed to have single-use, leading to their disposal after serving their purpose. This basically means that most of these packaging products are discarded by either burning, buried in landfills, or littered where they will be carried by water and wind and absorbed into our atmosphere. This poses a threat for a number of reasons, from the dangers to wildlife and aquatic life to its negative impact on humans through contamination of our foods and water by these materials.
Disposal of packaging products is a big challenge—for instance, plastic. Plastic packaging is very wasteful, and most of this waste ends up in landfills or are burned due to poor infrastructure put in place for proper disposal or poor product design. The products found in landfills are packaging waste. Some of these products do not break down quick enough, causing long-term issues in the environment and lasting implications for our world.
When we burn, the gases destroy the ozone layer and even negatively affect our lungs and plants. However, landfills are not enough for these amounts of waste. The existing ones may even have been in use for a long time, meaning they might already be getting filled. And then, there is the debate on the rate at which consumers consume products and items.
This is why every hand must be on deck to work together to reduce the amount of single-use packaging products being used to lighten the burden on processes for waste management. Biodegradable materials and other eco-friendly products can be used. They will not only create fewer by-products but reduce waste.
There is always something to be done to solve most issues. In the case of the environmental effects of packaging, we can discuss a few; businesses and companies should do their part to reduce the packaging products they use. They should consider other eco-friendly alternatives and make better choices when packaging and transporting their goods.
They should also increase the amount of recycled content being used so that waste can be reduced drastically. This will reduce the number of packaging products that go to the landfills and reduce the number of by-products made during the manufacturing processes.
Finally, most companies and businesses should factor in the life expectancy and quality of the packaging products. From choosing recyclable materials to having recyclable schemes to choosing the best quality for these packaging products. They can even educate consumers about how these products can be recycled or disposed of.
This fight is not just for companies and businesses. It is for everyone because we need to change before we create a damaging and long-lasting negative impact on our home planet earth.
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