During the past several years, consumers have been demanding sustainable packaging solutions, and the media is amplifying the impact this conversation is having on the industry and the world. Viable solutions are in development, and many better-for-the-environment packages are already making their way to grocery store aisles in many parts of the world. As more recyclable, compostable, and non-virgin packages continue to increase in popularity, the amount of material that ends up in our municipal solid waste stream should start to reduce significantly. The future of packaging looks bright but getting rid of the existing waste that is washing up on shores and overflowing landfills continues to be a challenge. Here are some actions you can take to help mitigate waste.
1. Educate Yourself
Trying to imagine a world completely void of plastic is like trying to imagine a world without oxygen. Plastic is everywhere and used by nearly everyone on the planet in some capacity or another, yet it has been portrayed as public enemy number one in recent years. Educating yourself, and those around you, about the benefits and convenience of plastic and learning how to properly dispose of or repurpose packaging so it does not end up in the ecosystem, is a critical first step in solving this waste issue. Waste and recycling systems vary greatly depending on the city, state, or country you live in, so be sure to research local guidelines.
2. Effectively Manage Your Own Waste
Knowing how to dispose of various types of waste is great but putting your knowledge to work is even better. Once you have reviewed your local waste-management guidelines, be sure to practice them! Not impressed with your region’s solution to waste management? Read on.
3. Advocate for Better Waste Management Programs
Plastic packaging offers convenience and cost-effectiveness for consumers, which is why the flexible packaging industry is growing rapidly. The problem is most municipal recycling programs are not equipped to recycle all plastic packaging, particularly multilayer structures. However, a few initiatives and programs have been implemented in the U.S. to help properly recycle plastic waste that can't usually be put into the regular recycling stream. The Hefty Energy Bag Program is a thriving initiative that collects candy wrappers, potato chip bags, juice pouches, toothpaste tubes, and other plastics that usually end up in landfills. Similar programs, such as TerraCycle, work with businesses and schools to ensure that all types of locally non-recyclable materials are properly and efficiently recycled.
4. Support Sustainable Brands and Suppliers
Patronize and support companies that are working toward sustainable solutions that are aligned with your values. This will ensure that more and better sustainable packaging solutions continue to develop, keeping waste at bay.
About Mica Corporation
Mica Corporation manufactures and supplies water-based, environmentally responsible products that offer adhesion or other properties to plastic, bio-based, metal, fabric, and paper surfaces in continuous web applications.