One of the most serious problems that the world is facing today is discarded plastic packaging. The use of plastic packaging has increased twentyfold over the past 50 years and there are no signs that the popularity of plastic packaging will dwindle any time soon. In fact, it is expected to double in the next 20 years.
The problems with plastic packaging are becoming critical and it is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic trash in the oceans than marine life. Do you imagine sea birds, whales, sea turtles and other forms of marine life eating plastic packages? They would surely die from choking and intestinal damage.
It is possible to eradicate plastic waste in the oceans, rivers and streams if there is collaboration among all the participants in the supply chain from the plastic packaging companies to product manufacturers. According to a study by the World Economic Forum and Ellen Arthur Foundation, redesigning and developing new technologies will prevent plastic packaging from ending up in the waters as well as in landfills. It may take years to find a systematic solution but stakeholders should never lose hope. The time to act is now.
Virtually all plastic packages that escape the collection system end up in the waters or in landfills. The growing amount of plastics in the environment eventually pollutes the oceans and clogs urban infrastructures. The aggregate cost of this impact including the greenhouse gas emissions from the production of plastic packaging products are estimated at $40 billion annually which exceeds the total profits earned by the packaging industry.
In order to overcome the limitations of today’s incremental improvements and fragmented initiatives, there must be a shared sense of direction that will move the plastic value chain to a better environmental outcome. However, change is very difficult because while there are efforts, it is fragmented and uncoordinated.
For all these reasons, Paper Mart retail bags offer an option as environmentally friendly packaging. Retail bags are made from paper, paperboard or cloth that can be recycled after use. Retail bags may not be a large scale solution but it is a step towards the right direction.