Green-packaging, the newest innovation in sustainable conduct, is being embraced by consumers and manufacturers worldwide as the responsible alternative to plastic packaging. Although more expensive than traditional packaging, companies are finding the ecological benefits of green-packaging outweigh the costs. Coca-Cola, Heinz Co., Nike Inc., Ford Motor Co., and Proctor & Gamble are among a few corporations undergoing the switch to 100-percent plant-based or recycled packaging products. It is estimated that containers and packaging make up 30.3 percent of the international waste stream, which averages 1.3 billion metric tons annually. The purpose of green-packaging is to reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste deposited into landfills by manufacturing and recycling reusable packaging. Experts estimate green-packaging could generate $170 billion of revenue in 2014, while decreasing the global carbon footprint.
For years the locally hosted Waste Management Phoenix Open has forgone plastic products and packaging for more sustainable options. The event attracts more than 500,000 visitors per year, all of whom use biodegradable utensils, plates, and cups. The event sponsors ensure all products purchased for the event are created from recycled or refurbished materials. “It’s a nice feeling to set everything up in the morning and throw away all your garbage and know that its not hurting the environment,” says Carolina Lopez, a temporary employee of the WM Open cocktail service team. However, those who enjoy drinking from a straw must be warned; the WM Open has a strict “no straws” policy. By refusing to purchase plastic packaged straws, the WM Open significantly cuts into the plastic expenditure at the event.
Large corporations and associations have the power to change the packaging and distribution systems to lessen the use of plastic packaging. Businesses are finding green-packaging to be exceedingly important, as consumers are gravitating towards eco-friendly products. Recently, popular supermarket chain Trader Joe’s experienced backlash from consumers after being exposed for using unnecessary amounts of plastic packaging on produce, poultry, and fish products. While there were no signs of revenue loss for the chain, petitions and boycotts in response to the stores plastic production were featured in the media. Consumers are recognizing the influence of sustainable packaging and manufacturers should anticipate a swift change in the market of plastic production.