reduce, reuse, recycle
“Since the 1950’s the global economy has produced over 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic. 91% of it has never been recycled.” - The Sustainable Packaging Revolution
It can be a mission to avoid buying items that involve plastic or other harmful materials. When we go to the supermarket it’s normal that the vegetables we buy are wrapped in several layers of plastic. And when we get take-away food we dispose of the containers right after eating our meal.
By now most of us know that plastic packaging is harmful for the environment. The production and transport of plastic emits tremendous amounts of CO2. It pollutes our oceans and puts endangered sea life at risk.
But not only plastic is harmful. What we often neglect to pay attention to is how often we use our packaging and how easily we can dispose of it.
Reduce, re-use, recycle - is a motto we like to use at aware_THE PLATFORM. It even made it in our Instagram bio.
But what do these words really mean? And why are they important?
Reduce: we look at ways to avoid packaging all together, or at least reduce the amount of packaging. Where is it necessary and where is it not? Can we have more shops like Original Unverpackt in Berlin? Customers bring their own containers and refill them with ingredients like nuts, seeds, vegetables and grains.
Re-use: we extend the lifecycle of products. This means that packaging will be used more than once. The focus is on improving the quality and design of the packaging to allow for many uses. THE BOX is a great example for this (more on that later).
Recycle: we make sure it's possible to recycle the product. How easy is it to do so? Recycling companies are already trying to recycle materials and create new packaging from it. But they often struggle to find enough raw materials to supply their demand. So when we buy something, let’s look at the value of the packaging, and make sure that it ends up in the right bin.
When we develop new solutions towards sustainable packaging we have to consider all elements.
We found three innovative companies that are changing the way we make and use packaging:
THE BOX by LivingPackets: smart packaging solution
How many times have you received a package in the mail, and then re-used that box again?
That’s right, probably close to none.
But the environment is not happy about it. The production of one cardboard box that is used only once causes more than 260g of CO2 emissions.
THE BOX aims to cut more than 90% of packaging related CO2 emissions.
How will they do that?
By providing a smart, reusable solution to packaging. THE BOX can be used 1000 times instead of only once. It also comes with smart tracking capabilities for access to insurance, payments and more, all from your smartphone.
You can support THE BOX and even receive a return of their profit by doing so.
Bio-lutions: a natural solution for disposables
We use disposable tableware all the time. When we order takeaway, go to festivals, conferences or even when we host birthday parties. The traditional versions are harmful for your health and the environment. They contain toxic chemicals such as polystyrene and chlorine.
Bio-lutions wants to change that. Their disposable tableware is made from 100% plant fibres, from agricultural residues. It's also compostable and free from chemicals, making it safe to dispose of.
Sulapac: fully biodegradable packaging
We’ve all had a moment in a restaurant where we praised them for their use of paper straws instead of plastic ones. But then we reach half way through our drink and realise that the straw broke because it got too soggy.
Sulapac® is solving this problem by providing fully biodegradable straws that are free from microplastics. The best thing: they don't get soggy.
Sulapac® has also developed sustainable premium packaging for the cosmetic industry. They have containers for creams, lip balms and even rings.
Compared to other forms of plastic such as PP or HD-PE plastic Sulapac® material has a much lower carbon footprint. It's recycable and made from renewable raw materials. We call this a win-win product!
Let’s become more aware of how we shop and where we shop. When we support companies that are putting effort into sustainable practices, we are showing them that this is important to us. This is how we can make a change.
by Katharina Alf