Here’s the truth about packaging waste from the US Environmental Protection Agency, no less. According to the EPA, Americans generated a total of about 250 million tons of municipal solid waste in 2008. While packaging waste is currently blamed as “The Bad Guy,” check out its rank among other waste categories that ultimately end up in landfills.
Food scraps—18.6%, Yard trimmings—7.0%, Furniture and furnishings—5.8%, Clothing and footwear—4.5%, Glass containers—4.3%, Corrugated boxes—4.2%, Folding cartons—2.1%, Plastic bags, sacks and wraps (flexible packaging)—2.1%.
That’s not all, of course. I’d like to know what makes up the remaining half of all the other stuff. But it’s important to note that the primary packaging types that converters convert constitute only 8.4% of what finally goes to a landfill.
My Thoughts: So, the next time someone complains about packaging waste, tell them your company’s products contribute a very minor share of the stuff NOT being reused or recycled. Remind them of all the efforts the industry has and is putting into source reduction, not to mention the rapid application of bio-based plastics and other renewable raw materials. Lastly, you are making sure your CPG customers know about your company’s specific sustainability efforts, right? This is no time to be behind the curve on this one.
Ah, the miracle of education. The more people know the truth, the better for everyone.