By Georgia Carter
In Vietnam, Thailand, and India, many local grocery stores have adopted a new form of affordable, accessible, and eco-friendly packaging all in one - banana leaves.
Caption: Local grocery stores in Vietnam have switched to banana leaves for eco-friendly packaging.
Source: Propak Vietnam
For over 50 years, we’ve become reliant on single-use plastic to contain and store our products. In grocery shops that pepper the entire globe, plastic is utilised as the main source of packaging. From styrofoam and silicone to thin plastic wrapping and thick plastic containers, this malleable material finds its way into and onto nearly everything we purchase and consume.
But now, more than ever, we need to reshape the way we sell products. There are many environmentally-friendly alternatives to plastic packaging. Some countries are already adopting more sustainable solutions. It’s time to highlight these necessary swaps and follow their lead.
Single-use plastic in the form of packaging makes up around 23% of all waste found in landfills, not to mention the enormous amount of litter and pollution that lays waste to our natural environments. This type of waste often goes straight in the bin, never given a second thought. But this mentality is what’s wreaking havoc. It’s not only negatively affecting our Earth but also our health as many forms of plastic containcontains harmful chemicals.
Caption: We rely heavily on plastic for food packaging.
Source: Mak, Unsplash
If you’d like to know how to manage your plastic waste properly, you can read our Ultimate Recycling Guide or peruse the 15 Ways to Reuse Common Waste Objects.
Sustainable Packaging Solutions
There are many eco-alternatives to plastic packaging that will benefit you as the consumer and the planet as a whole. Below are six examples of green packaging:
1. Mushrooms: Mushroom roots, called mycelium, are fused to create a moldable, cheap, and sustainable packaging alternative that can biodegrade once used.
Caption: Mushrooms make an effective and healthy eco-alternative for packaging.
Source: Presetbase, Unsplash
2. Seaweed: Agar, a gelatinous substance found in both seaweed and algae, can be used for both food packaging and as an eco-friendly alternative to gelatin.
Caption: Kelp and seaweed can be used as sustainable packaging.
Source: Ben Wicks, Unsplash
3. Recycled Cardboard and Paper: Why create new packaging when you can just reuse the old? It’s extremely affordable, efficient, and saves the environment.
4. Recycled Plastic: Some things, unfortunately, require extremely sturdy materials to make sufficient packaging. But instead of sculpting a whole new container of plastic, we can utilise what we already have by recycling and reusing plastic.
5. Organic Fibres: Hemp, recycled cotton, tapioca, and palm leaves make up organic fibres that can be harnessed and manipulated into sustainable packaging. All of these materials are compostable and will return to the Earth after use.
Caption: Hemp is one of the best eco-alternatives when it comes to packaging.
Source: Matthew Brodeur, Unsplash
6. Bamboo: Bamboo is cheap, easy to grow, and thrives in abundance. Using bamboo leaves as an alternative to plastic packaging is one of the best sustainable solutions around. It’s already being implemented in various countries with incredible results.
Caption: Bamboo can be used as a sustainable form of packaging and storage containers, among other things.
Source: Zoo Monkey, Unsplash
While sustainable solutions to single-use plastics and harmful packaging are on the rise, many still support and rely on plastic packaging. It’s time to release this dependency and start directing our consumerism habits towards companies that use sustainable packaging.
For the Earth and ourselves, making this simple switch could make an essential difference in saving lives and the planet as a whole.
EcoFoote's Sustainable Packaging Solution (Recycled corrugated cardboard)