When searching for out sustainable merchandise, it’s possible you’ll solely be enthusiastic about the bodily product itself — however how a product is packaged is simply as essential. Many types of packaging can’t be recycled or reused and find yourself in landfills or the ocean. Even recyclable plastic packaging is usually not sufficient, as 91% of plastics aren’t recycled, leading to 25 million tons being dumped into the ocean annually.
Almost 30% of municipal strong waste is packaging and containers, contributing to an enormous carbon footprint. Many merchandise are packaged with an excessive amount of materials that may solely be thrown within the trash, however “eco-friendly packaging” refers to options to straightforward packaging that may simply be recycled, reused, or has different environmental advantages.
The Good Housekeeping Institute launched our first-ever Sustainable Packaging Awards final 12 months to attract consideration to the environmental elements of a product’s packaging. Packaging is a vital a part of how a product is protected and the way simple it’s to make use of: We’ve at all times thought of the effectivity of packaging and readability of directions as a part of our product critiques, however for the Sustainable Packaging Awards, GH scientists and business specialists assessed 190 merchandise’ packaging primarily based on supplies, recyclability, design, minimalism, effectivity, and innovation. We awarded merchandise that rose to the highest primarily based on our judges’ scores and ensured that the merchandise with the best packaging scores met our Institute’s effectiveness standards — we’d not endorse a product that doesn’t work, regardless of how sustainably packaged.
What’s the most eco-friendly packaging?
We all know that between greenwashing claims and complicated business phrases and rules, it may be troublesome to search out what merchandise are literally eco-friendly or sustainable. Here is tips on how to discover the perfect eco-friendly packaging and methods to make extra sustainable selections when delivery merchandise:
- Reuse as a lot as potential. Initially, minimize down on the quantity of packaging you are consuming. We advocate amassing tissue paper, wrapping paper, and delivery envelopes to reuse when wanted. Save cardboard bins from on-line orders. Even when they break down throughout journey, the items can be utilized as cushioning materials.
- Do not forget that the much less materials, the higher. Lighter weight supplies can imply much less CO2 emissions throughout transportation and manufacturing.
- Know that paper is a good packing various to plastic as it’s recycled extra generally and is biodegradable. Ideally, search for cardboard and paper that’s uncoated and unwaxed as a substitute of bubble wrap.
- Biodegradable packing peanuts are made from potato and corn starch as a substitute of styrofoam, so they’ll break down when thrown away when normal packing peanuts won’t.
- Corrugated cardboard is a good substitute for plastic containers. It could possibly simply be reused and recycled.
Easy methods to spot eco-friendly packaging when procuring in shops
Past delivery and mailing, you too can assist to scale back your carbon footprint by looking for merchandise which might be packaged sustainably. Here is what to search for when procuring:
✔️Prioritize packaging with recycled content material. Repurposing outdated supplies is an effective way for a model to reuse earlier waste.
✔️Hunt down recyclable supplies that may be simply recycled curbside at dwelling. It is a good suggestion to be acquainted with recycling symbols too. Listed here are widespread recyclable supplies:
- PET (polyethylene terephthalate)
- HDPE (high-density polyethylene)
- LDPE (low-density polyethylene)
- PE (polyethylene)
✔️ Search for “zero-waste packaging,” which means the product’s packaging will get returned to the producer or a 3rd get together to be cleaned and refilled or upcycled as a substitute of thrown away. An important instance: Loop x Ulta partnership, which primarily rents out packaging to customers who buy magnificence merchandise on-line. The merchandise are delivered to the doorstep in a completely reusable Loop Tote, and if you’ve used up the product, empties get picked up in the identical tote and shipped again to Loop to be cleaned and reused. There is a small deposit price for the packaging if you order the product (it is reimbursed upon the packaging’s return), and the flat $10 delivery price additionally covers the return of the empty containers.
✔️Keep away from mixed-material packaging. If you happen to see one thing packaged in a number of forms of supplies reminiscent of paper and plastic, bear in mind this makes recycling troublesome. You might be capable to recycle every part, however you may should separate them first.
✔️Store for clear glass which may be recycled, whereas coloured glass can not.
✔️Go for aluminum and metal like soda cans and canned meals that may simply be recycled curbside.
✔️ Keep away from merchandise with secondary packaging reminiscent of plastic ties, cardboard dividers, and packing, as many can’t be recycled.
✔️Store easy packaging. Much less coloring on the field and labels makes recycling simpler.
✔️Search for refillable containers. Some merchandise are designed so you purchase packaging as soon as after which proceed to refill it again and again as a substitute of rebuying and tossing the identical product.
✔️Solely purchase cosmetics with major packaging, which means no extra waste from tossed bins or plastic packaging. A easy seal to make sure the product’s integrity is all you want. Keep away from packaging with pumps, droppers, and pressurized aerosol cans: None of those may be simply disposed of.
✔️Store “bare” meals. Versatile plastic wraps, movies, and Styrofoam can’t be recycled or reused, so as a substitute, search for minimal, recyclable packaging like Loop. Alternatively, store for groceries in bulk and produce your individual reusable containers.
✔️Use natural material reusable luggage to exchange single-use plastic luggage whereas procuring. You need to use them over and over, reducing down on pointless waste.
✔️Purchase clothes from sustainable trend manufacturers or higher but, purchase secondhand from native thrift shops and on-line packages reminiscent of ThreadUp or Poshmark to scale back environmental impression.
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