According to the 2010 data published by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generated 250 Million Tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) or 4.4 Lbs per Person daily before recycling. First the good news…. We are now recycling 34% of MSW compared to less than 10% in 1980. Now for the not so good news… 54% of MSW is sent to landfill for disposal.
Packaging represents 75 Million Tons or 35% of MSW. We currently recycle approximately half (49%) of the packaging waste while diverting 51% to the landfill. Whether you are a consumer or business, we pay twice for the packaging materials. The cost of packaging is contained in the purchase price as well as cost of disposal/recycling. While recycling is better than placing the waste in a hole in the ground, recycling is still a cost to your bottom line. (At best, a cost avoidance?)
Much of society’s focus on managing packaging waste is passive or reactive. We challenge you to think differently and take a proactive approach via the following strategies.
- Reduce/eliminate packaging materials
- Evaluate reuse opportunities for your packaging
- Specify packaging materials with recycled content
- Design your packaging for ease of recycling
Rethinking your approach on packaging will benefit your bottom line and the environment.