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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAProduct packaging is a large source of unnecessary waste when it doesn’t have to be. Sustainable product packaging is a way that manufacturers can responsibly package materials through recycling and reusing materials. Waste Management World says, “A town of 100,000 inhabitants collecting 100% of its household recyclable packaging waste could recycle 780 tons of steel, 200 tons of aluminum, 470 tons of plastics, 2300 tons of paper and 2200 tons of glass per year.” x

There are so many things that we can do to eliminate waste but first, we should understand the three main types of packaging.

  • Sales Packaging
  • Secondary Packaging
  • Transit Packaging

Sales packaging is general packaging that you say in a store. The material(s) cover the product and have consumer information about the product for customer convenience. Secondary packaging is when a bulk of products are packaged together while transit packaging is items that are packaged with shrink wrap, pallets, etc.

Reusable Transport Packaging (RTP) eliminates waste at the source, through the transit packaging stage. Using specially designed packages, RTPs can protect the product and save money. Sensitive products such as produce is damaged heavily through shipping processes. RTPs eliminate this issue, creating a functional yet sustainable alternative to product packaging.

Plastic, specifically, is one of the most wasted resources. According to the EPA, plastics make up almost 13% of the municipal solid waste stream. As a universal community, we have recognized that this is an enormous problem and have taken steps to alleviate the problem but we still have a long way to go.

  • 32 million tons of plastic waste were generated in 2012, representing 12.7 percent of total MSW.
  • In 2012, the United States generated almost 14 million tons of plastics as containers and packaging, about 11 million tons as durable goods such as appliances, and almost 7 million tons as nondurable goods, such as plates and cups.
  • Only 9 percent of the total plastic waste generated in 2012 was recovered for recycling.
  • In 2012, the category of plastics which includes bags, sacks, and wraps was recycled at about 12 percent.
  • Plastics also are found in automobiles, but recycling of these materials is counted separately from the MSW recycling rate. x

Reusable Transport Packaging is the beginning of sustainable packaging that will create a positive trickle-down effect. Support the cause and do your environmental part!