What Safe and Sustainable Packaging Will Mean After the Pandemic For Business Leaders
In recent years, we have seen sustainability dominate numerous conversations across industries. With people becoming more conscious of their individual carbon footprints, bigger companies are more cognizant of their collective environmental impact. Now, more sustainable packaging options trickle into our array of choices and it can be argued that the pandemic has made people re-evaluate their priorities, with safety at the forefront of it all.
Reverting back to old habits
Months ago, restrictions on single-use plastics were instated in several places as these materials end up polluting our oceans, landfills, and the environment as a whole. These materials sum up the prevalence of our consumerist, throwaway culture. But now that people are becoming more wary of their health due to the pandemic, we are reverting back to old habits.
Although plastic gloves, masks, and personal protective equipment are reliant on plastic, the area with the biggest impact is the food and beverage industry. With a resurgence in food delivery services due to lockdowns, single-use plastics are making a comeback. Local economies that are struggling to keep their businesses running may not have established infrastructure to consider compostable or reusable packaging. This also comes with the fear that these options are not as safe compared to regular plastic.
However, it is a misconception that reusable or compostable packaging options are not viable or safe. Greenpeace ocean campaign director John Hocevar says that the movement to convince people that single-use plastic is a safer option is not grounded in fact.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that touching surfaces that have been supposedly contaminated is not the primary means of catching the virus. While it may not seem like a huge issue in the present, denying the importance of sustainability will usher in future problems. We need forward-thinking attitudes that are concerned with the undeniable relationship between our choices and the effects on the environment.
Mitigating Future Problems
This field is growing further as businesses are welcoming sustainability into their strategies and operations. They are even showing interest in the size and volume of their choice of packaging materials. This is a reflection of how sustainability has not only become a government and business priority, but also an educational one. The outlook for graduates of online sustainability degrees is promising. Businesses are looking for professionals who have sufficient qualifications and expertise in the field. To show how important these new graduates are, a 2018 report from New Climate Economy put the worldwide economic benefit of environmental responsibility in the trillion of dollars.
Given the role of packaging in most of today’s businesses, experts who are able to prove that sustainable packaging is just as safe as single-use plastic are needed. Following the impact of the pandemic, there will be a greater need to prove that we can still move forward with innovative packaging options with gentler environmental effects – that are still safe.
With this, we can value certain suggestions on effectively using packaging post-pandemic. These can range from tamper-proof packaging to the incorporation of QR codes to view menus instead of printing them. Restaurants are giving customers the choice to opt out of single-use containers or utensils. Packaging can also be non-toxic, odorless, and printed with water-based inks to comply with food-safe regulations. As everyone is looking to help struggling businesses, Company Box has created eco-friendly secure takeout boxes that are ideal for recyclable, contact-free deliveries. To show support for eateries, the first 100 will be free for any restaurant.
Reframing people’s mindsets post-pandemic will entail advocating for environmentally sound packaging that ensures safety as a top concern. We don’t have to sacrifice one priority for the other – as they are both necessary in securing a sustainable future for all.
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Written by Jilly Barty, a guest contributor for the CompanyBox blog.