World Environment Day is a great opportunity for people and businesses to review their impact on the environment, whether that be good or bad.
In a recent study, experts discovered that beverage packaging and single-use foods are a major source of the estimated 269,000 tons of plastic pollution currently swarming around the world’s oceans. Such a mass of garbage causes harm to whales, seabirds, turtles, fish, and other marine life. Negative impact on the ocean environment goes far beyond the marine ecosystem.
With much of the garbage coming from food-chains, but consumed and thrown away by irresponsible consumers, which is to blame: the consumer or the business?
The answer is both. While consumers are the end-point where the littering occurs, there is an opportunity for the companies to encourage consumers to recycle their products or to create biodegradable packaging.
In Europe, many food companies take responsibility for the packaging they use. The sad part is, the same giant multinational businesses that agree to pay for collection of their packaging in Europe refuse to take that same responsibility in the United States. It would be inspiring if businesses took positive action because they believed in it and not because they were required to do so.
According to a national survey, all the recyclable stuff Americans throw away annually could total in value upwards of $11.4 billion if those materials were instead recycled. These items include glass, plastics, paper, aluminum, and other recyclable material.
In the United States, we have a particularly interesting opportunity. We are among the largest consumer nations in the world, yet, we have among the lowest overall recycling rates among any developed country. For being such a developed nation, we largely have recycling programs that are not effective and countless communities today that don’t have curbside recycling.
There’s still hope.
Comprehensive research by independent parties explored recycling in American businesses. The research found that there are several American companies looking for affordable and flexible options when it comes to recycling.
Businesses and entities do care. Starbucks is working with paper recyclers to find alternative ways in recycling food-stained wrappers and boxes, and the state of California is aiming to reach a 75 percent recycling rate by 2020. The state believes that this could create 110,000 jobs.
Even if manufacturers started small and more companies gradually reduced their packaging waste we could all minimize landfill waste and pollution. The environment is #1, and any job creation that results from recycling initiatives is a pretty great bonus, too.
To support recycling initiatives, EMS Solutions has recycling bins at the end of every production line and does our part in recycling as much as possible. As previously reported, upwards of 56 cubic yards of material per month are now recycled at EMS Solutions.