The issue I have decided to focus on for my White Paper is packaging waste. The large amount of waste that is being generated in the world today is a big issue, and will continue to become a larger issue if a policy is not made to reduce the amount of waste. One thing that significantly adds to the amount of waste that we produce is packaging. So many things that people buy are packaged in a materials that are often not properly recycled and reused and add to the amount of waste that people generate. I think that the government should be responsible for making regulations for businesses in order to reduce the amount of waste created in packaging. This could be through reusing materials, requiring the use of certain materials, setting limits of the amount of materials they can use, etc. This would set a standard that could dramatically reduce the amount of packaging waste created. However, currently I think it is more in the hands of the businesses and consumers. There are many businesses that have started initiative to reduce packaging waste, some of which go above and beyond.
I found two businesses that I thought were good examples of ways that business could be acting in order to reduce packaging waste. The first is Unilever. On Unilever’s website there is a page about “Brands in Action” and a sub-section titled “Waste & Packaging”. In this sub-section it discusses all of Unilever’s future plans and successes about how they are reducing waste and packaging. Unilever made a goal for themselves in 2010 that they would reduce their amount of waste they generate by half. As of now, they have reduced their waste by 11%, which the company attributes to “Efficient pack designs and innovative use of materials, as well as the disposal of sauce brands with large waste footprints, have been the main drivers”. Unilever also discusses its recycling as a method to reduce waste by working with other companies, as well as their goal to reuse many of their packaging materials. I think this is a great method to control packaging waste. If every company could have a goal to reduce their packaging waste by 50% in 10 years, so much progress could be made.
A second business that I found, is a grocery store called In.gredients located in Austin, Texas. In an article, it describes how this grocery store centers is mission around reducing packaging waste by forcing consumers to reuse containers. They do not have any packaged goods in their store, and costumers need to bring containers to package the food that they want from bins. This seems too extreme to force businesses to do, but this would be the ideal. In this situation, the amount of packaging wasted would be drastically lowered. The focus on reusing packaging materials could be a really good approach to take in creating and mandating a policy.
I find both of these sources to be reliable. For the Unilever website, since it is posted on their website I believe the information to be reliable. Unilever is being very transparent with their efforts to reach their goal, showing which aspects they are reaching and which they are falling behind in, which leads me to believe it is more reliable. The other source about In.gredients I also believe to be reliable because I found this source by following a link on a government report about reducing packaging waste.
Source 1: http://www.unileverusa.com/sustainable-living-2014/waste-and-packaging/
Source 2: http://magazine.good.is/articles/zero-packaging-grocery-store-to-open-in-austin-texas