Societal Proposal


For my topic I have decided to focus on reducing packaging waste.  So much waste is generated from the materials used to package products that we consume.  There are many ways to reduce this including recycling, reusing, composting, limiting the amount of materials used in packaging, etc.  I believe one of the most efficient and effective ways that this can be accomplished is by the government taking responsibility.  If the government set regulations and enforced them throughout businesses, I think this would be a good way to reduce waste quickly.

However, I found a book that calls more upon the industries and businesses to take responsibility.  The book is titled Designing for re-use: the life of consumer packaging by Tom Fisher and Janet Shipton.  This book focuses on how the design of the packaging can change consumer behavior and cause them to re-use the packaging instead of wasting and deposing of it.  If many consumers were encouraged to re-use the packaging this could significantly reduce waste, however the authors do not believe the design of current packaging encourage this re-use. “The authors demonstrate that we do re-use – but usually despite, rather than because of, the actions of government and designers. The book shows that by understanding the ways in which actions of this sort fit with everyday life, opportunities may be identified to enhance the potential for re-use through packaging design”.  If businesses began designing their packaging in a way that would enhance the potential for re-use, this could be very successful in reducing overall packaging waste because less packaging would beed to be produced.

This helps develop my idea because it makes me think that maybe the food packaging industries should have more of a responsibility than I had originally thought.  It would be beneficial to try to change consumer behavior as well by changing the design of the packaging, instead of just forcing the businesses to recycle and use less material.  If there was a combination of both, this could be an ideal solution.  There are many ways that consumers can work to reduce packaging waste, and instead of just focusing on industries or consumer, it would be the best option to work on both.

I still think a government policy to set regulations on packaging waste would be the most effective means of reducing waste, however on an industry level, businesses can take some responsibility as well to initiate change.  If they worked to create packaging that consumers would want to reuse, this could cause a trend and change in consumer behavior that could have a very positive impact.

I found this book by using World Cat and finding it in the Bucknell Library.  I find this information to be reliable because it uses real-life examples to make recommendations.

Source: Fisher, Tom, and Janet Shipton. Designing for Re-Use: The Life of Consumer Packaging. London: Earthscan, 2010. Print.

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