Almost every purchase we make, no matter whether it’s in an online or brick-and-mortar store, leads to generating more waste.
After all, whether it’s local produce or a piece of clothing, it will probably come wrapped in paper or plastic.
Even when ordering eco-friendly products, just as Misona’s Organic Bath Mat, it is likely that some stores will not provide us with equally eco-friendly packaging.
Plastic packaging has become an integral part of our shopping experience.
While we may try to eliminate, or at least limit it, in some cases it might be more challenging than in others.
Such is the case of delivery packaging which includes boxes, bubble-wrap, plastic stretch wrap, foam fillers and plenty more.
Here, packaging can’t be avoided, but can it at least be more Earth-friendly?
Over-packaging or less is more?
We can see that consumers are gradually becoming more aware of the issue of single-use plastic bags that can be easily replaced with more environmentally-friendly options.
However, it’s only a drop in the ocean, as the real problem is over-packaging - often overlooked and ever-growing.
Over-packaging is quite self-explanatory – it refers to using too much packaging for one product.
Although some items, for example, made of glass or easily breakable, need additional protection - clothes, books, cosmetics, and countless other items do not have to be wrapped in excessive plastic foil, placed in numerous boxes or filled with Styrofoam.
This trend, however, goes much further and, at times, takes absurd forms, particularly when it comes to food packaging.
An example is when fruits and vegetables that are “packed” by nature in their protective layers need to be wrapped in an additional coat of plastic.
A shiny, non-reusable piece of foil does not protect a banana any better than its yellow skin does.
Yet, many manufacturers and stores still refuse to give up additional packaging and single use plastics, leading to the production of far more plastic waste than necessary.
Packaging vs the environment — a doomed fight?
The world is flooded with single-use bags, boxes, and all kinds of non-reusable packaging.
Greenpeace reports that only 9% of the plastic we use and throw away is recycled and over 90% of it is left to break down into particles that never leave the environment, but pollute it in amounts constantly growing every year.
Simply put - the vast majority of the disposable plastic that we use for packaging does not biodegrade. Moreover, approximately 32% of the packaging we produce escapes the waste segregation system, as the World Economic Forum estimates.
It is not a challenge to imagine how this amount of plastic impacts the environment, as there are no natural processes that would decompose, neutralise and integrate plastic particles with the habitat.
Our over-packaging is yet another significant way that leads to polluting the Earth. Less waste is something we should all be aspiring to.
Eco-friendly and sustainable packaging
One of the solutions to over-packaging would could be changing our habits and making alternative, “greener” choices whenever possible.
As the last years of the pandemic have shown, the tendency to shop online will only develop in the future, and it is not likely that we will be able to receive our ordered products intact without proper packaging.
Even a regular shopping trip to a physical store requires the use of shopping bags – also typically made of plastic.
The answer to the crying need for change might be sustainable packaging materials that are biodegradable and reusable.
Linen or cotton bags for shopping, green cell foam for packing, and using non-toxic materials in the production of packaging.
Paper tape is a sustainable alternative to commonly used plastic tape. Brown, both recycled and recyclable paper is a healthier option to common artificial foam fillers.
Aside from choosing eco-friendly and recyclable packaging materials, we can try to eliminate them whenever possible.
More and more cafés and restaurants (and even some petrol stations!) encourage customers to bring their own reusable coffee cups and reusable containers in exchange for a discount for doing so.
Over in America, Los Angeles has recently introduced a new law, according to which restaurants will not offer single-use utensils, napkins, ketchup packets, unless a customer specifically requests them.
Social change and corporate efforts are becoming more and more visible. Consumers, companies and brands are trying to limit their negative overall environmental impact by choosing more eco-friendly, reusable packaging and making more sustainable choices.
Aside from our evolving habits, this trend can also be seen throughout the manufacturing industry where, in recent years, we have been seeing far more eco-friendly products – from organic produce to Misona's bamboo towels.
Choose stores that care about the environment
The waste-free concept is now becoming a real trend, both online and in physical stores.
In many cases, the amount of packaging is being reduced to a minimum, with no unnecessary boxes, bags, or plastic.
Many stores still have much to achieve to become waste-free, although the tendency to change is clearly visible. Misona’s 2025 plastic-free pledge is an initiative that aims at using no plastic at all in the very near future.
At Misona, we provide high-quality, eco-friendly products, such as organic bamboo towels that are soft, absorbent and, most importantly - sustainable, just like our fast absorbing bath mat collection (made of diatomite or organic cotton).
All of these without over-packaging, toxic materials and non-biodegradable plastic.