Here is a quick guide to the topics covered in each of the articles in my “The Packaging Industry and How We Can Consume Differently” series.
“The ultimate goal is to adopt sensible and effective policies to reduce single-use plastic and other packaging, and hold producers responsible for making better packaging and paying for the cost of recycling and waste disposal (and cleanup).” -Jennie Romer1
Part 1: Introduces the packaging industry, its history, false beliefs about packaging, and an introduction to the term greenwashing.
Part 2: Discusses greenwashing terms “biodegradable” and “compostable,” with examples. Introduction to Industrial Composting facilities; PFOAs (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances).
Part 3: Introduction to bioplastics (plant-based or plant-derived plastics), with greenwashing examples.
Part 4: Examines the pros and cons of the practice of lightweighting to reduce carbon emissions. Looks at cardboard cartons that are lined with plastic film.
Part 5: Discusses the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), examples of it, and opposition to EPR.
Part 6: Examines take-back programs as a type of EPR; their purposes, their issues, and recycling from take-back programs.
Part 7: Explores specific take-back programs including TerraCycle and examines Container Deposit programs. Includes glass milk bottles.
Part 8: Analyzes the packaging impacts of Walmart.
Part 9: Analyzes the packaging impacts of the largest online retailer, Amazon. Includes a list of companies that sell environmentally friendly shipping packaging.
Part 10: Explores RePack, a reusable mail packaging program; companies with sustainability built into their business models, creative packaging, naked packaging, and limited packaging.
Part 11: Reviews cleaning products with refillable packaging options.
Part 12: Reviews personal care products with refillable packaging options.
Part 13: Examines food packaging and how to avoid it; explores bulk bin food sections and TerraCycle’s Loop.
Epilogue: Recap of my process, goals, and hopes.