Food packaging contributes to perhaps the largest chunk of packaging trash. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of the huge amount of plastic being used in what could be termed as pointless packaging!
As with every sensitive topic, packaging generates passionate arguments from both sides – eco-conscious consumers and product manufacturers. Consumers want packaging to be as minimal as possible, using less or no plastic and fully recyclable. Manufacturers on the other hand, often add multiple layers of packaging to protect the material, increase shelf life and gain branding opportunities. While there might be some legitimate reasoning, most of times we end up seeing excessive and unwanted layers of plastic wraps.
A case in point is a brand of fresh produce that claims to be ‘sustainable’ in its rather thick plastic sealed covers containing vegetables. This single-use plastic is definitely thick by any standards and beats my understanding of sustainability especially when there is no formal recycling procedure in many locations in India.
A shrink-wrapped tender coconut is another example of pointless packaging. Coconuts are perhaps nature’s best example of natural packaging. Do we need a layer of plastic over it that will ultimately find its way to the landfill? If ease of drilling the shell is the concern, brands must find a way to provide a simple screwdriver kind of device for every subscriber to easily puncture the shell.
There are numerous other examples of everyday products across F&B, FMCG, healthcare, pharma, clothing and many more – purchased by millions everyday, that have significant scope of evaluating and reducing and in some cases, completely eliminating the secondary packaging. Manufacturers and marketers need to step up. Our planet cannot handle waste anymore.
Please post photographs of what you may consider as pointless packaging from your everyday trip to the local store or supermarket. It’ll help raising awareness and manufacturers and marketers taking note.
No doubt, plastic is useful – but only when it is selectively used and re-used. Marketing teams and design agencies must be mindful of the environmental consequences while working on every packaging assignment.