It's no surprise that packaging waste is a major problem, clogging up landfills and polluting our oceans (where it kills 200,000 marine mammals and one million seabirds a year, according to Plastiki explorer David de Rothschild). While we certainly need to boost our recycling rates, reduce consumption and consider the producer take-back laws that are evolving in Europe, it's also true that better, smarter packaging design could go a long ways to reducing our impact on the planet.
Consider the lowly pizza box. With some simple perforations, a leading edge design team has rethought the dorm room staple into packaging with less waste and more usefulness. Packaging offers a lot of opportunity to literally think outside the box, and there are thousands of product categories to mine. Ideally, packaging will be reduced at all stages, but it's also a good idea to reuse materials that are already out there. Boxes can be reused, packing paper can be used for animal bedding and bags can be used for organizing.
To be sure, there are thousands more (re)uses for packaging we encounter every day. To get you thinking in the direction of reuse, the creative folks over at AltUse have a new challenge: submit your alternative uses for packaging and score a chance to win $250 (for the most innovative idea) or $100 (for the greatest number of submissions). It could be a reuse for cardboard, plastic, glass or anything else. But hurry, contest ends October 2.
Enter here at AltUse, and let us know here what your ideas are, too.
Plus, give this Carbonrally challenge a try:
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.