Why compostable packaging ‘Trump’s’ the plastic agenda
Content Coms’ green expert Giles Crosse analyses the current landscape of sustainable packaging and looks to the future.
In recent months, America’s administration has thrown a spanner into the works of sustainable packaging.
The Guardian reports that the Trump administration’s decision to reverse a ban on the sale of plastic water bottles in some of America’s most famous national parks, including the Grand Canyon, shows the corporate agenda is king, while people and the environment are left behind.
The background; since 2011, 23 of America’s most famous parks had ended bottled water sales. Those included the Grand Canyon and Zion national park, which together drew 10.2 million visitors in 2016.
Last year, 331 million people visited America’s national parks. Plastic bottles at the Grand Canyon alone comprised 20% of waste, and 30% of the park’s recyclable waste.
Non-compostable packaging; a risky story
Further details on the damage non-compostable packaging can cause are truly staggering.
The ban on bottled water had prevented up to 2 million plastic bottles from being used and discarded every year, a US national park service study found.
That is equivalent to up to 326 barrels of oil worth of emissions, 419 cubic yards of landfill space and 111,743lb of plastic.
It is easy to argue, but harder to prove that the Trump administration’s moves are driven by silent, corporate influencers, given the undeniable stats in favour of more sustainable alternatives.
Surely, an alternative solution would have been to advocate water sold only in compostable bottles, growing the sustainable side of the US economy?
Why compostable works
On home shores, The Guardian has also noted that The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and World Economic Forum produced a striking portrait of a new economy, where a radical increase in recycling and greater adoption of industrially compostable plastic packaging could really help.
At Content Coms, we are firmly behind a vision for a world where more compostable plastic packaging, and indeed more sustainable packaging alternatives become the norm.
The US example is clearly a retrogressive step, but plenty of positive movement remains on UK shores, on shifting our packaging consumption patterns in favour of more sustainable alternatives.
Speeding this change can only be a good thing. If Trump’s US moves help bring the agenda back into the public mindset, that might actually help bring more compostable packaging into play.
Let’s hope so. It’s clear compostables are the way forward. Now let’s grow their market share and the environmental benefits they bring.