45 Times Product Packaging Was So Wrong, It Was Shared In This Online Group
Packaging, packaging, PACKAGING! Ugh, it gets on our nerves so much when companies use far too much packaging for their products. ‘Excessive’ doesn’t even cut it when you look at all the plastic, paper, and bubble wrap needed for a single tiny thing. Meanwhile, the Environment’s sitting in the corner, weeping, wondering what it did wrong to deserve this and why companies don’t change their outdated business models.
Some packaging is so horrifyingly unnecessary, it gets shamed on the r/EgregiousPackaging subreddit, a place that shows that excess is far from the positive thing that some customers are led to believe. Scroll down to see the very worst offenders and let us know in the comments what the very worst example was that you’ve seen with your own two eyes, Pandas.
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The r/EgregiousPackaging online community is fairly new. Founded in early 2019, it will be celebrating its 3rd birthday on January 16, 2022. In that time, the group has grown to 16.3k.
A while back, I spoke to four experts about packaging, plastic, business, and recycling. They went in-depth with Bored Panda about the reasons why companies actually focus on having more packaging than we might think is necessary, and highlighted what we as consumers can do to affect their decision-making process.
Graham Forbes, Greenpeace's Global Project Leader for the Plastic-Free-Future, told Bored Panda that companies have convinced people that they can use something once, for a few minutes, and then simply throw it away. “The problem is, we know now that there is no such thing as ‘away,’” he said.
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“Less than 10 percent of the plastic waste ever made has actually been recycled, with the vast majority ending up in our oceans, landfills, or incinerated—polluting communities around the globe,” Forbes, from Greenpeace, warned.
“Companies are still stuck in this outdated business model that uses unnecessary packaging and puts the onus on the consumer to clean it up. It is up to all of us to demand accountability from these companies that continue to churn out throwaway plastic. It's time to demand systems of reuse rather than polluting throwaway packaging,” he said.
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“By utilizing reusable bottles, bags, or containers, we can start to build the systems that we want to see from large companies. Ultimately, large-scale systemic change will depend on companies like Nestle, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo changing their business models to reject throwaway plastic packaging. By rejecting throwaway culture, we can move them in a better direction quickly,” Forbes explained to Bored Panda.
Meanwhile, Kara Pochiro from the Association of Plastic Recyclers noted that “packaging often has a variety of uses that the general consumer does not realize such as protection and preservation.” In short, there are clear reasons why companies add a lot of packaging that we might find egregiously excessive. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t change how companies operate. By changing our spending habits, we can affect the business models that corporations go for.
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“If consumers purchase products and packaging made with recycled content, this will encourage companies to use more recycled content, can boost demand for that material, and increase recycling rates,” Pochiro said.
“Consumers play a big role in the success of recycling programs. They need to recycle and buy products and packaging made with recycled content.”
The CEO of Plastics for Change, Andrew Almack highlighted the fact that getting rid of plastics in packaging would require a lot of effort on the part of companies.
“Removing unnecessary plastic requires companies to redefine their supply chain. They have to do RnD while keeping in mind challenges like the visual appeal of product packaging, the durability of alternatives, sustained supply of alternatives, costing, and manufacturing,” he told Bored Panda that this may be part of the reason why some companies don’t make the switch.
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“It is important for customers to purchase and use products made by businesses that focus on sustainability. When people start buying from eco-friendly businesses, the demand for such goods would increase and ignite other players to cater to this trend which could be done by a simple change in current company policies,” Almack said that customers can be a force for change.
“Being more conscious about our throwaway culture is where one should surely start. Simple changes to eliminate single-use plastic go a long way: avoid gum and plasticware, reuse storage containers and use razors with replaceable blades,” Almack explained what we can do as individuals to help the environment. Every small bit of effort matters, even if it’s the large multinational companies who hold most of the power to affect change.
A spokesperson from the Alliance to End Plastic Waste stressed the fact that plastic waste is harming our environment and that change needs to happen.
“Everyone agrees: plastic waste does not belong in our oceans, or anywhere in the environment. And despite the many benefits of plastic to health, safety, sustainability, and convenience, plastic waste has become a challenge in parts of the world because it is not managed properly,” they said in an interview with Bored Panda.
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“To help address the challenge in a globally coordinated and transformative way, over 40 companies around the world, from across the plastics value chain—companies that make, use, sell, process, collect and recycle plastics—have joined together with a clear mission: to help end plastic waste in the environment,” they said that some companies do focus on helping the environment. Not everyone’s a villain when it comes to packaging—some choose to be superheroes.
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“The Alliance to End Plastic Waste has pledged 1.5 billion dollars over the next five years to develop, accelerate and bring to scale solutions to minimize and manage plastic waste, catalyze investment, engage communities and promote solutions including reducing, reusing, recovering, and recycling materials. Alliance efforts will be implemented in a coordinated way with support and resources from both the public and private sectors, facilitating comprehensive, meaningful, and lasting change that will help end plastic waste in the environment.”