The environmental impact of excessive packaging

How sustainable packaging can put an end to wasteful packaging? While many companies are making great progress in implementing sustainable packaging, we still have some ways to go.

As consumers, we dispose of tones of packaging materials each year. These don’t simply disappear into thin air. Much of our waste is taken to landfill sites. Here, packaging materials including plastic, paper, tin and glass take hundreds of years to decompose.

A collaborative report from a few departments of the U.S. government listed the time it takes for some packaging to break down in the environment. They include:

  • Glass bottle: 1 million years.
  • Plastic beverage bottles: 450 years.
  • Aluminum can: 80-to-200 years.
  • Plastic bag: 10-to-20 years.

Eco-Friendly Packaging

Eco-friendly packaging goes by a few other names such as sustainable packaging, green packaging and environmentally-friendly packaging. To be eco-friendly, packaging can be biodegradable (but preferably compostable), recyclable, reusable, non-toxic, made from recycled products, based in biomass or natural products or manufactured through low-impact means.

The EPA has released suggestions to help manufacturers reduce the environmental impact of their packaging. Companies should aim to use less packaging material, which reduces the environmental as well as the economic impact of the packaging. Increasing the recycled content of the packaging and using recyclable materials can reduce items going into landfills.

We at Ecorite support these initiatives



  •, article: Bad packaging is as harmful as it is entertaining, By: Phil Forbes, March 22, 2020
  • The Guardian, article: Good product, bad package: top sustainable packaging mistakes, July 18, 2020
  •, article: The Impact of Packaging on the Environment, Jun 1, 2019


1 thought on “The environmental impact of excessive packaging

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