Today’s Solutions: April 12, 2024

Despite the joy of giving gifts over the holidays, the excessive amount of packaging trash is a growing problem, particularly considering the recycling catastrophe in the United States. Before China banned the import of plastic waste back in 2018, it had taken 70 percent of the United States’ plastic waste and two-thirds of the UK’s. Without the option to export, the United States has contended with an ever-growing packaging dilemma.

The crisis of excess and inadequacy

The United States made matters worse by not strengthening its recycling infrastructure or encouraging businesses to reconsider their package designs, despite repeated warnings of this change. Municipalities around the country struggle to manage recyclables, with some turning to landfills or paying to have recyclable goods disposed of.

Shipping behemoths anticipate handling hundreds of millions of shipments amid growing consumerism and online shopping, worsening the surge of cardboard, plastic, and packing materials.

Individual impact matters

While structural improvements take time, individual efforts have enormous potential in reducing packaging waste during holidays. Here is a list of ideas you may consider to reduce your waste this year.

Actionable solutions

-Make personalized gifts: Use current materials to make one-of-a-kind gifts by investigating DIY gift choices or repurposing products.

-Opt for minimal packaging: Choose items without excessive outer packaging or opt for second-hand gifts, minimizing additional waste.

-Conscious online shopping: Give preference to companies who use plastic-free and recyclable shipping materials, thereby supporting sustainable practices.

-Think about your wrapping options: For eco-friendly wrapping, use reused materials such as fabric, newspapers, or brown paper. Check out this article for more alternatives to wrapping paper.

-Rethink gift giving: Consider giving unwrapped presents or wrapping them selectively to reduce unneeded packaging.

-Community engagement: Engage with family and friends, advocating for reduced packaging waste in shared holiday traditions.

Embracing change for a sustainable tomorrow

While quick solutions to the recycling challenge may be elusive, changing our buying habits and lowering our reliance on packaging represents a huge step toward a more sustainable future.

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