Solving the World’s Plastics Problem Is a Challenge That Involves Engineers, Scientists, and Consumers

As the world comes to grips with the latest reports about the amount of plastic waste that is generated by everyone in the world, especially Americans, it is no wonder that manufacturing plants are doing everything in their power to make sure that they are limiting the unnecessary use of plastics. From redesigning reusable clamshells so that they are less wasteful to the reengineering of shooting glasses cases, there are many ways that the plastics industry is going to start policing itself in an effort to control the over use of plastic packaging and various containers.

The latest reports indicate that as many as 150 million metric tons of plastic currently litter the oceans of the world. In fact, a 2016 Ellen MacArthur Foundation report indicated that if the world does not take action, by the year 2050, there may be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Although recent developments in reusable clamshell packaging solutions are a step in the right direction, it is important to make sure that there are many other changes that are made. From discussions about banning plastic straws to entire cities banning plastic bags, our nation, and the world may be at a turning point when it comes to the use of plastics.

Consider these facts and figures about the plastics and packaging industry and the impact that they have not only on the nation’s industry, but also the future of the continent:

  • 14% of consumers feel that brands are making an effort to improve packaging to satisfy consumer needs, according to a 2016 West Rock Consumer Insights Study.
  • 66% of consumers have tried a new product because the packaging caught their eye, according to the 2016 West Rock Consumer Insights Study.
  • 45% of consumers have purchased a product because the packaging was environmentally friendly, according to the same 2016 West Rock Consumer Insights Study.
  • 26% of respondents said that the packaging of a product is extremely important to their overall satisfaction, according to a 2016 West Rock Consumer Insights Study. This is fairly significant increase from 18% in the year 2013.
  • 31.9 million metric tons of plastic waste is improperly disposed.
  • Causing damages amounting to at least $13 billion a year, a significant amount of the world’s plastic waste ends up in the ocean.

Utility storage boxes and reusable clamshell packages are common place in today’s consumer world. It is necessary, however, to make sure that everyone, from consumers to engineers, are doing their part to limit the use of plastics that end up in landfills and oceans.

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