The Plastic Packaging Problem | Aylesbury Box Company
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The Plastic Packaging Problem


The Plastic Packaging Problem

It’s Plastic Free July, so we’re exploring the waste problem and some simple steps that can be taken to switch away from single-use plastic packaging.

How Much Plastic Packaging is Recycled in the UK?

The UK disposes of 2 million metric tons of plastic waste every year, many of it is product packaging. Soft drinks, takeaway packaging, fresh produce wrapping, toiletry bottles, lunchbox snack packs and online shopping packaging are prime examples.

On the plus side, opportunities to collect and recycle plastic have grown over the last decade; many waste collection services are now equipped to separate and recycle plastics. Some larger supermarkets now offer soft plastic bins for food wraps and other thin plastic which isn’t accepted in kerbside collections. There are also plastic recycling bins popping up at festivals, events and even on British beaches, like an impressive Whale in Southsea.

Even with these efforts to recycle plastic packaging, only 43.8% is. This means that, as the average person generates 36kg of plastic waste a year, around 20kg ends up in landfill, our seas and the countryside. That is an equivalent weight to 200 chocolate muffins – you wouldn’t be so keen to chuck those away! It is gradually suffocating our planet.

What is Plastic Free July?

Plastic Free July is a global movement to build awareness of the problem and encourage action that reduces plastic use. Whilst it can be challenging to eliminate single-use plastic packaging, we can all take steps to use less of it.

Visit the Plastic Free July website to find out more about the campaign, take the Pesky Plastics Quiz and discover more about the challenge of changing current habits to reduce plastic use and waste.

What are the Alternatives to Plastic Packaging for E-commerce?

Online shopping is convenient, fast and offers a great selection of choices. The number of purchases made online has been growing year on year. Goods bought online have to be packed for shipping. Packaging materials including air pockets, bubble wrap, pouches, polystyrene and plastic tape have long been used to protect goods in transit. They are typically discarded when the package is unwrapped.

There are now a wide variety of plastic-free alternatives for e-commerce brands to use. These include bio-degradable foam nuggets, shredded cardboard, scrunched paper, sheep’s fleece liners and paper-based parcel tape.

If you buy online, check out whether your chosen brand offers sustainable e-commerce packaging. If your order arrives in plastic, give feedback to encourage change – the consumers’ voice is powerful! If you run an e-commerce business that is still using plastic, contact your local packaging supplier to enquire about alternatives.

As a cardboard packaging specialist, Aylesbury Box Company has helped hundreds of e-commerce businesses to switch to sustainable packaging materials.

What Changes Can You Make to Reduce Plastic Use?

Small changes can make a difference, you could:

  1. Always carry a refillable water bottle and/or coffee mug in your bag. A growing number of shops and public buildings provide free water refills and some cafes offer money off if you bring your own mug. This means saving money, as well as cutting waste.
  2. Buy loose fruit and vegetables in the supermarket, market or farm shop. Paper bags are equally good for holding your items and you get to select the quantity you need, which also cuts food waste. Bread and toilet rolls are other products which can be paper, not plastic wrapped.
  3. Use refill stations for dried goods, toiletries and household cleaners. Your shampoo might come in a plastic bottle, but it isn’t so bad if you top it back up rather than binning it. Also, consider bars of soap and shampoo which use no plastic.
  4. Ditch cling film and replace it with foil, wax papers or reusable containers for lunchboxes and leftovers. If you clean and scrunch foil into a ball, it can go in the recycling bin.
  5. Look for recycling symbols on packaging and select brands that are making changes to minimise packaging waste.

Playing Our Part in Plastic Reduction

As a business, Aylesbury Box Company has taken steps to reduce waste, specifically plastic, from our office and factory. Our actions haven’t compromised quality, efficiency or cost, but it has encouraged more customers to rate us as a sustainable packaging supplier.

As individuals, many of the team are actively making changes at home to reduce their environmental impact. Are you prepared to play your part in plastic reduction?

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