Jul 21st, 2021
The Shift Toward Sustainability: Why Biodegradable Materials Matter
You were probably sitting in an elementary school classroom when you first learned about the 3 R's – reduce, reuse, and recycle. Growing up, a parent likely reminded you to turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth or not to hold the refrigerator door open too long. At the time, you may not have realized that even the smallest choices you were making would impact the world you live in today.
And that is the reality of sustainability. The choices we make – from our travel habits to our energy supplier and everything in between – impact the health of our planet and the quality of life for future generations.
A Growing Trend
Sustainability has become a growing trend. As we make more conscious decisions about where and how to spend our money. We are prioritizing the planet more than ever. We are limiting single use plastic, buying more local, seasonal produce, or making financial investments in sustainable brands.
Most prominently, Generation Z and Millennials have risen to the forefront of the sustainability movement, boasting a powerful influence on brands and businesses. Research shows that in addition to a willingness to pay more for sustainable products, Gen Z and Millennial consumers are vocal activists. Boycotting brands that they believe aren't ethical or sustainable.
Biodegradable or Bust
It's nearly impossible to see the overflowing landfills or oceans polluted with plastic and not feel inspired to reduce waste. Individuals and businesses alike are more focused than ever on reducing their environmental footprint.
One key sustainability factor is whether a product or its packaging is biodegradable. Why does it matter? Materials that are biodegradable will break down naturally through decomposition and are absorbed by the environment. On the flip side, waste that is non-biodegradable and non-recyclable is likely to sit in a landfill for decades, centuries, or indefinitely. Single-use plastic bottles, for example, will last longer than your lifetime. Another example is plastic and wire hangers. With over 8+ billion sold each year, and only 15% ever being recycled, the numbers begin to add up.
Improving Sustainability via Biodegradation
So, what can you do to live more sustainably? If you're an individual consumer, try these simple tips:
- Avoid using items that aren't biodegradable - For example, opt for reusable shopping bags versus single-use plastic bags
- Learn what to recycle and how to do it correctly - When we don't properly sort waste, it's likely to end up in landfills. Even a few trash items thrown into recycling bins can result in the entire bin being sent to the landfill
- Start a compost - Enrich your soil with biodegradable waste while saving money on fertilizer
If you run a business, consider the following tips:
- Utilize high-performance films - The latest in resin technology can help increase efficiency, reducing film waste by as much as 50%
- Use biodegradable product packaging - Opt for shipping materials like corrugated boxes and biodegradable bubble wrap alternatives that are sustainable
- Replace plastic cups and cutlery in your break room with eco-friendly alternatives
- Implement a recycling policy in your workplace and educate your employees about how to reduce waste