Going Green, Companies Eliminate 4 Billion Pounds of Packaging
A new study finds that manufacturers of consumer products have eliminated 1.5 billion pounds of packaging waste since 2005 and plan to shed another 2.5 billion pounds by 2020 -- the equivalent of taking 815,000 cars off the road.
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The results are based on two separate surveys of GMA member companies that asked about their current initiatives to manufacture more environmentally conscious packaging as well as packaging improvements they plan to implement in the coming decade. Respondents from 14 companies reported that since 2005, they have eliminated more than 1.5 billion pounds of packaging, and expect to increase that to another 2.5 billion pounds by 2020. That 4 billion pounds represents a 19 percent reduction of the reporting companies' total average U.S. packaging weight.
When asked about methods for decreasing packaging pounds, the companies said they have implemented a variety of initiatives, from package redesigns to increasing their usage of recyclable package materials.
The Environmental Protection Agency measured the benefits of these findings based on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and found that removing 4 billion pounds of packaging is the equivalent of removing 815,000 cars from the road or 363,000 homes from the energy grid for one year. "In eliminating this packaging from the supply chain, we are reducing a significant volume of waste that would otherwise end up in landfills, but the benefits go far beyond that. Companies are reporting that packaging improvements are also enabling them to ship more units per truckload, reduce green house gas emissions and conserve resources such as water and energy," GMA senior director, John Shanahan, said in a statement.