Here we are again. Earth Day is upon us, with all its blaring, breathless press releases and tenuous connections to sustainability being made. Perhaps your own company is doing it! Every April, green becomes a topic of conversation far beyond those you’d normally expect. The jury’s still out as to whether this is a good and well, sustainable thing, focusing people’s attention on earth-positive actions, or just an annual green hurrah that gets forgotten a few days later.
I see a missed opportunity here.
The majority of what takes place is talk, back slapping, finger wagging, product launches, brand behavior enhancements and lifestyle actions suggestions. What about packaging? Have all these Earth Day actions helped move the needle in the world of consumer packaging towards companies using and consumers asking for more sustainable packaging?
I’m sure that consumer’s interest in recycled content was born out of Earth Day. But does it go any deeper than that? Tell me, how can Earth Day be better tied to packaging? How can we increase the sophistication of your average consumer so that they know about and will ask for the increasingly sophisticated green options that are possible in packaging these days?
And on the flip side, how do we broaden the perspectives of green-knowledgeable people dismissing Pepsi’s new 100-percent plant based bottle because it’s recyclable rather than compostable, and made by a global corporation? Their absolutist point of view is hindering possibilities for the benefit of many. In the case of green poster child compostable bottles, they must be composted in a professional facility to break down properly, and if thrown out, release methane, an even more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
I think that, though Earth Day has become in many ways clouded with green smoke and mirrors, done right, it can truly be of service to creating true change, in businesses, governments and people.