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Resolutions for a packaging addict

TerraCycle ReTote shopping bag

As both packaging professionals and consumers, we live lives dominated by packaging and its science. When we pick up a product at the grocery store or order something new online, we think about what the item itself is packaged in, how it was or will be sent to its destination, and what will happen to it after we use it. What are the possibilities? What are the limitations? 2012 brings an entire new year of searching for packaging solutions and creating new options for consumers and the eco-minded.

Because we’re both producers and users of packaging, we see both sides of the problem: the science and the facts, and the problems consumers face in choosing a product with eco-friendly packaging, and employing the solutions available for that packaging. For 2012, I have four packaging resolutions for TerraCycle and five packaging resolutions for myself-something to think about as we head into the New Year.

TerraCycle Resolutions

1. Work on the packaging of our own products, and solutions for the products themselves. As we evaluate and change our own habits and science, we can improve our processes and packaging along with the recycling solutions available to the consumer.

2. Help support the compostable packaging movement.
In order for consumers to appreciate compostable packaging and compost it correctly, they need to understand how the packaging can be eco-friendly and learn to overlook the potentially noisy side effects.

3. Develop a TerraCycle composting solution for our partners.
Some people aren’t interested in composting, even if their product packaging is compostable. Hopefully, the movement will grow, and we can support it by offering composting solutions for our partners in addition to our traditional TerraCycle processes.

4. Brainstorm new products to be made from the packaging we collect.
The possibilities are endless, and we’re always excited about new ideas.

My Personal Packaging Resolutions

1. Consider packaging more thoroughly as part of a purchasing decision.
Sometimes when we make purchases in haste, we don’t spend a lot of time considering the packaging, even though we should. Is there another way to get this with less packaging or more eco-friendly packaging?

2. Consider whether buying is necessary.
Do I need this?

3. Never use plastic bags at the store.
It’s easier to forget reusable bags, but having a few extra on hand in the car could be helpful in the long run.

4. Don’t use plastic or styrofoam from restaurants, etc.
Not over-ordering so you can eat your whole main meal goes a long way. I find that most food taken home from a restaurant gets thrown out anyway, so why bother using that extra plastic or styrofoam wasted?
5. Stay more up-to-date on recycling news AND environmental news. One of my favorite sites for this is, because I can get information about both consumer recycling and other environmental bits. If I want to keep up my own recycling resolutions, it’s important for me to keep up with the news and the extra efforts I can be making.

What are your company’s resolutions for 2012? Your personal packaging resolutions? Please share your ideas and concerns–I’d love to hear them.

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