Those made in USA clamshells that all your purchases are packed in these days are part of the answer to the world’s packaging, and packaging waste, needs. To understand more, read on.
- The world’s packaging problem. We need good packaging, but we have a serious problem with plastic waste. In 2013, for example, 78 million metric tons of plastic packaging was produced around the world. Of that 78 million metric tons, 40% ended up being dumped in landfills. Another 32% ended up being leaked into the environment and becoming pollution for both land and sea. Every year, the plastic that ends up in the oceans of the world creates damages equal to about $13 billion. In fact, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation report from 2016 says that if we don’t take action about the plastics in our oceans, by 2015 there could be more plastic in the sea than there are fish!
- Why do we need packaging at all? The flip side of the packaging issue is that we really depend on it to keep products, especially food items, safe and sanitary. Packaging, and particularly retail packaging, keeps things out of our purchases that can be genuinely dangerous to us and our children.
- What do made in USA clamshells have to do with any of this? Clamshell packaging and other types of thermoformed packaging save an immense amount of plastic. Those made in USA clamshells that surround the items you’re buying fit the items snuggly. They are a type of customizable packaging that allows sellers to use the minimum possible amount of plastic while still maintaining the integrity of whatever they are selling. Custom clamshell packaging leaves very little wasted space inside the container, making it economical and easy to display.
- Do customers care about the packaging that much? Absolutely they do. A study done in 2016 by West Rock Consumer Insights found that 45% of people who buy a product have chosen the item they did precisely because the packaging was friendly to the environment. Studies show that over half the people in the world make decisions about their purchases at least partly because of packaging that indicates a brand is trying to have a positive impact on the environment or on social issues. At the same time, packaging has to do its job. It has to protect the item, catch the eye, and be easy to get into. That same West Rock study found that 26% of people say that the packaging is extremely important to how satisfied they are with any product.
Packaging serves a variety of purposes, but it has to be effective to protect what’s inside as well as friendly to the environment. Packaging needs to generate the least amount of waste possible to help us keep our oceans and our landfills as clean as possible. Made in USA clamshells are part of how we’re meeting this need, by providing packaging that’s effective, environmentally-friendly, and supports the communities and economy of our country.