Choose products with packaging that was designed to use fewer materials
Packaging plays several roles: it protects the product from shock and breakage, makes handling easier and displays information. In the case of perishable products such as food, cosmetics and medication, packaging plays a crucial role in their preservation and conservation, while prolonging the product’s useful life and therefore preventing waste.
Sometimes, packaging is made with more materials than necessary to fulfill its functions. That’s what is called overpackaging. It’s also the expression used to describe packaging whose sole purpose is to make the product more attractive to the consumer. Good news: More and more companies understand the consequences of overpackaging. They now choose packaging that is better adapted to the size of the product, or use boxes and bottles with thinner walls.
Risks of underpackaging
The opposite of overpackaging is underpackaging, where too little packaging could result in product loss or breakage whether at home, at the store or along the procurement and transportation chain. In many cases, the environmental footprint of the product itself is more significant than that of its packaging. Growing fruits, for example, could require more energy and natural resources than does the packaging that protects them. It’s therefore not worth the risk of wasting or damaging a product just to reduce the quantity of packaging.
Did you know that packaging can extend the life of the product and therefore reduce waste?
An English cucumber is a good example. Without packaging, this vegetable stays fresh for only 3 days in the grocery store, while, with the plastic wrap, it remains in excellent condition for about 14 days. Just a little recyclable plastic wrap makes a big difference.