Lush puts a message emphasizing environment protection on their boxes.
/Photography by Lee Jae-eun
Dong-A, the pharmaceutical company, decided to change the “Bacchus plastic bag,” which was called a pharmacy shopping bag, to kraft paper bag, an eco-friendly regenerative bag. For the last 29 years, Dong-A has provided 5.5 million plastic bags a year to pharmacies, and the total number of distributed bags amounts to 159.5 million. By using recyclable materials in packaging, the production costs that Dong-A pharmaceutical company has to pay have tripled. However, it has effectively reduced plastic waste to contribute to environmental protection. As such, amid a situation in which the value of environmental protection is considered socially important, many businesses are now participating in eco-friendly packaging. Then, why should companies introduce environmentally-friendly management, and what kind of eco-friendly packaging have they implemented?
We need to practice environmental protection
According to a report from the International Union for Conservative of Nature(IUCN), the amount of plastic trash dumped in the sea reaches 9.5 million tons and between 15-31 percent of those are microplastics. Up to now, the total quantity of plastics has been produced is 8.3 billion. Referring to a research conducted by Dr. Costas Bellis of Leith University, 1.3 billion tons of plastic wastes will be thrown away within the next 20 years if an environment-protective measure is not devised. Especially, Korea use more plastic and vinyl for packaging than other countries. The stastics on plastic usage in 63 countries implemented by European Plastics and Rubber Machinery(Euromap) show that the Korea ranked second with 61.97kg of plastic use per capita annually, following Belgium. Sung Sang-hyeon, a dean professor of the Department of Business Administration, said, “As companies are largely responsible for environmental pollution, it is in line with market principles to impose responsibilities in proportion. We also need to expand incentive measures to businesses that seek convenience, cost efficiency, and development of new materials for eco-friendly packaging.”
Therefore, to solve this pollution problem, reducing the amount of plastic and vinyl usage is important. From an individual perspective, people should practice not using disposable products by improving their consumption patterns. Besides one’s effort to reduce the use of plastic, enterprises should reduce disposable products by developing goods and packaging methods using eco-friendly materials. Because they are the ones that are responsible for the products’ manufacture, distribution, and disposal.
What are the examples of eco-friendly packaging?
Recycling is an effective way to decrease environmental contamination. It is a method of collecting energy by sorting out materials to be recycled from separated wastes. The existing colored plastic bottles were inconvenient to recycle because of the added pigments, and they had to go through the process of incineration to collect energy which caused air pollution. CJ Cheiljedang has adopted its own packaging policy to reduce waste from packaging materials and create a sustainable environment that considers both the nature and society. They changed Baekseol high-grade oil’s package by altering the original color of plastic bottles to being transparent and by utilizing water-free adhesive for a product label so that it can be separated easily. Due to the package renewal, which reduced the amount of plastic used in lids and containers by about ten percent, CJ Cheiljedang declined the amount of annual plastic usage by about 111 tons.
In Korea, where parcel delivery usage is high, many vinyl buffers to prevent product damage and ice packs to store frozen foods are used. Lush Korea, a cosmetics brand, introduced materials that protect the environment its packaging system and reduced unnecessary packaging based on the principle of “Naked cosmetics.” Lush is using completely degradable kraft paper boxes, tapes made of starch-based adhesive and convoy, an eco-friendly buffer, which consists of corn starch and natural food pigments that decomposes naturally in water.
In addition to the cushioning material, ice packs using high absorption resin, which are microplastics, is a problem in that they cannot be dissolved naturally. Market Kurly, a food company, has begun “All Paper Challenge” and made boxes, shock absorbers and tapes using eco-friendly paper. In particular, Market Kurly implements eco-friendly packaging using ice packs made from frozen water and paper instead of harmful substances that are not decomposed naturally.
What meanings do eco-friendly packaging have?
Until now, plastic bottles with or without colors have not been sorted out, and the disposal standards for vinyl cushioning materials and ice packs have not been clear. Therefore, accurate recycle was hard to carry out. If companies use paper or environmentally-friendly materials for packaging, it would be easier for consumers to recycle and to practice segregation.
Today, eco-packaging has not yet been fully introduced. Nevertheless, when famous companies in various fields adopt eco-friendly management methods and use them, nature-friendly marketing will become popular among consumers. Furthermore, it will also attract the attention of those who were not interested in protecting the environment. As the number of consumers seeking eco-friendly products increases, and more companies try to meet their needs, an atmosphere emphasizing environmental preservation will be naturally formed. Lee, said, “In the past, eco-friendly products and packaging methods were not popular, so I did not have any chance to keep my belief in environmental protection. However, companies are now implementing more eco-friendly packaging, and I have more choices and less burden when I purchase things.”
Nowadays, the earth is being seriously polluted by human production activities. Without an awareness of environmental contamination, human will lose their livelihoods. Amid the growing need to protect our earth and environment, companies are gradually introducing eco-packaging, which is expected to expand further in the future. Professor Sung said, “Eco-packaging improves the company’s image, and it will also benefit the company over the long-term. It is important to increase consumers’ choices for companies that do eco-friendly management. Furthermore, institutions are needed to spread this consumption culture.”
Lee Jae-eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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