Asheville, NC – The Environmental Paper Network-North America launched SolvingPackaging.org today to accelerate the solutions to the packaging crisis. SolvingPackaging.org brings together the expertise of leading conservation, zero waste and public health organizations, with the inspiration of sustainable packaging success stories and cutting-edge business innovations. It offers case studies, guidance, and other resources for companies, lawmakers, advocates, and individuals to adopt and grow those solutions and connects them with organizations that can help.

SolvingPackaging.org supports a growing movement that is working together to accelerate marketplace and policy solutions that will create systemic change, and advocating for reusable packaging and other innovations. The new initiative includes contributions from leaders at the forefront of this movement who have shared their expert knowledge, ranging in scope from reducing single-use plastics waste to responsible paper packaging sourcing to reusable solutions that really work. Organizations contributing to SolvingPackaging.org include Canopy, Center for Environmental Health, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Green America, Greenpeace U.S.A., Product Stewardship Institute, and UPSTREAM.

SolvingPackaging.org brings together the latest expertise and tools for:

  • No packaging or “naked” product lines, reusable shippers for online retail, reusable to-go containers for cafes and restaurants, reusable pallets for business to business shipping, and more. No packaging and reusable packaging are the most sustainable option and often offer cost savings as well.
  • Higher standards on key elements of sustainability including recycled content, recyclability, and responsible sourcing of materials.
  • Legislation to make consumer brands financially responsible for their packaging through end of life and to limit disposable packaging.
  • Partnerships between government agencies and businesses that cut waste and help local economies.

The packaging business is expanding rapidly, and is likely to be a $1 trillion industry as soon as this year.1,2,3 This growth comes even as society is increasingly impacted by the global waste crisis, exacerbated by the global pandemic. With ocean garbage patches, killed and injured marine life, and toxic waste incineration and landfilling, we are in a crisis that local and national leaders around the world are trying to reverse. Beyond the obvious fouling of our environment and communities by throwaway packaging there is the massive amount of energy and resources used, the greenhouse gases and toxins produced, and another round of damages when packaging breaks down or is incinerated. Overwhelmingly it is low income people and people of color who bear the impacts of this crisis.

SolvingPackaging.org highlights truly sustainable solutions and warns against the false ones – such as replacing one type of throwaway packaging with another, or expecting that we can recycle our way out of the packaging crisis.

For too long, there’s been a focus on just dealing with items at the end of life,” said Beth Porter, Climate Campaigns Director at Green America, author of Reduce, Reuse, Reimagine, and a contributor to SolvingPackaging.org. “We need systemic shifts that cut emissions and waste throughout material lifecycles. This includes reducing resource extraction, eliminating waste through redesign, prioritizing reuse and repair, widespread composting access, and an effective recycling system to capture discarded materials for new production. SolvingPackaging.org shows that these shifts are already happening and that there are many practical ways to transform packaging for the long term.

SolvingPackaging.org also addresses the false claims made by industry that reusable packaging is not safe during the Coronavirus pandemic. The site shows the support from scientists for reusables and the many ways sustainable packaging is better for human health than disposables.

“We need to solve the packaging crisis,” says Anne Pernick, Reducing Consumption Coordinator with EPN-North America. “With continued leadership from businesses, lawmakers, advocates, and individuals, we can. And with approaches we have already and ones that are emerging, we can do it sustainably and equitably. Now it’s just a matter of whether we will. SolvingPackaging.org can help us get there.”

Visit SolvingPackaging.org to learn more.

The Environmental Paper Network is an international alliance of over 150 non-profit organizations working together towards the Global Paper Vision. This vision expresses our common goal to create transformational change in the pulp and paper industry and wider society, so that paper production and use contributes to a clean, healthy, just and sustainable future for life on earth. EPN-North America is a regional hub led by a Steering Committee that includes Canopy, Conservatree, Dogwood Alliance, Green America, NRDC, Rainforest Action Network, Re-nourish and Stand.earth. For more information visit environmentalpaper.org.

Media Contact:
Anne Pernick, Reducing Consumption Coordinator
Environmental Paper Network – North America
+1-828-251-8558 ext. 3
anne@environmentalpaper.org

1 – How Big Cardboard is handling the 2020 box boom
2 – The $900 billion packaging industry by the numbers
3 – Packaging Market Value Estimations for 2018 and Beyond

###