The packaging crisis is really serious. The Guy Who Decides Packaging videos are not. Both show we need major change

The Environmental Paper Network’s new resource for decision-makers, SolvingPackaging.org, lays out the reasons we need to solve the packaging crisis and presents the solutions that are already here. The site explores what’s really working, and how companies, lawmakers, advocates, and individuals can ditch disposables and make packaging more sustainable for the long term.

SolvingPackaging.org builds on the work of leaders who are working to reduce waste, support local economies, and protect human and environmental health. Contributors to the site are experts from forward-thinking organizations including Canopy, Center for Environmental Health, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), Green America, Greenpeace, Product Stewardship Institute, and UPSTREAM. SolvingPackaging.org also includes highlights from the successes of businesses and governments that have embraced real solutions.

We want it to help many more organizations and people find that success, and help build a movement, all around the world.

While we worked together to launch SolvingPackaging.org, tackling this challenging and serious issue we face, The Guy Who Decides Packaging videos by comedian Jimmy Rees offered much-needed comic relief. Jimmy Rees also offered one more clear reason to transform packaging: Disposable packaging isn’t even working well.

The inebriated man making the packaging decisions in the videos reminds us how poorly-suited to its task a lot of our current packaging is. The videos are funny because we all know of packaging that seems arbitrarily designed, or impenetrable when we want the contents out, or leaky when we want the contents in.

“Flour?,” says the character Jason in one of the videos while dutifully writing down everything The Packaging Guy says, and being ridiculed for trying to be logical about packaging design.

“A paper bag that’s folded and glued at the top with a little bit of flour underneath,” answers the Packaging Guy which a chuckle, “so it goes pfft when you open it.” This is an actual photo of the result of the pfft from a new bag of flour from my own kitchen!

If we need any more reasons to move to packaging that sustains health, communities, and climate, The Guy Who Decides Packaging reminds us that our flour bags leak every time and we can’t open the box containing scissors without scissors. Surely a reusable shipping envelope, to-go container, or delivery pallet, or a returnable glass milk bottle, or a wrapper-free bar of soap or shampoo makes much more sense than a throwaway package we can’t open without spilling the contents or without using the very tool trapped inside it.

On this Earth Day, with so many real, sustainable packaging solutions already in place, we invite you to look to a better future and be part of demanding that lawmakers and corporations make the systemic changes needed to achieve it. Please be sure to check out and share EPN’s newest resource – SolvingPackaging.org.

Happy #EarthDay2021!