4 Radical Solutions to Packaging Waste

plastic waste photo

As CEO of TerraCycle, I'm constantly thinking about how to solve problems with waste. From bottle bills to packaging taxes, nothing is too out-there to me. I've come up with four radical solutions that could help curb the problem. Click through for my concepts and let me know your reactions and alternative ideas.

1. Tax Non-Standard Packaging

One reason why so few things are recyclable is because of the variety of packaging forms (different composite materials) and styles. If packaging were more standardized, a much greater amount of packaging waste could be recycled. Should we create a standard and tax those brands that use non-standard packaging?

2. Outlaw landfills

We could outlaw landfills, incineration, and sending waste outside of the country. While this is drastic, it would drive innovation, and in effect mandate bio-degradable/recyclable/reusable packaging and force consumers to think twice about consumption. Another option, slightly less drastic but probably with equal effect, would be to dramatically increase the cost of sending waste to landfill, thus creating financial incentive to consumers.

3. Implement a Bottle Bill

Creating a "bottle bill" for every form of packaging would in effect create a packaging tax for all manufacturers and force them to pay for the full lifecycle of their products.

4. Put the Kibosh on Single-Use Packaging

We need to stop consuming so much single use packaging! All three of my suggestions above put the pressure on corporations and governments, so I must include suggestion for consumers. Our society’s insatiable desire for convenient, safe packaging is in many ways directly responsible for many of the waste and pollution issues we currently face. So here is a really radical idea, stop buying so many items packaged for single use! If sales on these items were to drop, manufacturers would be forced to stop producing such items.

So what do you think? Which of these ideas would work best? Who is most responsible governments, corporations or consumers?

Guest blogger Tom Szaky is founder and CEO of TerraCycle.

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