Contributor Jackie White takes a look at how the proposed Zero Plastic Charter could affect electrical product packaging and how it is made and disposed.
May 14, 2018
by Jackie White, Freelance Writer
Canada, which holds the presidency of the G7, is pushing for a ‘zero plastics waste charter.’
Catherine McKenna, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change says: “We could build on goals like having 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging.”
The world has an insatiable demand and taste for electrical products with the global consumption of household appliances alone valued at US$428.17 billion in 2013.
These high value products must be well packaged because they are susceptible to damage via impact, weather factors and mechanical issues.
Unfortunately, packaging that also involves plastics produces waste that may or may not be recoverable. Unrecovered and unrecycled items from packaging end up as waste that is polluting the environment.
The good news is that something is being done about it.
Non-Renewables in Packaging Are Concerns
Packaging, in general, improves the added value of any product. In electrical goods, their sensitive components demand an extra layer of protection from shocks and impact to avoid damage.
However, ensuring that electrical products are packaged correctly can mean having to use a variety of materials.
While there are packaging materials that are abundant, some items might be non-renewable or lacking in supply which make them expensive to acquire. From durable plastics to cardboard, metal ties, Styrofoam and bubble wrap, packaging materials are plentiful and diverse.
Electrical Products Are Useful But Have Potential To Harm
The use of advanced technology in electrical products, appliances and devices benefits many people. Technology improves and revolutionizes the lives of users.
However, an increase in the consumption of durable and non-durable goods implies that additional potential waste is generated.
More packaging dumped in the environment goes against everything we stand for in today’s world. Components which are not recyclable contribute to greenhouse emission, while the depletion of scarce materials for packaging purposes is not good news for our planet.
Wastage of natural resources will continue unless a workable solution to conserve them is found.
Streamline Approach To Reduce Packaging Waste
A concerted effort is needed on the parts of the government, advocacy and citizen groups, as well as manufacturers, to improve the packaging of products without affecting monthly target volumes.
The following major issues affect packaging: their GHG emissions, energy and water consumption and materials.
Using a holistic approach to tackle emission levels, energy consumption and use of renewable or non-renewable resources can reduce the negative impact of packaging electrical products.
Materials should be recycled and where they cannot be recovered, substitutes have to be pursued.
In the manufacturing process, water is an important component but there are several ways to manage that water and recycle it.
Materials can also be recovered and put to good use whether it’s in the manufacture of a new TV or a laptop.
In the case of plastics, reducing reliance on them and repurposing end-of-life materials as energy sources serve to limit GHG emissions.
Improper disposal of electrical and electronic packaging has a lasting effect on the environment.
Doing something about it by campaigning for better packaging sources and materials, contributing to recycling and ensuring the proper disposal of materials are crucial. It also helps that policymakers are supporting the cause enthusiastically to protect the environment.