Most plastic waste is rarely reused or recycled and finally ends up in a landfill (40 percent) or an incinerator (25 percent). An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic—the equivalent of nearly 90 aircraft carriers—enter the ocean each year. Because 99 percent of plastic is made from fossil fuels, it is also a major contributor to global climate change.
Five Steps to Begin Sourcing More Sustainably
Making your business more eco-friendly doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive. You can make small changes to your product materials or packaging that make a big difference in your environmental footprint and your brand image. Here are five steps you can take to start.
1. Determine where you can have the greatest impact.
Look at your products to determine which components are most harmful to the environment.
2. Survey your customers.
Before making any decisions, reach out to determine what types of changes customers would like to see and if they would be willing to pay more for them.
3. Revamp your packaging.
Packaging is often one of the easiest areas to improve your brand’s sustainability. Explore opportunities to eliminate or substitute unnecessary packaging materials—such as downsizing the boxes you use or using paper or cardboard instead of bubble wrap or packing peanuts.
4. Know where materials come from.
Do your due diligence before partnering with a new supplier. If you want to use ocean plastic in your product, how can you verify a supplier’s claim? How can you get full visibility into their chain of custody? Visit their facilities yourself or send an auditor to conduct an inspection and ensure the details of key processes.
5. Find the right partners.
Align your brand with suppliers that are familiar with sourcing sustainable materials. You shouldn’t do all the work on your own. Form long-term partnerships with reliable suppliers that are experienced in this niche. Consumers are demanding more from the brands they support—they care about the environment and the materials that go into the products they use. Becoming a more sustainable and ultimately successful business begins with just a few simple steps.