Packaging may or may not, by itself, be a “hotspot” for any given product. Given that almost every product has packaging, however, it is one of the most important issues to address to make consumer products sustainable. Sustainable packaging practices have accelerated over the last decade because of corporate, NGO, and consumer attention leading to industry initiatives, sustainable packaging standards and protocols, and packaging innovations.
Most consumer packaging consists of just a handful of materials – glass, metal, paper, and plastic. In 2017, packaging made up 29.9 percent of all solid waste in the U.S. table one below shows the percent of packaging waste in U.S. in 2017 by material, and its recycling rate. Materials primarily used for transportation packaging have been excluded.