How does packaging impact the environment?

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Simply speaking, packaging deteriorates the environment. Packaging is the outer covering or casing used to prevent damage to a product during transportation, storage or sale. The materials used for packaging may include paper, plastic, metal, etc. These packaging materials have to be manufactured at some environmental cost, such as raw material extraction, preparation, transportation, production, etc. Just think of the electricity used in making cardboard boxes or paper bags or plastic bottles that carry medicines, etc. After use of the product, such packaging material has to be disposed of. That is done by either incineration or landfilling. Both these activities harm the environment, either by production of gases (such as carbon dioxide, etc.) or leaching of harmful liquids and gases that may harm our air and groundwater. 

Some companies are using recycled materials and/or minimal packaging to minimize the damage to the environment, yet some damage is always there.