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Unsustainable Packaging As A Consumer: Useful Things To Do With Yours

Unsustainable packaging cartons and boxes

Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay 

These days more and more buyers are becoming eco-conscious, and so have many companies and brands, but not all of them are reevaluating the packaging of their products.

Unsustainable packaging materials are some of the most polluting and dangerous when it comes to the safety of the environment. Packaging alone contributes 23% of the waste in our landfills every year, and even more are contaminating roads, rivers, oceans and forests. And it’s not just the earth that’s at risk. Chemicals in packaging materials such as BPA, phthalates and PVC are toxic for the human body as well, and have led to no shortage of health issues from allergic reactions to even cancer.

As a consumer, it is important that you buy your goods from companies that do good by our planet and incorporate sustainable packaging in their production practices. Bioplastics, paper and/or reduced packaging in general are all environmentally-friendly materials to look out for when doing your shopping research.

But what if you purchased a product that didn’t come in sustainable packaging? What then?

No worries! There’s still plenty that can be done about the packaging waste that’s made its way into your life.

We've compiled a simple but actionable guide to taking care of any leftover unsustainable packaging you may have and take the burden off the planet.

What To Do About Your Unsustainable Packaging

Recyle It

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Image by Shirley Hirst from Pixabay

The number one thing to do here, and likely the easiest solution is to simply recycle your packaging. Reuse plastic bags for your grocery shopping, dog walks or even for your bins at home!

Boxes can be repurposed to hold gifts, supplies and other items that need to be stored away. You can even use larger cardboard boxes as a substitute bedside table, or even a stack of them to act as a makeshift shelf! The possibilities are only limited by your creativity and imagination.

And if there’s absolutely no way you can reuse that little piece of plastic wrap? Give it to your local recycling facility. Even stores like Target and Walmart have drop-offs where you can leave any plastic waste you have so it can be recycled by the pros.

Sell It

Sell recyclables for quick money

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

We know what you’re thinking. Why on earth would someone want to buy literal garbage?

Believe it or not, there are people out there who will gladly take your waste off your hands, and pay you for it too!

Craigslist and BoxCycle are both reliable places for you to sell your cardboard boxes for quick cash. BoxCycle in particular accepts a variety of types, including wine boxes, pallets, moving boxes and packing supplies, to name a few.

Art-ify It

Recycled art

Image by Florence D. from Pixabay 

This is for all you creative types out there!

Technically you can also get artistic with the things you recycle by painting them over or decorating them with glitter, but you can also go the extra mile by going full artist mode. There are a lot of artistic projects that you can spend your free time on using the waste from your leftover packaging materials.

There are a lot of beautiful pieces you can make from your wasted boxes and wraps, and you can either create stunning works of art or simply regular crafts, depending on your skill level. We personally like to get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest.

So what are you waiting for? Let that inner creative beast loose and get started on that Styrofoam miniature castle!


Now, before we send you off to fight in the war against unsustainable packaging, do remember: you will create waste. Or, you might decide that taking the time and effort to recycle is too much. Regardless, it’s always good to not beat yourself up over giving in to a non-eco-friendly habit.

Consistency is key, but we all have our off days, and that’s totally fine! Just remember to stay green for the next time!


With love and compassion,

Team Karunaki