7 Shameless Packaging Fails
Here at Waste-Ed, we try to keep a lighthearted “laugh so you don’t cry” attitude when it comes to the torrent of corporate pandering we witness every second. Look, we’re all glad to see green packaging trending, but some companies just won't get onboard. Carbon offsets, compostables that aren’t compostable, and individually wrapped prunes — all great examples of just how far some companies will go to avoid doing anything positive for the environment.
There are about a million plastic packages purchased around the world every second, and they aren’t getting recycled or reused. Only by focusing on green products with sustainable packaging can we get out of this stupid cycle. But since 70% of the world’s pollution is done by just 100 huge companies, there’s not much we can do but scream into a pillow or twiddle our thumbs.
But while we twiddle our thumbs, why don’t we have a look at some of the worst packaging fails in recent history?
#1 – Paper Straw Wrapped in Plastic
Paper straws are already kind of a pointless gimmick. While not ideal for turtle nostrils, plastic straws barely make up a sliver of our waste problem. Ideally, we would stop handing out single-use straws altogether, but this has to be some kind of cruel joke. It’s waste on a whole ‘nother level, which is impressive even for Nestlé. How about a reusable straw instead? Or why not get gutsy and drink without one?
#2 – This Awesome Saffron from Costco
Absolutely wild that at least one executive saw this and was like, “looks good!” Factories produce tons of products each day using expensive equipment. Retooling a machine to create different products costs a lot of money, not just in supplies and labor but also in lost revenue while those machines are out of service. It’s cheaper to keep things the same, so we end up with absurd containers and more plastic waste.
#3 – “Sustainable Packaging” Like This
To be honest, it’s kind of a win that companies even try to mimic sustainable packaging. But all this effort without any actual benefit? Isn’t it just as easy to sell eco-friendly bottles as it is to design a label pretending to be? At the end of the day, it’s trash as usual, but the fact that they’re pandering to eco-warriors proves that they don’t want to look wasteful, even if their products still are.
#4 – “Compostable Packaging”
Deep down, we all know plastic’s days are numbered. But oil companies aren’t going down without a fight, and the magical composting cup is their latest campaign to keep single-use plastic relevant. Spoiler alert: it’s not actually compostable without special equipment. Maybe instead of stamping “100% Compostable” on the label, it should say “Next question.”
#5 – Gonna Need a Little More Plastic
#6 – Because Bananas Totally Need Packaging
Why is there plastic wrap on these bananas? And who eats exactly 11 grapes? This store sucks.
#7 – Individually Wrapped Prunes, Bro
Want your whole neighborhood to hate you? Just hand these out to trick-or-treaters. What if they sold individually wrapped grains of rice? Would it make any less sense? Seriously, packaging is out of control.
These are just a few of the most egregious examples, but we can’t leave out runners up like Keurig single-use pods, huge Amazon envelopes (or boxes packed with plastic bags filled with air) for tiny items, packing peanuts (which should be abolished forever), and Tetra Pak (for oat milk, soup stock, etc.) which claims to be recyclable but can’t be without all kinds of crazy technology.
We don’t need more recyclable packaging so much as we need to get away from single-use packaging altogether. Start small and keep working at it.