The Disadvantages of Packaging

The Disadvantages of Packaging
••• WEzekial/iStock/GettyImages

Over the past few decades, households have become increasingly busy and convenience has become an important factor in purchases. At the same time, the amount of packaging on an individual food product or other consumer item has increased. While packaging does improve safety, offer convenience and reduce theft, it also comes with a number of disadvantages. Packaging can be bulky, expensive and environmentally damaging over the course of its life cycle.


While packaging can do a lot to get customer attention, and may even add value to a product, it also adds to the cost of production and the eventual retail price. According to Know This, packaging can represent as much as 40 percent of the selling price of products in industries such as the cosmetic industry. New packaging can be expensive to develop, adding to the cost of products.

Landfill Impact

Packaging is responsible for significant portions of the waste stream. According to the Ashland Food Cooperative, packaging is responsible for about one third of the municipal waste in the United States. Some waste can be recycled, but many materials are not appropriate for recycling. Post-consumer recycled content is often usable only in specific contexts. For instance, many types of recycled plastic may not be used in food containers, even if the original plastic came from food containers. Much of the waste produced by packaging ends up in a landfill.

Production Footprint

Products with more packaging also use more resources in production. According to Green Living Tips, around 12 million barrels of oil are used to make shopping bags for U.S. consumers each year. Over 10 million barrels are used to make water bottles, and one pound of polystyrene (Styrofoam) uses about two pounds of petroleum stock. Production also requires energy, usually sourced from burning fossil fuels, and may produce air and water pollution.

Related Articles

What Are the Benefits of Biodegradable Plastic?
What Types of Containers Have the HDPE 2 Recycling...
Is Styrofoam Biodegradable?
Biodegradable Plastics Made From Soybean Products
What Are the Benefits of Biodegradable Plastic?
Recycling Vs. Landfills or Incinerators
Pros & Cons of Styrofoam
Why Are Plastic Bags So Bad for the Environment?
Disadvantages of Recycled Products
Aluminum Can Recycling Pros & Cons
What Is the Carbon Footprint of a Plastic Bottle?
The Advantages of Recycling Copper
The Effect of Recycling Plastic Water Bottles on the...
How Does Recycling Paper Affect the Environment?
Effective Ways of Recycling & Reducing Non-Biodegradable...
How Is Bottled Water a Contributor to Global Warming?
How to Add Percentage to a Price
What Is LDPE Plastic?
The Importance of Hazardous Waste Management
How Much Cotton Does it Take to Make a Shirt?

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!