Even if you’re not an eco-warrior, you probably already know that plastic is an urgent environmental problem. Plastic packaging is clogging up landfills, plastic straws are killing marine life, microplastics are polluting our water supplies, and plastic waste items are contributing to massive ocean garbage patches. The worst part about all this plastic is that it will take hundreds of years to break down. Yuck!

Organizations like The Ocean Cleanup are trying to remove existing plastics from the ocean, but they can’t keep up with the plastic we keep adding to the waste stream. Humans sure do seem to love their wasteful, single-use plastics. Production of these items has increased exponentially in the last few decades and is expected to double by the year 2050. Yuck again

But you’re doing your part to reduce plastic waste, right? Maybe you bring your reusable bags to the grocery store to avoid getting plastic ones (if they’re even still lawfully available in your area). Maybe you dutifully carry your glass tumbler to the coffee shop whenever you have a craving for that overpriced mocha drink. And maybe you even put up with the curious stares of restaurant patrons as you whip out your reusable straw from its nifty carrying case. These are all commendable steps to take. But have you thought about the plastic packaging that will come with that cute garden gnome you impulsively ordered online last night?

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a huge spike in online shopping, and for good reason -- many consumers stayed home to stay safe and do their part to reduce the spread of the virus. But as a result of this e-commerce boom, a whopping 295 million tons of packaging waste was dumped into the global waste stream in 2020. And 60% of that was from -- you guessed it -- non-biodegradable plastics. From plastic bubble wrap to plastic shrink wrap and even plastic tape, e-commerce packaging really takes the plastic cake. (And no one wants plastic cake. Yuck again!)

bubble wrap

When it comes to reducing plastic waste, changes in habits around plastic bags and single-use plastic cups are a great start. But if we really want to make a dent in our fiendish plastic addiction, we have to address the giant plastic elephant in the room: e-commerce packaging. As a consumer, you should demand that the retailers you order from ship to you in a sustainable way without plastics. And if you’re an e-commerce seller, you have the power to make a huge difference by switching to zero plastic packaging at your business.

The good news is that making that switch is easier than you think. Manifest is proud to be driving change in the third-party logistics space by offering 100% plastic-free shipping materials to e-commerce retailers (along with green warehousing and other sustainable supply chain solutions). Now there’s finally a fulfillment solution that will leave you fulfilled instead of just filled with plastic.

Learn more about how Manifest can help you in your quest to be greener.