Environmental Issues




Various stores have a difference in the manner in which they packagetheir commodities. A visit to a supercenter specifically a mall and agrocery store clearly depict the variation in the way the two centersdid package their products. For purposes of this discussion, ananalysis would be carried out in the manner in which each of the two,the supercenter and the grocery store conduct the packaging of theircommodities. An illustration of the style of packaging for the twocenters will then be followed by an individual comparison of the tworegarding how each does package customers commodities. Thesupercenter will be analyzed by the sale of household items while thegrocery store will be analyzed for the food products.

Packaging at a Supercenter that was visited

Wide variety of the same type of product

The supercenter did have a broad range of the same kind of product.The product in question was the beverages. Various types of thebeverages were available at the store, but each of them had a uniqueform of packaging. For example, different brands of coffee were beingsold at the shop. The variation in the brands was seen depicted inthe various kinds of packaging that was done for each of the items.The various types of brands that were available were either packagedin plastic tins while others were packed in the metallic tins.Further, there were small sachets of coffee as well that waspackaged. Another brand was packaged in a box. Overall, there weredifferent brands each with a different form of packaging. Thepackages were attractive. For example, the metallic tins that wereused in the packaging of coffee were attractive to the eye since ithad a unique form of coloration and the pictures in the can were aswell attractive.

In the course of visiting at the supercenter, there was anopportunity to speak to the department manager on what they weredoing to help in dealing with the issue of the packaging. One thingthat came out in the discussion was the fact that the different formsof packaging were purely for marketing purposes. Because of the same,it was not difficult to realize the skepticism held by the departmentmanager on probability possibility of using only one type ofpackaging. Nevertheless, the department manager pointed out that theywere trying to come up with ways of ensuring that they can use onlyone type of packaging for their products. The first measure that wasbeing taken was getting in touch with the manufacturers where theywere suggesting to them that the stick to a particular type ofpackaging. For example, if the manufacturer were selling differentbrands of coffee, they should stick to either the use of boxes orstrictly metallic tins for packaging. The only variation would be inthe graphical representation of the box or the metallic tin that washolding the coffee. The departmental manager was suggesting that theywere trying to discourage a scenario where one particularmanufacturer had different packaging forms such as plastics, metallictins, sachets or boxes. If they had one brand, they could use onetype of packaging but do the modifications in the appearance of eachof the brands. Through the same, it would be possible to help thecustomers differentiate on the different brands but with the sametype of packaging.

Packaging at a Grocery Store

A visit to a grocery store did reveal aspects of a variation in themanner in which they did the packaging. Food items were evaluated todetermine how the packaging was done for them. In the grocery store,there was a wide variety of the same food items that was present inthe shop. For example, different forms of vegetables were beingoffered at the store. Notably, the groceries owner did package kales,spinach, and cabbages differently. The kales and spinach were placedin a paper-like form of material while the cabbage was packed in apolythene paper. The three commodities can be said to serve the samepurpose, but they were packaged in a different material. The grocerystore did employ two primary forms of packaging, polythene bags andpapers that were in the form of boxes. Each type of product waspackaged in a different way depending on the choice of the customeror as is was deemed fit by the grocery owner. Other food itemsassessed were the fruits that were being sold at the store. Variousforms of the same fruit were presented in the grocery stores. Forexample, in the grocery store, different types of the mango fruit wasbeing offered at the store. Each of the types was packaged in itsstyle. The difference as said by the grocery store owner did emanatefrom the manner in which each of them was stored. For example, therewas the type that was stored in the fridge and the store whileanother type was present on the shelf. That in the fridge waspackaged in a paper that was in a shape of a box while the mangoesbought from the shelf was packaged in a plastic paper.

There was time to talk to the grocery owner in the manner in whichhe was packaging his items to the clients. Considering that thedifferent food items almost served the same purpose, it was prudentthat he considers employing only one type of packaging. The groceryowner did reiterate that because of the demands of the customers hewas considering modifying the manner in which he packaged hiscommodities. Notably, he was considering grouping all of the fooditems that he thought were serving the same purpose and opt topackage them in one format. He did point out that he was thinking ofemploying the use of papers, in the form of a box to start thepackaging of his commodities. He had realized that he was using a lotof polythene bags for packaging of products to the customers. Many ofthem were complaining of the same and did prefer that they are givenitems that have been packaged in paper instead of polythene. For thesame reason, the grocery stores owner was considering a shift in themanner in which he packaged the commodities for the customers. Thegroceries stores owner was trying to find out ways through which hecould reduce the packaging of products in the polyethene. Inachieving the same, there was a consideration for ordering for morerecyclable paper materials that could be used for packaging of thematerials that were sold in the stores.

Differencesin the packaging

There are variations in the packaging of commodities in thesupercenter and the grocery store. The supercenter had four primarymethods of packaging. Notably, there was the use of metallic tins,sachets, boxes and the plastic tins. The different forms were appliedto the various brands of the beverages that they were offering.However, as for the grocery store, they did rely on the use of onlytwo forms of packaging materials. The store did utilize polythenebags and papers in the form of a box when they were doing packagingfor the different commodities that they were offering at the shop.

Outstandingfeatures of packaging

In the supercenter, the size and quantity of packaging materials didstand out. Specifically, the use of plastic tins especially wasprevalent. Compared to the other materials that could be used forpackaging, the same was not the case for other packaging materials.The supercenter did focus on the use of plastic more for packaging ofits commodities. In the same regard, there was the use of thepolythene at the grocery that was profound. Less of paper packagingwas utilized at the store for packaging of materials. The twoshopping areas visited did depict a high tendency of use of plasticwhen packaging.

Informationabout product

The departmental manager at the supercenter did portray some degreeof packaging of the products. The same does emanate from the factthat he said that much of the packaging was dependent upon theorganization and how they did want the brand to appear. He was moreinterested in the marketing effect of the packing material ratherthan the environmental impact of the same. However, for the groceriesstore manager, he had a different opinion. He depicted signs ofunderstanding of the effects of the various forms of packagingregarding the need to be sensitive to the environment and was rollingout a plan that would see his customers use the recyclable papers forthe commodities bought. The packaging style was of significance tohim.

Singlefactor of the packaging material to reduce impact on the environment

The primary factor was the elimination of the plastic and thepolyethene bags from the two institutions. The supercenter didutilize the plastic tins while the grocery did utilize the polythenebags. There was a need to eliminate the use of such items as a way ofensuring that they are not released to the environment. Plastics arenon-biodegradable hence the need to find ways of eliminating theiruse (Raheem, 2013). If each of the shopping centers were to removethe utilization of the packaging materials, it would significantlyreduce the effects on the environment.

Achieving sustainability

Fortunately, reducing the environmental impact of packaging isrelatively easy, from a consumer’s standpoint. The solution issimply to purchase products that come with less, or even no,packaging. Buy reusable, recyclable, and returnable containers. Buyproducts with the least amount of packaging. For example, many storesare stocking deodorant, toothpaste, and other products without anyadditional cardboard packaging. Purchase noncoated paper andcardboard packaged products. Use a lunch box instead of paper bags,and buy ice cream in a cone, instead of a container. Large containersuse less packaging per unit than that used for small, individuallywrapped servings. Buy concentrated cleaners that come in smallerpackages but do the same amount of work. Each decision made by theconsumer can have a huge impact on the amount of packaging produced,used, and discarded.

Purchaseof products with less packaging

Yes. The need to have products with less packaging serves to reducethe quantity that we released to the environment. Much of thepackaging materials end up getting deposited in the environment. Forthe same reason, it could be mandatory to have materials that havebeen packaged less. The effect would be less of it will be depositedin the environment reducing the detrimental effects that they have.

Choiceof products with less packaging

The need to have fewer materials being deposited in the environmentwill be a determining factor when it comes to the choice of productswith less packaging. In a case where much of the materials arepackaged in non-biodegradable materials such as plastics, it could bemandatory to choose products that have less of the commodity (Marsh &ampBugusu, 2007). It will serve to reduce the amount deposited in theenvironment.

Whatis the primary issue?

It is surprising to see the amount of packages we bring home whileunloading our purchases after a shopping trip to the localsupermarket. Packages come in all shapes, including boxes, bags,cartons, and jugs, and are made out of a wide variety of substances,such as aluminum, steel, plastic, glass, cardboard, and cellophane.Industry spends billions of dollars each year producing attractivepackages designed to catch the consumer’s eye and make him or herbuy a particular product. Out of every $10 spent in the United Statesfor food and other products, $1 goes to packaging.

Whyhave packaging costs and materials increased so drastically?

Self-serve stores have reduced the power of the salesperson, and theproducts have to &quotsell themselves&quot via their packages.Also, the sheer convenience of being able to buy a product and throwit away when we are finished with it has increased the wastefulnessof our society, not to mention the necessity of purchasingreplacement products. What does this mean to you?

Product packaging has multiple environmental costs. Raw resources areneeded to produce the paper, plastic, and metals used in packages.All of this packaging material ultimately becomes waste products. Theaverage American produces 4 pounds of waste material per day–wellover 100 pounds per month. Most of this waste is landfilled(one-third of all municipal solid waste by weight, and one-half byvolume consists of packing material). The creation and destruction ofpackages also produce air and water pollution. Finally, manypackaging materials are very hard to recycle, ensuring that morenatural resources will have to be used to produce new packages.


Marsh, K., &ampBugusu, B. (2007). Food packaging—roles, materials, andenvironmental issues.

Journal of foodscience, 72(3), R39-R55.

Raheem, D. (2013).Application of plastics and paper as food packaging materials-Anoverview.

Emirates Journalof Food and Agriculture, 25(3), 177.