Twenty years from now we’ll be looking back thinking how inefficient we were shipping redundancies back and forth across the oceans. Everything from beer to hair gel, which contains mostly water, has been transported by boat, truck or even airplane before we bury its container in a landfill.
We know those days must come to an end.
But even recycling is a small step in the grand scheme of things. Both new and recycled packaging need to be produced, shipped, used and then transported to a recycling center where it is sorted and (maybe) reused as raw material for the next container. That’s still a lot of energy resources used in the process.
The days of the milkman are long gone, but the act of exchanging reusable containers is making a reemergence.
Companies like Procter & Gamble are already preparing for a future where standardized containers are used and returned locally. Products like liquid soap concentrates will have water added to them only after they arrive at your door.
This is progress, and it isn’t going to stop there.
Packaging waste is coming to a head. The fact that China is no longer accepting our trash is making it keenly obvious to officials that we need to act on our waste issue. Whether state governments ban plastic bags or not, the reusable & exchangeable movement is becoming mainstream.
This benefits local producers the same if not more than large corporations due to the efficiencies it brings as networks of producers in hyperlocal economy expand and leverage each other.