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10 Tips to Love the Planet

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American soul singer and songwriter Deon Jackson famously sang, “love makes the world go ‘round.” At Sonoco, we share our love by caring for our customers, consumers and communities by prioritizing sustainability practices, process and packaging. Love the planet with us by adopting these 10 tips: 

#1. Check your local recycling guidelines. 

Incorporate general recycling tips like recycling items individually in bins, rinsing food and drink containers before recycling and screwing tops on bottles before recycling. Keep in mind, recycling programs vary in different communities, so make sure you’re following local recycling guidelines like:

  • Consulting regional resources like your community’s recycling website or local government’s site. 
  • Searching for regional recycling programs that provide online resources like The Recycling Partnership chatbot, Earth 911, etc.

Sonoco partners with brands to responsibly source materials and design recyclable designs and partners with material recovery facilities and local municipalities to create world-class recycling programs and end-of-life systems because we’re committed to doing the right thing. 

#2. Opt for refillable or reusable products when possible. 

Decrease your waste by rethinking items you use every day.  

Did you know many of your favorite consumer brands now offer refillable options for products like dish soap or skincare? Browse store shelves or online shops to find them!  

Easily replace everyday items like paper towels, water bottles, food storage, grocery bags, dry sheets and more with these reusable options.

#3. Create a household recycling checklist near bins. 

It takes a village (or a household) to care for the planet. Involve everyone in the home by creating a recycling checklist. Not sure where to get started? Begin with these simple tips: 

  • Make a list of frequently purchased products.
  • Research how to recycle each packaging type in your local community.
  • Take photos or find images of your packaging to make identifying them easier.
  • Designate a separate bin for items that need to be curbside recycled or collected elsewhere after use. 

With your checklist near your main garbage bins, each person in your house can clearly identify and responsibly dispose of items.

#4. Choose easy-to-recycle packaged goods. 

Brands are working to make it easier to identify how to recycle packaging with labeling, QR codes and more. For example, consumer brands in the U.S. and Canada work to qualify for How2Recycle® labeling.  

To help, let’s explain how this labeling helps you quickly identify how to recycle our EnviroFlex™ PE pouch: 

#5. Bring new life to hard-to-recycle items.

Fabric, electronics, packing “peanuts,” etc. are not likely to be curbside recyclable in your local community. So, what can you do with these items? 

Repurpose unwanted towels for household tasks. For example, cut up old towels to use as dusting or cleaning cloths.

Channel your creativity with a fabric-related upcycling project like creating a garland.  

If your unwanted electronics still work, consider giving them to a non-profit or donation center.  

If these items are broken and unusable, check with your local municipality or local retailers and manufacturers to see if they offer collection or take-back programs. 

Packing Peanuts 
Reuse Styrofoam™ or biodegradable packing peanuts when shipping a package or storing fragile items in containers.

#6. Conserve water used during daily tasks. 

According to the National Ground Water Association, about 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water but much of it is found underground. Only about 3% of the Earth’s water is usable by humans. To help protect this vital resource, consider the following conservation practices: 

  • Shorten your showers. 
  • Catch rainwater in a bucket to water your garden later.
  • Collect water from washing, bathing, etc. to water houseplants.
  • Recycle paper items to decrease the water needed to create new products.

At Sonoco, we’re working to do our part. In 2022, we reduced our overall water withdrawal in our operations by 12.6%. In one U.S. plant, we not only reduced water usage by approximately one million gallons per day but also reduced electricity usage and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions.

#7. Volunteer for a local cleanup event. 

Reducing waste—it impacts you and your community. With responsible recycling and collection practices, your community can help reduce waste in local landfills and clean up parks and other public spaces through local volunteer programs.

At Sonoco, our teams regularly volunteer for clean sweep events in their local neighborhoods as we did companywide for Earth Day 2022, and we’ve helped implement programs focused on preventing the discharge of plastic pellets through industrial scrap recovery and updated waste collection too.  

#8. Wash clothing with cold water. 

Did you know that approximately 90% of the energy washing machines use goes towards heating water? According to the American Cleaning Institute, washing clothing with cold water uses about one-tenth of the energy needed to wash with hot water.

During your next laundry day, choose cold water to save energy and decrease your household carbon dioxide emissions.

At Sonoco, we’re committed to responsible water stewardship. We’ve conducted water risk studies at 100% of our paper mills using the World Resource Institute (WRI) Aqueduct water risk tool to prevent materials from littering our marine environment.

#9. Invest in slow fashion. 

When it comes to fashion, think slow—slow fashion. Before clicking “add to cart” (or physically adding to your cart), consider the process and resources brands use to produce apparel.  

Bring mindfulness to your purchases with these tips: 

  • Buy less. Embrace timeless and versatile designs, colors, etc.  
  • Buy better. Invest in high-quality clothing, outerwear and footwear that can last beyond one season. 
  • Take care. Consider how to repair or get more life out of clothing items before discarding them. 

At Sonoco, we’re working to do our part. In 2022, we reduced our overall water withdrawal in our operations by 12.6%. In one U.S. plant, we not only reduced water usage by approximately one million gallons per day but also reduced electricity usage and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions.

#10. Educate yourself on recycling trends.  

Staying current with sustainability practices and recycling guidelines can be challenging, even with the internet.

At Sonoco, we’re working to provide accessible information that benefits our customers and consumers as they prioritize sustainability. Demystify sustainable packaging design, assessment, recycling considerations and more with our Sustainability Unpacked videos