Rethinking Acupuncture Packaging

Striving for Zero-Waste

Recent reporting of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has brought discussion of ‘ethical’ and ‘eco-friendly’ packaging to the forefront. This debris field in the North Pacific is larger than the state of Texas and contains over 80,000 tons of plastic. Of the 35,000 tons of plastic generated each year in the United States, only 3,000 tons is recycled. The vast majority ends up in landfills or as litter on land and sea.

According to a recent study by Global Data, 75% of consumers worldwide now believe that living an environmentally ethical or sustainable lifestyle is important to creating a feeling of well-being. Acupuncture aims to bring about balance and harmony to the body. Even with this growing connection with living an eco-friendly, sustainable lifestyle and personal well-being, limited action has been undertaken by manufacturers to address the concerns acupuncturists have expressed about plastic and paper waste generated from the packaging of needles.

Increased awareness of the issue does have some manufacturers looking at ways to incorporate more eco-friendly practices regarding the design of their packaging. With the introduction of the Zip-Pak, Korean acupuncture needle manufacturer SMC utilized design elements to reduce the impact their packaging is having on the environment.

With ten needles and one guide tube, the packet design of SMC ZIP-Pak 1000 provides the convenience of having ten needles on hand without the extra waste of blister packaging and unused guide tubes. Produced using recyclable #2 PET and #4 LDPE, the minimal packaging significantly reduces the energy needed to manufacture the pouches with the added value of recyclable plastic that can be put right back into supply chain after use. The streamline packet design allows for 1000 needles to be securely packed in a smaller box. Less bulk weight from unnecessary packaging can reduce CO2 emissions associated with product transport.

The packaging of the SMC ZIP-Pak 1000 represents a step forward in the long journey to create a more circular economy for plastic in which less plastic becomes waste. Acu-Market leads by its values and will continue to seek out improvements that can lead to increased environmental sustainability. A portion of all SMC ZIP-Pak 1000 sold will be donated to Ocean Conservancy. This inspiring nonprofit organization operates multiple hands-on programs dedicated to ocean trash cleanup, protection of marine life and sustainable fishing practices both domestically and internationally.


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