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Wes Carter, President of Atlantic Packaging and founder of A New Earth Project, talked with Adam Davidson, journalist and author, at the See Change Sessions’ Winter Summit, an event hosted by the climate action group focusing on the environment, future of materials, impact investing, diversity, equity, inclusion, and new energy solutions. Their conversation covered a variety of topics including plastic pollution, sustainable packaging, and the drive for businesses to become more sustainable.

Throughout the conversation, Wes discusses the importance of eliminating problematic single-use plastic that ends up in the hands of consumers. A New Earth Project, the initiative he founded, is a strategic collaboration between the global surfing and outdoor enthusiast communities and the global packaging supply chain. Its mission is to rid the world’s oceans, lakes, and rivers of plastic pollution. Plastic production is growing exponentially, and this is a major challenge for our recycling infrastructure and a massive problem for our ecosystems.

Part of A New Earth Project is the New Earth Approved catalog of products designed to provide sustainable packaging solutions for a healthier planet. Packaging materials that are New Earth Approved are all curbside recyclable, made from renewable resources, and are not harmful to wildlife or ecosystems. In the interview, Wes explains that he made the decision to start off the sustainable packaging campaign by targeting the outdoor industry because of its consumers’ appreciation of nature preservation. He hopes that outdoor businesses will inspire other industries to make the switch to sustainable packaging. This strategy ideally will lead to the global supply chain embracing sustainability, ultimately resulting in healthier ecosystems.

The solutions offered in the New Earth Approved catalog are cost effective to help brands make the switch away from single-use plastics to sustainable consumer-facing packaging. Large companies are demanding sustainable solutions from their suppliers for their long-term success and the success of the planet. During the conversation, Wes articulated the importance of sustainable packaging for businesses:

“The bigger question I would ask the brands is, what is the cost to your brand by not doing this? You know, how long can you continue to ship products to outdoor enthusiasts that are wrapped in products that are an environmental problem? At some point you have to acknowledge that the packaging around my product says a lot about the ethics of my organization, and to me there is a tremendous cost to not doing this now…”

Finding sustainable alternatives to packaging materials that have been in use for decades is a major challenge, but it’s a challenge that Wes Carter and A New Earth Project are up for. Wes asks that businesses looking to switch to a sustainable packaging alternative reach out. Everyone working with this initiative is excited to develop and supply new products, protocols, and capabilities relating to sustainability to accomplish its mission of riding the world’s oceans, lakes, and rivers of plastic pollution.