As a gamer, I love buying games of all kinds. Board, video or tabletop, playing games with others is fun and rewarding. With that in mind, I recently bought a board game to play with my friends. I opened the box and started removing each tiny piece from the cardboard sleeve holding it. When I was done, I was left with a game to play, and a pile of waste to recycle.
At first, I thought this was a bad thing, after all the EPA shows that about 258 million tons of waste is generated in a year. That is equivalent to over 6 million 18-wheeler trucks. Surely this is a sign that companies are being insensitive to sustainability but the truth is rather different. A study from the CCME shows that companies now are working on making their packaging sustainable. From decreasing energy costs, to improving the amount that can be recycled, companies are working hard to give consumers what they want. Which are products that can be shipped without damage, and then cleaned up with eco-friendly methods.
This isn’t the only way that companies are showing their commitment to the environment. Companies are now making games compact in the extreme. These games are often contained in metal tins, which can be reused for other purposes, and contain only the pieces you need to play. The smallest example I can find is a two-inch tin that is packed full of the cards to play and the rules. That’s it.
So, what can consumers do to help make this hobby more sustainable? Libraries have games available to borrow, and some companies are even taking this concept further, getting a variety of items in stock and lending them out. Gaming cafes are a popular new trend and visiting these places can reduce individual waste as well as support local businesses. Of course, interacting with the manufactures is the most direct way to affect change. Most companies have contact pages on their websites and going there to leave a message is all it takes. Writing them letters of praise when they reduce packaging and demanding change when they have excess waste can really move the gaming world towards sustainability.
Gamers are a growing demographic of society, and with this growth comes a responsibility to use our hobby to make the world better. Making changes in product packaging can go a long way to helping the environment. With all these changes in materials available and methods of storing, it is clear that gaming, the most ancient hobby humans have, is advancing with the times. Sustainable packaging is making it so that even the waste can be recycled and made into more games for us to enjoy. So, next time I play a game, the only thing I will have a pile of, is fun.