[Opinion] PR packages negatively impact the environment


Aubrey LaTorre

PR packages can be extremely harmful in many ways. They have been detrimental to the environment, among having other issues.

Lilly Citrin, Writer

The ‘Age of Influencer’ has changed the world in a variety of ways; Social media and influencers have created a whole new way for businesses to market their products. Businesses utilize the popularity of influencers to expand their marketing in the form of PR packages.

PR packages are packages of handpicked products, which are often their newest line, that brands gift influencers. In gifting these packages, brands expect influencers to post content about the products in the package to help spread word on the product. Influencers are people trending on social media platforms. Brands ride their wave to gain more exposure.

When influencers receive the package they’ll post videos, stories, photos or tweets about the product they received. This is where brands receive their marketing. Some influencers have millions of followers or viewers, by posting on social media all of those people are seeing the brand’s product.

Thanks to social media, influencers with a large fanbase can have even more influence over the people than celebrities or professional athletes. Most influencers have either established credibility in a specific industry. Causing influencers to be trusted more and relied on by many people.

Though PR packages are a great, organic, way to gain exposure on social media platforms, they can have a detrimental effect on the environment. Most PR packages are sent by mail and contain some of the worst packing material for the environment such as packing peanuts and crinkled paper.

Packing peanuts are not recyclable, meaning they don’t break down when discarded. These styrofoam pieces spend years in landfills, waterways, oceans, lakes and anywhere else people dump garbage. In most cases this packing material can take 500 years to decompose, according to an article from The Box Guy.

The absurd amount of packaging for such a small amount of product is due to the fact that brands value looks over practicality. They’d rather have a cute looking box than something that is recyclable and not damaging to the environment.

The top companies that send PR packages are cosmetic and skincare companies looking for exposure for their new lines or products. Companies such as Too Faced, Dior and NAKED send out frequent packages to influencers. High end brands like Dior send out large boxes that are almost entirely cardboard and packaging just for a small bottle of perfume, or a few tubes of lipstick.

Though packaging is required for products to have safe transport through the mailing service, so much of it is just bells and whistles. Many companies will send small products in larger boxes just for looks, when really it’s just something that will become a pile of garbage after content is posted.

When it comes to a chance at publicity or exposure, a company’s morals go out the window. The opportunity to get someone with millions of followers to show themselves using or enjoying their product is more important to them than keeping our oceans clean and planet healthy.
One company, Grove, makes environmentally friendly, recyclable cleaning products. They limit their waste and work hard to not leave a negative impact on the environment. Grove is one of few companies that is founded on being eco-friendly,

Nonetheless, many companies claim that they value the planet and want to be a part of the solution, but in reality they continuously contribute to the problem. It is near impossible to scroll through social media and not see some sort of unboxing video.

As the trend of influencers grows, brands will continue with this pollutant form of marketing and the garbage in our oceans and landfills will rise. Companies have to stop this marketing tactic, plenty of other options exist.

Brands and businesses send out so many of these packages that influencers couldn’t possibly use all the products. Not only is there a waste when it comes to packaging, but so many of the products that are sent out are only used for content then expire after sitting in a drawer for a year.

A tiktoker who goes by the username @angelinaaannnn posted a video on Nov. 8, 2022. In the video she showed off the multiple pr packages she received from brands like This represents the exorbitant amount of packages social media users and influencers get.

A positive thing that has come alongside with the ‘Age of Influencers’ are innumerable technological marketing tactics. With millions of people on social media, marketing on any of the platforms can pay off just as much as an influencer posting content on the same platforms. This means that brands have an endless amount of marketing options that don’t involve an excessive amount of waste. Such as digital or commercial forms of marketing. If brands utilized either of these forms of marketing they would gain the same exposure and wouldn’t have to send packages to people who will only ever use it once.