The environmental impact of packaging is enormous. 1.4 billion tons of waste gets landfilled everyday in the United States, and more than 40% of that is packaging.
Thankfully, many researchers and designers are beginning to invest in new biodegradable and sustainable materials including disintegrating polystyrene and Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) plastic, which are 100% compostable. (You may already be acquainted with PVA plastic through using Greenware plastic cups)
These innovations are not entirely new, back in 2009, Creative Review packaged their magazine in a plastic sleeve, which completely dissolved in water.