Around 60 percent of all plastics used around the world are used in food packaging
That’s a lot of plastic. Of the 380 million metric tonnes of plastics that were produced in 2015 of which 228 million tonnes were used for food packaging.
Due to the negative environmental and health impacts of plastic packaging that is not biodegradable, many are fighting to significantly reduce the production of plastic and to improve recycling rates — and also to promote more environmentally sustainable food packaging.
This article discusses the necessity of environmentally friendly food packaging. It also offers five types of packaging to consider and also which ones to avoid.
What makes sustainable food packaging crucial?
Concerns about plastics specifically include their presence in oceans and in landfills and the production of nano- and microplastics as well as exposure to toxic substances when the chemicals contained found in food packaging are transferred into food items.
In addition to the chemical compounds which are used intentionally to make plastics, a variety of non-intentionally-added substances (NIAS) are present in food packaging. These substances pose a risk of toxicity and disrupting the endocrine system for humans.
Yet, eco-friendly packaging alternatives are becoming more commonplace.
These eco-friendly food packagings typically use sustainable bioplastics and extracts from plants like wood, wheat and bamboo. They are biodegradable and reusable, and free of harmful chemicals.
Although they’ve also been proven to be a source of chemicals, NIAS research has shown that the transfer of chemicals into food items and into the body is significantly less with green packaging than with plastics, making them safer for the environment and human health.
Exposure to food-related chemicals in packaging is inevitable. However, efforts to minimize the introduction of these harmful chemicals into food are essential for the human body.
Sustainable food packaging options
Here are five environmentally friendly food packaging alternatives that are healthier for the environment and your well-being.
- Glass containers
The glass comes with many applications and benefits in everyday life.
It’s a recyclable, reusable and tough material that’s simple to clean and can be used for food packaging that can be transported. Glass containers for food and drinks include water bottles as well as bento boxes.
But, glass lids aren’t waterproof, making them unsuitable containers for bringing to school, work, or out on a trip.
So, the majority of glass containers that can be transported are made of lids that snap lock and have the seal of silicone or bamboo lids which double as cutting boards.
Make sure you choose lids free of bisphenol-A (BPA) known as an endocrine disruptor , which has been proven to play a part in both female and male infertility and the growth of tumors.
In the event of a break the containers can last 3.5 times longer than plastics , and are recyclable after being disposed of, thus reducing the environmental damage caused by plastics