What do you think are the most important issues with the environment?

Is plastic production on par with climate change? 
Is our planet really in crisis?

Whether it’s global warming, burning rain-forests or plastics production, each time we turn to our news channels, we are faced with facts and figures and predictions about our environment and the longevity of the planet. It’s unavoidable and most definitely a hot topic for consumers. In fact, according to a recent report conducted by ING, consumers consider plastics production on par with climate change.

Plastic production increasing 2% each year?

Is there a one-size fits all solution to plastic?

So, did you know that the average European generates 31 kilos of plastic waste each year, which equates to 15.8 million tonnes of waste, of which 8 million tonnes is created by the food industry? It’s a staggering amount. So when you place your food in your supermarket trolley, have you ever stopped to consider if there is an alternative? Whether you buy lose or prepacked food there is no getting away from plastic bags,….or is there?

In the food industry plastic is used because it keeps our food fresher for longer and aids food safety, plus it’s lightweight, flexible and low-cost. However, it’s production uses oil and gas and it’s disposal by incineration produces CO2 emissions, not to mention the plastic that enters our food chain via the oceans or landfill. We have created an inexpensive solution to food waste, that is wreaking havoc on our environment and wildlife. So what’s to be done?

ING predict in their latest report, that plastic waste is set to increase by 2% each year. This is due to three key reasons: an increase in housing to accommodate population increase, our liking for convenience food, i.e. prepacked fruit and vegetables and plastic being used to prevent food waste because it replaces other materials like glass, cardboard or cans. There is little that can be done about population increase, we live with an ageing population and better health care than we’ve ever had before, but on the issue of prepackaged food….do we really have no time to stop and prepare food for ourselves? Food waste is a major issue. We like to eat fresh food and in some cases plastic has taken over other materials, however, in France and Italy steps have been taken to prevent unnecessary food waste, banning supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food.

It’s clear to see that plastic poses a bit of a conundrum, but ING believe there are six ways you can tackle the problem. Firstly, use less plastic by creating lighter packaging, Secondly, use recycled materials or remove packaging altogether. Thirdly, improve how packaging can be recycled. Fourthly, use innovative bio-plastics that breakdown in the environment. Fifthly, create reusable packaging and finally, switch to alternative materials that are less harmful to the environment. This is not a definitive list of possible solutions, as we evolve and innovate I feel sure that more solutions will become available. What is abundantly clear is that consumers are concerned about the environment, they do expect change and are frustrated by the speed at which this is happening. Not every company involved in the food industry will be able to embrace these six solutions, but if they take on one or two, we could drive down the predicted annual increase of 2% for plastic.

At allpack® we have a range of eco-friendly packaging products that can support food companies to make positive changes. We offer 25 years of experience and solutions that can help you build sustainable solutions and seek to guide and support businesses in their chosen direction. You can give us a call on: 01922 472 400 or book a no-obligation free consultation with one of our packaging experts here. We look forward to meeting you.