The impact we're having on the planet is becoming more evident as temperatures rise around the world, but it's never too late to try and make a change for the better. Waste plays a huge role when it comes to global warming and the environment – whether it's disposed of correctly, or it becomes litter. Reducing the use of single-use plastics in packaging means that we can recycle our empty cartons and decrease the amount of waste ending up in landfill, polluting the environment. Food takeaway businesses and manufacturers can help with this by introducing various types of biodegradable packaging like a disposable food tray or cardboard takeaway cups. Read on to find out more!
One of the most commonly used materials when it comes to food packaging is plastic. This is because it's versatile and strong and allows manufacturers to protect the contents of the item easily. Unfortunately, plastic is one of the most detrimental materials when it comes to protecting the planet. This is for several reasons, but the main one is that plastics are made from various chemicals that can seep into the earth, water, and the ecosystem, having an impact on plants and animals that are essential for our planet to remain healthy and thriving.
We all need to make a change when it comes to reducing plastic use and switching to a material that is just as strong and can degrade back into the earth – which is why more food manufacturers are reducing their use of packaging altogether or using strong cardboard and paper instead. Here's how food packaging is damaging the environment.
Food packaging is most likely to be discarded incorrectly, with people eating on the go – but how much do you know about what happens to your food packaging if it ends up as litter? Food packaging, especially those that contain plastic, cannot degrade back into the earth. This means that the chemicals from the plastic will seep into the ground and any surrounding water sources. Litter also increases the risk of wildlife eating discarded materials which could harm them, and the ecosystem as a result. Discarding food waste as litter means disruption to animals' habitats, which means changes to the food chain. Your actions can have a damaging impact for weeks and months to come.
We've looked at the impact litter can have when it's not disposed of properly, but even when it does make it to the bin, waste can cause several issues for the planet. If you've been to the supermarket for your weekly shop, the likelihood is that there will be a lot of plastic wrapping that is discarded once an item is used. Putting the packaging in the bin when you're done with it means it will end up in a landfill site. These sites are where most waste goes when we dispose of it. Landfill sites give off harmful gases that contribute to global warming and contaminate the soil. Businesses must do all they can to cut down on unnecessary packaging so that less waste ends up on these sites.
As we've mentioned, a lot of food packaging tends to be made from plastic, which has a huge implication when it comes to the emission of greenhouse gases. Materials like ethylene and propylene which are used to produce plastic are made from fossil fuels. These fuels must be extracted, transported, and manufactured, which contributes to billions of tonnes of harmful gases being released into the atmosphere. If homes and businesses around the world begin to make changes that cause plastic production to slow down, we'll be using less fossil fuel, and working towards creating a cleaner planet. Fossil fuels are not a sustainable resource and will eventually run out, so reducing our use means we'll be able to benefit from their energy for years to come.