The design of plastic food packaging is going through various sustainable and efficient operations to cause lesser pollution. The aim is to reduce plastic pollution and increase the ability to recycle.
The 3Rs indicate reduce, reuse and recycle.
The SUPs are banned after a directive was passed by the EU in July.
Rethink Plastic Alliance has published a study where they found that reusable plastic food packaging can reduce Carbon dioxide emissions by 50%.
The product’s life cycle follows a straight path- production, consumption, and then getting trashed. The products used in the food sectors likely become litter. Researchers are looking for a new makeover for the food packaging industry but are facing several hurdles on their way.
Consumers Demand For Plastic Food Packaging
Plastic Free July has launched its campaign to increase awareness of plastic pollution and adopt certain measures to limit it. The measures include bulk shopping, using reusable cups and containers. Kleen hub from Denmark has initiated a system, where people can drop their stainless steel mugs and containers without looking for recycling spots.
Industries need to put in the effort to create a better design and increase the sustainability of the product. The plastic food packaging has got the consumers’ attention as they are studying the brand’s carbon footprints. This can increase the costs of production but a brand providing eco-friendly products has more appeal to the consumers. Consumers are looking for products that have lesser plastic food packaging to address environmental issues.
Design Real Recycling
Some brands are being marketed as recyclable products but it is not true. The collection and treatment of plastic products have become quite complex and it is harder than ever. A strong push is needed to initiate a circular design for the recyclability and reusability of plastic food packaging.
The plastic items of today are quite complex and cannot be recycled mechanically. Chemical recycling is a great way to take care of such plastic products as they are broken down into their elements and transformed into new products or chemicals.
Also read: Sea Threads: Performance Wear From Plastic Sourced Directly From The Ocean
Companies should invest in non-toxic and biodegradable replacements for the plastic food packaging industry. These companies need to have enough funds, proper R&D teams, and a source of innovation to enable such a thing.
Seaweed Is A Great Alternative
The next big thing in startups is looking for and utilizing biodegradable alternatives. Cornstarch was stated to be the most sustainable alternative to petrol-based packaging, in the 2000s. These elements have their limits as they put more pressure on the land and other natural resources.
The latest trend is to use seaweed. This bioplastic degrades in 5 weeks and is compostable at home. It does not contaminate the recycling facilities too.
Notpla has worked on brown seaweed materials since 2012 and developed biodegradable sachets and boxes for takeaway meals. Their latest initiative deals with seaweed-coated takeaway boxes. This counters the spread of boxes, lined on the inside, with plastic.
Also read: Sonali Bags: The Promising Biodegradable Alternative To Plastic Caught Up In A Bureaucratic Mess
Startups like B’ZEOS are looking for ways to develop a technology that can use seaweed to create packages. The seaweed here would be the primary biomass of the containers. Handelens Miljofond has donated $55,000 to them, to develop seaweed packages for fruits instead of plastic food packaging.
A credible solution has been found to stop the pollution of plastic and its products. It uses polyolefins, which can degrade naturally in the environment without causing much harm. They turn into a waxy material which is then consumed by microbes or fungi. It faces some obstacles on its way to mass production. The governments are failing to support such innovation and it is very difficult to convince them, where big companies are in the active markets. If such products are introduced then it would render the compost industries, useless and this might be a major reason why it is not sold in the market.