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4 Reasons Why Food Packaging Wastes Become Problematic

4 Reasons Why Food Packaging Wastes Become Problematic

Biodegradable food packaging is essential for the food service industry in Australia because of this type of sustainable food packaging is eco-friendly and can decompose by itself through natural processes, which in turn can reduce waste. Eight million tonnes of food waste gets deposited in the ocean and most of these wastes are Styrofoam containers, plastic bags, disposable cups and more.

Plastic was invented in the early 1900s and is still used as packaging materials at present. Many types of packaging contain plastic coatings. One example is paperboard lined with plastic that is invisible to the eyes. However, newer forms of plastics are made from plant matter or biodegradable food packaging; most of them are labelled as single use and made from petroleum. Australians alone use more than 9.7 billion single-use plastic bags in a year. In a 2016 report from NSW EPA, about 75% of these plastics come from supermarkets, and the remaining 25% is from liquor outlets, fast-food restaurants and other retailers.

What Makes Plastic Food Packaging Problematic?

Plastics are durable, lightweight and inexpensive. They are very convenient to use as food packaging, but this convenience has produced so much waste that have been converted into landfills which clog up the waterways. In addition, single-use plastics have generated a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

  1. Negative Health Impacts on Humans. Plastic production not only uses petroleum; it also requires the use of additives like plasticizers, as well as heat and UV stabilizers. These additives are considered hazardous to human health because they are mutagenic and carcinogenic. They release toxic chemicals, such as phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA).
  2. Water and Land Pollution. Majority of the plastic waste is dumped into landfills or disposed of in the environment and only 9% of all plastic is recycled. With the high rate of production, about 9.8 trillion kilograms of plastics will be in landfills or in the environment by 2050 if plastic production continues. That is equivalent to 1.8 billion African elephants. Unlike biodegradable food packaging that easily degrades and can be composted, plastic wastes can take thousands of years to decompose. Therefore, such a large amount of plastics remains in the environment for a long time.
  3. Threat to Aquatic Life and Birds. If improperly disposed, food packaging wastes clog waterways and end up in the ocean. Floating plastics around the oceans are dangerous to marine animals. They are also harmful to birds. These animals mistake these wastes for food or get tangled in them. If ingested, plastic wastes cause a painful death to these animals by preventing digestion and suffocating them.
  4. Air Pollution. Unrecycled food packaging wastes end up in landfills and are also incinerated. Both of these waste management options produce greenhouse gases. While incinerators emit mercury, hydrogen, lead, nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxides and particulates, landfills emit hydrogen sulfide and ammonia.

What Can We Do to Reduce These Harmful Effects of Food Packaging Wastes?

The Australian government has been campaigning to ban the use of plastic food packaging and clean up both coastal areas and the cities. We can also do our part by supporting the “Reduce, reuse and recycle” campaign, this effort helps segregate food waste and recycle items such as glass bottles.

A rising trend in the food industry is the use of plant-based packaging materials or biodegradable food packaging, such as sugarcane packaging. These biodegradable food packaging materials are recyclable, biodegradable and compostable. They also come from natural resources.

If you are looking for a leading supplier of biodegradable food packaging, you can contact Alpha Food Packaging. The company is committed to promote and supply environmentally sustainable food packaging solutions. Call 1300 799 201 now!

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