Food packaging waste is an increasing problem which isn’t going to go away. The UN reported that the amount of food wasted or lost around the world could be enough to feed all of Africa, or more than two billion people, which is a staggering amount of waste.
The National Resources Defense Council did a study, and their results discovered that Americans threw away 40% more plastic in 2015 than they did in 1995. That’s a heck of a lot of plastic clogging up our landfills and polluting our oceans, which harms both human and wildlife health alike.
As global demand for packaged food continues to rise, this problem is only going to get worse, and more serious, so it’s important we all change our perspective on food packaging. We need the mindset that food packaging is a resource, which could be re-purposed, rather than being something we throw in to the trash once we’ve finished.
What are some benefits for reducing food packaging waste?
With the reduction of food packaging waste, we can help reduce the harm to the environment, as well as helping to reduce costs. You’ll also be helping to reduce waste in landfills, oceans and forests, which will benefit wildlife and generations to come.
Food brands offering greater transparency on the environmental footprint of their food packaging can help consumers to make decisions on making healthier choices. It’ll also help consumers to avoid food packaging that is made from potentially harmful materials, or materials which can’t be recycled or repurposed.
How can you reduce your food packaging waste?
The easiest way to reduce your food packaging waste is by buying less. Even if you’re not able to buy in bulk, try to opt for products with more minimal packaging, so you don’t have a lot to throw away once you’ve finished the product/s.
Ensure you think about the materials which were used to produce the packaging on the products you buy, to make sure you’re purchasing food items which are packaged in recyclable materials, and not plastic-based packaging.
You should also take into account where your food was grown and product, and how it was transported to your country, as this will obviously impact the environmental footprint of your purchase.
You could consider using reusable containers yourself, such as glass mason jars, which work well for the storage of food like cereals, pasta, rice, beans and grains. You can reuse glass over and over, and it’s easy to clean too.
When visiting the supermarket, take your own reusable cloth bags to store fruit and vegetables, so you don’t have to use the plastic bags provided by the supermarket, and always take a reusable tote bag with you to carry your shopping, so you don’t need to use carrier bags. These are all very small changes we can do, but if we all make small changes, it’ll have a big impact, and will help with reducing food packaging waste.