Biodegradable Food Packaging – An alternative to minimising the environmental impact of plastic waste.
Plastic plays an essential part in our economy and our daily lives. But the way plastic products are designed, produced, used and disposed of is damaging the environment. The amount of marine litter in the oceans and seas is continuously increasing, with all the negative repercussions on ecosystems, biodiversity and, potentially, human health.
Over the years, the use of plastic has grown exponentially. It is estimated that production in 2050 will reach 33 billion tons. That same year, scientists expect there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.
EU citizens are aware of this problem and want actions to be taken. According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, a vast majority of Europeans (87%) are concerned about the impact of plastic and are concerned about their effect on their health, requesting changes in the way products are designed and made and more recycle and biodegradable solutions. 98.5% of respondents consider that action is necessary to address disposable plastic waste.
This is a serious problem and Brussels wants to declare war on plastic waste and intends to terminate the use of disposable plastic by 2030. The aim is that until that date, all types of packaging products will be made using reusable, biodegradable and recyclable materials.
Among others, the following sets of measures were proposed:
A ban on plastic contents or elements of plastic contents of certain products, such as cotton swabs, disposable cutlery, drinking straws, drink mixers and balloon rods, which should instead be exclusively made from more sustainable and biodegradable materials.
Every year, Europeans generate 25 million tonnes of plastic waste, “of which less than 30 percent is collected,” while “85 percent of the waste found on beaches around the world” is plastic.
An alternative to minimising the environmental impacts of plastic waste is the production of other options that are biodegradable, that is, that are degraded by microorganisms present in the environment, converting them into simple, naturally occurring substances in our environment.
For a substance to be considered biodegradable, it must degrade within a period that cannot exceed 180 days, by international standards.
Biodegradable disposable food packaging has the same properties as the ones made of regular plastic in terms of protection, hygiene, and maintaining freshness with the obvious advantages to the environment.
To invest in biodegradable and compostable alternatives to plastic especially regarding disposable food packaging is a vital necessity.