How Food Packaging Affects Our Environment
The appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant many households adopting several new procedures to contain and prevent the virus. And most of these procedures involve disposable this and that, which has put to the second plan an also very much present plague: climate change.
In all fairness, for effects of personal hygiene and overall mental health, these non-reusable utensils are needed, but the steps taken forward in recycling made in recent years should not be a throwaway.
The bottom line on this subject is that the rise of COVID-19 is directly linked with the eco-systems unbalance. Our planet has been inching closer and closer to the border of a tipping point, and the novel Coronavirus can make more of a mark on humankind than we ever expected.
Though the Coronavirus is notorious for spreading increasingly in colder climates, according to data, most viruses are regularly more dangerous in warm climates. Expert virologists warn that another pandemic is always round the corner, and it’s in humanity’s best interest to be cautious with climate change.
The Different Ways Food Packaging Disposal Impacts the Environment
In their own way, all food packaging items have an impact on the environment. Directly or indirectly, food packaging is responsible for various environmental issues, including greenhouse gas emissions, litter pollution, and overcrowded landfills.
Ecologic worries related to food packaging are mostly centred on the way we are disposing of it. Single-use plastic is the primary culprit in terms of damage to the environment and, thus, should be the one we should avoid the most.
The Negative Effects of Single-Use Plastic on the Ecosystem
About 23 million tons of plastic packaging are produced every year in Europe, and 40 per-cent of them are finding their way down in landfills. That’s 9 million tons! What’s worse is that 32 per-cent, around 7 million tons, ends up polluting land and oceans.
When it comes to the ocean, this is the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck-sized load of plastic into the ocean every minute! At this rate, it is expected that by 2050, Europe’s numbers of truckloads of plastic get increased to four a minute! In another perspective, that’s more plastic in the ocean than there is fish, ultimately tipping the ecosystem balance permanently.
Without a thorough change to the quantity of plastic winding up in the ocean, over 700 species of sea-life can be extinct in the forthcoming years. The recent data echoes that 267 forms of animals have already been impacted, the most notorious sea turtles.
The environmental impact of worldwide plastic production (currently sitting at 360 million tons per annum) is so profound that it has led many scientists to suggest that we began what has been called the ‘Plastic Age.’ This proposition predicts that future fossils will contain laminated layers of plastic elements.
Eco-Friendly Solutions and the Future of Food Packaging
Food packaging is embedded in modern daily living, be it for hygiene reasons, more comfortable transportation or protecting food from damage. Though sustainable trends such as home-grown vegetables, nude food options and zero-waste lifestyles are amongst the most effective habits to save the environment, they are likewise the least convenient.
Most urban living citizens don’t possess either the time or the land to home-grow their veggies, realistically. Yet, there is still a very plausible future trend of urban farming and modern bartering solutions which can develop sustainability.
In the meantime, the top solution is to adopt more eco-friendly habits like the use of compostable packaging. As more and more consumers pursue businesses with sustainable credentials, we’ve seen a boom of ‘green’, ‘natural’, and ‘eco-friendly’ packages, generally made from biodegradable or compostable materials.
The Compostable food packaging whole cycle – production, disposal and breakdown – is vastly kinder to the environment than plastic. It is plant-based, mixed with recycled materials and can return to earth swiftly (and without harm) as soil when disposed of in the right surroundings.
The key benefits to the environment are that compostable packing requires less carbon to manufacture, decreases the volume of waste sent to landfills and aids the soils with life-promoting nutrients.
The End Product
In spite of the devastatingly uncertain future, it is in the best interest of future generations to keep striving towards greener lifestyles. The Coronavirus has spread into the minds of billions, triggering unparalleled psychological strain and general panic among every age or social group. In times like these, it’s vitally important to set sights on the best possible outcome.
As the world autocorrects to what has been gloomily labelled the ‘new normal’, let’s not forget the correlation between the environment’s health and possible future pandemics.
In a way, this ill-fated outbreak serves as nature’s warning, heightening the sense of urgency in favour of greener living.
The choice to prioritise eco-friendly, compostable or recyclable food packaging is up to the consumer and provides an all-important chance to make a vital impact on our planet’s future. Let’s then keep in mind the worth of every ecological choice, pushing in the direction of a healthier future!