WHAT IS THE UPSIDES AND DOWNSIDES WITH PLASTIC?
Plastics are made from fossil fuels which are a non-renewable raw material. The disadvantage with plastic is that if it ends up in nature, it takes a long time for nature to break down the plastic. Also, we do not yet know how microplastics affect our health.
The advantage of plastic is that it is a light material, which makes the transports more environmentally friendly. But the main advantage of plastics is that it can help prolong the life of food. For example, a cucumber with a plastic casing lasts for 12 days longer compaered to cucumber not wrapped in plastic. This is an important to know - food waste is one of the world's biggest causes of greenhouse gas emissions.
One third of all food produced is never eaten up, largely because the food's sustainability is not good enough. Food waste accounts for as much as 7% of the world's entire emissions and, of course, becomes a very important issue for our environment. How would the already large food waste be affected if we removed all packaging and packaging plastic? Food, and especially the unsprayed foods, would not last as long and would not survive long transports. It would require a lifestyle change where we trade more locally produced, but also more sprayed foods. We would have to shop more often and eat less sensitive foods with short shelf life.
Increases food sustainability
Lightweight material which makes transport more environmentally friendly
Made of non-renewable raw material that takes a long time to break down
IS DISPOSABLE PACKAGING PRODUCTS REALLY NECESSARY?
Without packaging products our society does not work. But disposable packaging must be handled responsibly. There is a joint responsibility for both producer and consumer. Packaging products reduces food waste, so restaurants can take use leftovers that would otherwise have been food waste.
Unnecessary packaging product, like prouducts that are too large for its content, contributes to unnecessary climate impact. This is regulated to some extent by a regulation regarding producer responsibility for packaging (2006:1273).
SHOULD I SELECT PLASTIC OR PAPER PRODUCTS?
Replacing the plastic bag with cotton or paper bag is not the same as making a good enivormental choice. According to a study made by the Danish Ministry of the Environment, it was shown that a plastic bag that is reused as a garbage bag is the most environmentally friendly alternative seen from a life cycle perspective. You can read more about this here.
When it comes to packaging products which are to be used of storing and keep food durability and thereby reducing food waste, plastic is today a better alternative than paper.
IS THE OPTIONS TO PLASTIC?
There are materials with properties as good as or similar to plastic, that are not produced by fossil fuels. Bioplastics made from sugar cane or corn starch are examples of such materials. Research suggets that such plastic is more efficient to use than, for example, paper or glass products.
Packaging products and bags made from recycled plastics also represent a more sustainable choice. Discover products that represent a more sustainable choice by clicking here.