Things You Need To Know About Plastic Food Packaging

The primary purpose of food packaging is to safeguard food items from deterioration and damage while facilitating simple transportation. Plastic packaging is one of the most common solutions, even though many different packaging forms are available. This is because one of the main benefits that this kind of packaging provides is its functional flexibility.

One of the critical factors in preventing food from rotting is plastic packing. The environmental effect of food waste is substantially more significant than packaging waste, especially in terms of carbon footprint.

Food can travel farther and remain on the shelves for longer thanks to plastic packaging, preventing vast quantities of food from going to waste. Because producing food requires a lot more resources, preserving it longer is generally environmentally sensible to ensure that the resources used to support its growth are not wasted.

But with the innovation and studies done in modern times, almost everyone knows the good and the wrong side of using plastic.

Join us as we discuss everything you need about plastic packaging, the pros and cons, and the alternatives you should consider for your food packaging needs.

In This Article
Beans packaging

Plastic Food Packaging - The Pros and Cons

Pros

Plastics are convenient.

We like to use plastic bags most of the time since they are practical. Even if you may carry your cloth bag, it will be easier for you, and many individuals need to remember to bring bags when shopping. Most consumers choose plastic bottles for their bottled water purchases because they are more portable than those made of glass or other heavier materials. Everything comes down to personal convenience, and people like plastic.

Plastics are inexpensive.

Plastics are also very inexpensive when compared to other packaging materials. Many sectors are aware of this, which is why synthetic materials are often used in packaging and wrapping. Because producing alternative packaging would be substantially more expensive, many businesses avoid using it.

Plastic packaging extends the product's durability.

Plastic also offers long-term product durability, which is a benefit. For instance, our food is susceptible to outside factors and will eventually deteriorate. Plastics increase the usefulness of items and save us a lot of money by reducing the amount of food we need to throw away.

Plastic may be reused several times.

Even though we frequently use plastic bags and other goods only once, most plastic objects may be reused. For example, you may reuse your plastic bags and significantly reduce your ecological footprint. This might significantly minimise your plastic trash generation over time.

Durable

Because plastic packaging is so resilient, it may be fragile. This implies it requires fewer resources and takes up less room for transportation, requiring fewer trucks, trains, or aircraft to convey it.

Plastics that may be environmentally favourable in the future

Even though plastics are now quite damaging to our environment, there may be eco-friendly plastics in the future.
Technology is advancing quickly, and researchers may discover a type of plastic that is less hazardous to our plants than the ones now utilised in our manufacturing operations. As a result, synthetic materials may be able to defend our planet in the future.

Recycled or Upcycled Plastic

Reusing or upcycling these plastic wrappers at home is the most incredible method to stop them from being thrown up in the ocean or a landfill. Mainly bubble wrap may be used several times before losing its effectiveness. The poly bags occasionally house tiny components in other containers that are the same. Although it’s not the best solution, it will keep them out of the garbage for a bit longer than using proper sustainable packaging.

Cons

Non-renewable properties

Plastic packaging is created from non-renewable materials. This characteristic makes it less appealing than other options. Plastic degrades over millions of years. It merely adds to landfills and disrupts the ecology.

Pollution in the water

Plastic waste also causes considerable water contamination. Most of our lakes and rivers are already heavily polluted with plastics.

This is especially true in poor developing nations, where many businesses dump plastic garbage into surrounding rivers and lakes, causing considerable water pollution and other environmental difficulties.

Littering

Littering is another significant environmental issue that plastics can cause. Many people leave their plastic trash where they are. Plastics may also be a significant factor in the littering problem. However, this is not the fault of the substance but of those who lack a sense of responsibility.

Global Warming

We should not significantly cut back on the plastic waste we produce. In that case, millions of people in the southern hemisphere of our planet will suffer terrible consequences. We release many glasshouse gases into the atmosphere, which are known to hasten up global warming. We must significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste we produce to protect those people.

Not biodegradable

Plastics are also not biodegradable. Plastics must be either burned or disposed of in landfills to be disposed of. As a result, they can be considered quite harmful to our environment, as both methods cause severe pollution of various kinds.

Plastic Packaging Alternatives

Recycled paper and cardboard

You must consider paper and cardboard if you want affordability and sustainability. These are two of the materials that can be recycled the most. However, make sure to choose post-industrial or post-consumer recycled materials. You can significantly reduce your carbon footprint by using recycled cardboard and paper.

Glass

Glass is a fantastic chemical-free, environmentally friendly option because it is created from heated sand. It is available in various hues, forms, and sizes and is simple to recycle and reuse. It is aesthetically pleasing and compatible with many goods, including food and cosmetics.

Cans made of aluminium and metal tins

Aluminium cans and metal tins are other common types of packaging for various products. They can be made mainly in large quantities and are strong, do a great job of protecting the goods they hold, and can keep things like food and drink produce airtight. However, they could be more adaptable and primarily used for several product types, such as food, chemicals, paints, etc. Its primary drawbacks are the material’s weight, the absence of available shape options, and the opaqueness.

Bioplastics

The commercial production of biodegradable plastics is similar to conventional plastic, except that biodegradable plastics, polymers that dissolve quickly, are used as ingredients. Either entirely natural materials, like corn starch, are used in their production, or common petrochemicals designed to degrade more quickly are used instead.

Plant-based Alternatives

Other faster-digesting alternatives exist in addition to bioplastics. This includes packaging made of plants like seaweed or banana leaves. Here, even mushrooms are frequently used. The material is kept intact by the thread-like structure. Seaweed extends the life of food as well. Both at-home and commercial composting are options for disposing of these vegetable packaging. Even so, considering that these materials occasionally conceal a layer of plastic, it is still critical to evaluate their sustainability.

Cellulose packaging

The most prevalent biopolymer on earth is cellulose, whose constituent particles have a little environmental impact. Different sizes and shapes of cellulose are available. In cellulose food packaging, cellophane, a translucent, thin, biodegradable plastic-like material, is frequently utilised.

Frequently Asked Questions

Foods are kept fresh by the plastic wrap by being shielded from the air, which can hasten oxidation and spoilage, preventing unwelcome drying, and by preventing unwelcome moisture absorption. They can also aid in containing food odours.

Cellulose is a promising substitute for plastics in food packaging applications because it is readily available, biodegradable, and one of the main components of lignocellulosic biomass.

If the package is constructed of natural materials, it will degrade naturally. Plastic is not readily biodegradable, taking hundreds, if not thousands, of years to degrade while emitting harmful chemicals. Some eco-friendly packaging, such as recycled paper, will even be biodegradable.

Key Takeaways

Packaging is generally used where it makes economic, environmental, and safety sense. Of course, only some products are optimally packaged, and each of these three factors has significant room for improvement.
Every bag has an environmental impact, whether paper, plastic, or reusable. There has been discussion about the environmental impacts of various types of food packaging. Plastic packaging substitutes must be versatile, pliable, and, if possible, less expensive. Not to mention the direct environmental impacts.