Incorrect information, ignorance and misconception surrounding plastic packaging and shrink wrap film are holding the food packaging industry back when it comes to sustainability and reducing food and packaging waste.
Manufacturers, brands and retailers are still driven primarily by the consumer, and they remain hesitant when it comes to plastic as a packaging material, despite numerous efforts by INCPEN and the British Plastics Federation to debunk the misinformation relating to the environmental factors and safety aspects of plastic packaging.
LINPAC director of innovation, Ana Fernandez said:
“Despite the indisputable benefits that such plastics have brought to society, negative perceptions continue to circulate about the material.
“Whilst those in the industry do understand the benefits of plastic packaging, many are quite literally frightened of the potential reaction of consumers, who continue to see plastic as the root of all evil, regardless of how misinformed their concerns may be.
“Whilst it is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all solution in the world of food packaging, with rigorous recycling and packaging waste targets to meet and a mountain of food waste to tackle, it is frustratingly clear that progress across the supply chain in these areas is being stifled by misinformation.”
A leading figure within the industry, Ana Fernandez notes that perceptions surrounding cardboard and paper packaging’s effect on the environment is the complete opposite of reality, with many opting for this method of packaging, thinking that it has a far more positive effect on the environment.
But Ana disagrees, adding:
“The reality is far different, when considered over the entire life of the packaging, paper and cardboard embody far more greenhouse gases than its plastic equivalent and is extremely energy intensive to manufacture. On the other hand, plastic is light, robust and requires substantially less energy to manufacture, offering a lower carbon footprint when compared to cardboard.
“Furthermore, plastics can be recycled many more times than paper. Additionally, paper or cardboard contaminated with food cannot be recycled – something many consumers are not aware of and which can lead to other cardboard becoming contaminated and unrecyclable too.”
“Food packaging’s main criteria is to protect the contents within, keep the product in its intended condition and be appealing to the consumer. With Fernandez finishing by saying: “Contrary to popular misconception, plastic packaging should be regarded as a valuable part of our green economy and as a solution, not part of the problem!”
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