Giving Compass’ Take:
• A new report says that we as consumers pursue healthy and sustainable eating habits, but still overlook the impact of food packaging on the environment.
• How can we be more cognizant of food preservation and support organizations looking for ways to reduce waste?
The report challenges eaters who have sustainability on their minds to think beyond just the food they consume each day. “If concern about climate change, the environment, or your personal health are motivating factors for you when it comes to deciding what you eat, it’s important to realize that those same issues are factors when it comes to food packaging,” FoodPrint’s Director Jerusha Klemperer tells Food Tank. “There are massive environmental issues with the way our packaging is made and with how much we use and throw away—and there are some very problematic and dangerous materials present in food packaging as well.”
The prevalence of plastic use, according to the report, has everything to do with eaters’ love of convenience. “A lot of packaging, especially single-use food and beverage packaging, is extremely convenient. And saying no to it, or finding alternatives, can entail swimming upstream, like saying “no, thank you” a lot, or bringing your own supplies and packaging,” says Klemperer. Plastic is cheap and heavy-duty, and because of its durability—it never really disappears. Some of it is recycled or incinerated, but the majority of it ends up in landfills or as litter in the natural world.
This litter accumulates into masses like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), an area in the Pacific Ocean, located between California and Hawai’i that is estimated to contain at least 70,000 tons of plastic. And, according to Klemperer, the chemicals that leak from plastic—bisphenols, phthalates, and polyfluoroalkyls or PFAs—can interfere with human health and hormones.
Read the full article about the environmental impact of food packaging by Iris Leung at Food Tank.
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