Plastic Packaging Waste in Food Industry

Food packaging today is as wasteful as it was 30 years ago and in some cases, it’s worse, a new report by a non-profit group indicates.

Source: www.cbc.ca

>” Many people take time to separate recyclables and compostables from the garbage. But according to a new report, the food industry isn’t doing enough to help.

The food we eat is often packaged in unrecyclable or difficult-to-recycle materials, says the report from a non-profit group called As You Sow. The group, which promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility, said only about half of consumer packaging in the U.S. ends up being recycled, and the rest ends up as litter or in a landfill. […]

As You Sow surveyed 47 fast-food chains, beverage companies, and consumer goods and grocery companies in the U.S. — most of which sell their products in Canada — including McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Domino’s pizza and Heineken. It found food packaging today isn’t much better than it was 30 years ago. In some cases, it’s worse.

Shift from glass to plastic

Report author Conrad MacKerron said there has been a shift away from polystyrene since the ’80s, but there has also been a move away from glass, and towards plastic.

“We think it’s of particular concern because of the contribution to plastic pollution in the oceans,” he said. “Plastic litter from takeout orders … plastic cups, straws, plates and so forth contribute to plastic litter, but it is all swept off into waterways and oceans, where they degrade and harm marine life.”

Plastic is the fastest-growing form of packaging, but only 14 per cent is recycled, the report indicates.

MacKerron said a lot of plastics are recyclable. But some, like black Category 7 plastics, require specialized equipment. And even some of the stuff that should be easily recycled just never is.

“So our major finding is that leading beverage, fast-food and packaged good companies are coming significantly short of where they should be when it comes to addressing the environmental aspects of packaging,” MacKerron said.  […]

The biggest offender might just be your morning cup of coffee. It used to produce zero waste, apart from some ground beans and maybe a compostable paper filter.

These days, millions of households are equipped with single-cup brewing machines. The largest company behind those machines, Keurig, produced 9.8 billion little plastic single-serve coffee pods last year, known as K-Cups.

Mike Hachey, the CEO of Egg Studios, is running a campaign that he’s dubbed ‘kill the K-Cup’, in an effort to curb the rise of the single-serve coffee machine.

“We started out with Keurig machines in our offices… and very quickly realized that this packaging is a problem,” he explained.

So while we may be free of the once ubiquitous Styrofoam container, we’ve grown accustomed to a lot of food packaging that isn’t a whole lot better.”<

 

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Plastic bottle recycling exceeds 50 per cent | Resource magazine

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New data from a national charity RECycling of Used Plastics Ltd (Recoup), has found that 70 per cent of the 610,000 tonnes of plastics packaging recycled in 2011 came from domestic kerbside collections.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Future outlook

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has issued yearly targets for businesses concerning the recycling of paper, glass, wood, steel, aluminium and plastics for the period 2013-2017. Although the targets for most of these materials remain static or see only slight increases, the targets for plastic recycling increase by five per cent each year.

This means the plastic recycling target for 2017 is 57 per cent – up from 32 per cent in 2012 – a figure that the British Polythene Industries (BPI) plc has warned is ‘unachievable’.<

See on www.resource.uk.com

More Major Companies Embrace New Recycling Label | Ethical Consumption

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A dozen major U.S. companies, including General Mills (NYSE:GIS), Kellogg’s (NYSE:K), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and REI, have already joined the labeling scheme. Since launching last January, How2Recycle has established itself as the only labeling system that convey recyclability across all material types and provides explicit directions to consumers to influence their recycling behavior.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

“Consumers are faced with a confusing landscape of material and recycling messages that are often inconsistent or misleading. We believe this label will help consumers and companies more effectively communicate recyclability and contribute to more successful resource recovery,” said Anne Bedarf, who led the development of the label, at a launch ceremony for How2Recycle last year.

“As we enable consumers to recycle correctly, we ensure more quality recycled material is available for us to use, our consumers send less waste to landfill, and we can reduce the energy needed to create new packages,” added Lorio, whose company was recently named one of the “Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World” by Corporate Knights.

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Report: Global waste industry could double to $2tn by 2020

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Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysis predicts boom in global waste industry as resource crunch bites

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

“We are seeing a shift away from waste as a mandatory public service to waste management as a sustainable business opportunity,” the report states. “We see the fastest growth in the next decade coming from diversion, recycling, recovery of valuable secondary raw materials, waste-to-energy, e-waste and sustainable packaging – as well as from emerging markets. We see considerable low hanging fruit potential given that 70 per cent plus of global waste is currently landfilled. ‘Greening’ waste management will require increasing MSW recycling by a factor of 3.5 times and doubling industrial waste recycling.”

See on www.businessgreen.com