When plastic may be the best option
Plastic packaging protects food against damage and helps extend its shelf life – helping to prevent food waste. This is crucial because if food waste was a country it would be the third biggest carbon emitter in the world. Plastic packaging also helps food and goods meet safety and hygiene standards.
Plastic packaging can be a good choice in lots of situations:
- it provides an air, water and hygiene-tight barrier for perishable and easily-damaged goods, which helps prolong shelf life and reduce waste (food waste is a huge contributor to carbon emissions, so this is important in the fight against climate change)
- it weighs less than some alternatives, which reduces transport needs, which in turn reduces carbon emissions
- it helps comply with safety and hygiene standards and protect the products we buy e.g. medicines or hazardous products
- it’s durable, it won’t smash like glass or disintegrate like paper
- protects the products it packages
- its’s easy to print information onto, such as food labels and allergy information
- it can be moulded into any shape e.g. milk bottle handles, which makes it easy to use
Reducing, re-using and recycling plastic
Unnecessary and problematic plastics are already being reduced and/or replaced by alternatives – items like plastic straws and disposable plastic cutlery. This is being driven by The UK Plastics Pact, a collaborative initiative that brings together businesses, UK governments and NGOs to create a circular economy for plastics.
We all have a role to play in reducing plastic pollution. Reducing, re-using and recycling means we keep plastic in use, where it has value, rather than throwing it away and causing damage to the environment.