The conservation charity ‘Plastic Oceans Foundation’ has urged supermarkets to make one aisle in their stores plastic free. The not for profit foundation was set up to address the catastrophic volumes of plastic that gets deposited in our seas. Each year 8 million tons of plastic enters our oceans. Plastic will never completely break down and as such causes catastrophic injuries to sea animals. It is estimated that 90% of sea birds have plastic in their stomachs, which often causes them to starve to death. Sian Sutherland, a trustee of the foundation said “the situation with plastics is very very urgent and we have to do something now”.
Could Cardboard Replace Plastic Packaging?
Plastic has long been favoured by many companies for being lightweight, strong and relatively low cost. It also significantly more hygienic than other forms of packaging, which is an impotant factor in today’s world of standards and food regulations. Barry Turner, British Plastics Federation’s director of plastics and flexible packaging, argues that avoiding plastic packaging will cause more harm to the environment. He states that this is due to the extra costs in producing alternative packaging and the rise in food waste generated by fresh produce. Of course plastic is a recyclable material so how does it end up in the sea instead of being recycled? Perhaps suppliers and manufacturers need to consider ways they can influence or control where their packaging ends up.
Many food and drink products are already packaged in cardboard, an eco-friendly material that is both recyclable and more importantly biodegradable. Manufacturers such as Innocent and Ribena use cardboard cartons for some of their packaigng but also use plastic for similar products.
Could the major food and drink manufacturers begin to find an alternative to plastic packaging before it is too late for our oceans and sea animals?
For further info on the ‘Plastic Oceans Foundation’ visit their website: www.plasticoceans.org/the-facts/
For further info on this story see ‘The Packaging News’: www.packagingnews.co.uk/news/environment