We all know about the harmful effects of plastic and microplastic. Plastic does not decompose in nature and remains for hundreds of years. The entry of microplastics into the oceans is one of the main causes of water pollution and endangering the ocean environment. Many people around the world are trying to reduce plastic production and establish a recycling culture. One of the best alternative solutions is to use food packaging that is environmentally sustainable.About 60% of all plastic produced worldwide is used in food packaging. It means that out of 380 million square tons of plastic that was produced in 2015, 228 million square tons of it was only food packaging. What can be done to reduce this amount of plastic? The most important action is to use environmentally friendly packaging. Continue with BingMag to get to know these packages better and pay attention to these points when buying so that the use of plastic in your life can be reduced.
Why should we reduce the use of plastic?
We all know about the harmful effects of plastic and microplastic. Plastic does not decompose in nature and remains for hundreds of years. The entry of microplastics into the oceans is one of the main causes of water pollution and endangering the ocean environment. Many people around the world are trying to reduce plastic production and establish a recycling culture. One of the best alternative solutions is to use food packaging that is environmentally sustainable.
- Destructive and frightening effects of plastic bags on the environment and human health
Why is it important to use sustainable packaging for food?
The main concern with plastics is accumulation They are in oceans and landfills, the production of micro- and nanoplastics, and human exposure to toxins when chemicals in food packaging are transferred to food.
In addition to the chemicals intentionally used to produce plastics, Many substances are unintentionally found in food packaging. These chemicals are toxic and endocrine disruptors in humans.
However, environmentally friendly alternatives to food packaging are becoming more and more common.
These environmentally friendly food packages With the environment, they often use sustainable bioplastics and plant extracts such as wheat, wood, and bamboo, which are biodegradable, reusable, and free of dangerous chemicals.
Of course, these packages also contain chemicals. But studies show that the transfer of chemicals to food and the body is much less in environmentally friendly packaging than in plastics, making them a better option for protecting the environment and human health.
Being in Exposure to chemicals due to the use of food packaging is inevitable; But trying to reduce the transfer of these chemicals to food is vital for human health.
Sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives to food packaging
Continued with 5 new packaging materials You will get to know foods that are more beneficial for your own health and the preservation of this planet. If you like to take a step to save the earth, this time you go shopping, try to buy food products that have environmentally friendly packaging, or if you have to use disposable dishes, buy dishes that are made of environmentally friendly materials. /p>
1. Glass containers
Glass containers have many uses and benefits in daily life.
This material is reusable, recyclable and durable. Glass containers are very easy to wash and clean very well. The best alternative to plastic for food storage is glass containers. You can get glass containers in different shapes from water bottles to containers with doors.
Of course, some glass containers don't have strong doors and you can't use it to move food and take it to work and school. do. Sometimes, some plastic is used to make strong doors that tighten well. Some glass containers have bamboo doors. Either way, if you use a glass container, even if it's sealed with plastic, you're still doing a great job of reducing plastic production.
Make sure you choose lids that are BPA-free. ) are. This substance is a known endocrine disruptor that has been shown to play a role in male and female infertility and tumor formation.
If these containers are not broken, they last 3.5 times longer than plastic and can be recycled if thrown away. and reduce the negative effects of plastics on the environment.
Stainless steel is a durable, rust-free and heat-resistant material, making it a choice Safe to store food. It is also reusable and recyclable.
Steel food containers are found everywhere. One of the advantages of these dishes is that they are usually strong and their darshan is made of their own material and steel. But sometimes they may be made of silicone so that they don't leak. Silicones are usually used in these containers, which are completely safe for food storage They are healthy.
Glass containers with doors that can be fully closed and are made of stainless steel are the best option for storing bulky food such as flour, grains and spices.
Bamboo is a biodegradable alternative and has many desirable properties for food packaging. Bamboo is durable and resistant to heat, and for this reason it can be the best option for storing food, especially hot food.
Bamboo food packaging includes glass bottles with bamboo lids, lunch boxes, bread boxes. Bamboo and bamboo serving bowls. Of course, these days the use of bamboo has greatly increased and containers with various shapes have come to the market.
Remember that food containers made of bamboo or other plant fibers are less durable than glass or They have stainless steel and are more easily worn and damaged.
4. Rice bran
Rice husk is a byproduct of rice cultivation, which is low-cost, renewable and biodegradable.
In a study, it was found that rice husk has bioabsorbent properties; This means that it absorbs pollutants from its surroundings.
Products made from this combination include lunch boxes with locking doors and unbreakable serving bowls.
5. Gelatin sheets
Gelatin film is a material that has become more popular for food packaging due to its non-toxicity, low cost and formability. Some types of these packages are even edible.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), gelatin is generally recognized as a safe (GRAS) food additive.
Gelatin sheets are filled with antimicrobial cellulose that inhibits the growth of common pathogens that cause foodborne illness. These active fillers make gelatin sheets a safer alternative to conventional plastics.
Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) and resin-linked cellulose nanocrystals (r-CNCs) are the two main fillers for gelatin food packaging.
Plastics you shouldn't use
Conventional plastics contain many additives such as stabilizers, fillers, plasticizers, flame retardants and more recently antimicrobials. These petroleum-based plastic products are not biodegradable, meaning they do not break down into natural materials.
Instead, these products break down into fragments called micro- and nanoplastics, which pollute the environment and destroy natural ecosystems and They threaten human health.
While these additives may produce a more desirable plastic product that makes it possible and convenient to store and transport food, the chemicals in them lead to pollution and increase the risk. It causes endocrine disorders and cancer in humans.
In the following, we introduce 3 plastics made based on petroleum materials that you should avoid.
1. Single-use plastics
Plastic beverage bottles, beverage bottle caps, styrofoam cups and plastic bags that we use every day are the most common and harmful plastics.
These plastics are usually the worst. They are eliminated as much as possible. Oceans and coastal areas are more exposed to damage caused by single-use plastics than any other environment; The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is the result of the accumulation of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean between Japan and Hawaii, is an example of the damage caused by the entry of plastics into the oceans.
2. Plastics containing BPA
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a plasticizer additive used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC); A substance used in many plastic products.
BPA not only accumulates in the environment, but also transfers from food packaging to the food itself. If this substance enters the body, it may increase the risk of infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and other metabolic disorders.
3. Plastic take-out containers
The widespread use of single-use containers in which restaurant food and offerings are distributed causes the production of large amounts of waste, which leads to pollution and the introduction of various toxins into the environment.
- How to reduce plastic consumption? (on the occasion of World Plastic Free Day)
Methods to reduce plastic consumption
- Use reusable metal or bamboo straws instead of disposable plastic straws. There are also straw cleaning brushes so you can wash and reuse these straws. On the other hand, disposable and biodegradable paper straws have also been produced that are environmentally friendly.
- Choose non-plastic or BPA-free water bottles that are reusable and buy a good brush to wash them.
- Using household water filter devices helps to reduce the use of mineral water and single-use plastic water bottles.
- Because of single-use plastic Use less, when ordering food from outside, ask them not to give you plastic straws, spoons and forks, so that the use of plastic in restaurants will also decrease.
- When you need to change food containers, use glass containers. Choose instead of plastic.
- Look for biodegradable products instead of conventional plastics that are made from petroleum-based materials.
- Recycle plastic packaging the right way to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Washing and reusing plastic containers, such as thick plastic bags in which capes are kept, may help reduce their environmental impact.
Food packaging made with plastic accumulates in the environment and poses many health risks; including causing metabolic disorders and even cancer. However, it is impossible to completely avoid these plastics, but choosing environmentally friendly packaging that is biodegradable, less toxic and recyclable is a positive step towards reducing the harmful effects of plastic consumption. It is on health and environment.