Food Industry: Killing the Planet?
by JRajotte on February 9, 2015 - 10:00pm
We must eat in order to survive. That is a fact. Unfortunately the way we feed our self has an impact on the environment. In the article “Food industry overuses hard-to-recycle plastic packaging, report indicates” written by Khalil Akhtar and published on CBC News on February 3, 2015, it is stated that “the food we eat is often packaged in unrecyclable or difficult to recycle materials.” The article starts by noting that there has been an improvement since the 1990’s where Styrofoam was used as packaging for the fast food industry. But the report also indicates that since the 1980’s glass containers which are easily recyclable have been replaced by plastics which are harder to recycle. The report also indicates that only 14% of plastics are recycled. The K-Cup is also being criticised for creating excessive amount of waste with its one cup per pod product. Chrissy Spallone’s article, “Germany Debuts First Zero-Waste Grocery Store” published June 2, 2014 on OneGreenplanet.org illustrates an innovation in the food industry. It states that a German Company offers their costumers to purchase goods that do not come packaged, instead they encourage consumers to use refillable containers, which can be filled with what is needed. This makes it Germany’s first zero emission grocery store. The articles states that “60 000 plastic bags [are] consumed every second in the United States alone”. A large amount of plastic bags are not properly disposed of and end up into the environment. It is estimated that one million birds and hundreds of thousands of marine animals are killed by plastic bags per year
On a personal level, the situation concerning waste management and general packaging in the grocery’s industry along with fast food restaurants industry seems to be on a bad shape. For example Cucumbers do not need to be wrapped in a film of plastic in order to be fit for consumption. Why are they being wrapped? Another sad example of bad waste disposal method seems to become apparent when going into a fast food restaurant; there are no recycling bins, ironically it can be read on the wrapper that said that the wrapper in which the food has been wrapped comes in post-consumer recycled plastics or cardboard. Other issues exist such as the snack size format food which creates excessive waste with its none-recyclable plastics.
Many solutions seems to exist for these problems, for example instead of buying small packaged food in individual disposable wrapping, why not buy larger quantities which can come in a more recyclable container and then split the larger serving into smaller servings which can be placed in washable containers. Not only does this approach reduce waste but it also reduce food waste as it permits consumers to choose appropriate food servings. When shopping for groceries consumers could also purchase food that is not wrapped in plastic when the same product is available without the plastic wrapping. Reusable plastic bags can also be used in order to replace the disposable type which ends up in our oceans or hanging in trees. The Fast-food industry could also provide compostable or biodegradable packaging in order to reduce its impact. In the end us consumer hold the power to change the situation, will we keep going on a path of environmental carnage or will we preserve our planet’s ecosystem for generations to come?
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