Food packaging is becoming a matter of concern with each passing day. Unfortunately most food packaging is designed to be single use and not recycled.
The fast food container that was in your hands for just 5 minutes can float in the surface of the ocean forever. Fast food containers are a real concern for the planet.
We use variety of materials to take away our food and to prevent them from contamination during its transportation. Most of the materials used as food containers are neither degradable nor recyclable. Paper, glass, aluminium, steel, and plastic can be recycled if they are used separately. But most manufacturers prefer mixed package as they are cost effective and lightweight.
After the food containers are used they are either thrown away in a landfill or become litter that is carried along with wind and water. Plastic containers buried in a landfill do not degrade quickly and even sometimes does not degrade at all and the chemicals from the packaging materials can seep into the soil contaminate ground.
The problem has become so acute in the oceans that the United Nations chief of oceans has declared plastic pollution a “planetary crisis.”
The coffee cups and lids, coffee pods, foam containers, plastic bottles and their caps, plastic wraps, plastic grocery bags, etc. are made for single use. If they are not recycled, they often clog our waterways and the animals mistake them for food or get tangled in it.
The plastic floating in the oceans is a real threat to animals. We have seen in various examples of dead birds found with stomachs full of plastics, whales with plastic bags in their stomachs.
Fast food containers that are not recycled or composted go to the landfill. It produces emission of harmful greenhouse gases like methane. It also emits ammonia and hydrogen sulphide. All dangerous and harmful to the environment.
As per the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food packaging materials and containers make up almost half of the total solid waste that is accumulated in the dumpsites and the landfills.
The trouble with food packaging is not only with its disposal but it begins at its creation. Any kind of packaging uses a lot of resources like energy, water, chemicals, petroleum, minerals, wood and fibers to produce. It often produces air emissions including greenhouse gases, heavy metals as well as wastewater containing toxic contaminants.
Thus it is important to identify the best available alternatives to reduce the environmental impacts of fast-food containers.
Few materials degrade in modern landfills. Even it can be noticed that naturally biodegradable products may not degrade in today’s landfill because of the lack of air and moisture that bacteria need to thrive.
Today plastic is the most commonly used material for food packaging. All form of plastics is light, strong, and low-priced to produce. For these reasons they are used very much, as a choice to cardboard glass packaging materials.
Thus we should eliminate the need for packaging, carry reusable shopping bags, use stainless steel coffee mugs and water bottles and avoid plastic bags as much as possible. We should consider eating out rather than ordering food which requires a lot of containers.
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