Food packaging, at its base meaning is a packaging for food. Its main purpose is to contain and protect its contents where in this case: food. Since ancient times, people have used a variety of ways to contain and preserve food with the purpose of increasing its shelf life or maintaining freshness. From pottery to tin cans, packaging for food has innovated itself throughout the decades by changing its material to better fulfill its original purpose and reduce cost for large scale production which brings us to our current situation. Nowadays, most packaging consists mostly or partially of plastic as it’s both impermeable to water and lasts a long time. Adding to the fact that it’s cheap and easily mass produced resulted in many production companies utilising it in their products.
As a result of that, it has become one the largest contributing factor of environmental pollution, from our jungles to the ocean, traces of litter and plastic can be seen, even in secluded areas where there is little to no human traffic. This is a global problem that the world is facing and it will affect everyone, whether they like it or not. One of the main ways pollution can affect us comes in the form of microplastics. Plankton in the ocean consume the said plastic waste, which is then eaten by fish and so on, as it moves up the food chain, eventually reaching to our very own plates. These microplastics have been found inside marine life and as well as in people as well.
As for the larger plastic waste, it has been known to suffocate marine life and clog their stomachs, leading them to starvation and eventually death. One of the most infamous examples is the turtles mistaking floating plastic bags as jellyfish and consuming them. All of this stems from the throwaway culture that has ingrained itself in society which has taught us to simply toss away trash at our own convenience. In the past, people already had this mentality to begin with but at the time their food packaging were mostly derived from nature like banana leaves, which is biodegradable and that was okay at the time. Back to our current time, the mentality hasn’t changed but the food packaging has which is why litter is seen everywhere.
The main root of this plastic epidemic goes all the way back to the manufacturers and other related production companies as well as consumers demand. With recent years, social awareness towards this problem has been largely made aware by researchers and members of the public, who pressed for an even greener and environmentally friendly alternative towards packaging. The three basic “R’s” is now common knowledge, encouraging people to lead a more green lifestyle by using reusable and or recyclable materials. Manufacturers have also taken steps to appeal to the environmentally conscious groups as well by using alternatives to plastic like brown paper or biodegradable plastics.
For example, here at Tedboy most of our packaging uses paper and other recyclable materials like our takeaway boxes and paper bag along with our sandwich packaging. Our straws are also made from sugarcane fibre which can breakdown easier and faster compared to the traditional plastic straw, and if possible we also discourage the use of straws. For customers who are interested in going green, we also have our own purchasable tote bag that can be reused multiple times for anything, from carrying groceries to books.
All in all, the pollution caused by our excessive waste has done considerable amount of damage to the environment and to all life on this planet. It is of utmost importance that we must reduce our waste output and strive for a greener and more environmentally friendly lifestyle, as we only have one planet to live on and it is our duty to preserve it for future generations.