It’s no secret that Americans live a fast lifestyle. As a society that is always on the go, large volumes of food packaging waste is sent to the dump every year. With environmental concerns coming to the forefront over the last decade, the food industry has yet to offer a solid solution for waste reduction with their packaging.
According to the recent Waste and Opportunity report conducted by As You Sow, fast food industries are the biggest culprit for excessive food packaging waste. You’ve likely seen fast food wrappers, bags, and cups tossed out on the street or overflowing public trashcans. Their packaging is the furthest from environmentally friendly as you can get in the food industry, and it’s causing big concerns for the environment.
The Four Pillars of Packaging Sustainability
As you Sow and the Natural Resources Defense Council used their coined phrase of the four pillars of packaging sustainability to evaluate recycle-friendly companies across the US. The four pillars consist of:
- Source reduction: Packing with less material. This will help reduce virgin material sourcing.
- Recycled content: Packaging created with recycled content to make new products. This requires the use of fewer natural resources.
- Recyclability and Materials Use: Materials that are difficult to recycle are avoided.
- Boosting Materials Recycling: Companies that take it upon themselves to encourage customer recycling, such as supplying recycle bins.
As you Sow and the Natural Resources Defense Council determined clear-cut winners and losers in the recycling game with these pillars. The two companies that received the highest rating were Starbucks and McDonalds. Those who are falling behind include Arby’s, Papa John’s, Quizno’s, and Dairy Queen.
Recycling Habits and Statistics
While the issue of recyclable food packaging continues to build, let’s look into some statistics that highlight the real concern of recyclability:
- Nearly 75% of our country’s waste is recyclable, but only 30% is ever recycled
- Over 20 tons of food is wasted every year.
- The average American generated approximately 4 pounds of trash per day
- A staggering 25 million water bottles are thrown away every year
Environmentally Friendly Components for Flexible Retail Packaging
One of the first steps to tackling the recycling problem is to omit the biggest offenders: cardboard, certain kinds of plastic, and glass. There’s almost always an alternative to packaging your food products to help the environment, and flexible retail packaging offers a new solution for recyclable packaging in the food industry.
Flexible retail packages and stand up pouches are, in fact, recyclable. This sustainable food packaging option is engineered with multiple layers of barrier film. The barrier film protects against moisture, vapor, odors, and even UV rays. It helps the pouches stand up straight on the store shelves and contain a certain level of stiffness.
While this may not sound like an environmentally friendly feature for food packaging, you are in for a surprise. This feature allows flexible retail packaging and standup pouches to be landfill friendly as well as recyclable.
Flexible Retail Packaging Results in Regrind
When stand up pouches are ground up with other kinds of plastic, they are broken down into small pellets called regrind. Regrind is a super ingredient that derives from recyclables, as it is used to create a vast array of products, ranging from baby dolls to park benches.
To sweeten the regrind pot, it takes a very small amount of energy to formulate and mold, which saves both time and energy. Who doesn’t want a product that helps save the environment, time, and money?
Recycle Code For Standup Pouches
The recycle code for standup pouches stands at an R7. This means that our product is capable for recycling along with other plastic objects such as milk jugs and plastic bags. Standup Pouches are completely recyclable, or they can be thrown into a regular trashcan as they are landfill friendly.
Stop Using Food Packaging That Fills Landmines
We can’t begin to kick the problem of food packaging waste until we say goodbye to the biggest offenders. There are better ways to package every day foods that are better on the environment, and are even better for the freshness and display of your food.
Better Packaging For Your Food Products — Eliminating Waste From Traditional Food Packaging
We’re well aware of the recyclability issues that traditional food packaging products are producing. We can start reducing waste by introducing flexible retail packaging to common food products.
For example, there’s no reason to wrap your cereal in plastic then stuff it inside a cardboard box. Cardboard is anything but friendly to the environment, and takes up a lot more shelf (and landfill) space than Standup Pouches and flexible retail packaging.
You can reduce the amount of space that standard cereal boxes take up in the landfill by switching to Standup Pouches. Not only does it result in less space in the landfill, but also less space on the grocery store shelf. It’s an innovative option to display your cereal, and it’s also eye-catching to your customers.
Environmentally friendly packaging isn’t only for cereal. You can incorporate all kinds of food products with flexible retail packaging. Whether your food packing is primarily plastic or cardboard, making the switch to flexible retail packaging is better for your product and the environment.
How the Food Industry Can Take a Stance on Recycling
As leaders in the food packaging industry, it’s up to us to help overcome the reachability issue in the United States. How we conquer this issue boils down to our products and our strategy. In order to ensure that our products are not contributing to roadside litter or filling landmines, we must be mindful of the way that our packaging is produced.
As your customers continue to become more environmentally conscious year after year, you must take their concerns into consideration as a food industry leader.
Waste and Opportunity Report Offers New Opportunity
We can all learn a little something from the Waste and Opportunity report. The general public notices your food packaging and cares about its recyclability. If your food packaging is hurting the Earth, it’s time to reconsider your strategy.
Let’s all work together to make our customers happier and our world a little greener.