- February 24, 2022
- Posted by: Anil
- Categories: Knowledge base, Sustainable Packaging
All around the world, more than 380 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year, and out of this more than 60% of it is used for food packaging. Needless to say, the effects on the environment due to the huge amount of plastic waste is disastrous. Another concern that arose was the chemicals added in the plastics; substances like NIAS found in plastic are toxic and pose an endocrine-disrupting risk to the human body. Owing to this, it became necessary to look for alternatives to reduce plastic production and promote eco-friendly packaging for food.
Eco friendly Packaging for Food use sustainable bioplastics and plant-based extracts such as wood and bamboo which are biodegradable and are almost free of hazardous chemicals, making them safe to human health. There are five main sustainable food packaging options that are fast gaining traction today.
Glass Containers have been used since a long time to pack food. They are reusable, convenient and recyclable. However, they are not sturdy enough and glass lids are not viable owing to them not being leak-free, rendering them unfit to carry long distances. Often, glass containers come equipped with silicon seal or bamboo lids. As understood, bamboo pose no threat to the environment or the human health. However, if silicon seal is used it is important to make sure they are free of bisphenol – A (BPA), which poses threat to the human endocrine system. These containers have the lifespan that to about 3.5 times more than that of plastic and later they can be recycled, reducing the adverse effects on the environment.
Stainless steel is highly durable, heat resistant and obviously reusable making them one of the ideal choices for food storage. However, for stainless steel boxes too, silicone seal leads are a common choice. Here too, the above-mentioned point about BPA should be kept in mind.
Bamboo container is another option that is fast gaining traction. They are durable, heat resistant and ideal for food storage. However, their durability is not quite as much as steel and they do possess the quality of moisture gathering in them leading to potential bacterial infestation. Which is why, it is important to wash and dry them thoroughly after each use.
Gelatin films are nontoxic, low cost and overall safe. The FDA had long since generally recognised gelatin as safe (GRAS) and so owing to their reliable film-forming capacity they are suitable alternatives to plastic for packing food. Gelatin films are filled with antimicrobial cellulose which facilitates in preventing the growth of common pathogens (that may cause food poisoning) making them an ideal choice for packing food. As far as fillers are concerned, Microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) and rosin-grafted cellulose nanocrystals (r-CNCs) are two mainly prevalent choices.
Rice Husk is a by-product of rice farming. Its low cost, renewable and biodegradable. Similar to bamboo containers, rice husk vessels also have bio-absorbent properties meaning that they can absorb pollutants from its surrounding environment. Hence, it becomes important for these containers to be washed and dried after each use. Products made from this compound include sealable lunchboxes and shatterproof serving bowls.