Plastic boosts food waste
The use of plastic packaging has led to increase in food waste, according to a new study from Friends of the Earth and Zero Waste Europe. The research shows that, between 2004 and 2014, there was a 40% to 50% spike in plastic packaging along with a doubling in food waste.
Large retailers are driving food and plastic packaging waste in Europe through practices such as food grading standards, and packaging food in multipacks and small format packs. Chopping green beans to fit plastic packaging has been found to result in 30-40% of the beans being wasted. Ore than one-third of all food sold in the EU is wrapped in plastic, the most widely used packaging material. The cost of food waste in the EU is estimated at €143bn each year.
“Wrapping, bottling and packing food in plastic doesn't systemically prevent food waste, and sometimes even causes it,” says Meadhbh Bolger, resource justice campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe. “It's a red herring that's causing terrible pollution of our land, sea and air.”
Image: FOE Europe