No Plastic vs Food waste

Cucumbers wrapped in plastics in a food sore next to plastic waste on a sandy beach.

No Plastic vs Food waste

Being uncompromising, knowing exactly what one stands for seem appealing. I often find myself standing in the middle. As this thing with plastics. 
Photo: K Kallur and Angela Compagnone

Among the plastic waste found on beaches a large majority is connected to what we eat and drink. According to Ocean Conservancy who arranges global beach clean-ups 9 of 10 items picked up during global beach cleanups are related to food and drink. So far it’s easy. All trash in nature is bad, and plastic waste in nature is really bad.  

In a perfect world, there’d be no need for plastic wrapping around food. We’d go to our local market, buy fresh fruit or vegetables and consume it within days. Avoiding plastic food wrapping might sound like the cure but there are more sides to the coin.  

Using plastic can be climate-smart

Individual plastic packaging around food isn’t always bad, it can be climate-smart to use experts says. When plastic packaging is of the right sort and it’s used to extend the shelf life, it can benefit the environment. The reason: Our big food waste. According to packaging scientists even single packed cheese slices, which I personally have seen as a most questionable product, can make sense when compared with buying a big cheese with less packaging and do as most, throw away the possible last 2 bottom slices. The cheese itself has such a big climate impact that not using the very last bit weigh over the heavy packaging in individually wrapped ones.

In Sweden where I live , for example, food accounts for  95 % of the climate impact of food, its packaging 5 %. And some plastics are better than other. 

To conclude. Less plastic is in nature is always good. But less plastic use is not always the best. I’ll keep choosing the big cheese but will from now on use every single bit. What are your choices? 

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