We all enjoy a takeaway from time to time, but did you know that the packaging that it comes in can cause a range of problems for the environment? Many food vendors use materials that are not compostable or biodegradable, with single-use plastic being one of the most used materials. As we all become more aware of the damage we are doing to the planet, it is essential that takeaway food packaging changes, so that we can reduce the damage we are doing to the environment, and our oceans. Below, we’ll look at how takeaways are harming the planet, and what we can do to change this.
The impact of takeaway packaging
Many of us will be aware of the packaging that takeaway food comes in – single-use plastic bags, plastic boxes, and Styrofoam clamshells to name a few. Takeaway food containers are more likely to be disposed of incorrectly because they can be eaten on the go which means they may end up having a detrimental impact on the environment that surrounds us. Not only can it make the environment look unsightly, but it can also have an impact on habitats and animals that live alongside us. Many of these materials are harmful to creatures if they ingest them. Throwing away food packaging has a huge knock-on effect that you may not even realise.
Thankfully, more food takeaway vendors and manufacturers are realising that the materials that they are choosing are having an impact on the environment, and many are changing to bio-degradable, sustainable alternatives to ensure that their packaging is not harmful to the environment. There are a few different alternatives that businesses can use to make a change which we will look at in more detail, but first, here are a few ways that takeaways are damaging the environment.
Pollutes the ocean
As we mentioned above, when these containers are not disposed of correctly, they can end up polluting the environment around us, the ocean being one of the most affected. When plastic ends up in the ocean, it harms fish, turtles, and seals – just a few of the marine species that will find themselves affected, and as a result, plastic debris will damage many marine ecosystems.
Harms the environment
And it’s not just sea creatures that are affected. Think about it – someone is walking through the park, and they throw their empty takeaway carton on the floor rather than putting it in the bin. When this type of packaging is not disposed of correctly, it ends up as litter, which animals and wildlife will end up eating, causing harm to them and disrupting their ecosystem too, as well as ruining their natural habitats. Plastic packaging can also contribute to global warming and can even spread harmful toxins.
Adds to landfill sites
All waste must end up somewhere, and if it can’t be recycled, it will end up in a landfill site. Landfill sites cause a huge problem for the planet – masses of waste give off harmful chemicals like methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen. These are greenhouse gases, which are some of the most harmful when it comes to global warming. This is why encouraging businesses to use bio-degradable materials is essential, so that they can decompose back into the earth without adding to carbon emissions and the production of greenhouse gases.
Thankfully, there are more eco-friendly alternatives being manufactured so that takeaway food vendors can make a change for the better. Some of the best materials that can be used in food packaging are paper and cardboard, which are both biodegradable and easy to recycle, as well as strong enough to hold their contents. Paper bags are also becoming more popular, as they can carry heavy weight and can be used again. When it comes to product packaging that you might find in supermarkets, glass bottles and jars are becoming more popular – they can be reused, and they feel more luxurious. There is packing to suit everyone, from compostable hot drink cups to salad boxes, food trays and even cutlery that can be recycled – so there’s no excuse for businesses not to do their bit to benefit the environment.