Extensive food packaging is a matter of concern for environmentalists. Among the variety of materials we use to preserve food from contamination during its transportation very few are either degradable or recyclable. Paper, glass, aluminum, steel, and plastic can be recycled if taken separately, but mixed materials obviously prevail in fast food chains. Manufacturers prefer mixed package as it is cost-efficient and lightweight. It combines best properties of various materials, for example, paper cups are waterproof if they are covered with a tiny plastic lining.
Disposal of plastic and mixed containers is usually very simple – people just throw the package away and it is further delivered to the landfills. They do not degrade here (or rather degrade very slowly) because the specifics of the material do not allow it. Degradable plastic cannot be used in the food industry yet as the package shall provide a sufficient barrier between food and environment. Due to the abundance of trash and lack of bacteria, plastic degrades even slower, consequently, the landfills cannot process the garbage for decades. The human pressure on the environment increases with every year and it is difficult to make the situation any better.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to refuse from the package in the food industry. It is possible to eliminate the damage by sticking to the 3R’s rule. Manufacturers need to make sure that they can reduce, reuse, and recycle all the packing which is supplied with products. On the other hand, it is necessary to improve the consumer’s culture – separating garbage and putting it into special containers is the only way to avoid stocking trash in the landfills.