Environmentally safe packaging, also referred to as eco-friendly packaging, means packaging that does not hurt the environment. It breaks down (biodegrades) naturally returning to the earth instead of clogging up landfills for generations. Some environmentally safe packaging can even be added to your own compost bin as it is made of organic matter that decomposes readily.
What type of packaging is environmentally friendly?
Packaging made from organic materials is the most environmentally friendly packaging as it does not need to be recycled and will break down naturally. Other types of packaging, like aluminum cans and glass containers are more environmentally friendly than others because they can be recycled.
Plastic, which currently makes up the bulk of food and product packaging, is the most concerning type of packaging when it comes to its impact on the environment. Much of it cannot be recycled, and it never decomposes entirely. Plastic does break down slowly, but it leaves behind tiny bits of plastic called microplastics. Microplastics absorb pesticides, dyes and other harmful chemicals which are later released into bodies of water like fresh water lakes, streams and ponds. They typically find their way to the ocean where they pose further risks to fish and marine animals.
Why is environmentally friendly food packaging important?
Environmentally friendly food packaging is important because we all need food to survive, so every household generates waste from food packaging. According to the EPA, packaging and containers (many of which are food packaging and containers) make up 23 percent of the trash in landfills. Purchasing food in environmentally safe packaging will help reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.
How do you know if food packaging is environmentally friendly?
Look for an environmentally friendly, eco-friendly or a 'green' logo on the packaging. The logo means the environmental claims have been verified by an independent party, and it meets standardized criteria, explains Earth 911. Otherwise, claims that the product packaging is environmentally friendly may be misleading.
How do you dispose of environmentally friendly food packaging?
You can add compostable environmentally friendly containers and packaging to your own compost bin or pile or separate it for you local transfer station or the city's yard waste program to be used in making compost. However, not all environmentally friendly packaging is compostable.
Is biodegradable packaging compostable?
Biodegradable means the packaging will decompose over time, but that doesn't mean you can toss it into your compost bin and transform it to rich soil in a few months. A commercial composting facility may be able to use biodegradable packaging and containers to produce compost. Otherwise, biodegradable packaging may be added to the landfill, but at least it will break down naturally over time.
What are the benefits of environmentally friendly food packaging?
Like other environmentally friendly products, environmentally friendly food packaging has many benefits. Consider these positive affects of buying food packaged in environmentally friendly packaging.
Reduces your carbon footprint
Your carbon footprint reflects the amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the environment based on your actions. According to The Nature Conservatory, the average American's carbon footprint is 16 tons per year. Reducing your carbon footprint ensures that future generations will continue to enjoy Mother Earth for years to come.
Protects the environment
Doing your part to protect the environment is important. Purchasing your food in environmentally safe food packaging is an easy way to do that. While you may need to sort the packaging before sending it off to the recycling center of composting facility, it is a small effort to make to help out the environment.
Reduces waste in landfills
Buying products in environmentally friendly packaging reduces the amount of trash that is sent to landfills.
Sets a good example for kids
When your children see you making the effort to seek out environmentally friendly packaging they learn firsthand that looking out for Mother Earth is important.
Encourages more companies to use environmentally friendly food packaging
When food packaging companies see that consumers choose environmentally friendly packaging they will be forced to provide their own environmentally safe packaging to compete. This in turn will help lower the amount of toxic substances that find their way to the landfill and later escape into the environment.
Not all food products can, or should, be packaged in compostable containers and packages, but many can. Looking for the environmentally safe logo and purchasing the safest packaging available will ensure you are doing your part in protecting the earth.