Let’s talk today about a thorny topic.
It is a theme that many large companies in the food sector prefer to ignore, perhaps out of fear that people understand how little is actually being done in this area, despite the proclamations.
Let’s talk about sustainable packaging.
In this article, we try to understand where we stand with respect to the consumption and recycling of plastic. In the next articles we want to talk about alternative solutions and models to traditional plastic.
We start, as always, from the data. In particular, we indicate three evidences:
- every European citizen produces 31 kilos of plastic waste every year.
- only 30% of the plastic waste produced in Europe is actually recycled.
- Global annual plastic production has increased from 2 million to 380 million tons since 1950 and estimates say it is expected to double by 2035 and almost quadruple by 2050.
The reasons for the high quantity of plastic consumed are linked to various factors, including certainly the fact that plastic is an inexpensive and very versatile material, useful for many products, both food and non-food. From this point of view, they are once again private companies with a vision and the ability to innovate who are looking for alternative solutions to plastic that are equally effective. In the next article on this topic, we will see who some of these realities are and make some considerations.
The reasons for such a low proportion of actual recycling for plastic materials is due, on the one hand, to the lack of culture among many European citizens, on the other hand, to the disorganization of the structures in charge of recycling.
The sensitivity of European citizens is fortunately increasing: people are recycling more and more. In our country, in particular, recycling rates are among the highest in Europe, with unfortunately a big difference between North and South.
As the European Environment Agency says: “European countries do not have the ability to manage increasing quantities of plastic waste in a circular and sustainable way.”
As for the organization of the structures that must recycle plastic, not many know that until 2018 half of the world’s plastic was exported to China, where it was basically burned in Chinese incinerators or waste-to-energy plants. In 2018, the Chinese government, to combat the country’s pollution emergency, blocked the import of plastic waste. It has been a tsunami for all plastic waste management systems in the world, including Europe. At the moment Europe continues to export plastic waste, now more to countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Vietnam (you can consult these data in detail among the sources of this article).
So what is the solution?
The answer is really complex and in the next articles we will try to bring some ideas.
In our small way, Bivo is a powdered food, totally natural and with only plant-based ingredients. It is therefore already a totally sustainable food.
As for packaging, we developed the latest product (Bivo Ready to Use) in such a way that it was 100% recyclable. It is in fact a totally recyclable PET packaging, from the bottle, to the cap, to the label. PET is in fact the most easily recyclable plastic in the current waste disposal system.
However, let’s be honest and we don’t want to hide behind a finger: with the current picture, which we described in this article, we cannot think that a bottle of PET, however totally recyclable, is the definitive answer.
We want to do more, and we are working to find solutions that, even at the packaging level, fully realize our vision of a totally sustainable food, able to minimize the impact on the environment.
As said, soon we will publish articles with ideas for the future.
So far, however, we have verified that our customers are always the source of the best ideas. We therefore ask you to write to email@example.com indicating ideas for sustainable packaging, or even reporting the companies that produce such packaging, in order to help us further improve our current product.
Eurostat on plastic waste produced every year:
European Parliament on the percentage of recycled plastic
Plastic recycling data in European countries