Food packaging failing to prevent food waste

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:
Europeans now throw away more than 30kg of plastic packaging per person per year

A rise in plastic food packaging is failing to reduce Europe’s growing food waste problem, says a new Friends of the Earth (FoE) report.

The review, published by Friends of the Earth Europe and Zero Waste Europe on behalf of Rethink Plastic alliance, found plastic packaging had increased alongside growth in food waste rates.

FoE said the study showed that plastic packaging, which is often seen as a means of avoiding food waste, may not be as comprehensive as once thought.

In some cases, plastic packaging proved to add to food waste, with one study showing that chopping green beans to fit plastic packaging resulted in 30-40% of the beans being wasted.

Europeans now throw away more than 30kg of plastic packaging per person per year.

The associated costs of food waste in the EU was estimated at €143 billion in 2015.

Julian Kirby, plastic campaigner for FoE England, Wales and Northern Ireland said: “We already knew that plastic packaging is harming our environment and wildlife- now it appears its role in avoiding food waste may have been over-estimated too.”

The study called for greater transparency and research into how retailers operate and perform on waste.

Paul Vanston, CEO of INCPEN, added: "FoE and INCPEN are both working hard on the mission to ensure our global lands and oceans cannot continue to be used as unauthorised waste sites.

"We all have an obligation to see that the immense resources that go into global food and drink production are valued, used as they were meant to be, and not wasted.’

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