By Isaac Fletcher, contributing writer, Food Online
Plastic films offer up improved levels of efficiency and environmental-friendliness, which positions them as a highly-demanded food packaging solution.
The use of plastics as packaging is well established in the food industry, and with ongoing advancements in the material’s strength, flexibility, and sealing abilities, it continues to be a go-to solution for many packaging applications. Plastic packaging not only plays an important role in preserving foods and protecting products against contaminants, it is also a lightweight and cost-effective option for manufacturers.
In nearly every region where plastic packaging is readily available, it has had a noticeable impact on reducing food waste. Effective plastic packaging also helps to promote sustainability since it provides extended shelf life, greatly reducing the rates of spoilage. In developing countries, where plastic packaging does not see widespread use, the rate of food spoilage is nearly 50 percent.
When compared to alternative packaging solutions, plastic films provide a number of benefits:
- In general, plastic films require much less material to provide the same level of protection.
- Producing plastic films requires relatively-low amounts of energy inputs, helping manufacturers cut costs and reduce their environmental impact.
- Plastic films take up less physical space during shipping and storing.
- The lightweight properties of plastic films mean that they can be shipped more efficiently.
- The packaging can usually be recycled, which is a quality that many consumers look for as trends toward environmental-friendliness continue.
Although plastic packaging can be problematic if it makes its way into the environment, recycling centers, and other recycling options, aim to keep plastic out of landfills. Once collected, recycled polyethylene can be used to make a wide range of products, including new film packaging.
As plastic continues to be the subject of many innovations and technological advancements, it will continue to be a worthwhile packaging solution for food and beverage manufacturers. With further developments in bioplastics, even concerns regarding the material’s lack of biodegradability are being addressed.