Zero Waste Europe published a report highlighting how plastic packaging is failing to reduce food waste. In some cases, it may even fuel food waste, while simultaneously adding to the vast quantities of unrecyclable plastic waste polluting our environment.
Packaging-free shops are becoming more popular in many cities across Europe, with increasing numbers of retailers phasing-out plastic packaging and selling products in bulk. In France, for example, packaging-free producers, manufacturers, distributors and shops have joined forces to create the network Réseau Vrac to promote and develop bulk sales. Curious to learn more about their work? Listen to this podcast with Réseau Vrac’s director Célia Rennesson (in French).
Where it has been implemented, EU legislation has successfully reduced single-use plastic bags in favour of reusable and environmentally friendly alternatives. For example, the Plastic Bag Directive resulted in a reduction of 85% in six months in England. In Italy, among others, a graduated ban (with exemptions for lightweight and bio-based bags) reduced plastic bag consumption by 50% within three years.
International Plastic-Bag Free Day takes place every year on 3 July. All around the world, people take action to raise awareness and call on their governments to phase out single-use plastic bags. Check out the 2018 edition and get inspired!
Reusable bottles are already easily available and increasingly used.
However, refill stations for water are not always available. Join the Refill movement, which has succeeded in getting decision makers to install refill fountains in cities such as Bristol, and encourage your local authority to do the same.
Category Toxic products
Food contact material
Many chemicals are present in the materials that come into contact with food, such as packaging. These chemicals can easily leach or migrate into food, especially when exposed to high temperatures or when contact times are long. Once in our food, they enter our bodies.
Hazardous chemicals are used in all materials. For example, endocrine disruptors such as BPA are used to make certain plastics, as well as the internal coating of aluminium and metal cans and the lids of glass jars and bottles.
Certain hazardous chemicals are banned or restricted for product use yet are allowed for materials that are in contact with food. It is estimated that 58 chemicals recognised as “Substances of Very High Concern” are permitted in food contact materials. In addition, EU laws cover only five of the 17 different types of food contact materials, with paper and cardboard, for example, remaining unregulated.