Plastic has become omnipresent - and often inevitable - in our daily lives, and not entirely for the wrong reasons. When it comes to food, it is extensively used to ensure food safety. But the way we came to use a lot of plastic is an issue - single use plastic such as disposable cutlery, cups, or wrapping are piling up and polluting the Earth.
The stats are pretty shocking:
We create over 80 million tonnes of plastic packaging per year, and only 14% of it is recycled. The rest pretty much never decomposes and will stick around forever.
90% of seagulls have plastic in them. Fish have plastic in them. We are eating plastic too! And if nothing changes, by 2050 all the plastic in the ocean will outweigh the fish.
On Earth Day, 22 April, Snact helped nature fight back. We teamed up with Thomas Gray and Bobo the Green Gorilla and took to the streets to ask people about plastic.
The great news is packaging can become organic waste, like fruit peels for example – just like nature intended! Snact’s fruit jerky packaging made by TIPA is home compostable and turns into fertiliser for the soil. 6 months in a home composter and woosh, it’s back in the earth!
Snact has an answer to the plastic pollution problem - our compostable packaging made by TIPA, which we believe is the future: a zero waste, sustainable solution. And that doesn't just mean recyclable - plastic, as you can read above, can technically be recycled, but only 14% of it actually is. Recycling, even when successful, is a costly and difficult process. Many materials that claim to be recyclable - or biodegradable for that matter - are still contributing to plastic waste.
Thanks to our collaboration with TIPA, Snact switched our packaging to compostable film in September 2016. The innovative film, first of its kind in the UK, decomposes in home composter conditions within 6 months and becomes a fertiliser for the soil, just like an orange peel would. It is just as durable and impermeable as ordinary plastic, making it safe to use for packaging food.
Materials like that made by TIPA are a solution to our plastics problem - and it's time for companies to adopt these solutions, even if they cost more than traditional plastic. You, as consumers, as Snactivists, have a role to play too - tell them you want to see this switch. Write to the companies whose products you buy, tweet them, petition them - until they listen! Compostable solutions are starting to pop up already. Our case shows it is possible, even for a small brand with a limited budget, to make a real commitment to sustainability ✊
Many Snactivists asked us detailed questions about the packaging - so we've asked TIPA to answer them - click here to read the full Q&A. To read more about how TIPA is addressing packaging waste, check out their blog about plastic in the oceans.
Compostable packaging is the future - but what can you do in the meantime to reduce plastic waste? There are some no brainer solutions you can implement today: check out health & wellness writer Sarah Wilson's 8 bits of plastic you can quit right now, including plastic bags, cups, cutlery, toothbrushes, straws... If you're in a supermarket, you may have the choice of buying fruit and veg loose, with no plastic wrappers. In many cases, we do need to use packaging - remember to carry your own reusable cups, water bottles, food containers, shopping bags to cut down on single-use plastic.
For more resources and information check out these brilliant plastic-busting initiatives that have been making the news drawing our attention to the plastic problem and what we can do about it:
#PlasticFreeAisle is a campaign urging supermarkets to create a plastic-free aisle in every store. The organisers, A Plastic Planet, want to work with supermarkets - not against them - and together push for sustainable packaging alternatives. A plastic bag charge of 5p introduced in 2015 helped cut usage by 80%. A Plastic Planet would like to see food packaging tackled in a similar way. Sian Sutherland, a trustee of Plastic Oceans Foundation said: “We have more choice than ever for everything. There are countless gluten-free, organic or kosher aisles, and yet we have absolutely no choice about buying food that is packaged in plastic." Watch more on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zrn4-FfbXw
The United Nations is "declaring war" on ocean plastic as one of the biggest sources of planetary pollution. The intergovernmental organization's environment program UNEP launched its #CleanSeas campaign at the World Ocean Summit in February. Their aim is to lobby governments and ordinary citizens alike: on the campaign website you can take pledges against using plastic cups, bags, or microplastics (of which there are 500 times more in oceans than stars in our galaxy!) One of the actions you can take on the #CleanSeas website is urging firms to cut plastic packaging.
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