Using the right biodegradable plastic packing can solve common plastic waste management problems for convenience stores
Is convenience store plastic food packaging sustainable?
Today’s consumers want food packaging to be environmentally sustainable. Today, the standard solution is for plastic food packaging to be made recyclable. Unfortunately recyclable plastic food packaging from convenience store take-out is often not recycled, but put into landfill.
Why not just use paper food packaging?
There are many features of paper food packaging that make it a less attractive option for customers. These can also reduce the expected environmental benefits of being recyclable and biodegradable.
Five problems with paper food packaging
- Paper food packaging is impossible to recycle when contaminated with food
- Treatments and coatings can make paper food packaging less likely to biodegrade properly
- Leak and grease resistant coatings may cause chemical contamination
- Paper food packaging tends to be messy, to leak and spill food
- Companies make claims for environmental benefits for paper food packaging that are not realistic, and damage their brand reputation
What are the problems with convenience store recyclable plastic food packaging?
The three problems convenience stores have with how customers dispose of recyclable plastic food packaging are:
- If there is food on the containers they usually can’t be recycled but have to go to landfill waste.
- People buying convenient food on the street are less likely to think about saving the packaging to put into recycling streams.
- It’s not convenient for customers who buy take out food to clean containers and keep them until they find a recycling point.
Recyclable plastic food packaging used in convenience stores for food bought to be eaten on the go, or in a public place, is often not recycled. This means recyclable food packaging ends up in landfill where it breaks down into harmful microplastics.
Putting recyclable plastics into landfill is bad for your brand
Members of the public are very observant about waste and litter disposal, they might initially be pleased to find that the food packaging in a convenience store is recyclable, but then feel guilty when they have to put it in a general garbage bin because they can’t recycle it, and this is bad for your brand and reputation.
Three reasons why people don’t recycle packaging
- Lack of availability of clearly labeled public recycling bins
- The inconvenience of carrying food packaging around with you for recycling later
- Lack of awareness that packaging can be recycled
Biodegradable plastic food packaging is the practical solution
An answer to this problem is to ensure that your convenience store food packaging is biodegradable. Genuinely biodegradable eco-friendly plastic packaging breaks down harmlessly in the natural environment and does not create harmful microplastics. This should mean consumers can safely put it in regular garbage bins.
However, not all biodegradable food packaging does break down harmlessly in the natural environment without special treatment. Many plastic food packaging products that are marketed as biodegradable break down in landfill into microplastics that are a major problem for ocean and food-chain pollution.
Three facts about biodegradable packaging
- According to the UN and Greenpeace most biodegradable packaging is not truly biodegradable
- Some biodegradable packaging still creates microplastics that damage the environment
- Some biodegradable plastic packaging can also be recycled in standard recycling streams
Biodegradable food packaging can also be made recyclable
If you can make packaging biodegradable and recyclable it covers all options, and customers will not be able to damage the environment by their choice of disposal. Biodegradable recyclable food packaging offers the best results in public and environmental benefits.
Fortunately it is possible to make biodegradable plastic food packaging that will break down harmlessly in the natural environment over time and can also be easily recycled in standard plastics recycling processes.
Biotransformation ® delivers biodegradable recyclable plastic food packaging
The only process that is certified to the PAS 9017 standard for genuine biodegradability is Biotransformation ®. This is the system that South Plastic uses in manufacturing our Cycle+™ range of biodegradable, recyclable plastic food packaging.
Polymateria is a UK company that has developed this new process for harmless biodegradation in the natural environment. Biotransformation ® technology makes standard plastics biodegradable without affecting material strength, performance, or recycling capability.
This means that South Plastic are able to offer convenience stores a PAS 9017 certified, genuinely biodegradable plastic packaging solution that breaks down harmlessly in the natural environment, and can also be recycled alongside equivalent non-biodegradable plastics.
Cycle+™ : Genuinely Biodegradable & Recyclable Plastic Food Packaging
Our ongoing commitment to protecting the environment by enabling our customers to increase their sustainability and environmental focus is demonstrated by our development of Cycle+™ packaging. Recyclable and naturally biodegradable to help maintain a sustainable economy.
What are the three major advantages of Cycle+ as a biodegradable food packaging product?
- Same performance, strength & durability as other plastic packaging
- Global food safety certification
- Meets all requirements for microwave safe and tamper evident plastic food packaging
Biotransformation enables South Plastic to offer a biodegradable plastic food packaging solution to convenience stores that meets all strength and performance requirements, is recyclable and free from potentially hazardous contaminants.
Contact us to discuss how our recyclable and biodegradable plastic food packaging can meet all your convenience store food packaging requirements.