> BPF Claims Plastic Packaging is “Still the Greener Option” for Supermarkets - The Food Safety Company BPF Claims Plastic Packaging is “Still the Greener Option” for Supermarkets - The Food Safety Company
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    Wednesday, 22 February 2017

    BPF Claims Plastic Packaging is “Still the Greener Option” for Supermarkets

    Following the launch of the latest campaign from the marine conservation charity Plastic Oceans Foundation, which is calling for ‘A Plastic Free Aisle’ in every supermarket, the British Plastics Federation (BPF) has released statement defending the use of plastic packaging in such stores, stating that “plastic packaging is still the greener option.”

    The Plastic Oceans Foundation’s campaign, as the name suggests, aims to encourage leading supermarket chains to implement a plastic free aisle in every single store in an effort the stem the flow of plastic waste into our oceans. It sounds like a great idea on paper. However, following the announcement of the campaign, BPF’s Director of Plastics and Flexible Packaging, Barry Turner, released a statement of his own condemning this approach.

    Barry Turner   - Img: MRW
    Mr Turner told BP&R (British Plastics & Rubber), “Customers and retailers should continue benefitting from the numerous technical and environmental advantages of plastic packaging before ensuring it is recycled. In addition, everyone needs to continue to take action to prevent littering and to prevent plastic from finding its way into our oceans.”

    Basically, Mr Turner believes it to be public attitudes and poor habits, rather than the use of plastic in the food industry, that are leading to the high concentration of plastic waste in the world’s oceans.

    While some may be sceptical or Mr Turner’s claims (he does after all have a vested professional interest in promoting the use of plastics), plastic rose to dominate the food packaging industry for a reason. The versatile material is cheap and easy to make, customisable to the requirements of individual customers or products, printable, re-usable and, in many cases, recyclable. It is also an excellent defence when it comes to food hygiene. What may be more unexpected is Mr Turner’s assertion that it is actually the more environmentally-friendly option available, all things considered.

    Backing up the latter claim, Mr Turner told BP&R, “It is important that the public understands that plastic packaging IS the greener option — it uses less energy to produce, reduces transport costs and CO2 emissions because it is lightweight, and significantly reduces the amount of fresh food wasted by protecting it in a hygienic environment and extending its shelf life,

    “Remember,” Mr Turned continued, “ten years ago a major retailer trialled selling cucumbers without plastic packaging but the scheme was abandoned due to the huge amount of food that was wasted.”

    So it does seem that Mr Turner’s claims do have some merit to them, but if the use of plastics in packaging is set to continue, recycling efforts must improve lest our oceans become more plastic than water. I don’t see any one approach working outright; various industries must work together to stop the damage being done to our planet.

    Sam Bonson

    Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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