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How Was Meals Packaged Earlier than We Had Plastic?


Nov 3, 2022


With the sudden and powerful push to remove as many single-use plastics as potential, an enormous goal appears to be plastic meals containers. But it appears as if we’re looking for to remove such containers with out severely contemplating why we even have them. And to grasp why we’ve them we have to know the way meals was packaged earlier than plastic was a factor.

Plastic meals containers exist for a cause. Really, there are a number of causes. Ditching plastic would require going again to legacy packaging or arising with one thing that’s simply as efficient as plastic however not as dangerous as we assume plastic should be. To this point, there isn’t a higher alternative materials. That leaves us returning to the way in which meals was packaged.

90 Years of Plastic Packaging

For the report, one of many earliest plastics ever made was a fabric generally known as Parkesine. It was a bioplastic first launched within the 1860s. The primary commercially viable plastic meals packaging materials was a cellophane wrap launched by Dow Chemical in 1933. It was adopted 13 years later by Tupperware.

All of that is talked about as an instance the truth that we’ve been utilizing plastic meals packaging for almost 90 years. We’re so accustomed to plastic meals packaging that many people in all probability don’t really understand how totally different life could be if we went again to legacy supplies.

It Was All Paper and Glass

For essentially the most half, meals packaging earlier than plastic consisted of paper and glass. One went to the butcher for freshly minimize meats wrapped in paper. The native dairy delivered milk in glass bottles. Now, earlier than you determine that the previous methods don’t appear so dangerous, think about how folks shopped for groceries again then.

At this time, you should buy meat in bulk and put it within the freezer. Plastic is what makes that potential. Within the previous days, you needed to go to the butcher a number of occasions per week. You couldn’t purchase a number of gallons of milk at a time, both. You’ll get glass bottles delivered on an everyday schedule, bottles you needed to wash out and return to the dairy.

Is a world so fast to throw out single-use plastics prepared to return to the inconvenience of each day visits to the butcher, fish market, produce market, and baker? Are we keen to purchase our drinks in glass bottles and both pay a better value or wash and return them?

Allow us to Repair the Recycling Drawback

There’s a higher solution to cope with single-use plastic meals packaging than eliminating it. That higher means is to repair the recycling drawback. Proper now, recycling client plastics doesn’t work. However that’s not as a result of recycling isn’t unworkable. It’s as a result of the system we designed to do it’s set as much as fail.

The economic plastic recycling trade proves each day that recycling is doable. Take Seraphim Plastics out of Tennessee. The corporate buys industrial plastic waste in seven states, transports that waste to its processing services, and turns it right into a recyclable materials it sells to producers.

Their course of and enterprise mannequin work as a result of they’re environment friendly.  If we actually, genuinely wished to, we may apply the very same course of to client recycling. Sure, it will be lots of work. However it will enable us to maintain single-use meals packaging and all the advantages it gives.

Eliminating single-use meals packaging is a short-sighted answer rooted in our unwillingness to alter. Paradoxically, life will change drastically anyway if we remove single-use meals packaging.

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