On May 4, 2018, the U.S. industry association American Chemistry Council (ACC) published a fact sheet entitled “Reducing food waste through plastic packaging.” The ACC claims that “[f]oods without packaging are thrown out uneaten more often than foods protected by packaging.” The fact sheet highlights that plastic packaging can keep food fresh for longer, e.g., packaged cucumbers stay fresh eleven days longer, bananas 21 days longer, and beef 26 days longer. The ACC also points out that “[t]en times more resources are used to make and distribute food than are used to make the packaging to protect it.” Therefore, “[f]ood packaging, including single-use plastic packaging, serves as a valuable resource in preventing food waste, saving money and protecting the environment,” the ACC concludes.
A report published on April 2018 by non-profit organizations Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), Zero Waste Europe, Friends of the Earth Europe, and Rethink Plastic Alliance challenged the argument that plastic packaging prevents food waste (FPF reported). The groups claimed that certain packaging practices are driving both food and packaging waste. Meanwhile, the European Commission (EC) as well as the UK government are preparing regulatory actions to reduce plastic pollution, targeting single-use plastics including many food packaging and food contact items (FPF reported).
ACC (May 4, 2018). “Reducing food waste through plastic packaging.” (pdf)