Blog Post

Single zipper bag

Is Food Packaging Sustainable?

Here is a good article from a few years ago looking at the problem of excessive food packaging.

We at Proficient Packaging agree that plastic packaging needs to be as reusable as possible – see our range of zipper and ziploc bags.

Is Food Packaging Sustainable? A Look at All This Plastic
By – Jonathon Engels – One Green Planet

“Food packaging has simply gotten out of hand, or — and far worse — it’s constantly in our hands. It’s hard to buy anything without it being wrapped in plastic these days. Even our organic produce often comes displayed on Styrofoam trays covered in clear plastic. Then, if our vegetables haven’t been packaged for us, the status quo is to put each individual type of produce in its own special plastic bag. At the checkout, all of these bagged up veggies are shoved into another plastic bag to take home and — What happens there? — we unpack it all.

Pasta, beans, rice, candy, chips, bread, cereal, oats—just about everything, from food staples to treats, comes in plastic packaging now. We have all manner of baggage, cellophane wrappers, bottles, jugs, and jars galore. It’s even possible, likely, to buy packaged collections of packaged items, all those nifty little single-serving lunchbox stuffers. What’s more is that we’ve got our own plastic wrap and Ziploc bags for when we need to package unpackaged items again. For Earth’s sake, where does it stop? Why do we package this way?

Undoubtedly, some packaging is necessary. It’s difficult to buy a pound of rice with nothing to put it in. Additionally, at times, packages are used to maintain freshness and protect products from damage, such as those airy bags of tortilla chips. And, until we are all eating locally produced food, some measures must be taken to keep our food edible long enough to transport it and sell it. Sometimes, it’s necessary, legally, to provide consumers with information and/or instructions. The idea is that packaging works ecologically by preventing food losses, which according to some is a much more environmentally damaging factor than some excess packaging.

But, minimally astute observation reveals packaging isn’t simply a functional thing. While some is necessary, companies have gone way overboard: individually wrapped cheese slices, a plastic bag of half a dozen tiny cartons of ice cream, and microwave dinners in plastic trays sealed with cellophane then put into cardboard boxes wrapped in more clear wrap. And, what about those little plastic containers of fresh mushrooms sealed with clear wrap? Mushrooms go bad more quickly this way!

So, why? Why do companies package this way? Unfortunately, a lot of it falls on us as consumers. We want squeeze-y bottles and pretty pictures on our products. We want to just grab a plastic bag of beans rather than weighing them out by putting them in a paper sack. We want pre-made sandwiches, microwaveable dinners, and portioned out processed products. Companies package things as much to sell them as they do to protect them.

But, this excess packaging is not sustainable.

It doesn’t take a lot of studies to conclude that wrapping something three times with mix materials isn’t the most ecological method of packaging. And, while technically most packaging materials are recyclable, it just isn’t happening. Many people just don’t bother. As well, contaminated items can ruin a recycling batch. According to the EPA, nearly a third of US landfills are occupied by packaging. Over a quarter of our trash is paper and cardboard, and twelve percent consist of plastics. And, of course, plastics are not going to disappear this millennium.

Due to rising consumer concern about plastic packaging, in particular, many companies have been making efforts to go greener and healthier with their packages. Eden Foods, Hienz, Hunts, and Trader Joe’s have all stopped using BPA, a harmful plastic lining in canned foods. Long ago, Whole Foods banned plastic bags, as did Ray’s Food Place, C&K Market, Shop Smart, and Lo Buck$. Luckily, lots of eco-friendly packaging companies are offering alternatives for those businesses looking to get environmental. Be Green Packaging has some great packaging products on offer.

And, we can do something about it too!

If businesses can make an effort to be greener, then so can we. There are loads of little things we can stop doing to help, like buying bottled water (a horrible atrocity of modern life), bagging our loose vegetables, and accepting those plastic bags at the checkout. And, there are loads of things that we can start doing: utilizing reusable containers, buying products from companies making the effort, and recycling or reusing or upcycling those things we can. When it comes to food, for our good health and the health of the planet, it simply makes sense to buy fresh, local food, as opposed to processed and packaged.”


Related Posts

boutique bags
How to reuse your plastic bags

Here are a few tips and tricks on reusing plastic bags.  Follow the link

Store fresh cherries in a ziplock bag
How to Recycle a Zipper Bag

A useful blog on how to recycle a zipper bag - although these bags

Reducing waste over Christmas
Ways to reduce waste over Christmas

As we approach Christmas, it's good to keep thinking about our environment and how

Thinking responsibly about plastics
Thinking Responsibly About Plastic

Here is an interesting article from Henkel regarding thinking responsibly about plastics.  Please follow

Wash a zipper bag
How to Wash a Zipper Bag

Don't throw them out!  Wash them!  And here's how........... Follow the link to the original

In defense of the plastic bag
The future of plastic

We are all wondering what the future of single use plastics might be.  Here

Specialised Zipper bag
What are PP, OPP, and BOPP bags?

PP? OPP? BOPP?  What are we talking about??  Here's an informative article explaining the

Plastics recycling figures 2017

2017 Plastics recycling figures - Plastixportal "Plastics recycling in South Africa has continued to grow Johannesburg,

Plastic alternatives
Plastic Alternatives

Plastics have become a very controversial issue - here are a few interesting articles

Branded Shopping Bags Western Cape
How are Plastic Bags made?

From Sciencing comes the following information on how plastic bags are made..........  Please follow

Sandwich bag
Re-use your zipper bags

Here are some great ideas from The Secret Yumiverse   Re-use your zipper bags Proficient Packaging is

Wet Phone
How to save a wet phone using a zipper bag

Did you know you can save a wet phone using a zipper bag?  You

Zipper bag uses
Unusual uses for zipper bags

Here are some more uses of zipper bags that you might not have thought

Zipper bags in space - specimen bags
Zipper Bags in Space!

Here is an interesting article regarding the use of Bitran Bags (Zipper bags) on

Store fresh cherries in a ziplock bag
What can I use my zipper bag for?

Zipper bags are a great way to store food but there are a myriad

Zipper bags - ziploc bags
Benefits of Plastic Packaging

Here are a few more articles surrounding the plastic packaging debate.  Enjoy the read. ______________________________________ Top

Branded Shopping Bags Western Cape
Advantages of Plastic

There is a lot of debate about the disadvantage and advantages of plastic -

Understanding the Plastic Recycling Codes

This is a very informative article from EarthEasy helping us understand the codes and

In defense of the plastic bag
In Defense of the Plastic Bag

An interesting article from Green Biz on this rather controversial subject.  Take a read

Zipper bags
You’ve been closing your ziploc bag all wrong!

Here's how to do it! Great tips from This Is Insider and Bustle ----------------------------------------- You've been

DIY Plastic Flowers
Plastic Recycling

Ever wondered about the process of recyling and what your recycled plastics can be

The future of single use plastics
The Future of Single Use Plastics

Here is something interesting on single use plastics.  Please guys, use and reuse the

Branded Shopping Bags Western Cape
Packaging Sells the Product

Here are a couple of great articles on why packaging is so important.  Enjoy

Chichen Zipper Bags
Why Branding is Important

Proficient Packaging can custom make flexible packaging to almost any size, almost any colour,  with

Zipper bags
How to Recycle Ziploc Bags

"Ziploc bags, aka sandwich bags or resealable plastic bags, are starting to be accepted

Growing seeds in a zipper bag
Growing Seeds in a Zipper Bag!

This is a great thing to do with your kids but also a great

Plastic Shade Balls
Shade Balls Help LA Save Water

The Daily Mail reported that 96 million plastic balls were released into the 175 acre

Cleaning up our oceans
Cleaning Up Our Oceans


Zipper bags
Are Zipper Bags Good For Keeping Water Out?

Can Zipper Bags For Cars Keep Flood Waters Out? According to the Insurance Council of

DIY Plastic Garden Markers - How to reuse plastic items
Plastic Flower Garden Markers

A few weeks ago we put our first seeds into the garden, just a

DIY Plastic Bag Skipping Rope - Reuse plastic bags
DIY Plastic Bag Jump Rope

"I really do make a huge effort to not get plastic bags, yet somehow

Plastic Bag Planters
How to Use Plastic Bags As Plant Containers

Planting in plastic bags is cheaper than purchasing plastic or clay pots for your

Grow lettuce in a plastic bag plant container
Growing Lettuce in a Reusable Grocery Bag

Some Lettuce Container Garden Basics It's easy to grow lettuce in plastic, reusable lunch bags,

Grow veggies in plastic bag plant containers
How to Plant Vegetables in Plastic Bag Containers

Plastic bags are an alternative to traditional planters when starting a container vegetable garden.

Ecobricks - reuse materials that you can't recycle
Ecobricking is a Deep Solution for Plastic

We envision a world where plastic is put to proper use, where we have

DIY Plastic Flowers
Ways to Upcycle Plastic Bags – Plastic Flowers

A plastic bag is cut into strips to create this plastic bag bow –

Recycle your plastic bags!
Ways To Reuse Plastic Bags

  A couple of weeks ago I had a friend visit me from California. As