Can we ever be platic free – what all about the biodegradable hype?

„We need more clarity around definitions of plastic alternatives in order for producers and manufacturers to get behind new packaging and communicate the benefits to consumers.“ Colin Elkins, global industry director of IFS.

We do not believe we will ever see a future where the food industry goes entirely plastic free. The achievable and sustainable future we see is one where the industry is utilising alternatives to single use plastics, made not from petrochemicals, but from truly biodegradable oils and sustainable plant matter.

However, there has been a lot of confusion over the true definitions of alternatives such as biodegradable and compostable, which has muddied the waters and meant that we haven’t quite reached the level of joined-up thinking across the industry to force change as yet. It will also be a few more years until we can be more certain on cost implications – as volume goes up, price comes down so current pricings are meaningless.

We should nonetheless start seeking out alternatives now. We should be conducting testing to make sure the materials perform in our machines and deliver an acceptable level of protection for the product.

We should be putting our full weight behind the marketing of their alternative packaging to gain a considerable leg up on the competition. The worst thing that a company can do is pretend that a move away from plastic will never happen. It will.

Finally, one of the most important required changes will be a greater level of information, standardisation, and transparency for the consumer when it comes to the packaged food they buy.

It should be clear what percentage of the packaging is biodegradable, how long it will take to degrade, and how best to recycle/compost it. Only then can producers truly satisfy environmentally-conscious consumers.

We at Incap take the sustainability commitment very seriously and started our material testings with different alternatives already 2 years ago.

We are very sure we can reach true result for biodegradable materials which can keep the promise. Wee keep you updated.