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SINGLE USE PLASTICS IN THE FOOD SERVICE INDUSTRY

The oceans are choked with plastic, and food packaging is one of the main culprits. But will our modern diet allow us to consider alternatives?

“The Irish are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore.” This was the theme prevalent in most climate change protests around the country. Recycling clearly isn’t enough; there must be a wholesale change when it comes to food packaging.

Campaigners don’t believe fighting plastic pollution will have an impact on the foods we eat, only what we bring them home in. However, it is also important to be able to bring home the food safely. While there are a lot of products that can be used as an alternative to plastic packaging, the truth remains that there are not too many products as versatile as plastic to replace them completely. Not all of it is bad news however. Plastic can be easily recycled. A lot of plastic can be effectively recycled. There however needs to be action on everybody’s part. It is not just important to campaign but to understand how to facilitate this change. If proper procedures are set in place to recycle plastics, it will immediately have a positive impact on our environment. Julian Kirby, plastics campaigner at Friends of the Earth, says: “The ultimate solution to the plastic pollution crisis lies in big, systemic changes and a reimagining of what’s actually needed when it comes to packaging.

A modest cutback in single-use plastics has proved most convenient to implement on a consumer level, with the single use plastic levy being introduced across Ireland. Included in this will be no compostable single use coffee cups, Styrofoam containers including HP2, HP3, HP6 and HP7 container which are very popular among the smaller food service companies.

A survey showed that 9 out of 10 people are concerned about the devastation wreaked on our oceans by plastic. It remains to be seen if that concern will push consumers to make difficult changes en-masse and, importantly, if they can push businesses to embrace sustainable solutions.

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