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The beginning of the end for plastic packaging

There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel with reducing non-sustainable packaging from our supermarkets. As well as launching its “packaging-free” range this week, Waitrose is now working with the Scottish biotech company Cuantec, in order to develop a flexible film made from waste langoustine shellswhich is compostable. 

Although this product is only in the experimental stages, it’s encouraging that large corporations in the food and hospitality sector are responding to the urgent environmental pressures facing the globe.    

Another natural alternative to non-recyclable plastic bags has been introduced by Kite Packaging. They have used sugar cane which is suggested to be the greenest and most sustainable material on the market. A huge benefit to this product is the carbon dioxide taken from the atmosphere in the growing process of the sugar canewhich offsets the carbon dioxide emitted through production and transport, meaning it is carbon neutral. This new breakthrough with eco-friendly packaging involving sugar cane may provide a boost for the sugar industry, with increased demand leading to firmer pricing. 

Mushrooms have been recognised as having large potential as a plastic alternative. The proposed uses from mushrooms includes replacements for polystyrene, insulation, packaging materials, and more. As mushrooms are grown indoors under controlled conditions, there would less harm to the environment than using plastic or wood products as we do presently.  

In coming years, we can expect to see significant changes to our packaging, which will affect the food and hospitality sectors at all levels. We must globally continue with these developments into sustainable practices in order to address the urgent environmental issues facing our planet before it is too late. 

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