Minimizing Disposables in Food Industry

While we are busy creating superb packaging for food items, we are forgetting are environment. We are never keeping it clean and healthy. We have created so many kinds of stable packaging capable of food preservation but also preserve itself after disposal.
Few big companies are in haze creating compostable food packaging. Packaging materials that are good in protecting foods but decompose with nature. However, NGOs are also against these biodegradables. Why? It’s because they are not 100% compostable.
Some LGUs are implementing ban on disposables such as styrofoam lunch boxes, sando bags, plastic spoons and forks and the likes. Areas currently under plastic ban are Taguig, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, and Makati. Quezon City is also planning to implement plastic ban. Provinces outside the Metro that are implementing the ban are Imus Cavite, Los Baños Laguna, Lucban and Infanta Quezon, Santa Barbara Ilo-ilo, Batangas City and Burgos Pangasinan. Nearby towns from my home town is also implementing plastic ban -Tanza and Naic.
What about packaging of stable food products. Most of them are disposables. PET bottles, laminated films, aluminum and metal cans are all disposables. They are recyclables but less likely for the same purpose e.g. PET bottles cannot be reuse as is. Recycled products when broken will also end as garbage.
Initial steps are being done. The localized ban of styrofoam lunch boxes, sando bags, plastic spoons and forks and the likes. Why not include PET bottles, laminated films, aluminum and metal cans? Here are some crazy suggestions to make it possible:
Refilling stations. These establishments help in reducing the need for PET bottles. Anyone can buy a large or small distilled water container and have it refilled endlessly. Other commodities such as milk, juice, coffee,tea and syrup could also be sold as refilled products.
Freezing and Refrigeration. Many products can be quick frozen without affecting quality – meat, fruits and vegetables. Other can be refrigerated for short period. I saw this trick at 7 eleven stores. Ready to serve breakfast and lunch in cartons are refrigerated. They are reheated in microwave oven before serving.
Go for Glass Jars and Bottles. The most inert material in terms of food contact. It will not react to any kind of foods. Glass can be reuse for the same purpose as long as in good condition – clean, sterilized and no cracks. Caps and crowns are not disposable though.
Food Dehydration. Powder and dry goods can be packed in good paper packaging for a limited time. Sugar, cornstarch, flour, quick cooking oatmeal and instant noodles.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

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