Plastic packaging might be making food waste worse — a European study says it’s caused household waste to double to 30 million tons a year in the EU.
Between 2004 and 2014, plastic packaging increased 40-50% in the EU, (which could have been caused by new countries joining the EU). Subsequently, each person is wasting more food than before — about 380 pounds a year.
The British Plastic Federation says plastic helps keep produce fresh and clean, and it could help prevent food from being thrown away. But a particular study says it’s probably doing more harm than good, and forcing people to buy more than they need.
37% of all food sold in the EU is wrapped in plastic, and is usually only used once, costing the union about $123 billion a year. Each European throws away more than 66 pounds of plastic a year, and it doesn’t just go in a landfill. Some of it ends up on beaches and plastics make up 85% of beach litter worldwide.
Friends of the Earth Europe and Zero Waste Europe conducted the study and recommend that the union examine plastic packaging more thoroughly, as well as look for more sustainable alternatives that create less waste.