Food packaging is essential for lots of businesses, but the types that are used can actually be doing a lot more harm than good. There are lots of different types of food packaging, but the most common ones are made from materials that damage the environment. But there are options out there that can make a positive difference though. From paper food trays to kraft paper bags, there are endless eco-friendly options available for businesses. So, keep reading and find out just how food packaging is damaging the environment and why you should make a change!

Single Use Plastic

A lot of food packaging relies heavily on plastic, and most of it is single use. However, single use plastic is one of the biggest contributors to landfills and causes irreversible amounts of damage. Single use plastic takes hundreds of years to break down, and it releases lots of harmful chemicals in the process. These then damage the soil underneath them and wreak havoc with the natural eco system. Instead of using single use plastic, businesses should look for food packaging that makes use of recyclable plastic or forgoes it completely. Lots of single use plastic also ends up in the ocean, causing issues to the sea life and the eco system that supports it. There are even plastic “islands” floating in the sea where single use plastic has been dumped to help make room at the landfills. However, the amount of damage that it’s causing is putting a huge strain on our oceans. If this carries on for the foreseeable future, then there will eventually be more plastic in the ocean than fish! There are many more sustainable options that single use plastic, so you want to do your best as a business owner to avoid it.

Mixed Materials

Other food packaging items cause issues for the environment because they’re made from a mixture of materials. This means that the packaging may have parts of it that can be recycled like cardboard, but then it also has parts that can’t and are made of plastic. Chances are that people are going to spend their time trying to separate the two before putting them in the recycling bin. So, either they’re going to end up in a recycling bin and contaminating a whole load of it, or people are just going to chuck it straight into the bin. Either way, the packaging will end up in the landfill and cause detriment to the environment. So, always try to go for a food packaging that makes use of one material at most.

Increased Production

With so much food packaging unable to be recycled, this means that there’s an increased need for production. Instead of it being recycled into new packaging, it’s going straight to the landfill and needs to be replaced from scratch. This puts much more strain on the environment as more and more resources are being taken from it to create food packaging. The production of food packaging drains resources in every sense of the word. From using more energy to creating more single use plastic, there’s no upside to an increased production of food packaging.

Difficult To Recycle

When it comes to food packaging, a lot of it isn’t all that easy to recycle. For instance, some plastics need to be taken to a specialist treatment centre in order to be processed. While in theory this is great news for all the plastics that previously couldn’t be recycled. In reality, people aren’t going to be very likely to go out of their way to travel, just to recycle one food packaging item. One item might not seem like a lot. But it soon adds up and nine times out of ten, they’ll just end up in the landfills anyway. This is why it’s important that food packaging is made out of easily recycled or bio-degradable materials.


Litter is a huge problem for the environment. Litter pollution is caused by food packaging a lot of the time, so it’s vital that we try to limit it as much as we can. When food packaging is left to rot on the ground, it starts to leak out harmful chemicals that end up causing hard to the ground and water that’s nearby. These chemicals eventually end up filtering into human lives thanks to the food chain, as the toxins seep their way into plants and soil. Both of these are either eaten by us or the animal products that we consume, so littering does a lot more than make the planet look untidy.

Incorrect Disposal

While a lot of food packaging is now labelled as bio-degradable or compostable, it has to be disposed of correctly in order for it to do so. This means that the bio-degradable food packaging needs to be disposed of into the right conditions, otherwise it won’t start the process. Many times, the packaging ends up in the ocean, where the conditions aren’t right at all. When this happens, the materials don’t bio-degrade at the rate you’d see on land, and they end up plaguing the ocean for years and harming the sea life. So, always make sure that you dispose of any food packaging correctly, and don’t assume bio-degradable means you can chuck it onto the floor.

Food packaging is something that many businesses use on a daily basis, and a lot of people might not give it a second thought. However, it’s one of the leading causes of harm to the planet as the amount of greenhouse gases and CO2 emissions that it releases in landfills is extremely high. In order to combat these issues, we need to collectively move towards a more sustainable solution. This means using recyclable materials whenever possible, ensuring that it’s disposed of correctly, and never littering with it. So, if we can make the change and step away from harmful food packaging, we might be able to reverse some of the damage that it’s caused.