Plastic can be good!!

We have already heard a thousand of times that plastic is bad, is toxic, is not biodegradable, or is already inside of our bodies. And yes, we cannot live without it, because it is a cheap material and many things that surround us are made of it. Can you imagine me typing this text on wooden or metal keys? Yes you can, but I would be considered as a hipster or a rich kid that doesn’t know what to do with his money. In this entry I would like to present one of the few good ways of using plastic.

I decided to write this text because I have already encountered a couple of articles talking about the same idea, which can be of a help in the fighting with food waste, or at least in its reduction. Last year, two authors Stephen Aldridge and Laurel Miller, wrote a guide about the new trends in the packaging industry called “Why Shrink-Wrap a Cucumber?: The Complete Guide to Enviromental Packaging”. So why is it good to use a plastic foil on vegetables? As the authors claim “an unwrapped cucumber will lose 3.5% of its weight after just three days of sitting out. Shrink-wrapping slows evaporation, keeping the cucumber fresh longer: A wrapped cucumber loses a mere 1.5% of its weight over two weeks.” I, as probably many others, was shocked to hear that. Each time I saw fruits, vegetables or bread wrapped in some artificial plastic foil I was trying to avoid it taking the next aisle in the supermarket.

I don’t need to tell you how much of a deal breaker it can be, as far as reducing food waste is concerned, or the fact that it will save many other natural resources in the process. Last year, Tesco made a test (The results couldn’t be found) trying out new packaging technology on fresh produce. The Guardian claims, “Tesco estimates the new packaging could lead to a potential saving of 1.6m packs of tomatoes and 350,000 packs of avocados every year. If successful, it could be rolled out across 80% of the varieties of tomato it sells.” Another supermarket that is trying to be “eco-friendly is Marks & Spencer. “Trials in M&S stores showed a minimum wastage saving of 4% – which during the peak strawberry season would equate to 40,000 packs, or about 800,000 strawberries.”

Of course plastic is bad, but part of this is because we use it in excess. Maybe if we would use it for good reasons, and than reuse it or recycle, then it would become a very “green” or “sustainable” material. There is also a possibility of using bio-plastic, which is another good solution for many of today’s plastic related problems. There is a Polish saying, “it is not as bad as they write it” (Nie taki zły jak go piszą). Maybe this saying is very applicable to the case of plastic.


posted by Piotr Wielezynski

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