fragile written on a box

Gill Higgins, Origin Green Ambassador, London

Last week Whole Foods published its food trend predictions for 2019, among the top 10 being the emergence of new forms of packaging which will not harm the environment.

Around the world, plastic straws have been justifiably demonized, with the anti-plastic straw movement gaining momentum and worldwide bans being implemented.  McDonald’s pledged to replace all plastic straws with paper straws in the UK and  Starbucks promised to eliminate plastic straws in its stores around the world by 2020.

On 7th November the term single-use was announced as the Collins’ Word of the Year 2018. It refers to products made to be used once only before disposal – and are therefore contrary to the circular economy of reduce, reuse and recycle which the human race must embrace for a successful future.

With prevailing public pressure to reduce and eliminate the impact packaging has on the environment, Whole Foods expects a growing number of brands to alter the way their products impact the world.

Such transformations include the use of “flexible product pouches”, which are stand up containers scientifically-formulated to be strong and puncture-proof. They protect food from light, moisture, pests and vapours and extend the shelf-life of both dry and liquid products. The pouches are typically made using less material than conventional packaging and are recyclable.

The “bring your own vegetable bag” initiative will be heavily emphasised to reduce unnecessary packaging waste. Multi-use materials and products will replace single-use. Whole Foods sees the use of silicone and beeswax as potential plastic replacements. Innovators such as Bee’s Wrap offer sustainable alternatives to plastic wrapping for food, which is “washable, reusable and compostable”.

It appears that global burgeoning advocacy is driving the necessary movement towards more sustainable packaging, and packaging which reduces and eliminates harm to the environment.