The global food system is rife with room for improvement. From the need to supplant the burdensome and unethical livestock industry, to mitigating the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, to overhauling the products we define as food in the first place — replacing artificial ingredients, excess sugars, and saturated fats for whole food ingredients. But there’s another area getting a lot of attention lately: plastic packaging.
It’s essential in the modern world: foods need delivery methods. Some of it is humble: a bag of frozen peas, a carton of almond milk. But we’ve also traded in fresh fruits and vegetables for packaged alternatives: fruit leather instead of apples, bean and peas in chip form, cauliflower pizza crusts.
While all this packaging helps to extend the shelf-life of our beloved snacks it also contributes to the ever-increasing ocean pollution. Plastic packaging has been linked to exposure to harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals like bisphenol-A and bisphenol-S.
And like consumers have been steadily increasing their spend on certified organic foods — particularly fruits and vegetables — in an effort to decrease their exposure to chemicals in nonorganic food — a growing shift away from plastic is gaining steam.
Malibu, San Luis Obispo, and Davis Calif., Seattle, Miami Beach and Fort Myers, Fla., have all recently banned plastic straws — one of the most common pieces of beach debris. The UK is poised to ban straws and just this week McDonald’s announced that it would begin testing paper straws in select locations.