Food for Thought: More Plastics Packaging Would Reduce Food Waste

Woman throwing garbage into trash bin

The U.S. has ample access to affordable food. Much of this is due to plastics packaging, which has made more foods available, long-lasting, economical and safe. Americans, however, discard millions of tons of good food every year. Discarded food ends up as municipal solid waste (MSW), the largest component of landfills. While regulators debate the merits of some plastics packaging, a better approach might be to reduce food waste, which affects hot-button issues like greenhouse gas emissions (GGE). The Commission for Environmental Cooperation, for example, says 85 percent of GGE associated with landfilled food waste is from pre-disposal activities: production, transport, processing and distribution. Some states and cities want to reduce—even eliminate—food from MSW; and the EPA seeks to cut food waste per person in half by 2030. Here’s a look at the stats. (All numbers are annual and, unless otherwise noted, for U.S.) 

By Plastics Engineering | June 6, 2023

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