USA • Against the background of plastic packaging waste particularly in the oceans, the issue of food waste is also a growing concern. Food waste is the largest single material in landfills across the US and is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.
According to AMERIPEN, packaging is a key strategy that has been shown to be effective in the fight to prevent food waste, yet when we examine policy and funding trends there is limited recognition of the role that packaging can play.
In a groundbreaking study, the organisation has explored the value of packaging in preventing food waste. By comparing results of food waste in the US for fresh foods, this work identified a correlation that shows the fresh foods with the highest percentage of wastage utilize the least amount of packaging. This correlation was further confirmed by looking at global data across multiple countries.
Diving deep into packaging design, AMERIPEN identified that packaging optimization strategies can play a dramatic role in the fight against food waste if adopted more broadly, especially for fresh foods. By integrating feedback from consumers, industry leaders, and policy-makers, the organisation concludes that packaging could play a more significant role in reducing food waste at less cost than previously understood.
Three key steps to recognise the value packaging can play in reducing food waste:
1. Packaging is an under-utilized solution that can significantly reduce food waste. Public perception of packaging must shift from a source of waste towards a means of preventing food waste
2. Additional data is needed to help educate and inform consumers how to better utilize packaged food products to prevent food waste
3. Increased collaboration between industry and government with regards to waste policies will be key to recognizing the value of packaging in preventing food waste.
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The orgnisation represents the North American packaging value chain by providing public policiy makers with fact-based, material neutra, scientific information. Using sound science and a philosophy of material neutrality, AMERIPEN develops and advocates positions on issues related to packaging and the environment. Members include leading brand owners, packaging converters, and materials suppliers. AMERIPEN also has a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) made up of independent, non-profit experts who provide guidance and research that enhances the packaging industry’s knowledge base.