All plastic that has ever been made still exists on the earth and it will never really break down completely. Microplastics have contaminated our food supplies and our entire planet. Fortunately, some companies have had some mind-blowing ideas to eliminate plastic. Their idea is simple. Edible packaging.
It sounds bizarre at first but it could completely change the world. Imagine every food product wrapped around in edible packaging instead of plastic. It would be a game-changer.
Our Throwaway Society
A throwaway culture refers to how, as a society, we find it easier to throw away what we have and replace it with something new. Take a second to think about how many people throw away their phones just to get a slightly better version.
But what many people do not fully comprehend is that our resources are finite and we cannot afford to waste them. It might be easy to throw away your phone, watch, or food as you know there will be plenty more on the shelves, but it doesn’t mean that you should. We somehow think that the line of production is infinite and will continue like this forever. That’s not the case. When we run our of all our natural resources, we will be screwed. We need to educate society about the importance of not wasting.
Also read: The 40 Easiest Ways to Reduce Your Waste
One of the biggest culprits of this throwaway culture is the invention of single-use products. These explicitly promote wasting. After a single-use, a consumer has no problem throwing it away because that what they are meant to do. Or that is what the company is telling them. It doesn’t have to be like this. You can buy reusable products.
A very good recent example is masks. During the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone started buying disposable masks. Just as we were starting to see some improvement with the plastic pollution problem, everyone started throwing away masks which made their way into the natural environment.
Edible Packaging, Explained
Edible packaging can be made of different materials. Each company takes a new and different approach. This is generally a new idea but there are already many companies trying to come up with new innovative ideas. Here are just a few examples:
Evoware is an Indonesian company that designs food packaging. The only difference is that they are edible. They are made of seaweed and there are no chemical additives. One of the big advantages is that there is no need to cut down trees to make space to farm seaweed. If businesses start choosing packaging like this, we will be able to slowly eliminate plastic.
David Christian, the co-founder of this company, wants to change the future by coming up with new innovations using seaweed since Indonesia is the 2nd biggest producer of seaweed in the world. He wants to help the environment but also people, as many people in Indonesia are poor and can’t afford food. This gives many a good livelihood.
This product is completely natural, halal, and biodegradable. Additionally, they can alter their taste depending on different needs.
They are producing a variety of different products. As well as being able to eat the wrapper of your burger, you can dissolve the seasoning sachets of your noodles in the boiling water.
Ooho Water Capsules
Perhaps, this could end the era of plastic bottles. Well, not quite but it could play a big part. Rodrigo García González, Pierre Paslier, and Guillaume Couche (at ‘Skipping Rocks Lab’ ) came up with this idea to reduce unnecessary plastic waste. They make water capsules with a technique called ‘spherification’, where a thin membrane made from natural materials (brown algae and calcium chloride) surrounds the water. Surprisingly, this material is much cheaper than the production of plastic.
The Ooho water capsules burst in your mouth and the membrane is edible (you just need to remove the first layer of protection which is there for hygiene reasons). But everything is completely biodegradable. It might be a weird sensation at first but it is something we can get used to. The majority who have tested it is loving it. They were used in the London Marathon last year but also at festivals. This is where they could make a big difference. They are not ideal for day to day life but are perfect for sporting events for example.
Russia’s Samara State Technical University has found a new way to create edible dishware. Even though this was initially created for astronauts in space, it could be used in modern kitchens.
They are made from pureed fruit and vegetables and is made of only natural ingredients. Most importantly it decomposes in a few days. After you use them, you have the option of eating it or throwing it away. Either way, you’re not harming the environment.
After experimenting with different types of food, scientists found that apples work best in making edible glasses as they could withstand boiling water.
Moreover, edible packaging and containers would be indispensable for long expeditions in the Arctic or other isolated destinations. Their aim is to make edible dishware large-scale.
Is This Our Future?
They certainly still have a way to go until they are more widespread but they look very promising. We just need everyone to be on board. I believe that in the future, edible packaging will be everywhere. We can’t keep producing so much plastic waste. It’s not viable. The whole world will become one big landfill.
The question now is which company will take the stage first with edible packaging. Who will revolutionize the world. Time will tell.
Companies like these need to push hard to get their product to market. It’s clear that these ideas are excellent. They are sustainable, better for marine life, and biodegradable. Now it’s time to get them out and available for everyone to purchase.
Related: The Truth Behind Bioplastics
Who knew this could be possible? If we don’t want to fill our oceans with plastic waste, we need solutions like these. We need to learn to adapt and start using new technology and innovation. We need to encourage the general public to change their lifestyle and their choices as the world around us is also changing.
Edible packaging could be part of the solution. Just think about how much packaging is found in supermarkets and in our lives. Edible packaging alone will not solve our problem but along with other innovative solutions and with the change of our daily habits, we could eradicate plastic.
It’s clear that our way of life is not sustainable anymore.