By: Ellaine Kryss Hubilla

 

Edwin Seah, Head of Sustainability and Communications from Food Industry Asia discussed why the food industry uses plastic packaging and how it started in a virtual conference titled #WalangPlastikan: An honest conversation on plastic packaging in the Philippines’ food industry, conducted through the initiatives of the Eco-Business Philippines and Mondelez International.

According to sciencehistory.org, the word plastic originally meant “pliable and easily shaped.” But recently, it became a name for polymers, a category of materials which is made from long-chain of molecules.

Based on Seah’s presentation, the emergence in the use of plastic packaging started about 70 years ago after world war II. In hopes of rebuilding the nation through conserving the scarce natural resources, the use of synthetic alternatives became the priority. The use of plastic has since become excessive, and already affects the environment.

The function of plastic packaging offers convenience not only to people from the food industry but also to anyone who uses it. It offers protection that facilitates the safe transit of food across a far distance. It also extends the shelf life of food products. Plastic packaging can contains important information about the product such as nutritional contents and unique codes which are important in the distribution process. Moreover, plastic packaging also reduces energy consumption due to its lightweight which results in less fuel usage and lower carbon emission during transport.

Seah reiterates that plastic is not the problem but rather the way how people deal with its post-consumption. In a country like the Philippines, there are a lot of things to be done to further improve the waste management system which points to “source segregation, increasing collection, and better waste facilities and management.”

This conference aims for food industry businesses and their stakeholders to come up with a pragmatic solution concerning the growing problems caused by the excessive use of plastic packaging.

 

From a virtual press conference titled #WalangPlastikan: An honest conversation on plastic packaging in the Philippines’ food industry.