Reducing waste through packaging

More packaging leads to less CO2 emissions – this is the formula Joachim Kircher, Senior Manager, Knowledge and Innovation Manager denkstatt Group, is promoting.

A study by the Gesellschaft für Verpackungsmarktforschung (GVM) and the denkstatt Group shows why the ecological footprint of packaged food is better than that of unpackaged products. According to Kircher, 150 grams of packaged semi-hard cheese have a waste rate of 0.14 per cent in Austrian retail establishments. By contrast, 5 per cent of unpackaged cheese sold at the fresh food counter is thrown away. CO2 reduction from reduced cheese waste is 2.5 times greater than the additional emissions for optimised packaging.

On average, packaging accounts for only 1.5-2 per cent of the ecological footprint per consumer per year, says Kircher, adding, “Plastic bag consumption per person per year is equivalent to the emissions from a 13 kilometre car journey.” It is therefore important not to dismiss packaging as such, but rather to optimise it to make food keep longer. “From an environmental point of view, high functionality of packaging is much more relevant than recyclability of the packaging materials,” Kircher concludes.

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