BPF response to Wrap report on reducing household food waste
The British Plastics Federation (BPF) shares the UK Plastic Pact’s overall objectives and the plastics industry only supports using plastic when it provides a benefit.
Plastic packaging is rightly understood to reduce food waste and ultimately carbon emissions and although we respect the motivation behind this study, it is important to understand that its focus was solely on a small number of fresh food items and their lifespan within the home. In reality, many fresh products travel hundreds if not thousands of miles on their journey from farm to fork, so a form of packaging is required to protect and preserve them – and plastic packaging still excels at this due to being lightweight, strong and providing a moisture barrier (extending a product’s overall lifespan), in addition to other unique benefits.
Wrap’s summary report recommends to “sell loose unless it can be shown that plastic packaging reduces overall food waste” - but we respectfully suggest that calculation should account for the entire journey of the product, rather than simply within the home. Whilst we acknowledge that food waste is most significant in the home, it still occurs in-store and during a product’s journey along the wider supply chain. In addition to preserving food, plastic packaging also provides an extra degree of hygiene and a way to trace its origin.
The BPF was one of the founding members of the UK Plastic Pact and supports its aim to keep plastic out of the natural environment. Although we disagree with elements of this study, we remain committed to working with WRAP to ensure the best possible outcome for the environment but urge people to remember that, despite what the report suggests, plastic packaging still plays a key role in reducing food waste and carbon emissions.