Food plastic packaging
5 min read
Unless you live on a farm and grow all your own food and have animals, plastic food packaging is unavoidable. It plays a crucial role in maintaining a safe food supply for most populations, but the environmental and potential health impacts must be considered, and we should all be trying to reduce our use of plastic packaging...


Australia’s growing population means there are more mouths to feed. Our globalised food system also means there’s a greater supply of processed and packaged foods being imported and distributed across the world.

Unfortunately, food packaging is unavoidable. It plays a crucial role in maintaining a safe food supply and can reduce food waste by retaining the effect of food processing to extend shelf life. Food packaging is important in ensuring a variety of foods can be supplied to rural and remote Australian locations, which require vast distances of travel. However, just because plastic food packaging is needed in some areas for food security and for specific products (e.g., milk), it can very often be avoided.



It is undeniable that plastic packaging negatively impacts the environment. This is due to the resources used in the processing, transport, storage, and the degradation of the packaging.              

The impact of plasticizers or plastics (for example, bisphenols, phalates, micro- and nano-plastics) on the human body is a rapidly growing area of research. However, there are not a lot of well-designed trials yet. The well-known plasticizer BPA is the most researched and the evidence has shown that this endocrine disrupting chemical (meaning it impacts of endocrine system) has negative health impacts. All we can say is watch this space as experts at Eat Sustainably are actively involved in this space.


Recyclable plastic food packaging

Just because food packaging can be recycled, it doesn’t mean it's a good choice. However, if you do need to buy food in plastic, we encourage members to look for specific symbols on packaging that indicate whether it can be recycled. It’s also advised to check with your local council about what can and cannot be recycled in your local area. Most Australian councils don't recycle soft plastics, so if you can't avoid using them, we recommend you keep a separate 'soft plastics' bin, bag or box to take to your local drop off point (often located in major supermarkets).


The team at Eat Sustainably are dedicated to helping support all members of our community to discover and learn to love foods that are free from plastic packaging. Become a member to ask us anything and access a bank on low plastics recipes for your family.

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