PAFA has come out fighting on the side of sense and the packaging industry.
Plastic bags, lightweight plastic bags, recycled plastic bags and so-called lifetime carrier bags are all in the news again.
I have said before that the idea of charging for plastics bags in the shops so that you and I can safely separate our food shopping is ridiculous. We should not put our health at risk for the benefit of some ill thought-out legislation to make us pay for the privilege of putting our shopping in a bag. Perhaps we should ask the shop to carry our ‘loose’ fruit and vegetables to our homes. So really it is just a tax after all!
At last PAFA has come out fighting on the side of sense and the packaging industry. We are already in danger, as I have said many times, of reducing packaging too far; its strength, its usefulness as a guard against the migration of harmful materials into the foods that we buy at the shops.
At the moment we have bags that are so thin that the bag breaks with just a couple of groceries inside, requiring a second bag to contain our shopping – what a great idea to reduce the use of bags! What we need are bags that are strong enough to carry as much grocery as we can hold; then, that saves bags.
I have been against the so-called lifetime bag for a long time on the basis of hygiene. We now have microbiologists and bacteriologists suggesting that the uncleaned, unwashed bags, kept in the broom cupboard can harbour germs and bacteria.
What we need is some sensible thinking from the quangos and the government advisers. As I have said many times, scientists and technologists have designed food packaging for a reason; so that we have less tummy bugs and we live longer!
More and more people are talking about food waste and how to resolve the problem. Both the food industry and the supermarkets, as well as food distributors are dealing with the problem rather well.
If food manufacturers have mislabelled product or have underweight or overweight rejected product then these can often be recycled, relabelled, or repackaged in their own factories. Other products and overstock, subject to certain parameters, are donated to charities working with the needy.
Some food factories and some larger supermarket sites already have their own anaerobic digesters or they have regular collections by the waste and recycling industry.
Agriculture, by and large, uses its own waste for feedstock, for spreading on the land, or again using anaerobic digestion to create their own electricity or heating.
People tell us that there are millions of tonnes of food wasted in the UK every year. This is hardly correct as so much already has a ‘home’.
I believe that the great fear for our industry is that the academics will spend their time and use Government funds researching unnecessarily, and the politicians will debate incessantly, without either listening to the experts working in our own industry who are already solving the problems of excessive food waste.
Our industry does not create food waste for fun as that costs money and wastes time; so leave us in peace to get on with our research and our projects without even more legislation.