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Safeguarding Food Systems With Responsible Packaging

Safeguarding Food Systems With Responsible Packaging

Published 12-01-22

Submitted by DOW

If unaddressed, the waste from today’s food systems will continue to undermine the fight against climate change.

To Imagine Better is to ensure that innovative solutions to today’s most pressing challenges work together to deliver net positive outcomes. It means pushing boundaries to set new, game-changing standards while steadfastly refusing to compromise for the sake of siloed solutions. And in honor of World Food Day, we’re exploring how we can apply this thinking to food and packaging waste.

Take the juxtaposition that currently exists with food waste and packaging waste: there are millions of people who are in need of fresh food, but research by the EPA shows that almost half of all municipal solid waste by weight is made up of food and food packaging materials. At The Wall Street Journal’s Global Food Forum recently, I spoke with Leigh Gilmore about Dow’s work to safeguard food, which includes the responsible and innovative use of plastics to advance the circular economy. As we commemorate World Food Day 2022 (Oct. 16), and at a time when the war in Ukraine, climate change and even inflation are adversely affecting food systems, the role plastic innovation can play is significant and cannot be overlooked.

cartons of juice on a shelf in a store

Our partners at ReFed estimate that somewhere between 23% to 42% of global greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to food waste – an amount equivalent to, or more than, the aviation industry. In other words, if unaddressed, the waste from today’s food systems will continue to undermine the fight against climate change.

Traditionally, single-use plastic packaging has been used to keep food fresh, but leaves its own negative environmental impact when discarded and sent to a landfill. No packaging, plastic or otherwise, need end up as waste. Moving forward, finding a solution that balances the preservation of food and unnecessary packaging waste is a critical challenge that we at Dow are focused on solving by looking at issues beyond how fresh food is delivered. It is critical to also understand and solve for the impact of our waste on sustainability and carbon reduction goals for our climate.

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Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth; asset integration and scale; focused innovation and materials science expertise; leading business positions; and environmental, social and governance leadership to achieve profitable growth and help deliver a sustainable future. The Company's ambition is to become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world. Dow's portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated, science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure, mobility and consumer applications. Dow operates manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 37,800 people. Dow delivered sales of approximately $57 billion in 2022. References to Dow or the Company mean Dow Inc. and its subsidiaries.  For more information, please visit or follow @DowNewsroom on Twitter.

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