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.
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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