Can You Recycle or Reuse Plastic Takeaway Containers?
Convenient but unhealthy disposable plastic lunch boxes with take away meal in plastic bag on wooden table

Wondering what to do with all those leftover plastic containers from your Saturday night takeaway? We’ll tell you whether you can reuse and recycle such containers, as well as what’s a better alternative for totally guilt-free takeaways.

Can You Reuse Plastic Takeaway Containers? 

If you’re the sort of person who likes to get the most for their money or likes to reduce waste from an environmental standpoint, you’ll be wondering what you can do with those plastic containers and lids that so often make their way into our household. 

It’s the morning after the day before and you’re tackling last night’s mess. 

Somehow you’ve amassed four or five plastic containers complete with lids. They seem perfect for boxing up leftovers and other snacks lying around your house. But is it safe to use them? 

It all depends on the type of plastic. 

Some plastic containers have a recycling symbol on their base and a number indicating which type of plastic it’s made from. If your container has this, you’ll be able to do some research to determine whether it’s indeed safe. 

If your container draws a blank, your best bet is to dispose of it. 

Some plastic containers can leach harmful chemicals into their contents. A great example of this is polyethene terephthalate (PET), which is one of the thinnest plastics commonly used for water bottles and salad boxes. There’s a good chance that the unknown material is PET since its the world’s most commonly used thermoplastic polymer

Anything that’s styrofoam also can’t be reused for risk of bacterial contamination. Since styrofoam is a foam, there is plenty of small spaces within the material to trap bacteria from food and the environment. 

As an eco-activist, it can be difficult to accept that all we can do is throw away some plastic items. Most of us immediately want to find some alternative use for such items to increase their lifecycle. However, the truth is that reusing plastic takeaway containers will do more harm than good and can directly impact your health. 

Can You Recycle Plastic Takeaway Containers? 

Since you can’t reuse plastic takeaway containers, what about recycling them? 

Again, it comes back to the recycling symbol and number indicator on the base of the product. Here’s what each one means:

NumberProductRecyclable?
1PET or PETEOnly curbside recycling programs will take these, so long as they’re rinsed and clean of any food. Do not throw in general recycling.
2HDPETakeaway containers in this form can be recycled through curbside recycling programs. Film and thinner products can’t be.
3PVC or VIt’s unlikely that this plastic-type can be recycled. That said, it’s always worth checking with your local council. 
4LDPEThis material isn’t widely recycled unless the store does a return program or your local council has a specialist facility. 
5PPLike PET, these containers can be recycled through curbside recycling programs. Do not throw in general recycling. 
6PSIt’s unlikely that this plastic-type can be recycled. It can be difficult to dispose of since it’s a foam product. 
7MiscellaneousIt’s unlikely that these plastic types are recycled since they have a broad classification. This numbering might refer to plastic film present on takeaways or a small portion of the packaging. 

So, not all plastics are created equal. 

However, they all require some additional effort to recycle in that they need to be entered into a specific recycling program instead of tossed with general recycling waste. 

These guys don’t belong with your flattened cardboard boxes. 

If you want to recycle plastic takeaway containers, make sure they are thoroughly rinsed to remove any food or residue. This is a must for recycling facilities who may fail to accept your items if dirty. Recycle Now suggests using the remains of your soapy dishwater to clean items before disposal, as well as removing any cardboard or paper sleeves. 

What’s a Good Plastic Takeaway Container Alternative? 

You might be thinking that fish and chips wrapped in paper or pizza served in cardboard is a much more environmentally-friendly way to eat takeout. 

Unfortunately, a lot of the time recycling facilities will reject such containers as a result of potential contamination. 

Contamination refers to lasting residue like grease on the material that interferes with the recycling process. Instead, truly recyclable takeaways need to be made from durable materials that are either similar to plastic or lined with a coating, allowing us to wipe away any leftovers.

As a consumer, you’ll need to be more vigilant about which takeaways are recyclable. If you’re a takeaway provider, you’ll need to change the way you package your food. 

Looking for a good alternative? 

We serve some of the biggest names in the British takeaway industry. They use our products because they’re designed to be guilt-free. You can choose from both hot food containers and cold food containers that use a range of sustainable materials, all accepted by recycling facilities. Materials such as PLA bioplastic give you all the benefits of plastic — durability, transparency, versatility — without actually being plastic. We also sell tougher versions of cardboard such as unbleached Kraft board and foam container alternatives like bagasse. 


Shop our eco-friendly food packaging now with free next-day delivery on orders over £100.

How to Reduce Your Firm’s Food Packaging Waste?
Office employee with smartphone having lunch at workplace, closeup. Food delivery

With a forced break from the office, most of us are taking the time to reflect on bad business practices — especially those with environmental consequences. 

We’re already shedding light on unnecessary business travel and pollution-promoting commutes. 

But what about office food waste? 

If your staff fridge is always stocked up with snacks and drinks for your team Google-style, it’s time to figure out how to reduce food packaging waste. A fifth of UK waste comes from food packaging with more than 30 per cent of landfill waste being packaging-related. This is sufficient reason to start taking action against the number of containers and bottles we throw out each week. 

Although most of us already have a good recycling system for our team to use, the problem is less about recycling and more about the reduction of packaging as a whole. 

Read on to find eight different ways you can reduce food packaging, without reducing any of the fun that comes from a mid-shift snack. 

  • Monitor food consumption 
  • Hire event caterers  
  • Choose ethical takeout 
  • Support local greengrocers 
  • Buy in bulk 
  • Make cooking fun 
  • Consider remote working  
  • Make your own takeaways

Monitor Food Consumption

The truth is, you might not even realise the amount of food that your firm collectively consumes. 

It’s much easier to gauge how much food you use in a week at home. You’ll need to put more of a conscious effort into figuring out how much food your company truly uses.

To do this, you might want to do a basic stock count at the beginning of the month and compare this with a stock count midway through the month. This will give you an estimate of the rate of consumption and whether your order frequency is too high. 

If you check the use-by date on each item week-by-week, it will instantly become clear if you’re wasting some food items and their packaging in the process. 

This step doesn’t require a change in any aspect of sourcing food — whether it’s from a wholesaler or a recurring supplier — it just forces you to be realistic about the volume of food you need to purchase. Plus, it might allow you to remove items from your order that aren’t favourites amongst your team.

Hire Event Caterers

Want to put on a special lunch spread for your team? Try to steer clear of pre-packaged buffets. Although it can be tempting to buy a commercial lunch in this fashion, the amount of plastic containers and cling film involved isn’t worth it. 

Instead, hiring event caterers who can make trending graze boards, tasty mocktails and request-driven food can be just as affordable and much more bespoke. In doing this, you’re making lunch feel a little more exclusive and interactive than it otherwise would. Plus, the ingredients used in this scenario are likely to be fresh and local. 

After doing some research, you’ll find that most caterers offer corporate packages as standard so you aren’t approaching anyone with a foreign idea. 

Choose Ethical Takeout

Group shot of biodegradable and recyclable food packaging on white background, paper plates, cups, containers, bags, no logos

If your office is in a crowded marketplace like London, there will be plenty of takeaway options vying for your attention. 

Apart from menu quality, you’ll want to learn to judge takeaway providers on their environmental status. Do they serve dishes in flimsy plastic and styrofoam? Or do they sport biodegradable food packaging? Do they deliver by bicycle? Or a less environmental mode of transport? 

These are all pointers to think about to make sure when you’re buying a Friday feast, you’re doing it from a reputable retailer that will help reduce your waste journey.

Support Local Greengrocers

If you’re used to shopping at one of the big six for your staff fridge staples, you might reconsider supporting a local greengrocer that offers package-less produce, as well as refill schemes. 

The ideal when reducing food packaging waste is to pick products with zero packaging or natural packaging.

If you can, only buy loose fruits and vegetables and use refillable jars and tubs to stock up on seed mixes and dried fruits for the canteen. 

Buy in Bulk

If you can’t buy everything from your local greengrocers without packaging — such as cartons of milk and spreads — try to buy these items in bulk. 

Buying larger tubs and bottles results in less packaging overall and often saves on cost. 

Where possible steer away from individually packaged items like juice cartons and carbonated drink cans. Instead, encourage your team to pour drinks from a large container into a glass to save on waste. The same goes for individually packaged snacks like flapjacks or cakes. A local bakery or supermarket will have whole options that can be sliced into portions later.

Make Cooking Fun

Most of us revert to buying takeout food or delivery — after all, we don’t all have time to cook a three-course meal from scratch during our workday. 

However, there are some simple lunch ideas that are feasible to cook — or rather build — at your desk. These include poke bowls, rice wraps and deli boards. For this, you can buy a bunch of fresh ingredients and have more control over the amount of food packaging involved in your meal. 

Cooking can also act as a great team-building activity that’s inclusive and doesn’t require you to source an outside venue. 

Consider Remote Working

A simple way to reduce your firm’s waste is to remove the idea of office-centric work. In remote work, employees are able to work from their home environment and of course, will source their food as part of this. 

While you can’t control the volume of packaging that your employees personally produce, this is a great way to remove reliance on a fully stocked fridge, as well as substantially reduce your operating costs. 
With the rise in remote working during coronavirus, many people are expecting to see remote working as a staple of the future of work. From an environmental perspective, this also removes the need to commute to work, reducing everybody’s carbon footprint.

Make Your Own Takeaways

Can’t get over that feeling of having already prepared options in the fridge? 

Your go-to might be to food prep and make your own takeaways to sit in the staffroom throughout the week. Buy our eco-friendly cold food containers in bulk where you can pre-portion granola and yoghurt pots, salads and cold pasta for any hungry coworker to enjoy. 

We sell deli bowls complete with lids made from 100% compostable and biodegradable material, as well as a whole variety of bagasse containers suitable for finger foods like tacos, sushi and veggie chips. 


Want to try your hand at DIY takeaways? Take the first step to streamlining your food packaging waste by picking up eco-friendly food packaging.

Everything You Need to Know about Bubble Tea in the UK
Bubble teas prepared in plastic cups.

Bubble tea has become increasingly popular in the UK over the last few years with dedicated bubble tea stores cropping up all over Britain. Most of these stores are in the capital, such as Biju Bubble Tea. As a result, you’ll no doubt have a vague idea of what bubble tea is already. Just in case you don’t, we’ll be covering the basics of bubble tea, as well as its origins and where to get it. As a takeaway packaging provider, we’ll also go into detail about bubble tea cups and other essential items. So, if you’re a seller of bubble tea, stay tuned until the end.

Does Bubble Tea Come from the UK?

Bubble tea didn’t originate in the UK, even though the scene in London is strong with plenty of places to try new bubble tea flavours.

The birth of bubble tea was actually in Taiwan. This tea-based drink has recently taken hold of the UK yet in Asia dates back to the 80s.

Bubble tea is still made in the original Taiwanese way. The drink usually consists of a type of tea — more often than not herbal — mixed with flavouring, tapioca balls, milk and sugar. The tea and tapioca balls are the key ingredients in the recipe — the tea allows this drink to qualify as a type of tea, while the tapioca balls give the tea that bubble effect. Tapioca balls are sometimes known as tapioca pearls or boba. These gel-like balls are made from a type of starch and appear black. When water, sugar and flavouring are added, they can sometimes turn white or clear.

The pearls soak up any flavouring, giving the bubble tea an intense taste with different varieties such as honeydew, lychee, mango, passion fruit, peach, plum and strawberry.

Plus, the tapioca pearls are fun to pop as you drink from a bubble tea cup. It’s this that has spread the craze for bubble tea across the globe as more of a beverage experience than a standard refreshment.

Yet the reason behind the bubble tea name is nothing to do with the tapioca pearls — that is a bit of a myth, understandably believed by many people. Instead, bubble tea is named after the bubbles and froth that form on the surface of the tea when shaken.

How to Drink Bubble Tea

You can order bubble tea hot and cold — but chilled bubble tea is by far the most popular.

If you opt for chilled bubble tea, the drink can be shaken or blended, much like an iced coffee. Similar to coffee, you should choose blended if you want a thicker consistency equivalent to a frappe. Most people will choose shaken as this is the original way to serve bubble tea. Remember, shaken bubble tea gives the drink its famous frothy bubbles, as well as the tapioca pearls.

Bubble tea should be served with a wide drinking straw so you can suck the pearls through the straw. So long as you’ve been served bubble tea in the right way, you should be able to enjoy your experience by doing the following:

  • Shake your drink — If your bubble tea is pre-packaged with a sealed lid, you’ll want to shake the contents to create that classic foam effect. Shaking will also help the pearls to lift from the bottom of the cup and make it easier to consume.
  • Stir while drinking — For similar reasons, you’ll want to continually stir the drink using your straw in between sips to encourage the boba to rise from the bottom of the cup. Use a similar approach to drinking hot chocolate to stop the drink from congealing at the bottom.
  • Use your straw — Like drinking a slushy, you’ll want to move your straw up and down to drink the tea-like liquid and suck up the boba equally. You don’t want to be left with a pile of tapioca pearls at the bottom of your bubble tea cup.
  • Enjoy the experience — Above all, just enjoy the drink. Although there is a tradition for drinking bubble tea, you don’t have to take it too seriously. The joy of bubble tea is it’s an experience you can take your time over. So, devour those pearls, slurp that tea and relax.


Where to Drink Bubble Tea (In the UK)

In Asia, it’s common to see bubble tea stands on the street, at a local market or in a small town. However, in the UK, you’ll most likely have to visit a major city to enjoy this exciting delicacy.

Most bubble tea locations in the UK are in London, but we’ve also included a few Northern locations on this list.

Bubbleology — London, Essex, Kent, Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Oxford

This is the bubble tea brand that is killing the UK market right now with over fifteen locations nationwide. The brand has standalone shops and several retail concessions.

When visiting Bubbleology, you’ll find a wide variety of milk tea, fruit teas and alcohol-infused cocktail bubble teas.

While slurping on a bubble tea, you can also snack on an indulgent waffle since the brand has paired the two. Yes — this isn’t a traditional bubble tea accompaniment, but it’s a fun British equivalent.

Visit Bubbleology

Biju Bubble Tea — Soho, Westfield, South Kensington, Camden

London-based bubble tea brand, Biju has four locations so far in very different areas of the UK’s capital.

Its refined branding and simple menu appeal to many city-goers looking for a quirky break.

You can choose from a small selection of fruit teas, milk teas and toppings including signature cups such as Matcha Milk Tea and Iced Honey Green Tea.

Visit Biju Bubble Tea

Cuppacha — Soho, Sheffield

Despite its selective locations, Cuppacha manages to create a real hype with locals and awarding bodies like the Golden Chopsticks Awards.

From here, you can get bubble tea delivered to your door via the Deliveroo app. Choose from decadent Oreo milk teas and signature ombre drinks — both of which are completely insta-worthy.

With a strong social presence, you might want to snap a picture of your bubble tea moment.

Visit Cuppacha

Bobo Tea — Manchester, Sheffield

Bobo tea also had the genius idea of pairing bubble tea with waffles as well as frozen yoghurt.

Their extensive menu is packed with imaginative and authentic flavours such as coconut, red bean and jasmine. Got a sweet tooth? You might enjoy a cookies ‘n’ cream, vanilla or chocolate variety even more.

Visit Bobo Tea

How to Package Bubble Tea

Thinking about selling bubble tea in the UK? You’ve landed in the right place.

We sell sustainable packaging products suitable for your very own biodegradable bubble tea.

Bubble Tea Cup

Taking pride of place is a bubble tea cup. For this, you can use our eco clear cups made from PLA bioplastic. You must purchase a transparent cup for bubble tea so you can show off those flavoured pearls and ombre design for the experts amongst us. That’s why bubble tea cups are commonly made from plastic. To avoid an environmental nightmare, we sell transparent cups without the use of plastic. They look and feel like plastic but are instead made from natural resources.

Note, as these are designed to be takeout cups they aren’t reusable yet are still a perfect alternative to plastic cups.

Shop our eco clear cups here

Bubble Tea Lid

To pair with your bubble tea cup, you’ll want to buy a matching lid. If possible, you should choose a domed lid, rather than a flat lid or a lid with a sip hole. Our lids are made from the same sustainable material as our cups.

Shop our range of bubble tea lids

Bubble Tea Straw

True bubble tea connoisseurs know that a suitable straw is key to serving the best bubble tea. Having a fat or a wide straw helps your customer to retrieve those all-important pearls as well as to take sips of the delicious tea contents.

You’ll need to choose a straw with a wider diameter than on average. If an average straw is about 6mm in diameter, a bubble tea straw should be around 12mm.

You’ve guessed it — our straws are also biodegradable to help you build an environmental bubble tea package.

Shop our range of 12mm straws

Bubble Tea Cup Holder

As with any liquid product, you’ll need to offer a takeout cup holder to help customers transport several bubble teas at a time.

For this, you can use a classic carrier with space for either two or four drinks. Our version is made from cardboard completing your sustainable bubble tea vision.

Shop cardboard cup holders

Need something else for your sustainable store? Browse our online shop where you’ll find our entire range of products available for next day delivery.

Takeaway Packaging Achieves BRC ‘AA’ Accreditation

We are very pleased to announce that we have achieved level AA accreditation with BRC.

This means that all our customers can be assured that the high standards we operate in our organisation, will reflect in the levels of service, and quality of products that we supply to them.

We will of course continue to strive for better levels of service and quality in the months and years ahead, and hope that all of our clients achieve success and prosperity in the future.

What is BRC?

BRC (British Retail Consortium) is an international Food Safety Management Systems standard and is one of the recognised certification schemes. It contains requirements for food processors to follow to build an effective food safety management system. There are also editions of the standard for food packaging manufacturers, storage and distribution. The requirements of the standard address the key elements that must be in place for an organisation to ensure production of safe product.

Benefits of BRC

With a GFSI recognised certification, Takeaway Packaging can access those parts of the market that are only available to those that are certified. More and more manufacturers and retailers are protecting their product safety and brand reputation by requiring suppliers to achieve and maintain these certifications.

Opportunities for certified companies are expanding, while those for companies that are not certified are decreasing. By achieving and maintaining the standards and certification, we are also protecting our customers, their products and their brands.

Is Silicone an Eco-Friendly Material?
A hand holding a silicone egg beater with whip on top.

Is silicone eco-friendly? It’s the question on everyone’s lips as this convenient material features in adhesives, electronics and personal care products. Most notably, silicone is the substance used in most bakeware and cookware products made popular by its ability to be kept in the fridge, freezer or oven without changing its properties. Silicone utensils are less likely to scratch your pan and do a great job of smoothing out cake icing and brushing on butter. Despite how functional silicone products can be, none of this matters to environmental activists — we included — who care about the impact of their kitchen stocklist.

Is Silicone Eco-Friendly? Answered in Less Than 100 Words

Silicone isn’t the most environmentally friendly material on the market. Why? To produce silicone uses hydrocarbons from petroleum. It’s less than angelic start makes silicone difficult to recycle as most facilities don’t accept it. With that said, silicone is a better alternative to plastic — it’s just not the best. As a more robust material, silicone tends to have a longer lifespan than plastic and from a safety point of view, silicone is less likely to leach chemicals into other items such as food.

Why Choose Silicone over Plastic

Silicone beats plastic from both an environmental and health perspective. In terms of health, silicone is a safe bet for families looking to reduce plastic use in their household. It’s no secret that doctors have listed plastic containers — especially for food storage — as dangerous, containing harmful chemicals like bisphenol-A.

But wait, what is silicone? Is silicone plastic? Most people wonder what silicone is made of, if not plastic since it replicates the material in terms of strength, application and texture. Silicone is actually made from silica — a substance found in sand. It’s this silica that makes silicone so durable and able to withstand extreme temperatures. If you have a silicone product in your kitchen, it will boast the ability to withstand minus temperatures inside your freezer and boiling temperatures during cooking. Silicone won’t melt, contort or contaminate its contents. Neither will plastic — yet Silicone is also better for the environment.

Let’s be clear here — the production of silicone isn’t necessarily superior to plastic. Resources such as petroleum are burnt to form silicone. However, it’s the long-lasting effects of plastic after disposal that make silicone come out on top. Silicone isn’t biodegradable, but it is less likely to break down and be discarded after fewer uses than plastic. The hope is that with silicone, you can get more use than you do with plastic. You can use silicone containers over and over without noticing scratches, breaks or discolouration. The result is fewer materials are thrown out, leaving less trash in circulation. Remember — this rubbish ends up in natural water, trapped in the oceans infecting marine life for thousands of years. But make no mistake,  silicone will do the same thing given a chance.

Silicone is similar to the PLA bioplastics we use in some of our takeaway packaging products. They share the same commercial recycling process where the material needs to be exposed to high temperatures to revert to its natural elements. This means silicone can be decomposed of or recycled on an individual level — but when throwing out silicone products, you’ll need to be careful you’re placing them in the right trash where they go to specialist facilities. If they reach these facilities, silicone won’t take too much time to decompose. Small items can decompose within a single session and larger items can take a few sessions to disintegrate. Like plastic, if silicone isn’t disposed of correctly, they will take a lifetime to decompose.

What’s Better Than Silicone?

Perhaps the only superior alternative to silicone around the home is glass. Glass boasts the same benefits as silicone, avoiding chemical contamination and surviving severe temperatures, yet is highly recyclable. However, it also uses oil within its production process, making it an imperfect solution. Yet individuals will find glass containers useful, as there is no need to continually purchase new ones after a few months of wear and tear.

With so many household containers posing some environmental threat, is it worth having food storage at all? Like the plastic bags debate, people must pick the lesser of two evils — using cotton, which has a complex manufacturing process, rather than plastic, to increase the lifespan of their carrier.

Yes, you should still have some element of storage within your home to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Having temporary storage allows you to avoid plastics in the supermarket by packaging directly into your own containers and prevents food waste as you can preserve leftovers in the fridge.

Frankly, the uses of silicone are plentiful, but its environmental image is less than perfect. Good old-fashioned glass is the only component that beats this versatile material due to its wide acceptance within councils as a highly recyclable element.

Looking for a temporary takeaway packaging material? Unfortunately, silicone and glass aren’t suitable. That’s where we come in. Browse our online store which is packed full of planet-friendly products made from materials like Kraft board and sugarcane to keep takeaways sustainable too.

GROWTH WITHIN THE FAST FOOD INDUSTRY

Following the growth of the fast food industry over the last three years, it’s expected to be worth a whopping £9.8bn by 2021.  With over 26 thousand independent fast food outlets already operating throughout the UK, research firm MCA Insight confirm fast food dominates service led restaurants and they predict the foodservice delivery market will soon outperform the overall UK eating out market, with further substantial growth opportunities. 

We can already see established restaurants chains such as Nando’s and Zizzi now offering customers food delivery and businesses like Deliveroo extending their services to a wider range of foodservice establishments.

FAST FOOD OUTLETS DEFINED

The fast food market or quick service restaurants (QSR) are defined by having limited to no table service, that prepare to serve food immediately.  Although big brands such as McDonalds are still among the major competitors, takeaway food outlets including bakeries, café’s and food vans are all included, with the number of independent outlets far outweighing the branded restaurants.

CONSUMER PERCEPTION OF FAST FOOD PACKAGING

With the highest concentration of fast food outlets on UK high streets in a decade, and today’s consumer more eco conscious than ever, the packaging used to serve up takeaway or delivery food, will be under scrutiny from the consumer. 

There have been many surveys confirming this, one such survey was carried out by Waitrose & Partners after BBC One’s episode of Blue Planet showing consumers the effect of plastic on the environment.  Waitrose research suggested that after watching the documentary a staggering 88% of people changed their behaviour towards single-use plastic consumption.  Today we are even more aware of the negative impact single use plastics have on our environment, and very few of us ignore it.  This means consumers are actively trying to avoid buying products that use plastic where possible and are checking how they can dispose of the packaging before product purchase.

Regardless of whether you’re offering to deliver a delicious pizza, dishing up take-outs from a bakery or serving up nutritious vegan food on the go, the packaging you use will say a lot about your business and has the potential to affect repeat business and future sales.

WHAT TYPES OF FAST FOOD PACKAGING ARE AVAILABLE?

With the growing interest to remove plastic single use packaging, the takeaway food packaging industry has seen a steep increase in the number of eco-friendly products available, with new types of biodegradable, compostable and recyclable food and drink containers coming into the market all the time.  At Takeaway Packaging we have heavily invested in sourcing some of the best products available, these include packaging made from bioplastics, cardboard and even sugar cane pulp!

CARDBOARD CUPS, SOUP BOWLS, NOODLE BOXES & TAKEAWAY BOXES

Cardboard is still one of the most used materials for food packaging due to its sustainability and recycling options.  We stock many cardboard based food boxes and containers that can at the very least be recycled or even better, will biodegrade and de-compose. We have lots of options, suitable for hot or cold food.

SUGAR CANE PULP FOOD CONTAINERS & PLATES

Food containers made from Sugarcane Bagasse make the ideal eco-friendly fast food vessel.  As well as being compostable and quick to biodegradable it’s also an environmentally sustainable option.

Sugarcane bagasse is the fibre that remains after the sugars have been extracted from sugarcane stalks.  Rather than discarding or burning the stalks, the pulp is made into a paper-like substance called Bagasse.  Bagasse can be moulded into shapes and products that are perfect for the food industry.  At Takeaway Packaging we stock a large range of plates, bowls, trays and containers all of which are microwave and refrigerator safe. 

BIOPLASTIC PACKAGING FOR TAKAWAY FOOD & DRINK

Sometimes plastic-like packaging is favoured by manufacturers and suppliers, it’s cheap, easy to use and at times safer than glass.  That’s why we offer bioplastic solutions – Bioplastics don’t have such a negative impact on the environment as traditional plastics.  The product range we offer, which includes clear smoothie cups, bowls and food tray lids are made from Ingeo Bioplastic Polylactic acid (PLA) which is a plant-based renewable material with an 80% lower carbon footprint than traditional oil-based plastic.  This material is also 100% compostable and biodegradable.

PAPER BAGS

Another area we have seen an increase in, due it it’s environmental impact (or rather lack of) are paper bags.  Using less material than some other forms of food packaging, paper bags are a low cost, eco-friendly way to take out food, making them perfect for fast-food and takeaway outlets. 

As with most of the packaging we offer, paper bags are an ideal way to show of your brand by opting to have them personalised and printed.

You can shop for the full range of our eco-packaging here

Are you ready for the plastic straw ban in April 2020?
eco-friendly plastic straw ban paper and bioplastic straws header

From April 2020 the government are rolling out a scheme to ban plastic straws, drinks stirrers and plastic stem cotton buds in England, so if you haven’t already ditched plastic straws in favour of a more eco-friendly alternative, then now is the time to do it.

How Much Pollution Do Plastic Straws, Drink Stirrers and Cotton Buds Really Create?

It’s estimated we throw away 8.5 billion straws every year in the UK.  The Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean 2017 found cotton bud sticks to be the 8th most frequently counted litter item on UK beaches and straws/cutlery as the 10th. 

Unfortunately, these items do tend to be discarded irresponsibly via flushing in the case of cotton buds or by littering.  Either way, plastic straws can take up to 200 years to decompose.  Staggering to think a product that is used just once for such a brief moment in time, will be around long after our lifetime causing damage to our wildlife and our planet.

It is encouraging to see however that research carried out by MPA, shows that the public passionately support the ban with 83% of respondents unsurprisingly voting in favour of the move.

Who Else is Banning Plastic Straws?

The wave of plastic straw bans and the replacement with paper straws has taken hold over recent years, with the UK Government slow to make the move.  Many food chains have already taken it upon themselves to move to more eco-friendly options; All Bar One started to replace their 4.7 million plastic drinking straws in 2017 with eco-friendly alternatives.  Weatherspoons stopped using plastic straws in 2018.  McDonalds have already completed their roll out to ban plastic straws and Starbucks already pledged to phase out plastic straws completely by 2020.

Plastic straw bans are already sweeping the US in states such as California and Seattle, so why has it taken the UK so long to follow suit?  Although the environmental issues surrounding plastic straws are obvious, straw pollution comprises of just 0.025 percent of the 8 million tons of plastic that flow into our oceans every year.

The opinion of environmentalists is that although prohibiting plastic straws alone won’t dramatically change much, it is it’s an import step to a larger well needed change in future behaviour.

The History of The Straw

Isn’t it funny how things in the world tend to go full circle over time?  The first straw to be patented in 1888 was based on paper wrapped around a pencil and glued together, this led to the mass production of straight paper straws by 1890 with the bendable paper straw invented some 40 years later.

It wasn’t until the 1960’s that it was discovered that straws could be made more economically and with more durability from plastic, which quickly went into mass production.

Paper Straws and Bio Plastic Straw Alternatives

At Takeaway Packaging, we stock the obvious and widely used paper straw option, which can be purchased in an abundance of colours, styles and sizes.

If a paper straw doesn’t float your boat, we also stock many biodegradable straws made from Ingeo PLA.  These are lightweight options that look very much like a plastic straw, while being eco-friendly.  PLA straws have the physical appearance of plastic but are made from bioplastic, which is 100% biodegradable and commercially compostable.

You can visit our shop to buy eco-friendly straws here https://takeawaypackaging.co.uk/online-shop/straws/

Why Is Nitrogen Gas (Worryingly) Used in Food Packaging?
nitrogen gas used in food packaging

Dried packaged foods such as crisps and nuts are often filled with excess nitrogen to extend the shelf life of these products. 

Nitrogen — a colourless, odourless gas — is used to make things like explosives and fertilisers. These items aren’t exactly staples on our shopping list, making it puzzling to think the same gas has long been used in food packaging. Why is nitrogen gas used in food packaging? In short, this is to help preserve food and keep it fresh, ultimately giving items a longer shelf life. In this blog, we’ll break down the entire process of using nitrogen gas in this way and why we’re taking a different approach to help protect the food industry.

Why Is Nitrogen Gas Used in Food Packaging? The Real Truth

We started using nitrogen gas in food packaging when demand for food increased, opening up mass production. Major supermarkets and food stores stopped prioritising local products when the need for food surpassed what farmers in a close radius could produce. When this happened, distributors needed to ensure they could deliver food of the same quality and freshness, even though they were shipping product over large distances (and sometimes overseas).

Nitrogen was seen as an easy way to accomplish this, effectively sucking out moisture (and excess oxygen) so dry foods, in particular, could remain crisp and fresh.

The most common way of introducing nitrogen into food packaging is via a nitrogen generator. Nitrogen generators allow nitrogen to be added to the packaging process quickly and efficiently, making them ideal for a factory setting.

Although you might not have realised that non-naturally occurring gas is added to most foods, this is the case throughout most of the food production industry. Adding gas to packaging — despite how harmful it might be — has been continually adopted by distributors because of its cost-efficiency. Adding nitrogen is another way to streamline a supplier’s site and ultimately, it offers a quick path to profit. Since more product can be made and shipped without people complaining about a difference in quality, suppliers have championed this practice without giving much thought to the damage it can cause to the consumer and the environment.

Creating packaging using gas like nitrogen is indeed detrimental to the environment. The process manipulates the natural form of the product, which is called “modified atmosphere packaging” to represent this. Modified atmosphere packaging, as the name  suggests, changes the state of the atmosphere, reducing oxygen while supplying harmful gas — all in the name of providing the artificially “fresh” products that we over-consume.

Why Using Nitrogen Gas Is Bad for the Environment

Nitrogen pollution is often overlooked as carbon pollution takes centre stage in the news. But that doesn’t mean this type of gas isn’t deadly.

This seemingly innocent gas helps to contribute to particulate matter (small particles that are far from safe for human consumption). These particles greatly compromise air quality, causing a thick haze in some of the world’s most treasured National parks and cities. As nitrogen becomes part of the environment, the air becomes more acidic, causing devastating effects on natural resources. Among these are:

  • Imbalancing nutrients in coastal waters and lakes (as they become acidic)
  • Damaging weak crops and woodlands sensitive to any habitat change
  • Increasing the effects of acid rain (a visible form of air pollution that causes thick smog in the atmosphere)
Acid rain

Acid rain is one of the most visible forms of climate change where entire cities are engulfed in a thick layer of what looks like smoke.

Knowing this, it makes it hard to understand why we continue to use nitrogen to extend something as trivial as shelf life. This is without considering nitrogen’s impact on climate change as a whole. Be wary as eating a diet full of animal products is likely to make your nitrogen footprint even greater since the same gas is used in crop fertilisers.

How We Can Learn to Package Differently — without Nitrogen

Nitrogen is used in products where air needs to be effectively locked into the package to maintain the food’s optimal state. If you think of foods with a typically long shelf-life such as crisps, nuts, cheese and other dried foods that are processed, you’ll have a list of foods where nitrogen is commonly used to meet the rising need of packaged goods.

To eliminate the use of nitrogen in food packaging, we need to change two things:

  1. The materials we use to package products (and also to make this industry-wide).
  1. Our collective mindset about food consumption and our opinion on long shelf life foods.

These challenges involve those in the industry and its consumers — which makes getting rid of nitrogen in food packaging a long-term challenge.

Natural vs Nitrogen Packaging

It’s no secret Takeaway Packaging is a huge advocate (and supplier) of naturally packaging products with our mission centring around reducing the environmental impact of waste. However, it’s important to look at why modified atmosphere packaging takes an initial hit on the environment to ultimately reduce overall waste.

If food packaging is made more stable by the use of nitrogen, then the package enables the product to remain fresh for a longer period. In turn, this can stop bacteria from growing and help to prevent spoilage. In this sense, this practice does prevent food waste, so surely it’s a good thing, right?

Unfortunately, even though the addition of gases like nitrogen can create more opportunity for a low food waste record, it doesn’t counteract the air-spoiling impact of the process. The nitrogen generators used on a packaging site emit far too much gas to help the environment (even in the face of the world’s food waste problem).

Instead, we use natural packaging that doesn’t require any harmful processes to procure or assemble food protection. Our materials come in the form of sugar cane and unbleached kraft pulp that we have no issues shouting about. Our clients never use nitrogen to enhance a product artificially — a behaviour we would love to see adopted by major supermarkets and restaurants across the world.

Changing Our Packaging Perceptions

Since adding gas to packaging was first made popular by our obsession with packaged foods, consumers have the power to reverse the process by changing their buying habits.

With the recent rise of veganism, we’ve already seen the masses turn to diet as a key way to be more environmental. The same people should understand that eating packaged goods can have an equally disastrous effect on the planet (despite a lack of meat).

Each time you open a packet of crisps, dried fruits or nuts in a similar container, you’re releasing nitrogen into the environment without knowing it. Just like carbon emissions that most environmental activists are familiar with, this action pollutes the air, compromising the vital source of oxygen we rely on to live.

Although packaged products like these might be marketed as healthy, desirable sources of food, it’s key to remember looks can be deceiving. Often, products altered by gas will be starved of oxygen, meaning they only appear to be fresh because of the fake environment they are housed in. Do you really want to eat oxygen-deficient carbs with an unusually high gas content?

snack packaging

Snacks marketed as a healthy alternative could contain harmful gases depending on how they’re packaged. 

If you feel passionate about keeping the earth’s air free from pollution, you should curb your crisp addiction and opt for foods are either without packaging or in a natural casing. Snacks like fresh fruit and nuts in a canister are a safer bet for avoiding contradictory behaviour.

Ready to discover gas-free alternatives? Browse our sustainable product range and say goodbye to needless air pollution.

How Much Plastic Packaging Is Made Each Year? These Stats Will Scare You
how much plastic packaging is made each year

According to National Geographic, 18 billion pounds of plastics spill into our oceans every year from coastal areas worldwide. 

Think about the amount of plastic you consume as an individual. Now think about that amount multiplied by every person in your city, district and country — not to mention the global plastic consumption of the entire world.

When we pick up a bottle of water to drink or a punnet of raspberries to eat, we rarely stop to ponder just how damaging these quick lunchtime fixes are to the planet. Today, it’s time to face facts as we show you just how much plastic packaging is made annually, via some of the best sources for statistics on the web.

Here are five of our favourite online resources that show the reality of plastic packaging waste. After reading about them, you can visit the pages for yourself to get clued up on the amount of plastic we generate and use every year.

Eurostat — Packaging Waste Statistics

If you simply Google the question, “how much plastic packaging is made every year?” Eurostat will come out on top. The data website states that per inhabitant, 169.7kg of packaging waste was generated in 2016. Comparatively, only 114kg was ultimately recycled, leaving 55.7kg of packaging unaccounted for. If we take this data and apply it to the UK (which has a population of around 66 million people in 2020), you can only begin to imagine what the total packaging waste would equate to.

If you want to review how waste was generated, recovered and recycled since 2007, you can do so by viewing Eurostat’s interactive graph.

It’s worth noting this data only refers to European Union countries, meaning packaging waste per person could be much higher in other parts of the world — such as in the United States. Plus, packaging waste is surveyed generally, not just in terms of plastic.

Read Eurostat’s Packaging Waste Statistics

Plastic Oceans — the Facts

As you can imagine, plastic pollution is something this environmental organisation is passionate about abolishing for good. Their page full of facts about plastic waste and plastic production is a great resource if you’re looking to learn about how waste packaging impacts marine life.

Perhaps one of the most shocking statistics is this: “More than 8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year.” Although this doesn’t necessarily tell us just how much packaging is created each year, it does give us an insight into the poor waste management of plastic waste and just how little plastic is successfully recycled.

As we know, recycling plastic is difficult due to its durability and chemical make-up. This is true of particularly brittle plastics used to create plastic bottles and plastic bags. As such, Plastic Oceans has collected a whole host of statistics on plastic bottles, highlighting why this specific product is a huge issue. Here are some of the most impactful statistics shown on their page:

  • Over 100 billion bottles were sold in the United States in 2014. Per person, this equals around 315 bottles on most days of the year.
  • Nearly 15% of all waste comes from this product, making it one of the most short-lived and dangerously disposed of items.

Plastic Ocean’s facts haven’t gone unnoticed. Since this webpage was published, we’ve seen a huge rise in drinking bottles made of alternative materials such as aluminium and metal. Plus, we saw a ban on plastic bags in several countries and taxation on products like this in others.

Read Plastic Ocean’s The Facts 

Eurostat — How Much Plastic Packaging Waste Do You Produce?

Eurostat has produced more than one striking piece of data to shed light on the plastic pollution crisis. As well as posting the aforementioned graph on EU waste, Eurostat published an interactive asset on the circular economy showing plastic packaging’s journey from creation to eventual disposal. This striking visual of waste management and plastic’s short lifecycle is a great way to help others visualise their role in plastic pollution, as well as learn how plastic interacts with the atmosphere — before and after you come into contact with it.

At the start of their interactive asset, Eurostat sums up the weight of the plastic problem by claiming in an average year, the EU alone generates 15.8 million tonnes of plastic packaging. The study also forewarns us that even though some countries tend to produce more plastic waste than others, every EU Member state has steadily increased their plastic consumption over the last decade. Being upfront about scary stats like this makes plastic pollution a shared responsibly, keeping us all accountable for our own waste management and recycling activities.

There are gems to be found everywhere in this data set — but we found it particularly useful to see how plastic packaging stacks up against different types of packaging in the asset’s waste management section. For example, plastic packaging products are only recycled 41.9% of the time, compared to overall packaging products, which are recycled around 70% of the time. We think this type of graph offers up a solution, rather than solely focusing on the problem. Clearly, to wipe out plastic pollution, we must look at the benefits of using another material that is more widely recycled.

The whole purpose of the data is to prove we should be working towards a circular economy — as opposed to a linear supply chain — where the value of products is continually recycled. The result is that waste is reused and there is less reliance on single-use products that likely end up in our oceans.

Read Eurostat’s How Much Plastic Packaging Waste Do You Produce? 

Our World in Data — FAQs on Plastics

As the publication’s name suggests, Our World in Data is an impartial data website that publishes statistics on anything and everything. In this FAQ, the focus is on plastics.

This page is packed with data (as you’d expect) yet it is straightforward to navigate. The first section tells you everything you need to know about global plastic production. To sum it up:

  • The world produced 2 million tonnes of plastic in 1950, which has now risen to 381 million tonnes
  • Plastic waste per person usually correlates with a country’s income. If the national income is high, so is the amount of plastic consumed per person in that country
  • Poor waste management seems to stem from low-income coastal countries

Although this piece seems to answer our questions quite early on, the knowledge you can gain from this resource just keeps on giving. There are questions about plastic production, the effect plastic has on our oceans and about domestic plastic recycling.

Read Our World in Data’s FAQ on Plastics

National Geographic – Facts about Plastic Pollution

If you’re looking for something a bit more visual, National Geographic has produced a design-focused page full of facts about plastic. The material was first published in 2018 but was updated recently, ensuring all the information is up to date.

We like that these graphics provide a global overview, stating 18 billion pounds of plastics spill into the oceans every year from coastal areas worldwide. This global plastic stat shows the true extent of the plastic problem and how plastics in our oceans, in particular, affect wildlife.

The resource even includes how much plastic production is attributed to packaging, highlighting that a whopping 40% of plastics are used within packaging development. This stat is even more shocking when we think of how plastic isn’t a necessary material in packaging production.

Brands like Takeaway Packaging are committed to finding innovative ways to protect our environment through the packaging materials we use.

Read National Geographic’s Facts about Plastic Pollution

Don’t forget after you’ve finished reading all about plastics, it’s time to take some action. Browse our sustainable shop of packaging products that produce zero plastic waste.

Does Plastic Biodegrade? The Surprisingly Simple Science behind Bioplastics
does plastic biodegrade

The Plastic Crisis 

We won’t harp on about the planet’s plastic crisis for too long. We’ve covered this topic before in-depth. Plenty of environmental experts, with a much more comprehensive overview, have also had their say.   Annie Leonard’s, Our Plastic Pollution Crisis is Too Big For Recycling to Fix is just one view. 

We are spitting out plastic waste at a rate faster than the environment can process. As a result, landfills overrun with plastic unlikely to disintegrate within our lifetime. Plenty of solutions to the plastic crisis have come to market. But none are quite as effective as the introduction of bioplastics.

 As a business, bioplastics require you to reassess your supply chain. As a consumer, you should understand why (or even if) you should be using bioplastics, over harmful chemical-filled alternatives. 

What Is Bioplastic? 

Unlike traditional plastic types, bioplastic is created using natural resources. So, anything labelled as “bioplastic” is likely formed from plants or biological materials, instead of standard petroleum. 

We use bioplastics in some of our core product ranges, including our well-loved deli eco bowls

Just like plastic, these containers can store hot and cold food. Plus, they’re transparent so customers can take a sneak peek of the delicious food lurking inside. 

There are a few different types of bioplastics, but the most common is PLA – a substance made from polylactic acids. 

We make PLA using plant extracts from corn and sugarcane. These extracts come from leftover waste materials from plants harvested for alternative uses like making sugar. This waste would usually be incinerated. Instead, we convert it into polylactic acids that mimic the positive characteristics of plastic. 

We’re left with food containers that are durable, flexible and transparent. Since PLA bioplastics are the cheapest to produce, they’re also an affordable price for corporate customers and the end customer. 

In terms of the environment, bioplastics are far superior to other,  harmful plastic types used in food packaging such as polystyrene. Why? Well, bioplastics only equalise the carbon conserved by the original plant. Artificial plastics contribute excess carbon to the atmosphere in the disposal process. Bioplastics return the carbon taken from the original plant life. 

What Happens after Use? Does Plastic Biodegrade? 

Commercial customers must be responsible for their disposal of bioplastics. Regular consumers should also be aware of bioplastics waste-credentials and how they can maximise them after use. 

Remember, bioplastics are compostable —  but only commercially compostable. They aren’t, however, actually biodegradable. This means bioplastics need to be carefully recycled to fulfil their environmental benefit. 

If a bioplastic is littered, reaches the ocean and become debris, it will be no more beneficial than a regular plastic-type. Both bioplastics and petroleum-based plastics will breakdown into microplastics, tiny fragments of material harmful to marine life and human health. Microplastics take years to biodegrade. 

However, bioplastics are created naturally and you can discard them in the same way. Since bioplastic polymers don’t form artificially, they can be broken down and effectively reversed by something as simple as heat. When bioplastics are heated to a high enough temperature, they break down. The intense heat allows the microbes to successfully disintegrate, dramatically reducing the average lifecycle of a bioplastic food container. It’s far from rocket science. 

What’s crucial when it comes to bioplastics is where they end up. Executive Director of the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), Rhodes Yepsen told National Geographic: “Landfills are tombs. We are preserving garbage. That makes no sense.” 

To Yepsen, dealing with garbage is key. Transporting bioplastics quickly, to an industrial composting unit is imperative for the safety of our planet. 

Should I Use Bioplastics? 

If you’re a commercial business owner, bioplastics are a smart alternative to petroleum-based plastic. Yes, you should use bioplastics. 

Bioplastics should be used where possible to limit the number of microplastics that reach the ocean and reduce the amount of trash in overflowing landfills. 

Importantly, bioplastics should be disposed of correctly so they can fulfil their environmental promise. Suppliers, companies and governing bodies should work to educate the end consumer on how to dispose of bioplastics — in a separate dedicated waste area. 

Become a bioplastic provider. We’ve got plenty of PLA products to choose from in our guilt-free online shop.