The Good and Bad Points of Plastic: When Should You Use Plastic Packaging?

Is plastic becoming redundant due to its negative impact on the environment? Find out as we discuss the good and bad points of plastic.

As an environmental packaging provider, it might seem strange for us to enter into the “is plastic good or bad” debate. We promote our range of environmental packaging products wherever possible. But it’s important to take a step back and recognise the benefits of plastic packaging for some limited uses, the reality of plastic pollution, and the good and bad points of plastic packaging.

Is Using Plastic Packaging Bad?

We’ve been pretty vocal about our stance on the use of plastic food packaging. The worrying dangers of phthalates and the hazards of microplastics, not to mention the harmful effects of oil-based plastic on the environment — and our health — provide plenty of bad points of plastic to discuss. Plastic pollution is damaging to all forms of life in the short and long term, so why should we discuss the good points of plastics?

Attempting to scare people with shocking facts about plastic consumption isn’t enough. As an environmentally conscious packaging providers, we need to educate people on why plastic is bad on a fundamental level. There are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives to plastic, offering the same value and convenience to consumers, with the added benefits of safety and sustainability. So why is plastic everywhere we look?

Why Is the Use of Plastic Still So Popular?

It’s been widely reported that customers hate plastic packaging, but the truth is that plastic is everywhere. It offers businesses and consumers a level of convenience that any affordable eco-friendly alternatives couldn’t previously match. Even since the introduction and widespread usage of greener packaging for countless products, many businesses have yet to switch to less harmful alternatives. An unwillingness to change is chiefly to blame.

Besides the detrimental effects of plastic on the environment, buying single-use plastic water bottles doesn’t make financial sense. Yet, millions of people still buy plastic water bottles every day  — people in the UK purchase approximately eight billion single-use water bottles every year. 

But for all the convenience bottled water offers, we’re all aware of the bad points of plastic. It creates a huge amount of waste that often isn’t recycled. So are there any practical uses for plastic?

Are There Any Positive Uses for Plastic?

Plastic is used extensively across several industries. In the food and drinks sector, it can preserve food for long periods, which, in turn, can reduce food waste and prevent over-farming. Whether this trade-off is beneficial is open for debate, but plastic pollution and the dangers of microplastics are a genuine threat. It could also be argued that single-use packaging with biodegradable or compostable qualities is much safer and more hygienic to use than reusable or recyclable plastics, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the health sector, plastic is a reliable material used for a whole host of purposes such as catheters, protective gloves and lifesaving valves, meaning plastic provides world-class healthcare that maintains hygiene and prevents infection. But at face value, plastic is bad for the environment, and there’s no denying that.

While medical applications of plastic are pretty much essential — plastics for medical uses have been relied upon to keep people safe — the environmental impact of plastic is still impossible to ignore. And ecological and environmental concerns are certainly valid when plastics are used to cut packaging costs or enhance consumer convenience in other sectors.

Reducing Plastic Usage in the Food and Beverage Sector

At Takeaway Packaging, we handle all aspects of food packaging, in particular, the fast-food sector. Our average end-customer requires a packaging product that insulates hot food, keeps chilled dishes cold and enhances the customer experience. While our packaging is usually used for a short time, it still needs to act as an effective, durable container for all manner of takeaways.

Modern consumers also care about the aesthetic of their product — even if it only lasts for a few glorious minutes — which is why we offer a branded packaging design service. Using water and vegetable-based inks, we can help you create Instagram-ready pizza boxes, coffee cups, food carriers and more. 

With practicality, performance and personalisation to think about, making your packaging plastic-free is a challenge. We’re proud to say all of our products have excellent environmental credentials — the alternatives we’ve developed emulate the qualities of oil-based plastics while using sustainable materials like Kraft paper, bagasse and bioplastics.

Get in touch with our experienced in-house design team for a free custom design quote. Give your customers an eco-friendly experience they’ll remember with branded packaging that doesn’t cost the Earth.

Plastic Packaging Alternatives for Food and Drinks Businesses

We’ve got a long way to go to beat plastic consumption worldwide. To mitigate non-recyclable and non-biodegradable materials, like plastics, we’ve developed a comprehensive range of eco-friendly packaging for all kinds of food and drinks businesses. 

We supply eco-friendly single-use packaging to various high-end food suppliers in the UK. As such, we’re responsible for making sure our products provide an ethical and sustainable way for brands like Nando’s and Pizza Hut to serve their customers:

    • Recyclable Packaging — Recycling at home is an important part of living an eco-friendly lifestyle. That’s why we designed our pizza boxes to have grease-resistant properties that dramatically improve recycling rates. They’re much less likely to spoil, giving your customers a much better experience while also helping them protect the environment.

 

    • Biodegradable Packaging — Once used, biodegradable packaging products can be thrown away in general waste. This saves customers extra hassle seeking out recycling points or spending time cleaning out their packaging for efficient recycling. This can be particularly useful if the packaging isn’t practical or convenient for reuse, like our biodegradable coffee cups.

 

    • Compostable Packaging — Home compostable and commercially compostable packaging gives businesses and consumers more options to dispose of used packaging responsibly. Made of natural, plant-based materials, compostable products like our ice cream cups degrade naturally in a short time compared to plastics, which often take hundreds of years to decompose. 

 

Should You Ever Use Plastic Packaging?

There are plenty of resources that highlight the bad points of plastic, and rightly so. As we’ve expressed, plastic is something we should all try to omit from our daily lives when alternatives are available, like those mentioned above.

If you want to know the basic facts about plastic, some of the best resources you should commit to reading are:

 

The good and bad points of plastic will continue to be hotly debated. The environmental disadvantages of plastic far outweigh the positives, but — even as an environmental packaging provider — we admit there are some uses of plastics that are beneficial, and in some cases, strictly necessary. However, until more environmentally friendly options become available to other industries, it’s safe to say that plastic packaging for the food and beverage industry should be avoided to protect our health — and the planet.

Check out our online shop and discover environmental fast-food packaging for all kinds of cuisine. Switch to environmental food packaging today to become part of the solution to the world’s plastic problem.