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 makes it hard to understand why nitrogen is still being used
— or worse, that it’s fashionable in cocktails for added theatre. We’re not considering nitrogen’s impact on climate change.
Does Nitrogen Prevent Food Waste?
If food packaging is made more stable by using nitrogen, 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 nitrogen can preserve food for longer and decrease the likelihood of food waste, it is still bad for the environment. Nitrogen generators used on a packaging site produce a continuous stream of gas that contributes to air and nutrient pollution.
Nitrogen-Free Food Packaging
Nitrogen is used in products where air needs to be locked into the package to maintain the food’s optimal state. Nitrogen is commonly used in dried foods with a typically long shelf-life, such as crisps, nuts and cheese to meet the demand for pre-packaged food products.
To eliminate the use of nitrogen in food packaging, we need to change two things:
The materials we use to package products (and make this industry-wide).
Our collective mindset about food consumption and our opinion on long-shelf-life foods.
These challenges involve those in the industry and its consumers, making eliminating nitrogen in food packaging a long-term challenge.
It’s no secret Takeaway Packaging is a huge advocate (and supplier) of products that use natural packaging.
Our mission focuses on reducing the environmental impact of waste.
We use natural packaging that doesn’t require any harmful processes. Our materials come in the form of sugar cane and unbleached kraft pulp as part of our Carbon Neutral promise.
We never use nitrogen to enhance a product artificially — a practice we would love to see adopted by major supermarkets and restaurants worldwide.
Adding nitrogen gas to packaging was first made popular by our obsession with pre-packed foods, but now consumers have the power to reverse the trend 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 environmentally friendly.
What Can I Do?
Each time you open a packet of crisps, dried fruits or nuts in a similar container, you’re releasing nitrogen into the environment. Just like carbon emissions, this action pollutes the air, compromising our source of oxygen. Plastic packets are also hard to recycle and threaten wildlife and sealife, as they take years to decompose.
Although packaged products like these might be marketed as desirable, 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.
Still want a packet of crisps?
One way to be mindful of your nitrogen footprint is to avoid eating a diet full of animal products, as nitrogen is used in today’s commercial crop fertilisers.
And if you feel passionate about keeping the earth’s air free from pollution, curb your crisp habit. Opt for foods without packaging or in natural packaging, like fresh fruits and nuts in a biodegradable or compostable pot. It’s time to start being kinder to your health and the planet.