Packaging not only protects of food quality and safety, but also brings damage on the resources and the environment, and even leads to serious ecological problems. I will take food packaging as the research object, analyze the necessity of food packaging and the negative impact of packaging on the environment and explore the current problems in China’s food packaging system and analysis the China’s food packaging environmental pollution management approach.
Developed countries have been aware of the seriousness of the problem of packaging for environmental pollution since 1960s. The direct or indirect impacts of packaging on the environment include soil degradation, water pollution, and the sharp reduction of scarce resources such as forests, solid waste pollution and toxic chemical pollution. It seriously affected the sustainable development of resources and environment.
1. The necessity of food packaging and its influence on the environment
1.1 The necessity of food packaging
Packaging is an important condition for food to enter the market. Taking fruits and vegetables as an example. China’s fruit has been loss 20-25% in the circulation, while the 25-30% of vegetable. The main reason is that the lack of packaging and unreasonable. Packaging will be resistant to the process of circulation of external environmental factors that may cause harm. To ensure food nutrition and security in the consumer activities.
The protective function of packaging for food is of paramount importance. In particular, agricultural products because of its own physical characteristics determine its natural vulnerability in the circulation process, external pressure or vibration during transport will cause the surface wear and tear, and even change its internal physical properties, thereby speeding up the deterioration of food speed. External environmental factors include: gas; light; temperature and humidity. Appropriate packaging to a certain extent can reduce these injuries. Maintain the original nature of food, thereby enhancing the consumer’s desire to buy. Simultaneously, packaging to a certain extent, play the role of isolation protection. The impact of light on food is the main food of certain substances (such as vitamins, proteins, fat and axunge etc.) in the role of light will accelerate the oxidation and decomposition, resulting in the loss of nutrients in food. Packaging can also block food and air direct contact, such as O2, N2 and CO2 in the air and other gases will accelerate the food in the protein, vitamins and other physical and chemical reactions. Many foods, especially fruit and vegetable products in the humidity or temperature are too high conditions, leading to deterioration or decay.
1.2 The impact of food packaging on the environment.
With the consumer demand for microwave food, snack foods and frozen food and other convenience food is increasing, the demand for packaging is huge. Packaging in the protection of food quality at the same time, resources and the environment also had a certain negative impact, including the consumption of natural resources, packaging production process caused by environmental pollution, packaging waste on environmental pollution and so on. Packaging industry on the consumption of natural resources mainly in the preparation of packaging raw materials process. Paper wood packaging products raw materials pig waist is wood, paper and other synthetic materials. Forest resources are consumed in the preparation of the raw materials required for these packaging products. Unrestricted consumption of forest resources will undermine its growth balance, so that the ecological environment facing soil erosion, desertification, water shortages and a series of ecological problems. Packaging in the production process not only will consume limited natural resources, will produce all kinds of waste. Not only to the surrounding environment pollution, but also a threat to human health.
- Current problems in food packaging in China
2.1 Safety of packaging materials
According to statistics, about 60% of China’s food packaging materials there are security risks. In the food market, used in plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic barrels of food packaging accounted for the majority. Paper, metal and other packaging materials accounted for a minority. The lack of knowledge of food packaging materials and food quality and safety oversight is not enough, and some packaging materials containing toxic ingredients are processed into food packaging. These affect food safety.
2.2 The technology of Packaging waste disposal behind.
At present, China’s food packaging waste overall recovery rate is very low, the secondary utilization of resources compared with the developed countries there is a big gap. Those who can not be degraded environmental packaging waste can not be effectively harmless treatment, coupled with people’s awareness of protection is not strong, also the lack of effective comprehensive management of garbage countermeasures and measures, resulting in serious waste loss.
2.3 Food packaging standardization process is slow
China’s vast majority of food packaging hygiene standards was developed in the late 1980s and early 90s. With today’s food packaging industry booming background, many standards are outdated. Compared with the developed countries, China’s food hygiene standards in the packaging there is still a wide gap.
- Approaches to pollution control of food packaging
3.1 Enforcement of laws and regulations.
Firstly, the use of packaging raw materials related laws and regulations. We can reduce the packaging production from the source of environmental pollution. Secondly, energy-saving low consumption, pollution prevention, renewable and recyclable use of food packaging materials is the development direction. Thirdly, in order to promote the recycling and re-use of packaging, we must improve the relevant state laws and regulations.
3.2 Economic interventions on the market.
The deposit refunds system. The deposit refund system means that when the food is purchased, the consumer must pay a certain packing deposit to the seller. When the food is used up, the packaging will be returned to the sale, the deposit will be returned.
3.3 Enhance environmental awareness
Environmental awareness to promote the role of resources and environmental protection should not be underestimated. Relevant departments need to increase the publicity of resources and environmental protection, and establish a harmonious development with the environment values and consumer attitudes.