First things first: to answer the question posed in the title, yes! As we’ll show you here, and we’ve talked about in the past, biodegradable, anti-leak food packaging is easily within our grasp. The current plastic solutions we use to transport and store our food is unsafe, and unhealthy for us and for our planet. Not only is it possible to shift our usage to sustainable materials, but it’s also imperative.
The Plastic We Use
We’re so used to plastic containers, it’s hard to imagine that anything else could possibly replace them. Those plastic boxes, bowls and lids are ubiquitous and have become a part of the experience of dining out in 2020. It’s hard to imagine a dining experience in these unusual times without some way to transport the food to our homes and enjoy it there rather than in a restaurant.
It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way
Just because something is the way we’re used to doesn’t mean it isn’t hard to change, and it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to be too difficult to manage. A common phrase you hear in environmental matters is “change starts at home.” If we can change our own habits at home by choosing biodegradable options instead of plastic ones, then we can encourage similar changes at the restaurants that serve us.
Your Garden Loves Compost
If you grow your own food, even in a small garden at a house in the city, then you can use compost to feed your future food with biodegradable mulch generated by your own composting setup. A compost heap is where you put table scraps and other biodegradable matter in order to break it down into its component minerals. You can’t put plastic in a compost heap--it takes thousands of years for plastic to decompose, and we don’t have that kind of time. Biodegradable packaging like the plant-based molded fiber made by Zume degrades in a fraction of the time.
The Landfills Love Biodegradable, Too
Even if you don’t have a compost pile of your own and a garden to fertilize with it, using biodegradable food packaging is doing a great service to your local landfill. There’s not much we can do about the necessity for landfills in general, because there is no other place to put some of the waste we make. The biodegradable items you use and throw away will still be helping more than their plastic counterparts--a landfill acts as a kind of giant compost heap, and items that degrade naturally and quickly will also break down faster.
If Not Now, When?
Your restaurant doesn’t have to wait for some big plastic company to finally get around to designing a biodegradable, anti-leak food packaging system, after deciding it’s worth the research and development resources to create (which is doubtful), and then getting a case of them delivered by your local supplier to try. There are companies like Zume who have done all the hard work already--all you need to do is pick which size you need.