Food Industry Drags Heels on Recyclable Packaging

by Vins
Published: Updated:

This article focuses on the lack of effort that the food industry puts toward using more recyclable and compostable packaging. The groups, As You Sow and the Natural Resources Defense Council, published the report, which analyzed 47 companies according to four criteria: source reduction, or switching to reusable packaging; recycled content; recyclability and materials used; and boosting materials recycling. None of the companies reached the best level of packaging. Only two of the 47 companies were recognized as having better practices, and the top of the two companies, Starbucks, uses 10 percent recycled content in coffee cups, and offers to serve its drinks in reusable mugs; they also changed the way they processed their plastic cups to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. People generally find the rules pertaining to recycling to be quite confusing. This is because packaging has become more complex over the years. One way to help increase the action of recycling is to provide receptacles in front of a restaurant. Doing this puts the idea of recycling into the minds of the customers. This is uncommon because of the normal portability of the meals; the meals are generally taken home so they can be eaten there. However, two major cities, San Francisco and Seattle, have required the presence of recycling and composting bins at every business.

Source: Eliza Barclay, “Food Industry Drags Its Heels On Recyclable And Compostable Packaging,” The Salt (blog), NPR, January 29, 2015,

Student Researcher: Isa Wynn (Indian River State College)

Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)