As the buying public becomes more educated regarding the reduction of one’s carbon footprint on this beleaguered planet of ours, one area of concern that keeps growing is the use of non bio-friendly packaging we encounter daily - like Styrofoam and many single-use plastic containers. A1 Cash & Carry, leading wholesale food distributor Ontario has been steadily investing for many years now into stocking more and more eco-friendly packaging including takeout containers wholesale, foam takeout containers, biodegradable takeout containers and dinnerware.
While one’s choices as both an individual and a business towards promoting all things sustainable is obviously good on many levels, the entire subject of sustainability is vast and let’s face it, overwhelming. Where to start?
Let’s start with takeout packaging and dinnerware. Here are a few common ‘good’ alternative packaging options and what they are made from; so, you can decide for yourself what direction you feel suits you and your business.
While doing so, you will encounter several buzzwords:
Compostable: naturally degrades into nutrient-rich organic materials when ‘composted’ with other like products
breaks down organically and leaves no harmful toxins or residues that will harm the environment or the consumer
Safe & Recyclable:
an easy deterrent to the dreaded ‘single-use’ plastics, there are many new plastics that contain no chemicals that are either harmful to the food it contains, or to the consumer.
Sugarcane / Bagasse
Constructed from the waste fibrous pulp from sugarcane plants after the sugar has been extracted, these containers and dinnerware items offer your establishment a totally green alternative that will no doubt appeal to your clientele. They’re biodegradable, microwaveable and take much less energy to manufacture than its plastic equivalent. For instance instead of using plastic takeaway containers, restaurants can switch to these Eco-Craze - Bagasse Clamshell Containers for more environmentally friendly option.
Poly-coated Kraft Paperboard
Made from 100% unbleached paperboard, the natural kraft colour contains no toxic dyes. Unlike other paper containers and dinnerware with a plastic (PET) coating that doesn’t break down, the kraft paperboard poly-coating features a natural silicon base that deteriorates into a biodegradable product. The poly-coating also makes the item leak-proof, grease resistant and cut resistant; and its natural components make it breathable, which allows steam and heat to escape, preventing food sogginess. 3-ply strength allows it to be microwaveable and freezable.
This is one of those Safe and Recyclable plastics. While non-renewable and slow to break down, it is still classified as biodegradable and is FDA approved. It boasts all the conveniences of plastic as well as being microwave safe and recyclable and is 100% BPA-free*.
*NOTE - BPA (Bisphenol A) is used in the production of many plastics and tin can linings. Some research has shown that BPA can seep into the food it contains, causing serious health effects. However, the FDA, after closely examining hundreds of studies on the subject, maintains that any BPA in question exists at levels way too low to affect humans.
PET (polyethylene terephthalate)
While PER plastic is used almost exclusively for all plastic bottles, it is also common in the manufacture of takeout containers. PET is a strong, stiff synthetic material that can be heated, melted and cooled into many shapes and sizes like this Value Plus - PET clear cup or Scipio - PET salad bowl for reference.
PET is 100% recyclable. Its ability to be recycled into making new products again and again and again make it sustainable. And making products with PET uses less energy than other plastics. This overall reduction in the amount of energy and wasted resources highly increases its sustainability. In fact, its properties contribute to PET producing a lower carbon footprint right across the board. For example, its lightweight characteristics means less gas used transporting a truckload. But be aware that they do not break down and are not microwaveable.