Food packaging is perhaps one of the biggest drains on resources in our society. We use petroleum to make it, use it once, possibly recycle it, but it has a pretty good chance of ending up in the North Pacific Garbage Patch or a landfill.
Researchers are investigating a new dairy-based “plastic” that could revolutionize the way we package food.
The true purpose of food packaging is to keep air, specifically oxygen, away from food. If food comes in contact with oxygen, it degrades in quality (think of guacamole turning brown, this is oxidation.) Scientists are developing a strong dairy-plastic that has better oxygen-barrier properties than some plastics. The downfall is that these plastics are a weak barrier to moisture, so they are not yet practical for things like soda bottles.
Since they are food based, they would be biodegrable – they are actually edible!
I would jump at the opportunity to switch to dairy-based plastics. I am curious, what do vegans think? Petroleum-drilling and plastic flotsam are probably responsible for more animal suffering and deaths than milking cows. If dairy-based plastics could replace petroleum-based plastics, would you use them?
Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons by tuchodi