Europeans produce amongst the highest amounts of plastic packaging waste globallyA rise in plastic food packaging is failing to reduce Europe’s growing food waste problem, and in some cases may even be fuelling it, according to pioneering new research.  The study shows how annual per-capita use of plastic packaging has grown simultaneously with levels of food waste since the 1950s – now at 30kg and 173kg respectively.  The review of available evidence published by Friends of the Earth Europe and Zero Waste Europe, on behalf of the Rethink Plastic alliance, also reveals that:
- Big retailers are driving food and plastic packaging waste in Europe through practices such as food grading standards, and packaging food in multipacks and small format packs. One study showed that chopping green beans to fit plastic packaging resulted in 30-40% of the beans being wasted.
- 37% of all food sold in the EU is wrapped in plastic – the most widely used packaging material.
- The cost of food waste in the EU is estimated at €143 billion each year, equivalent to the annual operational budget of the EU.