Let’s Talk About Sustainable Packaging

In our efforts to be more conscious about the way we consume, we may choose to buy “natural” or “organic” products, thinking that once you’ve made the purchase, the work is done. But, have you ever stopped to consider the environmental impact of the packaging of your product? To put our choices into perspective, here is something to consider: There is a patch of floating garbage in the Pacific Ocean which has been measured by satellite imagery, this patch of garbage is mostly comprised of plastic and spans across 1.6 million square kilometers. A lot of this garbage is plastic and has a catastrophic effect on biodiversity and even human health. These microplastics disintegrate when subjected to heat and are consumed by the fish, making their way to the very top of the food chain, so yes, this devastating effect trickles down to you too.

Now, there are garbage patches like this all over the world’s oceans, including our Indian ocean. And each of these patches has an estimated amount of 80,000 metric tons of plastic. Such is the terrible effect of packaging on our planet. After reading these numbers, doesn’t the ban on plastic in the state of Maharashtra make more sense to you? There are plenty of sustainable materials which can serve the same purpose, in fact, many countries are even banning the production and use of single-use plastic.

So what is sustainable packaging?

Simply put, it is packaging which has a longer life cycle and reduces the environmental impact and ecological footprint. It takes into consideration the entire life cycle – from the whole supply chain, from production to the end of its life, everything is taken into consideration.

What can we gain from sustainable packaging?

The long-term goal is to improve the quality of the ecosystems, without compromising on the functionality for the consumer. It’s the brainchild of economics and functionally so that the environment and the future generations do not have to pay the price for our consumerism.

Why is sustainable packaging the need of the hour?

Because we need packaging that’s biodegradable, we need options which allow conscious citizens to recycle or reuse plastic, we need to provide solutions which are long term, and we must take into consideration the ramifications of our actions. There is nothing that’s more important than conserving our natural resources, and sustainable packaging is a huge part of this.

What are the products that you need to be wary of?

There are some products which are used every day and have very short product lifecycles. Such products are single use and are usually discarded within a few hours of using the product. Such products include daily grocery staples such as butter, milk, grains, toothbrushes, earbuds, and razor blades. A lot of this plastic is single use, which means that even if you send it to a recycling facility, there’s not much that they will be able to do with it. As a result, all of this plastic waste gets dumped into rivers and water bodies which ultimately empty out into the oceans.

This vicious cycle continues because simple items like milk delivered in plastic bag are something that we consume every day. So when you think about doorstep delivered milk, for example, not only is the product itself could be adulterated which the packaging can do nothing to prevent, but the packaging is also a major pollutant. What’s more is that you consume milk every day, so you end up being a huge contributor to waste which upsets the ecological frameworks of the planet. Feeling distressed? It doesn’t have to be that way! Tetra packs come with tamper proof sealants and are made with biodegradable materials. These materials are selected based on the supply chain of the materials, important questions such as the greenhouse gases produced in the making of the packaging, the processes involved, and the even the resources spent on sourcing the raw materials required to assemble the packaging are considered. So when it comes to packaging, remember that as a consumer, you have a choice, choose for the planet, and choose sustainability!

 

Did You Also Believe These Myths About Organic Food?

Like everything else on the Internet, there are a lot of mixed feelings and opinions that people seem to have when it comes to organic food. While the benefits of choosing organic are crystal clear, it’s possible to stumble upon misconstrued information which may be false or manipulated. Such misinformation paints organic food in a negative light. In this blog, we do not wish to convince you that organic food is the best and the negatives you read about it are all lies, rather, all we wish to do is present you with the facts, the unadulterated truth, so that you can make an informed decision for yourself.

Myth #1. “Organic food does not always translate to healthy food”

If you buy a packet of organic urad daland decide to make deep-fried tikkisout of the batter, then it’s obviously not going to do much for you, nutrition wise. The high temperatures will destroy most of the nutrient value, the oil will be laden with saturated fat, and you will lose out on the health benefits. If you take the same urad dal and make a dosawith just a dash of oil on the pan, then you’ll have yourself a healthy meal! One of the biggest myths about organic food is that it’s not automatically healthy, but that’s more because of the way the food is treated, it has more to do with cooking than the food itself. So the health factor is really dependent on how you choose to make your food.

Myth #2: “Pesticides are only harmful to pests, not humans”

If you think that these chemicals are only effective on four-legged pests, think again. A study by the US Library of Medicine stated that pesticide residues have also been detected in human breast milk samples, which raise serious questions and concerns about prenatal exposure and the effects on children. People who work closely with pesticides have recorded suffering from respiratory issues, and also those also affect their reproductive and endocrine systems. High accidental exposures may even result in death.

Myth #3: “Organic food is simply unaffordable”

Of course, organic food can be affordable if you know where to find them. Try your local farmer’s markets, sustainability drives and online superstores to find genuine, organic foods. And if the price point is a marginally higher than generic brands, understand that you are paying for the assurance and safety of a certification. It’s far from easy to get certified by the USDA, but if a brand is certified, then you can rest assured that you’re consuming safe, hygienic ingredients.

Myth #4: “Natural and organic mean the same thing”

This is by far the biggest myth. Understand that what makes a brand organic is not the nature of food, but rather the processes of production, sourcing, and manufacturing. For example, doorstep delivered milk can be called “natural” because using that word requires no certification. But calling a brand organic without the certification can have serious consequences as well as legal ramifications. The certification is all about the processes, have the key ingredients been sustainably sourced? Are the cows healthy? Do they have space to roam? Are they grass-fed? Is the grass they are fed with chemical-free? Getting certified requires providing documented evidence for questions like this and more.

Myth #5: “Organic food is not sustainable”

A study conducted by the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), which spanned over 9 years, stated that organic farming is better for the soil matter than conventional, no-till farming. To put things in perspective, just one teaspoon of compost rich organic soil can host over 600 million to 1 billion good bacteria from 15,000 different species. Compare that with chemically-treated soil, where one teaspoon can house barely 100 good bacteria. This is the most pragmatic way to understand the benefits of organic farming on the environment.

Myth #6. “Organic food is tasteless”

This is a common myth that mostly surfaces to organic newcomers. Let’s take an example of milk. If you find that your new brand of organic milk isn’t as rich as your previous milk, it’s because organic is as close to the real thing as it gets. Traditional cartons of milk use emulsifiers and thickening agents to make milk seem creamier and richer, but all of this takes an immense toll on the digestive system. Most people cannot handle such high levels of lactose, which is why organic milk reserves the best natural ingredients and preserves their nutrition through scientific processes.

#Myth #7. “Organic is just a buzzword”

By buying into this myth, you are not only denying yourself the opportunity to be healthier and make wiser health choices, but you are also robbing local, Indian farmers the opportunity to preserve their heritage and make an honest livelihood. India has always been an agriculturally rich nation, but after colonization, farmers were forced to stop the cultivation of indigenous local crops and replace them with cash crops. Now, our farmers are finally getting the support they need to grow local grains like red rice, millets and more. By buying an organic brand, you choose to shop local, to support local farmers and the community. By choosing organic, you are not helping a greedy corporate CEO to buy a fifth holiday home in France, rather, you are helping a local farmer to put food on the table and feed the family. So who would you rather support?

These are the facts about organic food, and we hope that this article has helped you better understand not just the benefits of organic food, but also the impact of organic farming on a holistic scale. Not only is it the best option for your health, but it’s also something that creates jobs and lessens the load on the environment. Remember, when you shop local or organic, you are not just benefitting yourself and your family, but you’re also benefiting the community and the planet as a whole!