Reducing all kinds of waste and their management have a very important place in policies aimed at combating climate change. Wastes such as plastic do not dissolve in nature for centuries, and landfill gas, which accumulates in places where wastes are regularly stored and contains gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, causes an increase in global temperatures. Landfill gas emissions rank third in the United States among human-caused methane emissions for 2020.Therefore, generating as little waste as possible contributes to efforts to combat climate change. On the other hand, it is estimated that there are currently around 150 million metric tons of plastic waste in the oceans, and about 60% of this waste is thought to originate from food packaging. At this point, we come across the idea of edible food packaging.
The idea of consuming not only food but also its packaging is not a new idea. According to 2016 statistics, the global edible food packaging market has a volume of 697 Million Dollars. London-based Notpla is what I find most interesting among companies operating in the start-up-oriented sector. The company’s product, called “Ooho!” claims to have solved the plastic pollution caused by the packaging of the drinks: After consuming the drinks packaged with “Ooho!”, the packaging made of seaweed and herbal products completely dissolves in nature within 6 weeks. The company also says that if the 6-week dissolution process is too much for you, you can eat the packaging of “Ooho!” directly after drinking the water.
However, there are consumer concerns about edible food packaging. This kind of concerns seem to focus on the extent to which edible food packaging can meet the minimum hygiene standards required for food storage. In addition, it is a question mark to what extent the protection function of edible packaging made of plant products such as seaweed will be successful, as food packaging ensures that food is preserved without spoiling under different storage and temperature conditions. As a result, edible food packaging emerges as an innovative solution to the waste problem facing the world.
Who knows, maybe one day in Türkiye, we will eat the yogurt and the packaging too.