The annual WED initiative is designed to heighten awareness of environmental issues and encourage positive action worldwide. Because an estimated 1.3 billion tons of food goes to eat each year, organizers gave the event the theme “Think.Eat.Save” to highlight food waste reduction.
Dr. Ronald Cotterman, vice president of sustainability for Sealed Air Corp., said there is a growing need for food processors, packaging companies, consumers and others to join forces to combat problems with food safety, waste and access.
“We are more conscious of the impact our actions have on the environment yet our society throws away billions of tons of edible food each year that ends up in our landfills, releasing methane gas into the atmosphere,” he said.
Consumers in the US and other countries toss nearly as much food as they consume, which means a wealth of resources (power used to produce food, fuel consumed in transportation, packaging wasted, etc.) needlessly expended. In America alone, food waste counts for 300 million barrels of oil consumed each year.
Sealed Air also has launched its SmartLife program, which holds that nearly every step in the food production and consumption chain (including packaging) offers a range of chances to eliminate waste. SmartLife is intended to focus company resources on coming up with solutions that reduce waste and promote conservation.
SmartLife seeks to engage individuals at every stage:
- Food processors can help by preventing contamination, avoiding production yield loss and ensuring distributed food doesn’t spoil or get damaged in transit.
- Retailers can cut in-store prep losses, avoid damage and expiration prior to sale.
- Foodservice professionals can deliver meals and ingredients in proper portions to match customer demand, and extend food quality life while minimizing loss during storage.
- Consumers can benefit from perishable products with longer shelf life, and food portioning that helps with planning meals.
Sealed Air Corp., best known as the creator of Bubble Wrap cushioning wrap, also provides food packaging, bio-derived protective packaging, cleaning products, and other items geared toward food manufacturers.