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Packaging Microchips Could Spell the End of Food Waste

Despite the shift in mentality towards becoming more environmentally friendly in everything we do over the last decade or so, the UK still has a big problem in the amount of food packaging we waste. Whether it’s the fault of individuals in not recycling those items that are eligible, or if the blame lies with the food manufacturing companies who use excess unnecessary plastic in the packaging of their products is not clear.

However, throwing away food packaging becomes even more wasteful when the food it contains also goes unused. As a nation, we throw away 7 million tonnes of food a year – over 4 million tonnes of which could have been easily avoided. Many commenters blame the fear that some people have of sell-by and use-by dates on their packaging, with perfectly edible food being thrown away if the date has passed.
Well one solution to this particular problem looks like it might become a reality in the not too distant future. A group of scientists have been developing a microchip that is designed to be implanted into food packaging, and alerting the owner as to when the food is nearing its realistic, not pre-determined, use-by date. The alert will be sent via text message, giving the user a much better understanding of whether their food is edible or not.

All food is stored at different temperatures and in different conditions, so having one universal use-by date is not the most effective method. The new microchips could drastically reduce food waste levels across the UK, helping to save some of the £12billion that it currently costs the economy.
The new technology was introduced during a peer committee meeting in the Netherlands focusing on the food waste issue, but still seems some way off in terms of becoming a reality. However, with supermarket giants like Tesco reportedly creating an enormous 30,000 tonnes of food waste in just six months last year, it’s clear that steps must be taken.

Restaurants and the hospitality sector, another culpable area, are being encouraged to offer doggy bags to customers unable to finish meals, while other moves towards providing packaging that tells consumers when fresh produce is at its best to eat are steps in the right direction.

It shouldn’t be too unfathomable that we will soon be at a point where we have no excuse for not using food before it expires, allowing us to properly plan meals and use leftovers, and while the future of microchips in all packaging is one that appeals in theory, there are very real steps we can all take now to reduce packaging waste.

Here at Woodford Recycling, our extensive waste management services allow for the recycling of waste from both commercial and domestic environments. Our onsite recycling facilities aim to recycle over 85% of all the non-hazardous waste we collect from our skip hires, providing you with a clean and environmentally friendly way to dispose of your recyclable refuse.

Get in touch today for more information.


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