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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > November 2018 > Cut down on PLASTIC your and improve your DIET

Cut down on PLASTIC your and improve your DIET

A disturbing scene on a prime-time nature programme was a wake-up call for the nation. But as well as its impact on the environment, plastic food packaging can contribute to poor eating habits. Dietitian Juliette Kellow investigates the alternatives for better health all round…

R EMEMBER THE SCENE in BBC One’s Blue Planet II when a whale mourns her calf who has died trapped in a tangle of plastic? Last July, a survey from Mintel revealed 47% of us are worried about plastic pollution, making it the nation’s number one environmental concern, above even animal welfare and climate change.

An estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic amasses each year in our oceans, damaging seabirds, fish, whales, seals, dolphins, sharks and sea turtles. It amounts to a truckload of plastic being dumped into the waters every minute, and it’s estimated that by 2050, the weight of plastic in the sea will be greater than the weight of fish!

The debris is also broken down into tiny pieces called ‘microplastics’, which can end up in the food chain (and ultimately on our plate).

Among the biggest polluters are drinks bottles and food packaging that’s only used once before being ditched. According to Greenpeace, UK supermarkets generate 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging every year.

What can we do?

It can feel as if we have no choice when so many food products are wrapped in plastic (it doesn’t help that recyling rules vary from region to region).

Supermarkets are, however, starting to take steps. Here are some of their plans:

Iceland has promised to eliminate all plastic packaging from own-brand products by 2023.

Asda is replac0h pizzas with cardboard.

Aldi plans to reduce all packaging by 50% by 2025.

Marks & Spencer is working to eradicate single-use plastics from the business – for example, by replacing 75 million pieces of plastic cutlery with wooden alternatives.

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About Healthy Food Guide

Get on top of your weight loss before Christmas with our new portions guide – tailormade to your own goals for faster results. Cook up easy, healthy comfort food and get the latest nutrition info on sweeteners – plus 15 ways to use less plastic to benefit your health as well as the environment.