Bioplastics: Acceptable for the Packaging of Organic Food? A Policy Analysis
Keywords:Bioplastics, Polylactic Acid (PLA), Organic Food Packaging, Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)
Bioplastics have been introduced as an alternative to petro-based plastics and to provide packaging materials with improved biodegradability and compostability. Over the past few years, several studies have been conducted on bioplastics and their application in global food systems. Although the potential environmental benefits have been discussed, little in fact is known about the specific requirements for the application of bioplastics as packaging for organic food.
In this policy brief, we examine the applicability of bioplastics packaging to organic food products, based on the perspectives of interviewed experts in industry and academia. We conclude that international regulations and standards for organic food production should include specifications on the use of bioplastics. This is necessary because consumers expect bioplastics to be an environmentally friendly packaging material. Yet bioplastic packaging remains problematic for producers and consumers of organic food, especially if the raw material is originally sourced from genetically modified plants. There is a need for clarification of the type of raw material that is suitable for use as packaging for organic food. Our findings should enhance understanding of the public's expectations and perceptions of bioplastics packaging with regard to environmental impacts and optimized organic food packaging.
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