1.3 Environmental and economic aspects
As well as considering various types of industrial food packaging and their application, this book also briefly examines related areas such as re-cycling and economic aspects of the use of different materials.
With the increasing use of plastic packaging the whole subject of damage to the environment is becoming of increasing concern One main problem is that plastic packaging is invariably cheaper than alternatives such as glass. If glass is given a monetary value of 10, then tins cost 6 to 8 units while plastic costs 3 to 8. The shift to plastic, at the present time, therefore appears unstoppable. However re-cycling and re-use of packaging can not only generate jobs and wealth but save energy and help to protect the environment A study carried out in Thailand, for example states that it would be possible to set up a $40 million a year industry based on recycling paper, cardboard and plastics.
In its final section this book considers some economic aspects of packaging changes. Not only must the direct cost of the pack be thought about but other associated costs such as equipment and training. Economic choices can be difficult and complicated. A glass container for example, is more expensive than a tin can. It can, however, be re-used, which may in the long run make it cheaper. The manufacturer would need to think about how many times the same bottle could be re-used, the costs of collection and costs involved in washing and preparing the returned bottles.
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