The average American spends about $3,365 on take out, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This totals to 869 billion dollars, the entire United States is spending on food away from home. As a result of people eating at restaurants and less home cooked meals, food packaging becomes a higher demand for consumers. Supplying individuals with disposable food boxes, utensils and cups is inevitable for business owners catering towards people on the go, however it is what these containers are made of that is causing a larger issue. For the reason that food packaging is designed to last for a short period of time, the chances it has to be recycled or reused is unlikely. Remnants of food packaging is typically buried in landfill or dumped into the ocean. Materials such as plastics, metals and foams are unable to naturally decompose in the environment, causing methane emissions in landfill and water pollution in the ocean.
Taking a look at what is currently happening in the field of sustainable food packaging offers great insight to alternative materials available to the masses. Fortunately, there are manufacturers that specialize in developing sustainable food packaging products however, few and far between. While connecting with many different companies to speak about their products, it was clear to see why all companies have not shifted towards sustainable products. Shopping for sustainable food packaging products is a lengthy task and not always cheap. Putting together a swatch book of sustainable materials for designers and business owners can help alleviate the stress of searching for products.