Liberty Intercept Blog

The Value of Plastic Packaging - School Lunches

Posted by Elaine Spitz on Sep 23, 2011 8:35:00 AM

Boys Preparing LunchSustainability concerns with the use and disposal of plastic sandwich bags have apparently not hindered their sales too greatly, for a variety of reasons, particularly in schools. A story entitled "Despite Sustainability Concerns, Sandwich Bags are Sticking Around" in Plastics News this week indicates that even in school districts where children qualify for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program, the use of plastic sandwich bags continues. Elementary school teachers often request one or two packages of sandwich or zipper bags from their students' use in the classroom, along with the other typical supplies children would use.

The fact is, packaging is essential to modern life, plastics are lightweight, convenient and safe to use, and often reusable. More efficient forms of packaging light up your grocers' shelves on a daily basis, including varieties of the once lowly plastic sandwich bag, which is now available in a smaller snack size, as well as with super-duper strong zippers to keep your child's school lunch fresh, safe, and delicious. The reality is, reusable containers are great, but only if your child remembers to bring them home each day. Many parents find it makes more sense to use a minimum of throw-away packaging when sending meals and snacks in their child's backpack. Either way you slice it, there is likely plastic packaging involved, and that's a convenience most people will not give up.

Of particular interest to me in the Plastics News article is this statement about elementary teachers and the school supply lists they send home with students: "Many of those lists mention Ziploc by name, and for good reason: Aside from it being the category’s leading brand. Ziploc has piggybacked on General Mills’ Box Tops for Education program for many years and makes it a key part of back-to-school marketing efforts, including highlighting that every box has two box tops worth 10 cents each toward school programs."

I recall saving General Mills' Box Tops when my boys were in elementary school. I'm not sure what the boys' school gained by collecting the Box Tops, but I remember the feeling that we, as a family, were helping our school by participating in this effort. Helping the teachers, part of the school team, part of the solution, bettering our children's future, all by the brilliant branding efforts of General Mills. That could be an entirely different blog post, but the takeaway for me is this: the development of new and innovative packaging provides us great individual freedom every single day, from the moment we open our eyes in the morning, until we lay our heads down to sleep at night.

Read our post 8 Criteria for Sustainable Packaging for more on the subject.

View Intercept Video

Intercept Technology Packaging products fit within a sustainability strategy because they are reusable, recyclable, do not contain or use volatile components (No VOCs, Not a VCI) and leave a smaller carbon footprint than most traditional protective packaging products.  

Topics: consumer products, plastic packaging waste

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