ACC's Plastics Make it Possible initiative offers tips on reducing waste on Super Bowl Sunday, noting plastic packaging is lightweight, uses little energy in production, lengthens lifespan of food, and is often recyclable
January 3, 2014
– Sunday's big game usually involves lots of food and drinks, but that doesn't mean game day celebrating has to be wasteful. Plastics Make it Possible® offers simple tips on how football fans can reduce both food waste and packaging waste while still enjoying their favorite food and drinks—thanks to innovations in plastic packaging that help them do more with less.
"Super Bowl Sunday is about more than football—it's become a national event that can result in lots of food and packaging waste," said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council, which sponsors the Plastics Make it Possible® initiative. "But innovations in plastic packaging can help keep our favorite game day foods fresher longer, so we waste less food. And today new lightweight, minimalist plastic packaging helps protect our food with less material, which reduces the impact on our environment."
Here are a few ways plastics can help reduce waste—on game day and beyond.
Look for Packaging that Reduces Food Waste: Thin, lightweight plastic wraps and bags help your fruits and veggies last longer in your kitchen. For example, salad greens last longer when wrapped—so do cucumbers and bananas—since they are exposed to much less oxygen that hastens spoilage. And plastic storage bags and resealable containers are shatter-resistant—less breakage leads to less wasted food.
Reducing food waste not only saves you money, it helps reduce many negative impacts on the environment. Studies find that up to 10 times more resources (materials, energy, water) are used to make and distribute food than are used to make the packaging that protects it. In other words, plastic packaging is an investment in protecting our food—and the resources we use to produce it.
Look for Packaging that Reduces Packaging Waste: In addition to helping prevent food waste, minimalist plastic packaging designs are reducing the amount of material needed for packaging, which can lead to less packaging waste. For example, today many sauces, dressings, snacks and other game day foods come in thin, lightweight, re-sealable plastic pouches—use what you need, squeeze out the air and then save the rest for later. Some foods, such as pasta dishes and vegetables, are packaged in microwavable steamer bags that allow the food to be transported, stored and prepared in one thin, lightweight plastic bag.
Many types of plastic packaging also consume less energy to make than alternative materials—and often weigh considerably less. One nut producer recently switched from a glass to a plastic peanut jar. The result: the packaging weighs 84 percent less. A new study found that common types of plastic packaging deliver food with significantly less waste, energy use, and global warming potential than alternatives.
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle: Make sure you recycle all the plastic food packaging you can from your game day gathering. This could include beverage and condiment bottles, containers for sour cream and dip, fruit and veggie containers, and more. These hard plastics, along with their caps and lids, can go in your curbside bin. Separately, your grocery bags, plastic bags from hamburger and hot dog buns, bread, produce and other foods can be dropped off at most grocery and retail stores for recycling (make sure the bags are clean and dry). To be sure you're recycling all you can, go to Earth911.com and type in your zip code to find out what's collected in your community.
Seek Out Recycled Plastic Products: Some of the plastics from recycled packaging are made into durable kitchen tools that are great for game day (and every day) food prep, such as colorful mixing bowls, cutting boards, serving spoons, colanders, and more. And game day food and drinks can be served using tableware made with recycled plastics. These reusable plates, bowls, cups and utensils are shatter-resistant, which is great for parties, thanks to plastics.
Make the Most of Your Leftovers: Promptly refrigerating leftovers in airtight plastic containers or zipper bags can help keep food fresh so you can enjoy it later instead of wasting it. Plastic freezer bags, for example, make it especially easy to keep air away from food, helping prevent "freezer burn" that can lead to food waste. And some plastic storage containers are labeled for both freezer and microwave use, so you can conveniently freeze, reheat, and even serve food in the same container.
To help stave off spoilage, choose containers that limit the amount of air exposed to food—less air, less spoilage. Properly stored leftover game day foods, such as cooked hamburger patties or grilled chicken, are easy to use in new recipes after game day is over—or at your next celebration.
For more information, visit It's a Wrap.
About Plastics Make it Possible®
Plastics Make it Possible® highlights the many ways plastics inspire innovations that improve our lives, solve big problems, and help us design a safer, more promising future. This initiative is sponsored by America's Plastics MakersTM of the American Chemistry Council. For more information, visit www.plasticsmakeitpossible.com, check out our Facebook page and follow us @plasticpossible on twitter at www.twitter.com/plasticpossible.
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $770 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is one of the nation's largest exporters, accounting for twelve percent of all U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation's critical infrastructure.