Plastic is affordable and durable; those are the primary reasons why we have been clinging to it for decades, to fulfill our food and other packaging needs. But with the world choking on this non-biodegradable waste, governments and business bodies are left with no option but to switch to a greener alternative — the next best and the cheapest material — paper.
The ‘plastic to paper’ shift is still an ongoing transition happening globally. Around 77 countries have already imposed either a full or partial ban on plastic bags as food packaging materials. They are being replaced by papers of different make, grades, and compositions. Indian food and goods manufacturers and ecommerce enterprises are also normalising the use of paper over plastic for packaging, considering the plastic ban across the country.
This brings us to the next big concern; is it safe to use any kind of paper for food packaging? What about when the food is in direct contact with the paper?
Not all that’s paper is safe
In a recent report, the BEUC (European Consumer Organisation), stated that food packaging made of cardboard and coloured paper can release chemicals and toxins, contaminating the food. Accordingly, the EU is revising its laws regarding “any paper” used for food packaging.
The paper packaging, extensively used in Indian kiranas, food joints, etc, is mostly industrially processed stock lot paper. It is dyed and printed using chemical ink. There are traces of perfluorinated chemicals or PFCs often found on these papers, the traces of which can leak into the food and make it unfit for consumption.
Is there an alternative?
The answer to your paper food packaging dilemma is paper but in a different make. Experts recommend Kraft paper to be the safest for food packaging.
Kraft paper is food-grade packaging materials made from either wood pulp or through the processing of agro-based materials that has zero risks of contamination, making it 100% safe for food. USA’s FDA the British BRC has both given a green signal to kraft paper for food packaging.
Compared to stock lot paper, kraft paper is more durable, recyclable, and re-usable. It is waterproof and oil-resistant packaging, which makes cold and raw food distribution easy for the manufacturers. These attributes make it a perfect environment-friendly packaging choice for the food vendors as well.
Kraft paper bags by Adeera Pack
Speaking of lraft paper and its use for food packaging from the Indian context, Delhi’s Adeera Packaging is setting precedents in the industry. Known for its premium quality paper bags and packaging materials, the company specializes in the production of food-grade Kraft paper bags, all nominally priced, keeping the Indian market and packaging industry in perspective. Food manufacturers, retail outlets, food vendors, and other entities with similar requirements can easily source kraft paper packaging from the company (they offer doorstep delivery) and ensure the high quality of the food being sold.
So, at the beginning of this write-up, we had a problem. Now, you have the solution in front of you; one that is not far-fetched and quite accessible. The decision to make the shift towards safety and sustainability begins with you. So, are you ready to change your food packaging?
(Sushant Gaur, founder and CEO, Adeera Pack, started Urja Packaging in 2012 which was taken over by Adeera Pack in 2019. Adeera Pack is currently India’s largest manufacturer of paper bags, making approximately 1.5-million bags and pouches per day. Urja Packaging has now grown to become the leading manufacturer of paper Pouches in India.)