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It is practical, cheap, flexible and a bit sticky, and it is the darling of many housewives and especially of the markets and grocery stores, when it comes to “preserving” food. We are talking about the plastic film or PVC film. And what is the problem with that?
The problem is precisely in the disposal of this material, because due to the components that make it flexible, it becomes a difficult plastic to recycle and, like many other plastic waste, it will stop at landfills that take years to decompose. worst of all, they often reach the oceans, killing defenseless animals that mistake pieces of plastic for food.
Unfortunately, many of our attitudes are unthinkable, seeing only the practicality of everyday life and the comfort of modern life. Only that is not how we should act, is it?
If there are alternatives that can minimize that environmental impact caused by our modern habits, why not learn and adhere to them? Therefore, we are going to learn what plastic film is if it can be recycled and the options to replace it.
What is plastic film?
PVC (polyvinylchloride) film or film plastic is a low-density plastic, also called LDPE, that softens at low temperatures, burns like a candle, and has a smooth, “waxy” surface.
LDPE is flexible, light, transparent and waterproof, being widely used to make films for packaging food, industrial sacks, garbage bags and the controversial grocery bags.
According to the Ministry of the Environment, approximately 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide annually. However, plastic bags can be recycled, but the plastic film?
Is the plastic film recyclable?
Yes, the plastic film is recyclable, and you can even create other products from it. However, this process is a bit complicated, mainly in Brazil, where there are almost no recycling stations, or the collection is practically nil.
For this reason, our mission is to find recycling stations that receive this type of material and to bring the plastic film already clean and without waste. It seeks to inform about the recycling process that will be carried out in this position, because if it is done incorrectly it can release toxic substances that pollute the environment.
Unfortunately, plastic film cannot be recycled together with other plastic packaging, since if they are placed in the incinerator, they release dioxins that, in addition to polluting the environment, put human health at risk due to the risk of cancer .
So the best way to recycle plastic film is not to use it!
Plastic takes at least 100 years to decompose, that includes plastic bags and even PVC film. Therefore, the best alternative to it is to replace plastic with biodegradable products or even simple tricks that we already have at home, as we will see below.
Alternatives to replace the plastic film
Since plastic film is so harmful to the environment and the recycling process is so complicated, we can look for some reusable alternatives so that we don't need more of it.
Some containers like margarine pots, or even the ones we buy from utility stores are better than plastic film. However, the ideal is to choose glass ones, since even plastic pots can release toxins in food. There are many brands on the market that report whether the plastic used in the production of the pots is BPA-free, so read the information on the product label.
SILICONE CAPS (SILICONE)
Another alternative to preserve food are the silicone lids adaptable to various sizes of containers. They can be a great alternative to plastic film, as long as they are made with totally non-toxic silicone. Therefore, make sure that the product has a label that contains that information.
TO REST DOUGH
For dough recipes that ask for it, leave them resting with film paper, the substitutions are the following:
If you have to leave the dough in the fridge, spread it with a little oil and place it on a plate in the fridge.For doughs that need to rest for a long period, such as bread or pizza, place them in a glass bowl and cover with a damp cloth.
If you still can't run out of plastic film, it may be the case to wait for bioplastic, a type of biodegradable plastic film made from plant raw materials.
Researchers at USP are trying to patent a sustainable alternative to plastic film, which is produced with cassava starch, but according to them it is necessary to create a production model to meet the need of the industry.
Meanwhile, we continue to look for alternatives to preserve food without using plastic film.
Some initiatives such as that of Fe Cortez of the Canal "Less 1 garbage", give advice to achieve this. According to her, plastic film is not the best way to preserve food, since in addition to the recycling rate of this material is only 17%, food packaged with plastic film does not breathe.
Not to mention that many organic foods, whose objective is to preserve the soil and reduce environmental impacts, are packaged with styrofoam and plastic film, that is, they abandon their purpose of conserving the environment, Cortez recalls.
Therefore, it brings some tips on how to remove plastic film from day to day.
Among the tips, in addition to the plastic or glass pots, which we discussed above, she also suggests:
1 bowl (bowl) and 1 plate that can cover food and can still be stacked in the fridge; Cloth napkin or pieces of cloth for packing sandwiches; Tissue packaging covered with a honey resin. These are a novelty on the market, they are foldable and moldable with the heat of the hands, and can still be washed and reused.
Well, these were just some tips to avoid needing to use plastic film to preserve food, as we did years ago automatically.
If you already use or have any useful ideas to do that exchange, share with as many people as you can so that we can join and improve the health of our planet!
By Eliane Oliveira
Original article (in Portuguese)