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Partners sought to develop food packaging that can be digested by animals

Organisation seeks to establish public-private partnership to develop food packaging that farm animals and fish can eat to tackle both food waste and litter.

This article is powered by EU Food Law

An organisation called the Animal Digestible Food Packaging (ADFP) Initiative is seeking government and industry partners to develop technology it believes could help solve the dual challenges of food waste and litter, making packaging into a resource rather than a liability.

Using packaging that can be eaten by animals such as cows, pigs and chickens, the ADFP Initiative believes food waste accompanied by the packaging could be diverted from landfill sites and become a resource by being manufactured into animal feed.

“Our mission is to advance the national and international conversation about ADFP by bringing together key stakeholders,” the ADFP Initiative notes on its website.

“Specifically, we encourage the establishment of a public-private partnership for ADFP. Once the partnership is established, the next step would be for participants to seek funding for the partnership,” it adds.

By stakeholders, the ADFP Initiative is looking to, among others, food manufacturers, food packaging manufacturers, animal feed manufacturers, trade associations, academics, NGOs, and government agencies.

The partnership would aim to research new food packaging materials that are digestible by animals and, once such materials are developed, promote their widespread adoption throughout the food industry.

“Food waste accompanied by animal digestible packaging, if it were to exist and widely used, could be diverted from landfills by being rendered into animal feed, turning the waste from a liability into a resource,” Jack Cooper, ADFP.

The driver of the organisation is Washington D.C.-based Jack Cooper, former director of environmental affairs at the US National Food Processors Association.

Cooper states that even though most used frying oil and meat waste is picked up by renderers for manufacture into animal feed, other grocery and restaurant food waste that is not otherwise beneficially used is sent for disposal in landfills.

A primary reason for this, Cooper states, is that the waste is accompanied by packaging that is not digestible by animals. Also, current packaging presents a quality problem for rendered fats and proteins manufactured into animal feed.

“Food waste accompanied by animal digestible packaging, if it were to exist and widely used, could be diverted from landfills by being rendered into animal feed, turning the waste from a liability into a resource,” Cooper told IEG Policy via Linkedin.

“Improperly discarded animal digestible food packaging would breakdown into environmentally acceptable components rather than naturally eroding into "forever" micro and nano plastic particles,” he said.

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