Plastic took over the world because it is cost-effective, useful and durable. Every year we are producing over 300 million tons of plastic, half of this is consumed by single-use purposes – utilised for only a few moments, but on our planet for several hundred years. More than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year, the equivalent of a truckload of plastic every minute.
World Wildlife Fund has called for a global treaty on plastic pollution in response to plastic particles being found in a new amphipod discovered in Asia. Researchers discovered the new species of deep-sea amphipod with the presence of plastic in its body. The amphipod has been named ‘Eurythenes plasticus’ in reference to the plastic (polyethylene terephthalate) found in its body.
“The newly discovered species Eurythenes plasticus shows us how far-reaching the consequences of our inadequate handling of plastic waste truly is. There are species living in the deepest, most remote places on earth which have already ingested plastic before they are even known about by humankind. Plastics are in the air that we breathe, in the water that we drink and now also in animals that live far away from human civilization.”
— Director of the Marine Programme at WWF in Germany, Heike Vesper.
Every industry relies on product packaging. Plastic transformed the packaging industry and packaging is now the largest end-use market segment accounting for just over 40% of total plastic usage.
From airtight plastic wraps to shelf secure bottles and containers, packaging plays a pivotal role in safely delivering food supply from farm to table. Produce is carefully nestled into perfectly moulded plastic strays, stacking on sturdy plastic crates and placed on cheap, plastic pallets. Plastic is the material of choice for freezing foods for a long period of time and for packaging fresh produce. Fruit and vegetables tightly concealed in impermeable plastic have a life span of weeks rather than days. A cucumber wrapped in plastic can survive two weeks as opposed to three days without plastic wrapping
Walking through our supermarkets we are confronted with an overwhelming amount of unnecessary plastic packaging. Plastic encasing apples and bananas and diced carrot sticks wrapped in plastic are a few examples of pointless plastic packaging. High volume of plastic use in supermarkets is unsustainable and dangerous for the health of our fragile environment.
Supermarket chains have recognised their responsibility to reconsider their plastic use and consumption. The trend to reduce plastic waste began with the removal of single-use plastic bags in supermarkets. Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute. A plastic bag has an average “working life” of 15 minutes.
The reduction of plastic bag use and BIY (Bring It Yourself) was a monumental cultural shift towards a plastic-free environment. However, supermarkets have acknowledged this is just the beginning of the transformation of our process to reduce plastic packaging.
A number of supermarkets around the world have made public commitments to reduce plastic wastage or become plastic-free. Lotte Mart, one of the largest supermarket chains in South Korea, announced its scheme to reduce single-use plastic usage by 50% by 2025. This is the first supermarket chain in Asia to demonstrate such a promise.
Earlier this year, global supermarket giant Countdown trialled plastic packaging-free fruit and vegetables in Auckland stores. Countdown announced the fruit and vegetable section of three Auckland Countdowns will be "unwrapped". In June 2018, Countdown joined a New Zealand pledge towards using 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging in their own brands by 2025 or earlier. This is an incredible initiative that Tiliter proudly supports.
Tiliter’s unique software is able to recognise products without barcodes which helps grocers eliminate packaging. This translates to massive reductions in single-use plastics and unnecessary waste. By using computer vision and artificial intelligence, the software is able to recognise products in under one second. It can even differentiate between the most difficult sub-categories such as Truss, Roma, and Gourmet tomatoes.
Utilising Tiliter’s software will drastically reduce supermarkets plastic usage. Think about this — if you remove the need for manual identification, you no longer require products to display barcodes, and in turn, there is an opportunity to entirely eliminate single-use plastics from supermarket shelves. Tiliter works with retailers to identify a variety of items like nuts, confectionary and bakery goods, helping to abolish tonnes of waste across supermarkets globally.
Want to know more about how Tiliter can help your business reduce plastic? We’d love to tell you. Contact us today.