For the over-stretched parent who doesn’t have time to puree plums or soak grains overnight, portable plastic packs jammed with organic and healthful ingredients are a godsend.
On-the-go moms can just twist off the cap and hand a pouch of blueberry flax and oat to a hungry baby to suck on by himself. No spoon or spoon skills required.
While these packs are pricey ― a 4-ounce pouch can cost north of $2 ― families are willing to fork over the funds for the convenience factor. But this convenience comes with another price: Most of these plastic pouches can’t be recycled and are destined for landfills ― or worse, the oceans. The demand is growing even though reasonably priced alternatives are available that can be used over and over again.
The problem with the disposable pouches is that they’re made from multiple layers of materials and the recyclable components can’t be separated out, said Brent Bell, vice president of recycling at Waste Management, the largest residential recycler in North America.
Empty food packs and other types of trash end up in the ocean due to a mix of mismanaged trash disposal and littering. When a person litters, for example, that item can easily blow into a storm drain, travel through sewer pipes and eventually land in waterways.
Stuffing loads of unusual and healthful foods into plastic casings isn’t sitting well with environmentalists.
“There’s definitely a push for clean eating both for kids and grown-ups,” Lindsay Gallimore, a mother of two who blogs about green issues, told HuffPost. “But all the buzz words that are associated with a ‘greener’ lifestyle are packaged into a packaging that’s not green at all.”
If the baby food industry doesn’t come up with a solution soon, the amount of plastic piling up from these products is only going to grow at an explosive rate.
In 2015, sales from baby food pouches reached $45 million. That was up from $8 million in 2010, according to a report from the Freedonia Group, a market research firm.
By 2050, experts estimate oceans will have more plastic than fish (by weight). Plastics are believed…