For the over-worked parent who doesn’t have time to puree pears or soak grains overnight, these portable plastic packs filled with whole and organic ingredients are a godsend. All on-the-go moms have to do is twist off the cap and hand a pouch of prune flax and oats to a hungry baby to suck on all by himself, no spoon or skills required. But of course, there’s a catch.
While these pricey pouches can cost north of $2-a-pop, families are willing to cough up the cash in the name of convenience. But this convenience comes with another price – most of these plastic pouches that cannot be recycled are destined for landfills and in some cases even worse, the ocean. The demand for these pouches is growing even though reasonably priced alternatives that can be used over and over again are available.
The main problem with these disposable pouches is that they’re made from multiple layers of materials and components that can be recycled can’t be separated out, posing an environmental nightmare. Empty food packs and other types of trash end up in the ocean due to a mixture of mismanaged trash disposal and littering. This stuffing of unusual and healthful foods into plastic casings isn’t sitting well with environmentalists, and we can understand why.
By 2050, experts estimate that our oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight. In addition, plastics are believed to threaten at least 600 different wildlife species, according to the Ocean Conservancy. When plastic finally reaches a landfill, it can take up to 1,000 years to decompose not to mention the pollutants that can leak into the soil and water.
Before these snazzy plastic squeezy packs hit the market, baby food was mostly packaged in glass jars, which are recyclable, reusable and a heck of a lot cheaper. In response to the surge of plastic packs on the market, some companies have pioneered containers that work similarly, but can be re-used.
Rhoost, for example, is a company that manufactures 4.5-ounce plastic pouches that can be reused and washed by hand or dishwasher. While replacing all of these portable packs may seem impossible, switching out for something reusable is a great start.