Olympics to serve up compostable food packaging

London 2012 will use compostable packaging for some of the food sold on-site during the Olympic games as part of its latest sustainability drive.

An estimated 6.5 million people will attend the games next year and are likely to generate over 3,300 tonnes of food packaging waste over the 17-day period.

Fast food wrappers, sandwich boxes and drink cartons will be served within the Olympic Park area in packaging made from compostable materials such as starch and cellulose-based bioplastics.

Once used, they will be processed through anaerobic digestion and turned into renewable energy.

The NNFCC and British Printing Industries Federation have been working with the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to ensure compostable food packaging is part of London 2012’s sustainability promise.

“The London Olympics has given us a unique opportunity to showcase the benefits of using compostable packaging, particularly for food, and recovering its stored energy at end-of-life using anaerobic digestion,” said NNFCC’s head of materials, Dr John Williams.

Plastics manufacturers also hope the initiative will demonstrate a workable model that can be rolled out nationally.

European Bioplastics Association chairman, Andy Sweetman, added: “Using renewable materials at the Olympics is a great way to demonstrate to the public how seriously the packaging industry is taking sustainability.”

Maxine Perella

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