Materials used in takeaway packaging

takeaway coffee cup

Takeaway packaging is now more diverse than in the past, and there are many different types of packaging available to fast food outlets.

These can range from biodegradable materials such as Bagasse or wood, paper and card, to recycled materials such as polypropylene and PET. Understanding the different types of materials, as well as knowing which are the most likely to make customers happy, can help to increase profits for the company, and can also improve their brand as customers learn about the business’s new containers.

Bagasse is one of the newest forms of container material, and is rapidly replacing Styrofoam as the most popular. It is made from sugar refining waste products, principally the stalks of sugar canes which are removed during refining.  These stalks are then compacted and processed, and result in a very strong and secure container which is also biodegradable. As it is both eco-friendly and made from recycling products, companies can proudly display their environmental credentials with these boxes.

PET is a recycled plastic, made from plastic which has already been used once as packaging. The material is cleaned and sorted, and then turned back into food-safe containers including cups, bowls and other materials. There is some debate about whether PET can be repeatedly recycled, but PET is now becoming more popular and is reused again and again. Salad containers, bowls and sandwich wedges are all made from recycled PET.

Polypropylene is another recycled material, made from thermoplastic. It is commonly used in containers which need to be tamper-resistant, in sealed food bags and in containers which can be used in the microwave. It is also used for other cooking devices, including chopping boards. While this cannot be recycled, it is more environmentally friendly than single-use plastic containers.