Part 6: Let’s Talk Trash – Plastic Food Packaging and Human Health

This is the sixth post in our series: Sustainable Packaging Transformations℠.

Domo’s founder, Deb Adams, was invited to attend the first Plastic Solutions and Health Summit held at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace this past April. Spearheaded by Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet and; the summit brought together scientists, sustainable materials inventors, health scientists, front-line communities and researchers to share the impact of plastics on human health and the environment. Once you KNOW, you cannot DENY – plastics are toxic to human health and plastic food packaging is particularly harmful.

The Plastics Crisis is a Health Crisis

Dr. Pete Myers, Chief Scientist, Founder of Environmental Health Sciences,, and Member of the Plastic Health Council, is a renowned plastics researcher who created the phrase “endocrine disruptors” and has been sounding the alarm about plastics and human health for years. At the Summit, Dr. Myers shared the plastic crisis is a Health Crisis as plastic chemicals have been now linked to a wide range of chronic conditions: cancers, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, endometriosis, ADHD, and death.

“Plastic and plastic chemicals have spread like a scourge to every part of our planet, even inside us at levels known to be hazardous.  Yet industry projections based on ‘business-as-usual’ anticipate the volume of plastics created will double by the mid-century.”

Plastics and Human Health Summit – April 10 2024 Washington DC

Plastics and Human Health Summit – April 10 2024 Washington DC

Consumer packaged goods contribute 70% of the plastic pollution problem, and a major portion of food packaging is made of plastic. The emerging science and health implications indicate chemicals migrate into the food we consume from plastic packaging. This alone – should invigorate design innovation discussions in food companies worldwide. Domo domo, is driving the sustainable packaging design transformation in the CPG sector to remove plastic from food (and other) packaging – this is not a nice to have – it’s a must-have for the future of human health and the planet.

Plastic food packaging comprises a chemical cocktail of a base monomer, additives (for performance like rigidity, clarity, etc.) a colorant and impurities that are part of the production process. The research indicates these chemicals migrate into whatever food substance is contained in the plastic package.

Plastic chemicals migrate into foodstuffs. Including at least 97 hazardous chemicals.

As Dr. Jane Muncke of the Food Packaging Forum shared “normal and intended use of Plastic Food Packaging leads to micro- and nano plastics in foodstuffs. 1,950 plastic chemicals from food packaged in plastic have already been detected in people.”

First Ever Plastic Free Grocery Aisle

Sian Sutherland and her Plastic Planet co-founder, Frede Magnussen, are also creating innovation in the retail space including the first-ever plastic-free grocery aisle in a store in the Netherlands. Retailers in the US – take note – consumers will look for this in the future!

Plastic chemicals migrate into foodstuffs. Including at least 97 hazardous chemicals.

The world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle in Amsterdam. Photograph: Ewout Huibers/PA. Sian Sutherland

“We know that our customers are sick to death of products laden in layer after layer of thick plastic packaging. Plastic-free aisles are an innovative way of testing the compostable biomaterials that offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic packaging.”

It’s time to future-proof your brand.

Plastic has been perceived as a miracle material and a benign presence in our lives…until now. What this ubiquitous substance could do to our health, the environment, and the planet is now reaching mainstream consumer awareness.

How we got “here” is not as important now as how we will “get there” – a plastic-free future. We must imagine a better way and design it.

At domo domo, plastic packaging is a design problem…we know how to solve.

Stay tuned for our next installment of  Sustainable Packaging Transformations℠.