All of those milk jugs, pizza boxes and egg cartons really pile up — food wrapping and containers contribute to a significant chunk of the 23 percent of packaging-related landfill additions each year. Fortunately, although overall waste has continued to rise about 20 percent, packaging waste has actually decreased, in large part because manufacturers have learned how to more smartly encase their products. Now, forward-thinking scientists are being even more proactive about the issue by steering away from traditional packaging in favor of edible alternatives.
The edible packaging trend fits right into the "reduce, reuse, recycle" tenet by eliminating materials which require fossil fuels to produce and usually wind up in a landfill somewhere. And this emerging industry isn't chump change, either. One report estimates that the edible packaging market will be valued at $1.1 billion by 2023, a sizable increase from the $697 million value in 2016. Whether edible packaging becomes standard on food items depends a lot on overcoming the developmental hurdles of producing them as well as reducing the cost of making them. Here are three examples of emerging edible packaging options: