Single-use plastic is everywhere. It's in your take-out orders, at your favorite coffee shops, and in the check-out aisle at your local grocery store. But it’s also in overflowing landfills, along beach shorelines, and floating in riverbeds. According to the Plastic Waste Makers Index, the world generated 139 million metric tons of single-use plastic in 2021.

While sustainability efforts, such as increased recycling or replacement materials, are being put in place in hopes of reducing plastic waste, some countries are taking more drastic measures. Many states in the U.S., including California, New York, and Hawaii, are moving towards complete bans on single-use plastic materials such as plastic straws, disposable cutlery, plastic bags, and plastic food packaging. In the United Kingdom, there is a tax on plastic bags as well as a complete ban on plastic straws, stirrers, cotton buds, and products with microbeads in them. Other places, like Kenya, banned visitors from taking single-use plastic products into conservation areas, national parks, beaches and forests.

While the environmental impact of single-use plastics may be evident, it is an extensive and highly interdisciplinary area of research, and scientists are working to build understanding and tackle the challenge.

Created in collaboration between IFIS and EBSCO, the FSTA with Full Text database contains valuable information on food science and related fields, such as food and beverage packaging. FSTA with Full Text features full-text academic journals, reviews, patents, dissertations and more. The experts at IFIS perform quality management on the database to ensure that predatory content and junk science are excluded from FSTA, an important feature given the growing prevalence of predatory journals. Keep reading to learn more about how to use FSTA with Full Text to research the environmental impact of single-use plastic.

Research on single-use plastic is a single click away

If you run a basic search for single-use plastics on FSTA with Full Text using EBSCOhost, it will yield a plethora of results, all of which are relevant to food and beverages. Researchers can narrow these down further using filters, for example, by date, ensuring that they keep up to date with the most recent developments. Additionally, researchers can limit their search to full-text, peer reviewed journals and condense their findings by source types. Students, researchers, and other users may find it helpful to refine their results by section code; in this specific case, the section code “packaging” may produce more relevant and applicable findings on single-use plastics.

But the research doesn’t stop there. FSTA with Full Text contains a wide range of global, interdisciplinary research that helps researchers conduct a thorough and informed search. Looking particularly at the Packaging content within FSTA, end users can find information relating to food industry waste reduction, sustainability of various food packaging methods, the environmental impact of food and beverage packaging, and much more.

Much like other content areas within FSTA with Full Text, search results on Packaging include a wide range of sources in over 40 languages, including journals (approximately half), patents (approximately 40 percent), books, trade publications, standards and more.  This includes core titles for the area, such as the Journal of Packaging Technology and Research, Packaging Technology and Science, and the Journal of Food Protection, and relevant records from publications in broader or related areas, such as Science of the Total Environment, Journal of Food Measurement & Characterization, and Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Along with the sources found within the Packaging subject area on single-use plastic, researchers can explore other related subject areas to find more interdisciplinary research from around the world. For example, end users can research plastic packaging in FSTA with Full Text and filter the results by the subject ‘Recycling’ to see what efforts are being made to reuse plastics. This allows researchers to explore topics as diverse as regulation and food safety or stay on top of cutting-edge technological developments like chemical recycling. Or perhaps filter the results by ‘Consumer Response’ to explore insight into consumer attitudes, such as the impact of plastic packaging on purchasing decisions. Or if users want to see how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the use of disposable plastics, they can instead filter using the Keyword Covid-19 to find up-to-date and pertinent information.

FSTA and FSTA with Full Text are go-to resources for researchers across academic, government and corporate organizations to explore food science and technology, nutrition, and other areas of food research. Available only on EBSCO platforms, FSTA with Full Text is a comprehensive source for food-focused content across a variety of fields. FSTA’s unique indexing and journal selection process ensures that end-users get access to high-quality records from 1969 to the present. Additionally, free training and promotional materials are available for FSTA with Full Text, so students and researchers alike can make the most out of their subscription to the database. Overall, FSTA with Full Text is a valuable resource for researchers in the food science and technology fields – especially those working to address challenges like single-use plastics and make our food system more sustainable.