Envioronmental issues
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ENVIORONMENTAL ISSUES . UNIT 4 OUTCOME 3 Chapter 17. Environmental impact of primary productions. Australia, like most other countries in the world today, is faced with the dilemma of confronting environmental problems caused by the demands of our modern lifestyle

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Envioronmental issues



Chapter 17

Environmental impact of primary productions

Environmental impact of primary productions

  • Australia, like most other countries in the world today, is faced with the dilemma of confronting environmental problems caused by the demands of our modern lifestyle

  • One of the most dramatic is the damage to the environment though agricultural practices that have been put into place for the past 200 years

Use of water and irrigation

Use of water and irrigation

  • Fresh water is vital for agriculture

  • Famers have to often irrigate in order to supply sufficient water for orchards, vineyards, vegetable production, rice production and pasture for dairy cows and sheep

  • To support the irrigation systems the natural landscape is changed, dams and channels are built and paddocks are levelled to move water from natural waterways to agricultural production areas

Use of water and irrigation1

Use of water and irrigation

  • If irrigation systems are poorly managed, some of the changes that occur in the natural landscape are:

  • Water quality and supply decrease

  • Salt rises to the surface of the soil

  • Chemical residues can build up

  • Native flora and fauna may disappear

Monitoring water responsibly


  • Today farmers work with government authorities and local communities to develop plans to manage the water they use to produce food efficiently

  • As well as minimise the impact on farming on the natural environment

Strategies for monitoring water responsibly

Strategies for monitoring water responsibly

Some of the strategies used to ensure effective water use includes:

  • Monitoring water regularly

  • Using new technologies, such as laser levelling (rotating the soil and making sure that it is at an even level) to flood paddocks quickly

  • Using only just enough water for maximum growth and good health of the crop/ pasture

  • Maintaining and repairing breaks in channels and bunks to avoid water loss

  • Using irrigation layouts that reduce water use on a farm

  • Capture irrigation water in channels and dams and reuse it

Food packaging and the environment

Food packaging and the environment

  • Packaging is often associated to problems of water, landfill, pollution and environmental degradation

  • However packaging is essential to prevent wastage and ensure a safe delivery of food

  • The health of the environment is a major issue for the packaging industry

  • Food manufacturers and consumers are also concerned about the sources and costs of packaging, recycling, and reducing the amount of waste when processing food

Food packaging and the environment1

Food packaging and the environment

  • The cost of packaging materials and the way they are produced are major determinants of the food manufactures selection of a particular style of packaging

  • If there is excessive packaging this will increase the final cost towards transporting the item and will have an impact on the shelf spacing from the supermarket

Food packaging and the environment2

Food packaging and the environment

  • Processing food on a large scale in factories is more efficient in energy and water use than processing raw food in the home

  • This is because the food manufacturing processes are more efficiently managed and the equipment is specifically designed

  • Efficient temperature control and optimal hygiene standards are maintained in a commercial setting thereby minimising food spoilage

  • The waste generated from food manufacturing is also easier to manage and reuse in the production of by-producers , which is not the case in the domestic setting

Food packaging and the environment3

Food packaging and the environment

Functions of food packaging:

  • Reduces food spoilage

  • Reduces waste generation in the home kitchen

  • It makes transportation and storage of food easier

  • It helps to ensure that the food we eat is safe and the label of the pack provides us with information about the food inside

Food packaging and the environment4

Food packaging and the environment

Strategies for improvement: environmental improvements in food packaging is focused on using lighter and fewer resource-intensive materials and improving the recycling possibilities


  • Decreasing the weight in containers by reducing wall thinness

  • Using light but strong packaging materials

  • Producing products in concentrated form

  • Producing larger units to decrease the packet-to-product ratio style

Making plastic packaging greener

Making plastic packaging greener

  • Plastic packaging is cheap to produce and has a very long life, this is why everything is wraped in plastic.

  • There are 2 environmental issues with plastic packaging:

  • It is made from non-renewable resources- oil, coal, and natural gas

  • It is not always biodegradable, so it does not break down overtime

    Another option...

Making plastic packaging greener1

Making plastic packaging greener

  • Scientists have been working to develop a biodegradable plastic.

  • There has been success however the process of manufacturing the bioplastic is more expensive.

  • The problem with this is that if a food manufacture was to use this type of plastic the cost of the product may increase due to the cost of the biodegradable plastic

Making plastic packaging greener2

Making plastic packaging greener

  • Plastic bags are mostly used by consumers to transport food from retailers or supermarkets to the home

  • These bags are made from ethylene which is a gas produced as a by product of oil and coal production

  • The lighter the bag the better as this type of bag can be recycled (found in supermarkets)

    Problems with plastic bags:

  • Litter streets and waterways

  • Block drains so that water and wastes build up in the wrong places

  • Are a hazard to marine life

  • Create ugliness in natural landscapes

Making plastic bags greener

Making plastic bags greener

Management of plastic bags:


Take plastic bags to a central recycling collection (found in supermarkets), rather than littering the community


Reusing plastic bags will increase the life of the bag and decrease the number of plastic bags you would use in a period of time


Use alternatives such as enviro bags, boxes, and paper bags


Many consumers are now refusing to give plastic bags and are encouraging clients to use alternatives (enviro bags)

Making plastic bags greener1

Making plastic bags greener

Recycling food packaging

  • The increase in the consumption of snacks and fast foods away from the home has lead to an increase in litter, not only around food outlets, but also in suburban streets, waterways and parks

  • Eco design or green design is a type of biodegradable food packaging which aims to have little impact on the environment and can be reused or recycled

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