We are pleased to once again partner with Orb Media to provide PMA members with high-quality adaptable content about sustainability issues worldwide.

From the impact of microplastic contamination in our food to rising sea levels, research journalism non-profit Orb Media specialise in transforming global, long-term social and environmental challenges into locally actionable information.

Through their network of international journalists, data analysts and researchers, Orb strive to produce rigorous, collaborative and engaging content about sustainability issues worldwide. This content is then made available to newsrooms in adaptable and easily integrated formats so that outlets can customise and contextualise topics to fit with local issues and audiences.

Discover Orb’s latest content offer below

The content is accessible via a free subscription and includes components such as comprehensive reports, graphics, suggested leads and angles, data models and key quotes for journalists to use in their own coverage.

“We work as an extension to many newsrooms at once”

“Orb Media is a service and a tool to make sustainability easier and more effective to report on”, CEO Victoria Fine told PMA. “We work as an extension to many newsrooms at once: shouldering the load of original global research and data work, as well as supporting partners one-on-one as they customize those findings for their locality.”

Ultimately, Orb’s aim is to ensure that everyone can access high-quality information on the social and environmental issues that affect their futures.

Food Delivery Is up During COVID-19, with Unintended Consequences for Health and the Environment

Orb Media’s latest resource, Hidden Threats in your Takeout, builds on their previous research into microplastics. With a focus on the marked increase in food delivery, disposable packaging and single use plastics around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, Orb Media developed a new, reliable methodology to evaluate the merits, hidden risks and impacts of the disposable foodware that is increasingly seen on our tables — and in our waste bins.

Disposable packaging is sometimes unavoidable. All disposable food service products, whether made of plastic, paper, or plants, involve compromises and trade-offs between environmental impacts, chemical safety, performance, cost and even appearance. No material or product is perfect — but some are far better than others.

The methodology comprises information from interviews of 16 food packaging safety and sustainability experts, many of them recognized as leading experts in the field. The Orb Media team also reviewed dozens of reports, studies and articles.

How To Use This Information

Many of us are using more takeout and delivery services than ever before. These provisions help us, and others stay safe, as well as keep our favourite local restaurants open. This however has come at significant, albeit hidden, costs to both the environment and, paradoxically, our own health. As the pandemic drags on, these costs continue to pile up for communities around the world. Wherever there is disposable food packaging, there are bound to be impacts.

Yet there are ways to reduce environmental harms and health threats associated with producing, using and disposing of foodware. This reporting package, including background information, a packaging assessment methodology, a list of preferred materials and products, as well as supporting interviews, references and resources, is available for use in newsrooms worldwide, by anyone who seeks to understand and address these urgent issues.

Orb Media content is available for all newsrooms via https://orb-media.org/register. PMA members can also contact us at editor[at]publicmediaalliance.org for more information. 

Header Image: Moulded fibre clamshell food packaging. Credit: Orb Media