Lots of plastics are used in meat packaging. Meats you buy from your supermarket likely come in a plastic foam tray, on top of a plastic pad, wrapped in clingfilm…which is also plastic. Here’s the problem – not all of it can be recycled.
Foam you see at your supermarket butcher, or in any food box delivered to you, is usually made from a material called expanded polystyrene (EPS). It’s very good at keeping meats cool. However, despite being recyclable, is not widely done so due to the nature of the material. As a result, you will have to bin it, which can be inconvenient given the amount of space it takes up.
The plastic pad that you may see beneath your packaged meat at the supermarket has two uses:
- it prevents any liquid bacteria from contaminating the meat
- it also keeps meat fresher for longer
However, like foam, you will have to dispose of it because the material isn’t generally accepted for recycling.
If you see your meat wrapped in a thin layer of plastic such as clingfilm, it is usually to prevent it from perishing and to maintain the quality of meat. However, clingfilm is unlikely to be accepted for recycling because:
- thin plastics can jam machinery at the recycling facility, disrupting operations
- if so, recycling workers must shut down the machines to clear out the plastic film, putting them in danger
- the film will have been in contact with raw meat – there can’t be cross-contamination with other recyclable objects
So, what happens to all this plastic that can't be recycled? It most likely gets dumped at landfill, left to rot, leaking pollutants into the soil and water in the surrounding area.
At Saffron Alley, we tackle this packaging problem by:
- Only using recyclable materials like cardboard and paper (even our sealing tape is recyclable!)
- Using natural air for insulation rather than materials such as polystyrene which are non-recyclable
- Only using couriers who are committed to a greener future
Selling sustainable produce is something we take very seriously - that’s why we focus on the finer details just as much as the farming itself.