Author Topic: Reduce packaging for meats?  (Read 4950 times)

bikebum

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Reduce packaging for meats?
« on: April 10, 2014, 11:18:14 PM »
When we buy groceries we use reusable bags and reusable mesh veggie bags. Anyone got ideas for how to avoid disposable plastic when buying meats?

The Zero Waste Mom uses glass jars but this doesn't sound fun to me.

nosyparker

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Re: Reduce packaging for meats?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2014, 11:59:53 PM »
depends how far down the no-packaging route you are but i sometimes use old margarine or ice-cream tubs. about the right size and you can't see the contents.

GuitarStv

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Re: Reduce packaging for meats?
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2014, 05:32:08 AM »
Yeah, plastic containers of any kind (margarine, yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, take-out containers) can be used to easily freeze stuff.  They'll wear out faster than glass jars, but you can always recycle them when the wear out, so you're not really producing more waste.

smalllife

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Re: Reduce packaging for meats?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2014, 05:47:09 AM »
If you buy from the butcher's counter at the grocery store, you can get seafood in paper and some meats depending on the store.   

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Reduce packaging for meats?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2014, 07:14:44 AM »
If you buy from many butchers or local farms, the meats are wrapped in just a little plastic and then paper on top.  It is not waste free, but is less packaging than grocery stores.  Also, local meat often can be packaged in larger cuts that you can divide yourself and put into glass containers for freezing.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Reduce packaging for meats?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2014, 06:40:43 PM »
Most butcher counters here will wrap in freezer paper. Not compostable but it degrades rather quickly.

bikebum

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Re: Reduce packaging for meats?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2014, 09:07:24 PM »
Do you guys know if meats keep well in just the butcher paper? We go to a local meat market and they do plastic bags and then the butcher paper, so I assumed the plastic was important to prevent freezer burn, or keep it from leaking.

Thanks for the advice everyone :)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Reduce packaging for meats?
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2014, 06:57:53 AM »
Do you guys know if meats keep well in just the butcher paper? We go to a local meat market and they do plastic bags and then the butcher paper, so I assumed the plastic was important to prevent freezer burn, or keep it from leaking.

Thanks for the advice everyone :)

Never had a problem, though I don't freeze for months and months.

BlueMR2

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Re: Reduce packaging for meats?
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2014, 09:41:09 AM »
Our local place wraps in paper, then in plastic normally.  We were able to talk them down to just doing the plastic for ours.  So, at least there's less paper to be produced, but still am stuck with plastic.  :-/

ritchie70

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Re: Reduce packaging for meats?
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2014, 09:52:33 AM »
I'm sure there's some overlap, but you might be better asking in a more environmentally conscious arena rather than this, which is more financially oriented.

Personally I've never even thought about this, but if "no waste" is important to you, best of luck.

NV Teacher

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Re: Reduce packaging for meats?
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2014, 09:16:23 AM »
Do you guys know if meats keep well in just the butcher paper? We go to a local meat market and they do plastic bags and then the butcher paper, so I assumed the plastic was important to prevent freezer burn, or keep it from leaking.

Thanks for the advice everyone :)

Never had a problem, though I don't freeze for months and months.

When we have a steer butchered it's wrapped in paper only.  We've kept it over a year in a deep freeze and it's been just fine. 

Jack

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Re: Reduce packaging for meats?
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2014, 10:28:11 AM »
Suggestions in order from most eco-friendly to least:
  • Don't eat meat.
  • Buy directly from the farmer so that you can work out a non-disposable packaging arrangement between yourselves
  • Remember that the grocery store doesn't receive whole cows, it receives primal cuts already vacuum-packed in plastic that the butcher then breaks down into retail cuts that get re-packaged. Therefore, to save the re-packaging just buy the primal cut directly and butcher it yourself.
I personally do option 3 (and I might look into option 2 in the future), although I'm concerned less about packaging waste and more about the cost of the meat itself. (Weirdly, the "primals cost less" idea doesn't apply to ground beef, which is annoying since I would have actually preferred to grind it myself...)

The other issue is that after buying large primal cuts you either have to eat a huge amount all at once or you have to preserve it (usually by freezing), and in order to freeze it you have to re-package it in disposable stuff anyway. If somebody has a suggestion for properly freezing cuts of meat (where "properly" means avoiding freezer-burn) that doesn't require disposable packaging, I'd love to hear it!

bikebum

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Re: Reduce packaging for meats?
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2014, 11:00:52 AM »
Thanks for the replies! I think we will ask our meat market if they will just wrap in the paper and forget the plastic. Seems like a good compromise between reducing waste and being practical for us. Also will ask if we could bring in our own re-usable plastic containers; one concern there though is there would be a lot of air between the container and the meat unless you can pack it really tight.

My dad and I bought a half-steer together from a small local farm. It will be interesting to see how the meat is cut and packaged.