Recycling Mystery: Meat Packaging

Recycling Mystery: Meat Packaging

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If you purchase meat in a grocery retailer, it probably comes on high of a plastic pad in a plastic container that’s wrapped in plastic. That’s numerous plastic waste. Can you recycle meat packaging? Not all of it, however let’s have a look at what you are able to do.

We know the way you’re feeling. Walking by means of the grocery retailer may be overwhelming if you end up attempting to make environmentally aware selections. Aisle after aisle of plastic-wrapped gadgets and packing containers with plastic-wrapped treats inside abound. It may be onerous to keep away from extra plastic and non-recyclable packaging whereas choosing the most effective product for your loved ones and the atmosphere.

There are some straightforward methods to scale back your waste whenever you store, like bringing reusable purchasing luggage. However, it may be onerous to know what to do with the packaging of some merchandise you could purchase often, just like the tray of rooster or steak wrapped in plastic. Here are the gadgets which might be sometimes used to bundle meat within the U.S.

What Is Meat Packaging Made From?

In most grocery shops, meat packaging consists of three items: a plastic tray, an absorbent plastic pad, and clear plastic wrap. Each of this stuff requires completely different dealing with.


The meat tray is often product of expanded polystyrene (EPS), which is a kind of plastic you could know by the model identify “Styrofoam.” It’s unlikely which you could put it in your curbside bin as a result of the fabric, though it’s recyclable, just isn’t broadly recycled. However, there are other options for recycling this material. You can use the Earth911 Recycling Search to examine for drop-off places close to you that may settle for EPS. Note that it’s listed as “#6 Plastic – Expanded” in Recycling Search, as proven under:

Earth911 Recycling Search

Unfortunately, many services received’t settle for meals containers for recycling due to meals contamination, so it’s vital to verify with the power earlier than you are taking your meat trays there. If you do discover a location that accepts them, do not forget that uncooked meat can carry many micro organism, so it’s important to wash and dry the trays nicely earlier than you drop them off.

Absorbent Pad

If you will have ever questioned why that chunk of non-edible materials is underneath your packaged meat, you aren’t alone. The absorbent pad has an vital job. It not solely retains liquid micro organism at bay however may preserve your meat more energizing longer.

The absorbent pad is often product of silica gel or cellulose coated in plastic. It just isn’t accepted for recycling or composting in the usat this time, so that you’ll must get rid of it within the trash.

Cling Film

Unfortunately, a considerable amount of plastic movie wraps your complete meat bundle. In most places, you cannot put plastic bags or film in your curbside recycling bin. These skinny plastics jam sorting machinery on the recycling facility. Recycling employees should shut down the sorting machines to filter the plastic movie, disrupting operations and endangering the employees.

Because this movie has been in touch with uncooked meat, it is unlikely to be accepted for recycling. To keep away from contaminating different recyclable gadgets, get rid of meat-soiled plastic wrap within the rubbish.

However, many kinds of plastic bags and film are recyclable in case you are keen to take them to a group location for recycling. Many grocers and larger retailers settle for clear and dry plastic luggage, wrap, and movie for recycling. Look for a bin close to the entrance of the shop, or use Earth911 Recycling Search or PlasticFilmRecycling to discover a location close to you.

Can We Make Better Choices?

Many corporations are working onerous to develop supplies which might be extra environmentally pleasant. The grocery retailer is a superb place to begin in search of extra of those choices. Bringing your reusable luggage from house , selecting plastic-free produce, and shopping for gadgets in bulk using your reusable containers are wonderful choices.

The fully waste-free and most sustainable choice is a resealable glass container that may be positioned within the dishwasher after every use. However, your grocery retailer is unlikely to accommodate. Typically, conventional butchers or meat counters in grocery shops will wrap your meat in paper as an alternative of plastic, however we encourage you to ask them to make use of your glass container. If they refuse, inform them you’ll discover a butcher who will work with you to scale back waste.

Sometimes it requires some additional effort to alter our purchasing habits or drop off gadgets for recycling, however our small adjustments could make an enormous distinction to our earth’s wellbeing.

Originally revealed on January 12, 2021, this text was up to date in February 2023.

About the Author

Creative director at Bazely Creative, Samantha Bazely has a ardour for serving to folks. Creating articles that give actionable tricks to the reader with out the fluff is a part of why she based Bazely Creative. She focuses on serving to small companies craft content material that produces outcomes.

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