why not just do away with the styro-foam tray and simply shrink wrap the meat?
Presentation, presentation, presentation… you know how shrink-wrap makes meat look, all soft and lumpy, not at all like a “fresh cut”. And that’s what we all want, “fresh cut”.
And I think there may be an issue with the shrink-wrap getting snagged or cut (which would result in leaks, and compromise sanitation) while shoppers handle it when looking through the various packages in the cabinet.
A waxed paper tray? Maybe. Tetra-Pak? I hope not, they are having enough problems in China and the UK dealing with recycling Tetra-Pak containers as it is.
The recycling process seems to be the big issue. Containers left for recycle must be segregated in a separate curbside box because the aluminum/plastic film used tends to clog up “regular” paper pulping equipment. The actual recycling process must happen at a tetrapak oriented facility which has the equipment capable of separating the plastic and aluminum film from each other and the paper; this would mean additional transportation costs, and probably deters folks from even being bothered with the effort.
The recycle rate of TP containers in the UK has been only about 4% of the 2 BILLION TP containers consumed annually (ref 1) mostly attributed to inaccessibility of TP recycling centers. At one point consumers in the UK wishing to recycle were required to package empties, and ship them to a recycler at their own expense. Then, the only TP recycler in the UK closed in 2006 due to rising energy costs. Containers had to be shipped to Norway for recycling … there’s sustainability for you. There are currently several processors in the UK.
While TetraPak containers are well accepted in Asia (29% of the world market!), the recycle rate is currently low. And if you consider the energy/transportation requirements to recycle it is easy to understand why the rate is low. Tetra Pak China says in its first Environment Report that it has successfully recycled more than 4900 tons of waste, which are equivalent to 500 million Tetra Pak packages. With Chinese annual production expanding to 16 BILLION cartons (ref 2) they’re going to have to do better than that. A lot better.
But that discussion touched very close to this one, as observed by PackageID,
I think one of our biggest issues with this topic is more about education and awareness. We as humans need to be told and reminded what to do. This means that if there is a cool paper bottle that encourages people to recycle it or if possible reuse it then we will. Same with a plastic bottle. > If we quit designing things to be disposable and start encouraging reusability and recycling then that is the way to change things.
**Ref.: 360 Paper Bottle: NEW Saab 9-2 is a re-badge Subaru Inpreza
Which brings us nicely back to Melovescookies idea; reusable containers. Problem is, the cost of that hunk of chuck is going to have to go up to pay for washing all those reusable trays … but then, so would having a traditional butcher serve each customer individually at the supermarket (and it would be slower as well).
If I may idealize… maybe we should all just slow down and enjoy the process of feeding ourselves, not an easy job in the world today. I make time to go to Henry’s; I often have to wait for other customers to be served, but it gives me a chance to talk “cooking” with other folks, hear what, and how, they like to prepare their choices. And that bit of pink butcher paper that ends up in the recycle bin doesn’t take up much space.