What would you say if you had the option to have a recyclable meat tray as opposed to one made out of polystyrene? I know I’d say, “show me the way!”. Our local grocery stores are stocked full of foam meat trays and wrapped tightly in a clear plastic film to protect the meat and its freshness. The foam tray has served its purpose and does it well for the most part. But what happens once that meat, fish or poultry is consumed? Is that tray recyclable? A question regarding this topic about foam platters ability to be recycled was posed to Recyclebank. The full article: Because You Asked: Can I Recycle Foam Platters And Containers? I’m sure from a business stand point, the foam tray is cost effective. A foam packaging tray may cost $ .07 – $ .20 ea. where a recyclable counterpart may be pennies more. So, the question is, is it worth it?
The food industry, predominantly the meat and poultry companies have options for packaging their products if they want to make the jump into sustainability.
Molded pulp products have the personality to take the place of foam. Even though they are made out of pulp, they can be laminated with a modified atmosphere barrier to keep freshness in and oxygen out….but wait, there’s more. With the barrier, they are still recyclable and sustainable. Perhaps making a conscious effort to keep products out of landfills while making that same effort to be sustainable is an effort in the right direction. Pulp can be produced to hold meat products as well as other food items and frozen food products. If designed correctly, they can be filmed with a clear PLA and perform just like a plastic counterpart. The price of a pulp container and a plastic container are cost neutral. The main difference is that the pulp container is an environmental choice. Now it’s yours to choose.