Unwrapping the Packaging Situation
Ah, the old sustainable packaging conundrum! Let us tell you a story:
A long time ago, at an eco packaging convention (not) far, far away, Sunshine Coast Organic Meats owner, Jono, investigated the best way to store and keep fresh organic meat. Just like they are dedicated to local, ethically produced organic meat which protects and support the health of you and the animals, they are dedicated to protecting the Earth every way they know how. An obvious question was which packaging to use would be best?
The sustainability experts answered that question, but not the way you think: food waste is actually a much bigger social, economic and environmental cost than packaging waste. Both of the experts (one the sustainability rep from Sealed Air packaging, and the other a non-profit sustainability group) both confirmed that for a glass jar to be better (than thin, single use plastic) it had to be re-used 17 times!
When glass is recycled, it has to arrive at the end of the process whole. So it as to survive the drop into your recycling bin, the flip into the truck, the deposit onto a concrete slab, and the pick up in the front end loader to a have a chance of being recycled. The reason being that apparently broken glass is the natural born enemy of conveyor belts which run the rest of the process.
There were a few other options to consider. Perhaps we could move back to old fashioned butcher's paper, give Sunshine Coast Organic Meats that nostalgic feel and save on plastic waste. However, the reality is that it's not as easy as is seems. Not only is 99% of butcher's paper plastic coated anyway, if they aren’t, they’ll leak meat juice and spoil faster too. We don't want to waste food any more than we want to contribute to landfill.
Sometimes packaging can look 'eco-friendly' including that small green leaf on the label, but most often that's a lie. Just like plastic-lined butcher's paper, it's often non-compostable and has many parts which make the recycling process complicated and, often, void.
Who knows what eco packaging is going to look like in five, ten years, but for now, the best we can do is manage the areas we can and keep your meat safe to eat and as fair-priced as possible. According to our packaging experts the best packaging is the thinnest, lightest and most easily produced material to do the job. 'The job', to us, is keeping your meat fresh, low-cost, food safe and easy to package. We decided on vacuum seal for a few reasons. Vacuum seal increases the shelf life of most items by 50% or more. Cost of material inputs, energy to produce, weight and cost of transport means that vacuum sealing is a more cost-effective option. With vacuum seal, we can portion produce as you require and keep it fresh, reducing the much larger food waste issue. Despite the fact that, ultimately, our vacuum seal packaging must end up in well-managed landfills, we believe wholeheartedly that vacuum seal pouches are the right choice for us. They allow us to continue providing you with fresh, organic, ethically produced meat.
Every day we keep our eyes and mind forward on a solution, but in the meantime we are more than happy to support our customers with their own eco-friendly choices, including re-usable plastic or glass containers.
Sometimes its easier to look like you're being eco without considering all the different aspects, but looks aren't everything. We want to continue to support you and our local, organic farmers. You can also show your support by shopping at Sunshine Coast Organic Meats, including weekly staples and the ingredients for our latest recipe, chili con carne.