Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Search for Reduced Plastic Meat

Participating in the No Impact Week challenge last week got me thinking about waste, as it was meant to. I got to wondering if I could buy organic meat that didn't come packed in rigid plastic trays, after all if you go to the butcher he* puts the meat in a plastic bag.  The only trouble is the butcher in the high street doesn't sell organic meat.

So, I decided to order some meat from Riverford along with my usual veg box, although it was a bit pricey, but it could last me at least a couple of weeks.

Back in September I decided to start ordering a veg box from Riverford and was very pleased with the lack of plastic. Yesterday was no exception. Not one scrap of plastic with the vegetables.

In fact yesterday even the grapes were in a cardboard tray (see top left).

However, when the meat box came I realised it wasn't the answer as the meat was all in plastic trays and they were all inside a large plastic bag.

So it's back to the drawing board.  There is another local butcher, although a bit out of my way, who might sell organic meat.  Otherwise there is an organic farm shop a few miles away I could go to and combine with looking around another, less local garden centre. The meat looks good quality, though.  Hubby and I had the pork and tomato sausages last night. They are the first meat sausages I have eaten in years and I enjoyed them very much, although they were a little too peppery for our taste, but not so much they spoilt our enjoyment.  Looking forward to the lamb today, which daughter will be joining us for.

The dates on the meat aren't very long, so I shall have to freeze the chicken and the mince.

The fruit and veg is lovely, though, good quality and fresh, so I shall keep getting as much fruit and veg as possible from Riverford.

*I've not yet come across a female butcher.


  1. Our excellent local butcher used to place my meat etc directly into my own reuseable plastic containers (when I remembered to take them!). His meat wasn't all organic but it was of excellent quality and the service was extremely friendly. However he retired at the end of last year and I too have been considering an alterative supplier.

    I agree that Riverford try hard to elminate as much plastic as possible from their vegetable and fruit boxes. About the only bagged items are letuces, which are fortunately atleast reuseable and recylable in our area.

    We have another butcher and I've been trying him out. It'll never be the same but maybe all it requires is time to get used to him. His sausages aren't nearly as good but he does sell McSween's haggis (unfortunately shrink wrapped in plastic - why?).

    I've had meat from Riverford, but like you was put off by the quantity of plastic. I wonder if they have considered alternatives. Perhaps I should email them with my concerns, which I'm sure we both share with others.

    We have two local markets. The weekday one in town includes at least one butcher, but the one I can recall also seals the meat in plastic bags. Our local Sunday market features a butcher who sells loose meat. I've never asked, but he might be willing to allow me to use my own containers. I was planning to buy a free range chicken from him this weekend so I'll ask him then.

  2. I should have said reduced plastic rather than plastic free - I don't have a designated container for buying meat. There does seem to be a movement towards over packaging meat at present, and I can only presume it is customer led. You are obviously doing all you can to fight this trend, Gai, so well done.

    I shall be content if my meat is in a little plastic bag, for now at least. I used a local food delivery service for some years, but they went downhill and then ceased trading, but when they were still good I had good quality meat delivered in plastic bags and that was perfectly good. I might e-mail Riverford on the subject, too, if I have time.

    Best of luck with your search, Gai. I'll be interested to hear how you get on tomorrow.


All relevant comments to this post are welcome, so feel free to have your say.