My green plan for saving money (and freezer space) on meat
Food containers are, for most people, one of the highest sources of consumer waste. Every week we throw away countless cans, bottles, and plastics. Buying in bulk, then splitting up our purchases into smaller units helps, but too often that involves plastic bags which we use once, then discard.
In many ways, the money spent on plastic bags counter-balances the money saved with this method -- and creates even more garbage that presently cannot be recycled (since only #1, #2, and, in some areas, #5 plastics can be submitted for recycling).
For the past two months, I've been trying another solution, at least for buying meat: buy in bulk, then wrap my portions into a plastic-coated butcher paper (since paper-only freezer paper such as was used when I was a child is no longer affordable and hard to obtain). For those interested in this option, Reynolds makes a good one I can recommend.
But even this creates non bio-degradable waste. While the paper is still cheaper than plastic bags (you get from 20-60 portioned packages of meat wrapped on one roll), the cost still adds up and still hurts the environment, albeit, not as badly as a plastic bag.
When my local supermarket this morning ran out of the paper, I realized that I was missing something in this equation: the value of simple (and cheap) wax paper and parchment paper.
By itself, wax paper and parchment paper won't protect meat in the freezer. Regular rubbermaid or tupperware containers are inexpensive, reuseable, and handle the freezer well -- but don't facilitate portion control as well as the freezer paper.
But there is a solution: wrap meat in wax paper or parchment paper, then put each, folded but not taped package into plastic freezer containers.
The paper is wasted when you pull out each portion, but now it's both biodegradable and compositable. This means your food storage is COMPLETELY green, even while you are effectively keeping your portions separate from each other and easy to access.
But this method has another key benefit to you: storage containers stack well and save you a lot of freezer space -- something those paper packages and store flats of meat don't do all that well (up to now, trying to select a steak or package of hamburger from the freezer has meant an avalanche of food falling out of the freezer upon opening since too many refrigerators and freezers in apartments lack adequate and appropriate shelving).
This means I have more freezer space and can store more food with less energy cost -- not ot mention, no more injuries from pounds of meat falling all over me in my search for that one item I need!
When looking for freezer containers, check your dollar store first! For example, my local Dollar General has a box of 11 assorted freezer containers with lids for about $10-$12. The same package of rubbermaid containers costs over $20 on amazon.com!
It pays to shop around!
Laurel A. Rockefeller, author
The Great Succession Crisis
E-Book ISBN: 9781476243344
Print book ISBN: 978-1479144808