Seattle’s ban on #6 polystyrene trays (commonly known as Styrofoam) at restaurants and grocery stores went into effect on July 1. As a result there have been a number of changes to packaging in the city. One of the most obvious – grocery stores were forced to come up with packaging alternatives to the commonly used Styrofoam meat tray.
Slashfood ran an interesting post on the situation a couple weeks ago. The city’s Metropolitan Market Chain and others are switching to corn based compostable meat tray packing made by Pactiv.
Made by Illinois-based Pactiv, the tan trays can be used for meat, fish and poultry and then tossed into the compost pile along with other food waste, the radio station reported.
Pactiv also makes Hefty products. The company launched its EarthChoice brand of nearly 80 sustainable packaging products including cups, hinged-lid containers, plates, and straws in May.
Pactiv sales rep Dave Powell told local radio station, KPLU that using the new trays is a boon for Seattle’s green reputation, and that while there is controversy surrounding the use of corn for anything other than food production, his company’s customers want more eco-friendly packaging that will break down.
The area’s Cedargrove composting facilities can break down the corn resin into soil in six months, KPLU reported.
The city told KPLU the move will prevent six thousand tons of plastic and plastic-tainted waste from being sent to landfills in Oregon every year.
As more and more cities create restrictions on the use of polystyrene we’ll continue to see further development in packaging alternatives. We’ve reported heavily on the use of new fresh meat pouch style packaging that has appeared at stores like Whole Foods. The pouch packaging also eliminates the need for the polystyrene tray.
Other companies like Murray’s Chicken are using similar packaging.