Ask NoSUP Canada Anything

How do we replace plastic meat packaging?

Response from
Karen, NoSUP Canada Founder

May 2023

This is a tough one because we have to consider both the environmental impact of meat packaging and also the safety aspect of preventing potential spills which can be hazardous to human health.

The black plastic trays that most meat comes in supermarkets aren’t recycled. It’s not that it can’t be recycled. However, there isn’t enough of a market for recycled plastic which tends to be a dullish grey and is not considered appealing for consumer packaging use.

Aside from buying less meat, options for reducing meat packaging include: taking your own container to the in-store butcher or finding a butcher that uses paper packaging.

What should I use for garbage
disposal at home now that plastic bags have been banned?

Response from
Karen, NoSUP Canada Founder

April 2023

With the ban on plastic shopping bags coming into force in December this year, many supermarkets have already started to get on board by getting rid of plastic bags at checkouts, like Walmart did last Earth Day or starting to charge for them. 

For many of us, myself included, we have used that stash of plastic bags in our kitchen garbage bin. That has had people asking me how they are going manage this going forward. Great question! I’ve heard folks say they are starting to buy plastic garbage disposal bags. I’ve even seen plastic bags become a trading currency on Buy Nothing groups, yes really! We’ve been pondering the same issue as we get down to the last bag or two in our kitchen. We’re trialling using our kitchen garbage bin without any plastic liner at all. The key here is to keep it as dry as possible – the compost bin is our friend here – and take it to the outside bin more often. It does mean a little extra work in washing out the garbage bin if it does get nasty. I’ll keep you posted on how that shift works out for us.

Wouldn’t less plastic increase
food waste?

Response from
Karen, NoSUP Canada Founder

March 2023

Plastic is everywhere in supermarkets today but that hasn’t always been the case. Does anyone else remember candy bars wrapped in paper or foil, bread in paper bags without that plastic window, and milk in returnable glass jars rather than tetra packs (or plastic bags for the Ontario folk!)?

Plastic has become a convenient packaging solution for protecting food during long-haul transportation and extending its shelf life. Being convenient doesn’t mean it has to be the only solution. There are other options the food industry could implement: 

  • Reducing those layers upon layers of plastic that really aren’t keeping food any fresher could go.
  • Switching to alternative packaging that keeps food fresh and eliminates plastic waste.
  • Offering refillable packaging stations
  • Changing supply chains so food is delivered when needed rather than keeping products on the shelf for extended periods.

While we may not be there yet, it is encouraging to see so many people working to reduce food waste by:

  • Distributing food: Food Sharing Ottawa
  • Repurposing food: Loop Mission
  • Listing food that is close to its sell-by date: Flashfood and Too Good To Go
  • Offering less-than-perfect produce boxes: OddBox and SecondLife.

Why not work on increasing recycling rates?

Response from
Karen, NoSUP Canada Founder

Feb 2023

Despite individuals and households being in the good habit of sorting plastic for collection through the blue bin system since 1981, Canada’s recycling rate for plastic waste sits at a meagre 9% of all the plastic we generate and use. So while recycling plays a role in disposing of the plastic we collect, it clearly isn’t the solution to dealing with it all.

That’s why we at NoSUP Canada focus on eliminating the creation of plastic waste in the first instance by cutting out unnecessary plastic – think about those layers upon layers of plastic packaging around your favourite box of cookies – and by reducing the amount of excess packaging – like oversized bags of your chips that seem to be mostly full of air. By reducing the amount of plastic waste we create, we could potentially increase the rate at which we recycle the plastic waste we collect.