One Way to Reduce Trash? Start Cutting Down on Food Packaging

According to the US EPA, roughly a third of the trash we create is packaging, and most of that comes from food. A few years ago, Elspeth Hay started wondering why we use so much packaging to keep and transport our food. She learned about a woman named Bea Johnson in California whose family produces only a pint of trash a year, and got inspired to try to reduce the amount of packaging her own family was bringing home. This week on the Local Food Report, she shares some of what she’s learned talking to vendors at local farmers markets about why they use the packaging they do. Laura McDowell May sells frozen beef and pork raised on her family’s farm in Dennis. She says she uses plastic cryo-vac packaging over paper because it gives an airtight seal. But it also costs $1.50 a pound more than paper wrap—for animals that average 500 pounds of meat, that’s a $750 price difference—and it gets passed on, pound by pound, to the consumer. A hundred years ago, most towns would have had a local