Last week, I ordered and cooked an Amazon meal kit.
While my main focus was on presentation, cooking experience and, of course, taste, I also paid close attention to the packaging included with the kit.
And yes, like other meal kits, Amazon’s include plastic wrapped ingredients that will inevitably make their way to landfills. But I also noticed one major difference with Amazon’s meal kits: they use fully recyclable freezer packs.
While this may not seem like a big deal, I think it is. Just a couple weeks ago, Mother Jones ran a piece on the freezer pack problem that highlighted just how much landfill result from these goo-filled packs.
According to the piece:
If you figure that each box contains about three meals and two six-pound ice packs, that’s a staggering 192,000 tons of freezer-pack waste every year from Blue Apron alone. To put that in perspective, that’s the weight of nearly 100,000 cars or 2 million adult men. When I shared those numbers with Jack Macy, a senior coordinator for the San Francisco Department of the Environment’s Commercial Zero Waste program, he could scarcely believe it. “That is an incredible waste,” he said. The only reason he suspects he hasn’t heard about it yet from the city’s trash haulers is that the freezer packs end up hidden in garbage bags.
One thing that struck me with Amazon meal kits is how polished and thought out the entire presentation seemed. Recyclable freezer packs were a part of that assessment.
I hope other meal kit companies start to offer recyclable freezer packs, but I wonder if their delivery infrastructure allows them to do so. The Amazon meal kit was ordered and shipped to my doorstep in about an eight hour window. While I am not sure of the entire packaging and delivery window for each Blue Apron box, it may be longer than that and require a freezer pack that stays cold longer.
Of course, Blue Apron and other meal kit companies encourage reuse of their freezer packs and offer pick up programs. But, as was the case with us, they sometimes found their way into the garbage.
Sure seems making them recyclable would solve that problem.