Pack up your lettuce…

For many years now we have bought much of our meat by mail order from a company specialising in organic produce. Up until out latest order they always sent a pre-paid address label so that we could return and they could re-use the insulated packaging. Our last parcel, however did not contain the label. I enquired, only to discover that the cost of postage has made return of the polystyrene boxes uneconomic. I’m so cross about this… repeated reuse of packaging is such a great idea.

Our local council do accept polystyrene for recycling, but I really didn’t want to take advantage of this unless absolutely necessary*. We thought about paying for the boxes to be returned or even dropping them off when we are over in that direction, but I’m not sure whether the company would accept them back (I will check next time). So, they have been sitting in our hallway whilst I waited for inspiration to strike – which it did on Saturday whilst I was planting seeds.

IMGP7019

Not the most exciting picture ever posted… compost in a polystyrene box

I had two boxes, so I stabbed a few holes in the bottom of one, chucked in some compost, sowed some winter lettuce seeds and covered it with its lid. And there was a nice insulated growing space for some winter leaves. I’m keeping it in the limery and hopefully I will have a crop from it in a few weeks time. Having decided to focus on growing, I am keeping the other box for cultivating mushrooms. I ordered some mushroom spawn (the fungal equivalent of seeds) last week and when it arrives, I’ll use the the second polystyrene box as a mushroom propagator.

Of course, I can’t find a use for a never-ending supply of polystyrene boxes, but at least the current ones are turning out to be useful. I will find out whether the meat company would be prepared to take any other ones we receive back and will return them at our cost if possible, but for now I’m satisfied to have found good uses for something it would have been all too easy to consign to the recycling.

-oOo-

* It’s generally more energy-efficient (and therefore, greener) to re-use or re-purpose than to recycle.

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10 Comments

  1. We have the same issue here, which annoys us too. We use exactly the same boxes to ship our meat. Thankfully our customers have become quite inventive in their use. They’ve been used like you have done, and even used outside as a planter. One customer has even used a box as a very unusual ‘sous vide’ cooker!

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  2. Today realised that when I re-use a jiffy bag to send hand cream, I can use the bits of sticky paper from between the labels I put on the jars instead of sellotape to seal it. I anticipate a significant reduction in my use of sellotape!

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  3. Polystyrene boxes also make a *great* worm farm if you stack three up and put a lid on the top one.

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  4. Good idea! What a super way to repurpose the containers, and it’s going to be great to grow your own mushrooms as well… I’m sure they’ll have way more flavour than the sad packaged ones in the supermarket!

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