National butcher’s week – March 15-20

Filed in Blog by on March 12, 2010 7 Comments
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National Butcher's week vote for your environmentally friendly butcher!

National Butcher's week vote for your environmentally friendly butcher!

March 15-20 is the third National Butcher’s week and the search is on for the UK’s greenest and most environmentally responsible meat retailer.

Organised by industry magazine Meat Trades Journal (MTJ), entries are being invited from local butchers who make a significant contribution to the environment, for example through sourcing meat from animals reared locally, or by reducing energy consumption and recycling, be that leftover cuts of meat or packaging.

Wahee! What a great celebration.
We received a lot of criticism that we call ourselves ‘green’ yet Mr and Little miss green eat meat, but ya know, Green is just our chosen surname. In any case we well understand the whole vegan vs meat eaters debate, but each to their own I say. Maybe the amount of meat Mr Green eats is offset by the fact he doesn’t put anything into landfill 😉

Our butcher is making a HUGE difference to our zero waste mission. We can buy any cut of meat without packaging – he pops it straight in to our own reusable containers. For veggies, there is plenty of choice too – he’ll cut cheese, serve home made coleslaw, has bread and rolls and pies and pasties galore – all sans packaging. Nothing is wasted – all scraps and bones and put into a container where people can get them for their dogs. Some of the scraps are minced and frozen to provide top quality cat and dog food.

During National Butcher’s week you are encouraged to log on to the Find a Butcher site where you can find out more about your local butcher. Perhaps you don’t realise you have one or two in your nearby town. Why not give them a try this week and see if they will let you buy things without packaging? If your own local butcher is not listed, you can add it for free to give them a plug.

Another plus side to using your butcher is that there is less food waste. You can buy exactly the amount you need, have it prepared in whatever way you wish and it’s heaps fresher than supermarket bought, so it lasts longer.

As Ed Bedington, from Meat Industry news told me, “It’s much easier for butchers to reduce packaging than supermarkets. They serve customers direct, keep the product behind glass, away from prying fingers, and they can much more easily meet the customers individual needs”.

What about you? Do you have a friendly butcher who is prepared to sell you goods without packaging?

If you want to nominate your butcher for the award, call MTJ directly on 01293 846567 or email ed.Bedington AT


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (7)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    Great to see the local butcher highlighted by this event. My local, Marshall’s, caters for all meat choices, including boned, which suits perfectly. Occasional non-meat unpackaged items. eg potatoes, are also available though not to the same extent as yours, Mrs Green.

    For some butchers are old-fashioned, but I think Back to the Future covers the rising interest in such local sources. More realistic than the film, this can also apply to plastic replacement by better materials. Take a trivial example like sink plugs. Nowadays functionality, a good seal, is lost when older rubber types were difficult to remove.

    The Vegan-Meat debate seems heated but the reality is that people have the choice of a balanced diet which includes meat and fish.

  2. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Thanks John. I’ve nominated my butcher – I was talking to him yesterday and he was telling me more about packaging, which I didn’t know. He clearly does a lot of minimise the impact of his trade, without even advertising the fact…That shows integrity.

  3. sandy says:

    My local butcher not only sells me meat in our package, but delivers to my door,

  4. Ben says:

    Your butchers sounds like a really good place to buy lots of things, not just meat, so I’ll be taking a look around my local butchers next time I’m passing. As I don’t eat meat I’d have never have thought about going there. Reminds me of a conversation earlier in the week where I was telling my friends how I was disappointed the tobacconist had closed down, and they were saying it didn’t matter as they never smoke cigarettes, but then the shop had all types of unusual sweets from around the world (most importantly the best Turkish delight I’ve tasted).

    This whole zero waste idea has been a good thing beyond helping the environment. Without it I probably would have continued with my weekly supermarket shop, which frankly was dull, predictable and I didn’t like it. I feel like I’ve been buying the same old stuff for years, again and again every week. Saturday mornings were a chore. Now I’ve been shopping in new shops and markets. It has been fun and I’ve certainly tried a lot of new things, found local food (it’s amazing how people can live somewhere and so easily eat nothing local), and I’ve had lots of food and cooking advice from different people. I got a lot of good advice on cooking from the staff in the Indian food shop. I like how I can ask about anything I find in the shops and get advice on what to make with it.

  5. Josie Brock says:

    A local butcher is a great asset but, unfortunately, we do not have one in the centre of my large town, only Sainsburys, Waitrose and M & S. We used to have two but long gone, also no greengrocers, hardware shops etc. Have to get a bus to another town, it doesn’t cost but is a nuisance and takes time. Count yourselves lucky those of you who have these shops, it makes ‘being green’ much easier!

  6. Jane says:

    Hmmm: “Use them or lose them” springs to mind.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @sandy: Great service, Sandy. Thinking about it, I think ours delivers to the immediate area too. Just like the old days 🙂

    @Ben: Hi Ben, I must admit even if I lived on my own (I don’t eat meat) I would continue to support our butcher for other ‘non meat’ items such as the deli range, bread, eggs. It’s great to support the local economy. Sorry to hear about the tobacconist – it’s sad when these small, independent shops have to close.
    So glad you hear some of your shopping habits have changed and you are reaping the rewards of that. It’s amazing what is available locally once you start to look 🙂

    @Josie Brock: Hi Josie; what a shame you have no local butcher. We do indeed count ourselves lucky and use as many local places as possible to help keep demand for the trade.

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