Like you, we are concerned about the proliferation of plastic and its impact on our planet. That’s why we are always searching for better options. Why do we even use any plastic? Based on what is available today, plastic is the only material that will:
- Protect freshness and prevent cross contamination
- Protect (in the case of the clamshell package) delicate greens from bruising and crushing
- Offer visibility to the product so shoppers can evaluate quality and freshness in the store
Ten years ago, we carefully evaluated the lifecycles of packaging materials, looking for the most ecological options available. Our research pointed to post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic. So our clamshell packages are made with PCR PETE – mostly beverage bottles and other #1 PETE plastic that has been used and recycled. So rather than adding to the plastic burden on the planet, we’re using plastic that’s already here and making it into something else useful, keeping it out of landfills and, more importantly, out of the ocean and other parts of the environment. Bonus – production of post-consumer recycled plastic requires significantly less energy and water than virgin plastic.
#1 PETE is the most widely recycled plastic and thermoformed plastics (like our clamshell packages) are recyclable in about 60% of US materials recovery facilities (MRFs), according to a 2016 report. So those that are recycled may come back to us as ground up recycled material that we use to produce the sheets that we thermoform into the next incarnation of clamshell packages to protect our organic greens.
If more companies who use plastic for packaging switched to post-consumer recycled plastic, there would be a stronger market for recycled PETE and much less of it in landfills and oceans. Because as diligent as you may be about recycling bottles, cans, paper, and plastic, if there’s no market for that recycled material, MRFs won’t collect it.
What can you do?
- Contact your local waste hauler or drop-off location for recyclables and find out if they accept thermoformed PETE material.
- If they do, be sure to follow all the guidelines around recycling (for our packages and everything else). Typically, that means your recyclables collected curbside should be:
- Loose in the recycling bin (not in bags)
- To make all this easier, Earthbound Farm uses the How2Recycle labeling system on all of our packages.
- Seek out products made from recycled materials
- They are creating packaging without adding to the planet’s plastic burden.
- They are helping to build a strong market for recycled plastic material so that there is value in collecting and recycling plastic.