You Wish Our Packages Weren’t Plastic. We do, too.
Like you, we are legitimately 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 box) delicate greens from bruising and crushing
- Offer visibility to the product so shoppers can evaluate quality and freshness in the store
Let’s start by talking about the two different types of packaging we use: bags or wraps made of plastic film and our rigid plastic boxes, which are called ‘clamshells’ in the produce industry. If you look strictly at the weight of material being used, then you’d think the film bags are a better option because they weigh less which means they’re using less plastic. That’s not necessarily so.
We use no virgin plastic to make our plastic boxes. Ten years ago, as we carefully evaluated the lifecycles of packaging materials, looking for the most ecological options available, our research pointed to 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. And that’s what our clamshell boxes are made from – 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.
Making our clamshell packages from 100% Post-Consumer Recycled PET (PCR PET) creates a market for recycled beverage bottles, keeping about 40 million pounds of plastic out of landfills every year.
Although #1 PETE is the most widely recycled plastic, we understand that thermoformed plastics (like our clamshell boxes) are not always recyclable – it depends on your local recyclers. But many places do recycle them and in that case, they may come back to us as recycled material that can be used to make more boxes. If more of us who use plastic switched to post-consumer recycled plastic, there would be a stronger market for recycled PETE and much less of it in landfills and oceans.
Our film wraps and bags, while using much less material, are all made from virgin plastic because there isn’t a source for post-consumer recycled film that works for our products. Yet. That’s something we’re working on, too.
But, we know that’s not enough. We’d love nothing better than to jettison plastic from our supply chain and we’re working on it. We hear you. We’re concerned, too. We hope it matters that we’re constantly seeking alternate materials to meet the needs of our products, our retail customers, and consumers.