In 2007, there was almost 6 billion lbs. of PET packaging waste, and only 23 percent was recycled, leaving 4.5 billion lbs. in landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Richard Thompson, author of a study on the effects of plastics on the environment and human health, said that the “current usage and disposal of plastics is not sustainable, is harmful to wildlife and potentially harmful to humans.”
Thompson added that the use of plastic production is “growing at around 9 per cent per annum.” The use of plastic in the first decade of this century is “likely to approach the quantity produced in the entire century that preceded.” Earthbound Farm and Naked Juice announced recently that it is packaging some of its products in 100 post-consumer recycled (PCR) content. Both companies use PET plastic, the most recycled plastic. The companies are the first food and beverage companies to use 100 percent PCR content.
Earthbound Farm converted plastic containers for its salads to 100 percent PCR plastic. The company estimates that its switch to PCR content will converse 424,000 million BTUs of energy and 68,307 gallons of watter, plus will reduce carbon emissions by 16,191 tons.
“We started farming organically because we were concerned about the personal and environmental health effects of farming with chemicals”, said Myra Goodman, co-founder and executive vice president of Earthbound Farm. “Organic farming has really positive effects, but we know we have to do more. More ecological packaging is an important next step; one we hope others will soon follow. “
“Our decision to switch to post-consumer recycled packaging is one of many steps we have taken on our long journey of challenging the industrial status quo,” said Chad Smith, manager of Earthbound Farm’s Sustainability Initiatives. “There are many opportunities to create a larger U.S. market for PCR materials, which is essential to reducing what we’re putting in landfills. We hope that other companies will see the value in adopting packaging solutions with PCR content and that consumers will make the decision to seek out PCR packaging when shopping. Working in tandem these steps will create the manufacturing demand needed for post consumer recycled materials,” he said.
“The transition to 100 percent post-consumer recycled bottles is a major milestone that we have worked hard to achieve. It’s important for the earth, and that’s important to our consumers,” said Mikel Durham, general manager of Naked Juice. “If you were plastic, wouldn’t you like to come back as a Naked Juice bottle? With the new Naked reNEWabottle, consumers can reduce, reuse, recycle…reincarnate!”
“Closing the loop on packaging is fundamental to a vision for more sustainable packaging,” said Anne Johnson, director of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition at GreenBlue. “Utilizing 100 percent recycled material in a juice bottle that can be collected and recycled yet again is a step in making this vision a reality. This innovation sends a signal to the market that there are end markets for materials if we recycle more.”