California Giant Berry Farms Stands with Industry on Sustainable Packaging Resolutions
WATSONVILLE, CA - One year ago, California Giant Berry Farms partnered with Measure to Improve in order to advance its commitment to becoming a True Zero Waste Certified company. In addition, the company has set forth a variety of sustainability initiatives aimed at reducing materials used within its packaging. According to a news release, these efforts have turned up significant results as of late.
“We have been actively working with the Alliance for Plastic Thermoform Recycling for the last 18 months to get ahead of impending legislation to maintain our position of using large amounts of post-consumer recycled PET,” says Vice President of Operations, Lucky Westwood. “A resolution set forth by the California Strawberry Commission, California Giant, and several other various grower-shippers is to adopt ready-to-recycle clamshells and higher recycled thermoform content clamshells in the future, and I am happy to say we are making strides toward that change.”
In 2009, the company eliminated wax in all corrugated trays so they would become 100 percent recyclable. Four years later, it reduced the amount of paper used in its strawberry trays by 12 percent, and reduced paper by 22 percent in pallet stability tie sheets. Just two years later, California Giant eliminated tray options that required more paper and plastic for larger pack sizes, again decreasing materials used. Today, its berry clamshells are made from post-consumer recycled materials and require 11 percent less plastic weight than three years ago.
“We know we have more work to do to support sustainable packaging and reduce our carbon footprint, and we are excited about working with the industry to continue to make improvements for future generations,” comments Westwood.
With sustainable packaging top of mind for the industry, senior staff at California Giant have been collaborating with other industry members through the California Strawberry Commission to consider an industry-wide commitment to new packaging goals by adopting new label standards, encouraging consumer recycling, and new purchasing specifications for raw materials needed to make sustainable clamshells in the future.
“There is a lot of work left to do, and we accept the challenge,” adds Westwood. “As an industry, we should be very proud of the work we have done with APTR and the California Strawberry Commission, as our group has now helped persuade dozens of shippers and hundreds of producers into following the path toward sustainable packaging that we have laid out.”
Along with the resolution to maintain leadership in finding sustainable packaging solutions, California Giant has tackled its True Zero Waste Certification initiatives by introducing recycle, food waste, and landfill bins in its facilities to minimize cross-contamination; reducing the use of plastic cups, cutlery, and paper; and even donating food and office supplies to local organizations for reuse as it makes its way to becoming 100 percent Zero Waste Certified by June 2020.
As sustainability efforts across the fresh produce industry continue to unfold, keep a tab open for us at ANUK.