“Plastic containers represent a valuable resource for recyclers and a potential revenue stream for the grocers who collect and recycle them,” said Steve Alexander, president and CEO of APR.
Used plastic containers are primarily generated in a store’s bakery, deli, seafood and pharmacy
departments. Because many stores already have programs that recycle cardboard and plastic
film, expanding those programs to also include plastic containers is a natural fit.
“Many grocery chains have excellent recycling programs already in place. Our new program
makes it easy for grocers to generate additional value and strengthen their sustainability efforts by recycling more of the plastics they use every day,” Alexander said.
The “Recycle Grocery Rigid Plastics” program has been piloted at Hannaford Supermarkets, a
subsidiary of Delhaize America, and the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, a subsidiary of
Ahold USA, both of which have been very pleased with the outcome. As a result, they are
exploring implementation of full-scale programs to collect plastic containers at all of their
“Recycling plastic containers clearly plays a role in our zero waste strategy,” said Christine
Gallagher, manager of corporate responsibility for Ahold USA. “Throwing away recyclables is
like throwing away money. Waste diversion programs like this can generate cost savings by
reducing trash volume. Our stores end up paying less to have their trash removed because there is less to throw away.” “Hannaford has a long tradition of stewardship. Recycling rigid plastic containers is an important part of Hannaford's efforts to move toward zero waste and to reduce our carbon footprint," said George Parmenter, manager of sustainability for Hannaford Supermarkets. "This work hits that sustainability sweet spot, where what’s good for business meets what’s good for the planet.”
Elizabeth Bedard, director of APR’s rigid plastics recycling program, will present the new
“Recycle Grocery Rigid Plastics” tools tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at the Food Marketing Institute’s
2012 Sustainability Summit at the Hyatt Regency Washington in Washington DC.
APR’s new tools – which include a how-to guide, technical service assistance, an educational
video series, a list of companies that purchase recovered plastics, worksheets to evaluate
potential cost savings and revenue, and customizable training materials – are accessible online at www.recyclegroceryplastics.org and available at no cost (see p. 25 of the guide for a quick list of key resources).
Free technical assistance may be provided to qualifying companies. A form to request technical
assistance may be downloaded here at www.recyclegroceryplastics.org .
This “Recycle Grocery Rigid Plastics” program was funded in part with a grant provided by the
Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council.
High-res photos available for download at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/88019710@N08/
Program videos may be accessed with the links below:
Grocery Recycling Makes Sense: http://youtu.be/RdmCDagWs4M
Grocery Recycling Made Easy: http://youtu.be/wDvePjEmZYo
Grocery Recycling – Completing the Cycle: http://youtu.be/mb2E0BVjex8
The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) is the national trade association
representing companies who acquire, reprocess and sell the output of more than 90 percent of the postconsumer plastic processing capacity in North America. Founded in 1992, its membership includes independent recycling companies of all sizes, processing numerous resins.