Let's Talk Recycling
At Plenty our mission is clear: to improve the lives of plants, people and the planet. At every level of our business, we strive to be conscientious stewards of our natural resources and to reverse centuries of harmful manufacturing and packaging processes.
A critical part of our mission is to find sustainable solutions for the packaging of Plenty produce. We’re excited to launch an entirely new look and feel for Plenty, and with it, new packaging that we believe is the most sustainable packaging that is food-safe with modern recycling technology.
When it comes to sustainability, our number one priorities are reducing food waste and ensuring food safety by improving food shelf-life. Fresh, nutritious and flavor-filled produce that can withstand the rigors of distribution and time sitting on store shelves is the Plenty promise. To deliver on this promise we must consider three critical components for our packaging:
- Cost: is it affordable for our customers?
- Shelf life: can the packaging preserve and protect our greens from harmful pathogens introduced through water, touch or other means, and keep it fresh for longer?
- Shelf presence: does the packaging fit on existing store shelves?
Why use packaging at all?
Putting our produce in a package extends the shelf life, which helps to reduce food waste. It also provides for greater food safety - protecting our produce from water and other conditions that introduce pathogens and harmful bacteria.
OK, but why plastic?
Plastic is not perfect, but it is the best material available to safely transport our produce and deliver on our promise of peak flavor, freshness and nutrition. We considered paper, but paper allows the produce to get wet which introduces pathogens and wilts the leaves. We also considered cardboard, but it cannot withstand the rigors of cold distribution and doesn’t allow you to see what you’re buying. Our new packaging is made up of one material only, which is better for recycling.
Is your packaging fully recyclable?
Yes, our packaging is 100% recyclable material, and we use post-consumer recycled plastic to make the packaging. When it comes to plastics, three types are recycled more than others: #1, #2 and #5. Our packaging is made up entirely of #5 plastic, including the film on top. Though the infrastructure for recycling is not as robust as we want it to be around the country, great strides are being made and recycling is much more prevalent at this time than composting. Currently, the reality of compostable packaging is that it typically comes from corn. Though it may be labeled compostable or biodegradable, it also behaves the exact same way as plastic, and can take almost 100 years to biodegrade. Finally, biodegradable plastic is a bit misleading because it is not biodegradable unless it is put through an industrial composting process, which unlike recycling facilities, most cities do not have this capability. The city of San Francisco has one of the most advanced recycling and composting centers in the country, and even it does not have the equipment to break down “biodegradable” plastic. Instead, the “biodegradable” plastic gets treated like garbage and sent to the landfill.
Did you know?
Between 30-40% of food in the United States goes to waste. In nearly all cases, it is the production of that food that requires the most significant amounts of carbon energy. Recycling represents only a tiny fraction of the energy required. That is why at Plenty we are focused on reducing food waste by creating a product that has a longer shelf life and can maintain fresh, peak flavor and nutrition.
How can you help?
Reducing our carbon footprint is a job for all of us. You can help by purchasing only as much produce as you can use, and working to reduce food waste in your home. You can also help by taking the time to recycle Plenty packaging materials.