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Berry, Preserve team up for recycled PP products

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June 20, 2013

WALTHAM, MASS. — Berry Plastics Corp. is teaming up with Preserve, a manufacturer of consumer goods made with recycled plastics, to promote polypropylene recycling.

The packaging giant is the latest partner in Preserve's Gimme 5 program, which encourages consumers to recycle PP rigid packaging — which uses the No. 5 recycling symbol — like yogurt cups, butter tubs and drink cups. People can mail packaging to Preserve or return it to recycling bins at participating Whole Foods Market Inc. stores or independent co-op markets throughout the U.S.

Preserve also accepts Brita water filters for recycling.

Berry joins other Gimme 5 partners including personal care brand Burt's Bees, yogurt producer Stonyfield Farm Inc., Brita GmbH and Recylebank — a company that rewards users with deals and discounts for recycling.

Since launching the program in 2008, Preserve says it has collected more than 250 tons of PP packaging.

"Recycling is that No. 1 activity that consumers do [for the Earth]. … So we gave them an opportunity to turn their yogurt cups or their hummus tubs into a fabulous new product here in the United States of America," said Eric Hudson, founder and CEO of Preserve, in a video announcing the Berry partnership.

The Waltham-based company recycles the packaging into toothbrushes, razors, tableware, kitchenware and other items. Preserve products can then be sent back to the company to be recycled again in a closed-loop system.

Gimme 5 offers a viable second-life alternative for Berry products. It also gives the company a chance to talk about how great PP is both for its material properties and its ability to be used again and again, said Erica Liddle, manager of customer insight and corporate marketing for Berry, by phone.

Berry says it produces nearly 30,000 PP products, making it one of the country's largest PP packaging manufacturers. Its customers include yogurt brand Stonyfield Farm Inc., another Gimme 5 partner.

The partnership fits into Berry's goals of using material more effectively and making sure its products can be collected efficiently, said Amanda Holder, Berry's packaging and sustainability supervisor.

Berry might not be using the material Preserve collects, "but creating marketability, for us, is a great thing. It helps us too because it will get more people recycling our products," she said by phone.

The Gimme 5 program is especially effective because the mail-in option reaches people who don't have access to curbside PP recycling, she said.

"You could be in Alaska and get your polypropylene recycled. It makes it universally appealing to those who really, really want to do it."

Berry, based in Evansville, Ind., had sales of more than $4.7 billion in 2012. According to Plastics News rankings, Berry is one of the top five injection molders, film and sheet manufacturers and thermoformers in North America. The company is no. 11 in the ranking of North American blow molders.