A consortium of environmental groups is taking another run at Kraft Foods Group Inc. in an effort to make the food and beverage company take more responsibility for its Capri Sun packaging waste.
It was just about a year ago that a new campaign, called Make It, Take It, launched with an eye towards the well-known kids' drink pouch.
Seen at soccer fields and in lunches far and wide, Capri Sun pouches provide convenience and safety. But the pouch has been in the crosshairs of environmentalists for years because of its recycling difficulty.
Capri Sun pouches represent a challenge to traditional recycling systems because they contain layers of plastic and aluminum. The Make It, Take It campaign claims only an estimated 2 percent of the pouches are recycled.
“We understand that there are environmental benefits to using flexible packaging, including material reduction and energy savings,” said Matt Prindiville, coordinator for the Make It, Take It campaign. “But at the same time, you've essentially created a package which is designed to be garbage.”
Prindiville also serves as associate director of an environmental group called Upstream, which advocates extended producer responsibility when it comes to packaging. So it's no surprise that he is leading an effort to engage Kraft on the issue. Other members of the campaign include the Natural Resources Defense Council, 5 Gyres, Greenpeace and Sierra Club.
Prindiville indicated Kraft acknowledged Make It, Take It last year when the campaign first launched. But there's been no real dialogue between the two.
“They seem to be trying to wait us out, so we felt the need to ramp up some more pressure on the company,” he said.
“The bottom line is we want companies like Kraft to be designing their packaging to be utilized in a circular economy. These types of materials take us in the wrong direction,” Prindiville alleged.
Kraft did not return a call seeking comment before the deadline for this story.
But the company has developed a long-standing Capri Sun pouch take-back program through TerraCycle Inc. of Trenton, N.J. That effort has recycled more than 200 million pouches.
Schools and organizations can earn cash for collecting and returning pouches to TerraCycle, which then cleans and recycles the pouches into a variety of new products including bags, backpacks and wallets.
A spokesman for TerraCycle, when the campaign first developed last year, said that Capri Sun was a convenient choice in a world now filled with pouches. “Capri Sun is doing more than any other food and beverage company on the planet to make their packaging more widely recyclable,” the TerraCycle spokesman said at the time.