The Association of Plastic Recyclers has launched an updated program to encourage grocery stores to recycle more of their behind-the-counter plastic packaging, building on an effort it started in 2013.
The association said in a Jan. 22 announcement that the revamped program includes an updated website and how-to materials, along with worksheets for grocery stores to calculate their potential savings in waste diversion in addition to gains from recycled material sales.
It argues that high density polyethylene and polypropylene packaging like pails and buckets in bakeries and delis, seafood trays and lids and bulk pharmaceutical containers can all be a revenue source for stores.
"The APR estimates that U.S. supermarkets have the potential to generate over 300 million pounds of rigid plastics over the course of a year in behind-the-counter applications, including pharmacy stock bottles, which can double a store's volumes," Kate Eagles, APR's program director, said. "This is easily recoverable, stackable material and is typically up to 450 percent more valuable per ton than [corrugated cardboard].
"We encourage grocery retailers to take a look at what this program can offer them in terms waste reduction and cost savings, and how it can contribute to meeting corporate sustainability goals," she said.
APR estimates that 4,500 grocery stores were participating in the program in 2018, generating 18 million pounds of recycled plastic. The program's website is https://recyclegroceryplastics.org.