Zero Waste

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Giving produce clamshells a second life by making them recycle-ready

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-30 Wed 09:32

On the first day of the NABC/USHBC Virtual Conference and Expo, John Keeley of Highland Packaging, Rick Tomlinson of the California Strawberry Commission and Janis McIntosh of Naturipe Farms discussed the history and future of recycling in the produce industry. One of the main focuses of this session was…

Plastic-free English cucumbers from Houweling’s now at Walmart

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-21 Mon 12:23

English cucumbers that have been treated by Apeel Science’s shelf life technology to replace plastic wrap, are now available at Walmart stores.

The cucumbers, grown and marketed by greenhouse growers Houweling’s Group, are able to maintain freshness, firmness and color without the tradition single-use plastic wrap on English cucumbers, according to a news release.

Walmart is among the first retailers to pilot the plastic-free cucumbers. Other retailers carry the product; the company “is not at liberty” to name retailers at this time, according to a spokeswoman.

“From the first time we reviewed the potential of plastic-free cucumbers, we saw the opportunity and the challenge of bringing avante garde technology to market,” Kevin Doran, Houweling’s Group president and CEO, said in the release. “From a high level, the opportunity to lead a disruption in this category and improve our decorated sustainability profile put us on course to where we are today.”

For every 100,000 cases of the Apeel cucumbers sold, it eliminates the equivalent of 164,000 plastic water bottles, according to the release. Houweling's will be cutting more than 60,000 pounds from its supply chain every year through the process.

This is the first time Apeel is being used to eliminate plastic. The technology is being used in the U.S. and Europe to extend the shelf life of a number of produce items, from avocados to apples and citrus.

“When surveying the cucumber consumer, we heard loud and clear the desire to avoid single-use plastics, with 62% holding the preference,” David Bell, Houweling’s Group chief marketing officer, said in the release. “This echoed the direct requests we hear from consumers and retail partners around removing the plastic. Quite simply, it wasn’t possible until we found Apeel.”

Related stories:

With Apeel, Houweling’s to cut plastic on English cucumbers

Year in Produce No. 8 — Sustainable Packaging

Industry must work together to reduce plastic, panel says

California Giant goes gold with zero waste certification

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-14 Fri 14:05

California Giant Berry Farms’ corporate headquarters has been awarded Gold under Total Resource Use and Efficiency (TRUE) Zero Waste certification program.

The Gold certification recognizes California Giant’s achievement of diverting 91.24 percent of its office waste away from landfills and other waste outlets over the past twelve months.

Administered by Green Business Certification Inc., TRUE validates businesses’ efforts to define, pursue and achieve their zero waste goals, which in turn, reduces their carbon footprint and supports public health.

With TRUE’s holistic approach and step-by-step guidance from Measure to Improve LLC, California Giant committed to implement permanent process improvements to reduce their use of materials, encourage reuse and recycling and foster a zero waste culture throughout the organization.

“I am absolutely thrilled that California Giant has achieved this Zero Waste Certification. Especially during these unprecedented times, it is an outstanding display of dedication from our California Giant Family,” said Eric Valenzuela, director of food safety and sustainability. “Over the past year we documented, trained and literally climbed into dumpsters to reach the target diversion rate. Under the stellar guidance of Measure to Improve, the staff worked really hard to achieve this goal as part of our overall arch of sustainability.”

California Giant was founded with a mission to give back. This mission not only includes philanthropy but also protecting the land and caring for the people within the company and greater community. “We want to demonstrate to the industry that this is achievable and to be a leader in our community by giving back,” said Valenzuela. The TRUE certification underscores the company’s three pillar approach to sustainability: People, Plant and Product.

To receive a TRUE Zero Waste Certification, businesses must achieve a minimum 90 percent diversion rate for solid, non-hazardous waste. Additional requirements include leadership, employee education, communication, innovation and the commitment from every single employee to participate.

“California Giant is focused on having a sustainable business that cares for the environment and the hardworking people that make it possible. This certification validates our efforts and will keep us all accountable to maintain and continue to improve upon these results moving forward,” said Joe Barsi, president of California Giant. “I am proud of the work of the sustainability team that led this arduous undertaking and of all the staff for their commitment and participation in this group effort,” added Barsi.