Did you know that nearly one-third of all municipal solid waste in the U.S. is packaging? Learn about the changes we’re making to our Whole Body product packaging to help reduce our environmental impact. Jim McConnell is Store Supplies and Services Specialist for the Rocky Mountain region and co-chair of the Whole Foods Market Responsible Packaging Task Force.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, nearly one-third of all municipal solid waste in the U.S. is packaging:
- At Whole Foods Market, we are constantly challenged to provide packaging that is responsible, performs well, and looks attractive.
- Our focus is on paper, cardboard, plastic and glass products made from recycled content (as high as available and preferably post-consumer sourced); that is recyclable or compostable in a municipal facility; or is reusable at home. For paper products, sustainable forestry certifications are also important.
Whole Body has made some important changes to body care and supplement packaging:
- In our 365 Everyday Value® brand, lotion, hair care, hand sanitizers and foaming soap are currently in 50% PCR plastic. All body care and supplement bottles are transitioning to 100% PCR plastic, and shipping cases are 30% PCR cardboard.
- Our Whole Foods™ brand features supplements in 100% PCR plastic with boxes transitioning to 100% recycled paperboard. Our organic castile soaps are in 50% PCR bottles while organic bar soap packaging uses 30% PCR paper.
PCR is a very important component to consider when choosing products:
- PCR or post-consumer recycled content offers a viable recovery of used materials that are collected from recycling programs the public participates in. These materials would most likely end up in a landfill if not recycled.
- One ton of recycled paper saves approximately 4100 KWH of energy and 7000 gallons of water; it prevents more than 60lbs of air pollution; and saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space and approximately 17 trees versus virgin fiber.
- PCR content PET plastic requires approximately 84% less energy to produce than it takes to make virgin plastic from fossil fuels. For a single pound of recycled PET flake, the energy use required reduces green house gas emissions by 71%.
Whole Foods Market is committed to environmental stewardship:
· We reduce by composting (where available), which has reduced our landfill waste by up to 75% in some regions.
· We reuse by providing reusable and compostable plates in our dining areas.
· We recycle by providing receptacles for compost, glass and plastic recycling, as well as collection for cell phones, batteries, plastic film, and natural wine corks.