Wegmans, with more than 80 stores in the eastern United States, has become the first grocer to join the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s How2Recycle Label program. With the addition of Wegmans, the How2Recycle Label has surpassed its 2013 goal of 20 participating companies.
The How2Recycle Label began in 2008 and is a project of GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition. The goal of the group is to have the majority of consumer goods packaging being a part of the program by 2016. The goals of the How2Recycle Label were developed through open discussion with numerous stakeholders and relate to the ultimate vision of a system where packaging materials are beneficially recovered. The goals include:
- Reduce confusion by creating a clear, well-understood and nationally harmonized label that enables industry to convey to consumers how to recycle a package;
- Improve the reliability, completeness and transparency of recyclability claims;
- Provide a labeling system that follows Federal Trade Commission Green Guides; and
- Increase the availability and quality of recycled material.
Wegmans is the fifth How2Recycle participant and first retailer to receive a sponsorship from the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC, www.americanchemistry.org) Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG) for use of the store drop-off label on its plastic carryout bags.
“Wegmans has accepted used plastic bags and wrapping material for recycling at our stores since 1994 as a way to help make a difference in the communities we serve,” says Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans sustainability coordinator. “Our adoption of the How2Recycle Label is a step in the right direction as we try to clear up the confusion surrounding recycling.”
Wegmans customers will initially see How2Recycle’s Store Drop-off Label on plastic carryout bags, with plans to expand to various flexible plastic materials throughout its stores, including deli and produce bags.
Furthering its goal to educate shoppers about plastic film recycling and to direct them to the correct bin, Wegmans also is displaying a prominent educational poster near store entrances.
“We have enjoyed our collaboration with Wegmans. Their well-rounded approach is exactly what we hoped for when we developed the How2Recycle Label program,” says Anne Bedarf, senior manager at GreenBlue, an environmental nonprofit group. “Wegmans’ strategy will provide benefit not only for their own stores and customers, but also for How2Recycle’s larger goals, by acting as a positive example for the grocery and recycled film industries overall.”