WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Association of Postconsumer Plastics Recyclers has launched new online resources to help grocery chains recycle more of the plastic containers they use and empty onsite. The program is aimed at recycling the more than 350 million pounds of plastic containers that are discarded annually by grocery stores across the United States.
“Plastic containers represent a valuable resource for recyclers and a potential revenue stream for the grocers who collect and recycle them,” said Steve Alexander, president and CEO of APR.
According to APR, used plastic containers are primarily generated in a store’s bakery, deli, seafood and pharmacy departments. Because many stores already have programs that recycle cardboard and plastic film, expanding those programs to also include plastic containers is a natural fit, the organization said.
“Many grocery chains have excellent recycling programs already in place. Our new program makes it easy for grocers to generate additional value and strengthen their sustainability efforts by recycling more of the plastics they use every day,” Alexander said.
The “Recycle Grocery Rigid Plastics” program has been piloted at Hannaford Supermarkets, a subsidiary of Delhaize America, and the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, a subsidiary of Ahold USA.
APR’s new tools – which include a how-to guide, technical service assistance, an educational video series, a list of companies that purchase recovered plastics, worksheets to evaluate potential cost savings and revenue, and customizable training materials – are accessible online at www.recyclegroceryplastics.org and available at no cost.