In conjunction with America Recycles Day in mid-November, Weis Markets announced its commitment to use 100% recyclable modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) meat trays for all of its fresh meat products. The Sunbury, PA-based grocery chain has partnered exclusively with Clearly Clean Products, a supplier that specializes in custom thermoformed packaging solutions, to develop the industry’s first closed-loop recyclable meat tray.
Weis reports that it began introducing the new meat packaging in all of its stores for kabobs and ground sausage earlier this year. The company plans to extend the packaging to its ground beef product line in early 2013 and will be evaluating further expansion across other meat products throughout the year.
The new recycled trays are made from 80%-recycled PET plastic and are easily recycled by customers after use. The patented, Peel-A-Tray packaging will eventually replace more than 11 tons of nonrecyclable air-sealed and polypropylene trays on which fresh meat products were wrapped previously.
Weis says the new program underscores its strong commitment to adopting sustainable practices to minimize its impact on the environment. “We are continually increasing our conservation efforts, providing recycling opportunities for both our associates and customers, and evaluating our store designs to meet with our standards for environmental leadership and stewardship. We strive to lead by example, helping to make a significant difference in our communities,” the grocer says.
In 2012 alone, Weis says it recycled 34 million pounds of cardboard, 280,000 pounds of office paper, 56,000 pounds of plastic pharmacy bottles, 528,000 pounds of waxed cardboard, 1.3 million pounds of plastic shopping bags and film plastics, and 1.5 million pounds of food waste. In one year, the company diverted more than 37 million pounds of recyclables from landfills.