Innovative Sustainable Packaging Adding More Green to the Produce Aisle
Forget the other labels – we are the farmers’ market generation, determined to slow down our hectic lives and return to simpler pleasures, like music festivals and farm-to-table cuisine. We also understand that improving the state of the environment depends largely on our personal decisions, whether it’s a large commitment, like utilizing mass transit for our daily commute, or something smaller yet no less important, such as using reusable bags when we shop. When it comes to our environment, everything we do makes a difference, including what we select at the market and how we buy it.
The rise of neighborhood farmers’ markets is a direct result of our individual decisions to make choices that are both more personally fulfilling and more connected to the planet. And industry is taking notice. One exciting example of this trend is Sambrailo Packaging, which recently introduced ReadyCycle, 100% recyclable containers that may well revolutionize the sustainable packaging of fruits and vegetables. As we did with our shopping bags, we now have the opportunity to tell our local grocers that we prefer our fruits and vegetables to come in environmentally friendly packaging.
ReadyCycle encourages everyone to participate in choosing sustainable packaging when available, especially if it aligns with your goals in farming, retail setting, or efforts in living an eco conscious lifestyle. Through their newly launched website you can request samples of the packaging to see first hand how ReadyCycle is made, test it out on the farm, or on your store shelves to see what customers think. In designing ReadyCycle, Sambrailo Packaging wanted to create the line using cost effective manufacturing, eliminate wax coatings, label application, and any plastic components to truly create a straightforward recyclable and biodegradable package.
It is likely that one day soon, all packaging will have a mandated percentage of recyclable or biodegradable components. We are already seeing large food and beverage companies making pledges to reduce plastic waste within the next five to ten years. Sambrailo is anticipating these changes coming to the agriculture industry and wanted to maintain their legacy of innovation with ReadyCycle. The paperboard used for manufacturing is fully printable and can give growers and retailers the platform to communicate with the consumers like you and I the story of why they have decided to choose a sustainable packaging choice. Purchasing produce has become so much more than just the fruit or vegetable itself. The growing practices, the “who” grew it, where it comes from, organic or non-GMO, health benefits, and the “why” behind the product have all become factors in making an empowered purchase decision. And packaging is most definitely one of them.
“We recognized the need and wanted to change,” says Mark Sambrailo, president and CEO of the Watsonville-based company. The third-generation company executive personally knows the importance of eliminating unnecessary waste on the planet. “I’m an outdoorsman, and it’s very important to me. Living near the Monterey Bay, we want clean beaches.”
Suppliers and retailers are also taking notice. ReadyCycle was selected as one of 2018’s “Top 30 Seed Ideas” by the Plastic Pollution Coalition. Sambrailo has since joined the coalition, an international organization of businesses determined to eliminate petroleum-based plastics from the marketplace. The new wax-free containers also won “Best Packaging Promo” at the Produce Marketing Association’s annual convention, another sign that ReadyCycle is turning heads inside the industry as well as among producers and consumers.
The Briar Patch Food Coop puts it best: “Love, love, love our new strawberry packaging.”
Farmers in the United States and Mexico have begun to adopt the new packaging including Live Earth Farm in Watsonville, JSM Organics of Aromas, Durst Organic Growers in Esparto, and Covilli Brand Organics in Mexico. Andy Martin, President of Watsonville based A&A Organic Farms, recognizes the importance of such innovation in agriculture. “Winning this [Organic Innovation Showcase] award is very meaningful to us. We felt the need to get a more environmentally sound packaging option for our customers.”
As consumers, we really can make a difference. We’ve changed out our old light bulbs, we carry our own reusable grocery bags and many of us drive hybrid and electric vehicles. We’ve added solar panels to our homes and are using less plastic, all in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of waste and nonrenewable resources in our communities. ReadyCycle packaging represents yet another significant step in the evolution toward a more sustainable society, an effort that demonstrates that even packaging designed to protect the most fragile fruits and vegetables can reduce our ecological footprint.
Visit readycyclepackaging.com to learn more about how you can make change happen with a sustainable packaging choice.