For the latest installment of our 2013 'Follow That Box' tours, we brought our Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR) members to San Francisco to take a look at a few of the seafood processing facilities operating on legendary Fisherman’s Wharf. As with our prior trips, packaging users were very excited to replace their unrecyclable polystyrene foam and wax-coated cardboard boxes with a cost-effective, recyclable alterative.
Every year, 1.45 million tons of unrecyclable wholesale packaging are landfilled or burned, costing grocers over $200 million and causing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to a coal-fired power plant. Produce shipping represents about half of these boxes used, and much of our work has focused on addressing the need for recyclable boxes that can be used to ship greens and vegetables. However, in 2013 we broadened our focus to include seafood shipping, which also accounts for a large portion of the use of wax-coated boxes.
This November, we brought our members to three facilities on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf that take seafood from local fisherfolk, process it, and pack it for shipping to grocers and restaurants near and far. Our box and coating maker CoRR members got the chance to observe the packing and cooling process, which involved packing the boxes with crushed or shaved ice as well as whole and filleted local fish. This helped to inform our 2014 recyclable box pilot, which will feature following the box from Maryland to Boston – stay tuned for more updates!