Turning Waste Into Assets: Global Green USA Works with National Grocer and Key Supplier to Save Money and Reduce GHG Emissions

September 15, 2015 (Los Angeles, CA) Global Green USA, in conjunction with a national grocer and members of its national Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR), coordinated a pilot that led to the conversion of all cabbage packing at major produce supplier Northampton Growers to 100% recyclable packaging for cabbage. As a result, the 125,000 boxes used during this upcoming cabbage season that would have been made of unrecyclable wax-­‐coated  corrugated cardboard will instead be  packed in  recyclable boxes,   saving   thousands of  dollars for  each  location and  reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to planting over 15,000 trees.

If all unrecyclable corrugated packaging were replaced with recyclable alternatives, and recycled, the greenhouse gas emissions reduction would be equivalent to shutting down an entire coal-­‐fired power plant with no energy loss, and grocers and restaurants across the country could save $200 million,” said Lily Kelly, Global Green’s Senior Program Associate and the project coordinator. “Northampton Growers and their grocer customer are setting the standard by making recyclable packaging  a  priority  for  produce,  and  we  are  proud  to  have  helped  them  make  this  important change.”

We are thrilled that this recyclable packaging is performing so well, said Calvert Cullen, President of Northampton Growers. “This switchover means that our customers will be receiving 75,000 recyclable cabbage boxes that they can bale and sell with the regular corrugated cardboard, which will save them thousands of dollars. We are glad that Global Green initiated this project, which is a key step toward helping all our customers reduce waste and save money.”

The initial pilot project tracked recyclable, water-­‐resistant Greencoat® packaging made by CoRR member  Interstate Container from its packing in Moultrie, Georgia to its successful delivery to St. Louis, Missouri, a journey of over 750 miles. The boxes and their contents arrived intact, leading the grower to eventually ship all their cabbage in recyclable, water resistant boxes.

The Greencoat® boxes, which are provided by Interstate Container, are made from recycled material, and are recyclable in accordance with the Fibre Box Association’s recyclability and repulpability protocol for wax-­‐alternative coatings. “Many farms in the Southeast US and elsewhere have already switched over to recyclable packaging, including our Greencoat® boxes, but many more are still using unrecyclable wax-­‐coated boxes to ship food from the farm to the grocery store,” said Jeff Cormier, National Sales Manager for Interstate Container.  “We are delighted that Global Green created this opportunity to help grocers save money by bringing recyclable produce packaging to grocers across the country and one of their major suppliers, and show how strong and cost-­‐effective these boxes can be.”

Greens, vegetables, seafood and meats are often transported in paraffin-­‐coated cardboard, generating 1.47 million tons of solid waste that must be sent to landfills or burned. Old corrugated cardboard  is  the  most  widely  recovered  packaging  material  in  the  country  (91%  recovered, according to the US EPA).   If  coated corrugated cardboard for produce were designed for recyclability, it could be collected and recovered in nearly every community in the US.

Global Green USA is dedicated to helping the people, places, and the planet in need through catalytic projects, transformative  policy, and cutting-­‐edge research. Global Green USA's signature programs include greening affordable housing, schools, neighborhoods, and cities as well as rebuilding communities  -­‐-­‐    such as New Orleans and areas of New York and New Jersey -­‐-­‐    that have suffered from the impacts of climate change, sea level rise, and environmental degradation. For more information, visit and follow us @globalgreen.

Lily KellyComment