Sept. 16, 2021 (News Release) - Each day at Wegmans, our employees focus on ways we can reduce, reuse, and recycle resources to preserve our planet for generations to come. This includes improving the sustainability of our product packaging by using less plastic, reducing food waste, using renewable and recycled content, and increasing recyclability.
We've committed to reducing our in-store plastic packaging made from fossil fuels, along with other single-use plastics, by 10 million pounds by 2024. To meet this goal, we're eliminating some of our current plastic packaging and replacing it with materials made from plant-based renewable fiber. Our goal is to make sure our packaging is functional and performs as expected, while using materials efficiently and responsibly.
On our journey to improve the sustainability of our packaging, we recently made a change to our egg cartons. Previously made from polystyrene foam, the new cartons are made of 100% post-consumer recycled newsprint and paper products. By making the switch from foam to molded fiber cartons, we will eliminate 625,000 pounds of foam from our stores every year.
"We decided to make the switch to paper pulp cartons because we heard from customers that wanted a fiber, paper option," said Ron Indovina, Wegmans dairy and frozen category merchant.
Indovina worked with our sustainability team and our egg supplier, Kreher Family Farms, to find a new carton that would fit our needs. In April 2021, the paper pulp cartons were launched at Wegmans stores in Massachusetts for an 8-week test. The pilot was a success, and the cartons were rolled out company-wide in early summer. All of Wegmans brand eggs are now available in a paper pulp carton that is recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable.
"We are eliminating foam packaging wherever possible," said Packaging and Sustainability Category Merchant Jason Wadsworth. "It's not widely recyclable and never will be. The new cartons are a better option and are more widely recycled."
Customers are already celebrating the change. One recent message read:
"Thank you for finally getting rid of the foam egg containers! My husband has been storing them with the hopes that someday someone will figure out how to recycle them… He was so ecstatic when he saw the cardboard egg containers when I brought home the groceries! We thank you for doing your part for the earth!"
Wegmans is a regional supermarket chain with 106 stores: 48 in New York, 18 in Pennsylvania, nine in New Jersey, 13 in Virginia, eight in Maryland, six in Massachusetts and four in North Carolina. It is one of the largest private companies in the U.S. with 52,000 employees and annual sales in 2020 of $10.8 billion.
SOURCE: Wegmans Food Markets
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