WASHINGTON — The Association of Postconsumer Plastics Recyclers (APR) has announced the availability of online resources created to help grocery chains recycle more of the plastic containers they use and empty onsite.
The “Recycle Grocery Rigid Plastics” program is aimed at recycling the more than 350 million pounds of plastic containers that are discarded annually by grocery stores across the United States. Used plastic containers are primarily generated in a store’s bakery, deli, seafood and pharmacy departments.
The program has been piloted at Hannaford Bros., a subsidiary of Delhaize America , and Stop & Shop, a subsidiary of Ahold USA . As a result, they are exploring implementation of full-scale programs to collect plastic containers at all of their locations.
“Recycling plastic containers clearly plays a role in our zero waste strategy,” said Christine Gallagher, manager of corporate responsibility for Ahold USA, in a statement. “Throwing away recyclables is like throwing away money. Waste diversion programs like this can generate cost savings by reducing trash volume. Our stores end up paying less to have their trash removed because there is less to throw away.”
Read more: Industry Renews Calls for Food Waste Reduction 
“Hannaford has a long tradition of stewardship. Recycling rigid plastic containers is an important part of Hannaford's efforts to move toward zero waste and to reduce our carbon footprint," said George Parmenter, manager of sustainability for Hannaford Bros. "This work hits that sustainability sweet spot, where what’s good for business meets what’s good for the planet.”
APR’s new tools — which include a how-to guide, technical service assistance, an educational video series, a list of companies that purchase recovered plastics, worksheets to evaluate potential cost savings and revenue, and customizable training materials — are accessible online at www.recyclegroceryplastics.org and available at no cost.
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