PCC Community Markets (PCC) in Seattle has pledged to eliminate plastic in its delis by 2022, replacing it with biodegradable compostable containers. The 11-unit community-owned food co-op — the largest in the country — currently uses over five million plastic deli packaging containers each year.
“Our co-op’s impact on the environment and our role in the proliferation of plastic is something we discuss frequently — from the use of plastic containers for baked goods and deli items to plastic beverage bottles and yogurt cups,” said Brenna Davis, PCC’s VP of Social and Environmental Sustainability. “For our sustainability goals, we chose to focus on those areas of our stores we can control, like shopping bags, straws, utensils, plates, takeaway containers and, now, packaging in our deli. Our hope is that by taking the lead, we can influence change across the region and the broader grocery and packaged goods industries.”
PCC replaced plastic straws and utensils with compostable across all its stores in 2015, well before the City of Seattle ban that goes into effect Sunday, July 1. The co-op began reducing its use of petroleum-based plastics in 2007 when it eliminated plastic grocery bags across all stores, five years before the city implemented its plastic bag ban in 2012. The Seattle-based retailer also introduced compostable trays for fresh meat in 2010.
A dedication to waste reduction runs through the co-op’s 65-year history, according to the company. As early as 1978, it was among the first in the Puget Sound to offer recycling in its Kirkland store and, in 1994, it led the region when it implemented composting across all its locations.