Wegmans Food Markets has instituted more sustainable packaging for its store-brand eggs.
The Rochester, N.Y.-based regional grocer said last week that it has shifted Wegmans-brand egg cartons to molded fiber from polystyrene foam. The new cartons are made of 100% post-consumer recycled newsprint and paper products. With the change, the company estimates that it will eliminate 625,000 pounds of foam from its stores annually.
“We decided to make the switch to paper pulp cartons because we heard from customers that wanted a fiber, paper option,” according to Ron Indovina, dairy and frozen category merchant at Wegmans.
To find a more eco-friendly carton, Indovina worked with Wegmans’ sustainability team and egg supplier Kreher Family Farms. Wegmans in April launched paper pulp cartons at stores in Massachusetts for an eight-week pilot, and following the successful test the cartons were rolled out chainwide in early summer.
Now, all store-brand eggs come in a paper pulp carton that is recyclable, biodegradable and compostable, Wegmans reported.
“We are eliminating foam packaging wherever possible,” stated Jason Wadsworth, packaging and sustainability category merchant at Wegmans. “It’s not widely recyclable and never will be. The new cartons are a better option and are more widely recycled.”
Wegmans aims to cut its use of in-store plastic packaging made from fossil fuels and other single-use plastics by 10 million pounds by 2024. To that end, the retailer is replacing some of its current plastic packaging with materials made from plant-based, renewable fiber that enable functional packaging that performs as needed. The effort is part of a broader sustainability program to use less plastic, reduce food waste, use renewable and recycled content, and increase recyclability, the company said.
Customers already have welcomed the more sustainable egg cartons, Wegmans noted. “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,” a shopper said in one recent message said. “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.”
Overall, Wegmans operates 106 supermarkets in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and North Carolina.