Discount supermarket chain Trader Joe's will reduce plastic packaging, particularly in its produce section.
The California-based grocery store says its nearly 500 stores across the U.S. will see major changes very soon.
“Taking into consideration our customer feedback and our desire to be great neighbors, we have been taking a careful look at our packaging and the opportunities that exist to make improvements, with respect to sustainability,” the company said in a statement.
According to the company, it will take big steps to reduce plastic packaging in its produce section in particular. The discounted retailer is known for its pre-packaged fruits and vegetables. Items including apples, pears, and potatoes will no longer come in plastic bags.
Trays often used in produce and meat packaging will be bio-based and compostable, instead of Styrofoam.
Plastic sleeves on greeting cards and flower bouquets will be sourced from renewable materials.
Another area the retailer is taking note of is in the chemicals used in packaging. Numerous studies recently have found Bisphenol A (BPA) & Bisphenol S (BPS); Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs); Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS); Polystyrene (PS); Styrene; and Phthalates in some food packaging. Trader Joe's is sourcing chemical-free packaging.
Even tea bags are getting a makeover-- the chain says non-recyclable plastic and foil pouches will be replaced in the tea aisle.
"A fundamental focus of sustainability is maintaining product integrity and preventing food waste. We strive to balance the key role packaging plays in this effort with the overall impact packaging has on the ecosystem, as we approach making any changes," the company said. "We are also aware that the realistic opportunities for recycling materials, along with differing understandings of what is the 'best choice' for sustainability, makes this work complex."
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