In the beginning of 2019, Trader Joe’s, an American chain of grocery stores, announced plans to eliminate more than 1 million pounds of plastic from their 488 stores. Since that time, they have “identified and are in the process of implementing packaging changes that will remove a total of nearly 4 million pounds of plastic” from their products every year.
Here’s some of the ways they’re doing it:
- Stopped offering single-use plastic carryout bags in all stores.
- Discontinued the use of Styrofoam trays in their fresh meat section and replacing them with PETI trays which are recyclable.
- Switched out the plastic sleeves on their greeting cards with a renewable, compostable material.
- Will be switching out the plastic flower bags with bags made with compostable materials.
- Will be using compostable film in their tea packages instead of the plastic and foil pouches.
- Ongoing projects include removing excess or unnecessary packaging for all category types and getting rid of or replacing packaging for produce items.
For the future, Trader Joe’s is committed working with their partners to identify more ways to reduce plastic in their stores while being mindful of maintaining the quality of their products.
From Trader Joe’s:
“As we continue in this endeavor, we are diligent in our attempt to balance the priority to maintain product quality and minimize food waste, protect the product from contamination, and reduce the amount of packaging. Identifying a solution that meets all three components is complex and can be challenging. Take, for example, our English Cucumbers, a product that we hear about from our customers because it is wrapped in plastic. Responding to these concerns, we tested removing the plastic wrap earlier in the year. Almost immediately, we experienced a spike in the spoilage of these thin-skinned cucumbers. Removing the plastic wrap reduced the shelf life of the cucumbers from 10-14 days to a few days. The outcome of our test was not tolerable from a food-waste perspective, so we are in pursuit of alternatives. While we may not always arrive at the right solution the first time, we remain steadfast in our dedication to this important work.”
For more information about Sustainability at Trader Joe’s, visit https://www.traderjoes.com/announcement/category/sustainability.