Del Campo Supreme plans to switch to clamshells made with 100% recycled plastic in early 2013.
Jim Cathey, sales and general manager, said the Nogales, Ariz.-based company’s packaging transition to the recycled material should take less than 30 days.
“We have some inventory to use up and we are designing a new label for them, so we’ll get started as soon as all that is done,” Cathey said.
The clamshells, from a California company, will look exactly like the previously ones except for a label on the bottom.
“It uses the same mold, so no one will be able to tell any difference, other than from the bottom,” Cathey said.
He said the company was introduced to the product by a supplier, and the decision was fairly easy.
“As soon as they showed us the clam that looked just like all the others you see but that was made with recycled bottles, it was a no-brainer,” he said.
The company plans to use the recycled plastic for all clamshells — mostly grape tomatoes, but which also includes some tomatoes-on-the-vine in pint and dry-pint sizes, Cathey said.
Each clamshell is made from about one plastic bottle.
Del Campo packs 8 million to 10 million clamshells a year.
Cathey said the company’s website will be updated weekly with the total number of bottles that have been recycled.
“We’re going to be keeping a running count,” he said.
The recycled clamshells will generate small savings for the company, but Cathey says it isn’t a large percentage because of all the steps involved to make the product and ensure it is FDA-approved.
“The biggest thing is that we are doing something good for the environment,” he said. “This provides an immediate solution for the amount of plastic that is piling up, and an industry like ours is certainly using enough clamshells to help recycle these bottles and keep the environment in a little better shape.”