(March 17, noon) A nonprofit organization working to promote sustainability wants to start trials with some New York Hunts Point Terminal Market wholesalers to distribute produce in recyclable packaging.

New York-based Global Green USA has begun working with box manufacturers and produce distributors to replace non-recyclable packaging distributed from Hunts Point with recyclable packaging.

If the program succeeds, it could divert up to 30,000 tons a year of corrugated from landfills and could reduce enough greenhouse gases comparable to removing 19,000 cars from the road, said Annie White, director of the Global Green’s Coalition for Resource Recovery.

She said Hunts Point is important because it’s one of the largest world food distribution centers, and that success there could influence other distributors to adopt recyclable packaging.

“This will require working closer with growing operations, which is a little more complex supply chain than poultry and seafood operations,” White said. “But it is where the win is. Having a goal like this, focusing on New York, which is iconic and has a significant trash problem and high tipping fees, is committed to sustainability. There’s a real opportunity here to focus on a geography to make a lot of change in environment that’s important.”

The coalition, a part of Mikhail Gorbachev’s Green Cross International to globally promote sustainability, is conducting field trials of recyclable packaging with poultry and seafood distributors.

While trials for poultry packaging have started, White said Global Green expects to announce produce packaging trials by May.

Matthew D’Arrigo, vice president of D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of New York Inc., and co-chairman of the Hunts Point market, said such a system could be difficult to install at the market.

“We are not a closed system here at Hunts Point,” he said. “There’s a huge issue and problem with retrieving packaging. We have experienced this issue with RPCs (reusable plastic containers) and Chep pallets. Our customers are not affiliated with us in any way, and are independent businesses when they take packaging out on an order. There’s no system nor even any inclination for them to return (boxes) back to us. We will be the last place that will be a success story for recyclable packaging, cartons, or pallets or RPCs.”

Program could reduce waste at Hunts Point
Global Green USA, New York, is working to get produce distributors at Hunts Point Terminal Market to begin packing their produce in recyclable boxes and packaging.

Courtesy Global Green USA