( File photo )

California Giant Berry Farms, Watsonville, was busy in 2019 with sustainability programs, but the origin of those efforts came many years ago, according to the company.

California Giant partnered with Measure to Improve in January 2019 to advance its agenda to become a True Zero Waste Certified company, according to a news release. The company eliminated wax in corrugated packaging in 2009 to enable the berry trays to be recyclable, and later cut the amount of paper used in strawberry trays by 12% and paper for pallet stability tie sheets by 22%, according to the release.

Now clamshells used by the company have 11% less plastic than three years ago, according to the release.

Through the California Strawberry Commission, California Giant has been collaborating with others in the industry for new packaging goals and label standards and to encourage consumer recycling.

“We have been actively working with the Alliance for Plastic Thermoform Recycling for the last 18-months to get ahead of impending legislation to maintain our position of using large amounts of post-consumer recycled PET,” Lucky Westwood, California Giant vice president of operations, said in the release.

“A resolution set forth by the California Strawberry Commission, California Giant, and several other various grower-shippers is to adopt ready-to-recycle clamshells and higher recycled thermoform content clamshells in the future, and I am happy to say we are making strides toward that change,” Westwood said in the release.

Clamshells are typically made with high levels of recycled content, according to the release.
“We know we have more work to do to support sustainable packaging and reducing our carbon footprint, and we are excited about working with the industry to continue to make improvements for future generations,” Westwood said in the release.

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