Representatives from California Giant, Markon Cooperative and Sambrailo Packaging field-tested prototype cardboard clamshells, known as Ready-Cycle, in a Watsonville, Calif., strawberry field. ( Courtesy California Giant )

It’s apt that as Earth Day (April 22) raised the awareness of sustainable packaging and alternatives to plastic, a trio of companies have been in strawberry fields testing a prototype cardboard clamshell.

Sambrailo Packaging, Watsonville, Calif., is introducing Ready-Cycle clamshells, and has been working with berry grower-shipper California Giant, Watsonville, and its customer, foodservice supplier Markon Cooperative, Salinas, Calif., to test the fully recyclable packaging.

Sambrailo, using feedback from the companies over several months, made some adjustments to ensure fruit integrity. A recent shipment was a success, according to a news release, and Markon has committed to purchasing berries packed in the 2-pound clamshells.

“There is definitely a cost issue associated with this package but it’s exciting to see an organization focused on making a difference the first priority,” Tom Smith, director of foodservice at California Giant, said in a news release.

Whether the Ready-Cycle packaging will be used for other customers remains to be seen.

“The decision will ultimately lie with the consumer and test whether or not they are willing to pay for a fully recyclable container when buying their fresh berries in the future,” Smith said in the release.

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