The quart-sized Sustainable Produce Container. ( Courtesy Sustainable Produce Container )

Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes, and Linda Fritz is living proof.

Looking for sustainable packaging for cherry tomatoes grown by her Sun Sugar Farms, Fritz wanted an alternative for plastic clamshells. She was unsatisfied by molded pulp containers, which lack lids. One of her main concerns is the ability of consumers to recycle or compost the packaging.

“Reusing plastic clamshells is not an option since sanitizing them with extremely hot water (like in a dishwasher) will cause them to melt,” Fritz says on her website. “So they get thrown into a landfill where they’ll take more than 200-plus years to biodegrade. This doesn’t seem fair to repay the earth for its bounty with a chemical cocktail it can do nothing with.”

Fritz’s solution is the patent-pending cardboard Sustainable Produce Container, available in quart, pint and half-pint sizes. She has seen interest from shippers in the U.S. and Canada, and has sold “tens of thousands” of the containers, according to the website.

The containers can be printed on, provide visibility of the product with vents and can be stacked without harming the produce inside.

For more information, see the Sustainable Produce Container website.

Related stories:

Produce industry sees sustainability as future of packaging

Sustainable packaging becomes top priority for suppliers

Poll results: sustainable, eco-friendly and recyclable packaging