Supermarket chain embraces renewable packaging

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In New York, popular supermarket chain Wegman’s is taking steps to improve the sustainability of its packaging, including replacing paper and plastic materials with mineral fillers and renewable materials.

New packaging initiatives include produce bags made from 100% plant-based materials and store-brand Organic Beef vacuum-sealed packaging made from 50% plant-based material, with plans to boost that renewable content to 70% in 2017. Wegman’s Market Cafes already use plastic utensils with 30% plant-based material.

“As often happens with sustainability initiatives, the changes we’re implementing and the progress we’re making aren’t always easy to see,” says Jason Wadsworth, manager of sustainability for Wegmans. “For some of the sustainable packages we’ve introduced, the change has been very apparent to customers, while for others, they’d never know unless we told them.”

Wegmans, which operates 92 stores across New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts, says it has saved over 6 million pounds of virgin plastic resin by using mineral fillers, renewable materials, and recycled material in its packaging.  The retailer aims to cut another half million pounds of packaging material in 2017 through recycling and using renewable materials.