According to the EPA, containers and packaging alone contribute to over 23% of materials reaching landfills in the United States. Food-related containers and packaging are included in this category.
Using food containers made of recyclable materials is a responsible decision by your restaurant to help reduce the number of food containers that reach landfills each year. However, depending on the material you choose, your food container may not be curbside recyclable for your customers. What differentiates curbside recyclability and why is it important? We explain some of the benefits below!
Curbside Recyclability 101
Just because a food container is made from a material that may be recycled does not mean your customer can toss that container into their curbside bin.
In the case of plastic, recyclable plastic will come with a little recycling symbol printed on it with a number 1-7 in the center of the symbol. This number is known as a resin identification code and tells recycling centers what type of plastic it is and how it should be processed.
Containers with the #5 recycling icon, like our ProView and Clover line, are made from polypropylene, and can be recycled curbside in nearly all communities across the U.S.. However, containers made with the #6 recycling icon, made from polystyrene, cannot be recycled curbside, because they require special processing at a designated foam processing center.
Benefits of Curbside Recyclable Containers
So why choose containers that can be recycled curbside over those that can’t? Here are three reasons to keep in mind:
It Makes It Easier to Recycle
Being able to recycle a container curbside is much more convenient than driving to a designated foam processing center.
Customers Are More Likely to Recycle
Let’s face it, many of your customers may not be as eco conscious, and if they have to drive several miles–or hundreds of miles–to a foam processing center or drop off point, they may not at all and end up throwing that container straight into the trash. By reducing the number of hoops for your customer to jump through, there’s a greater chance they will choose to recycle their food container.
You Give The Container a New Life
After you toss a container in your curbside recycling bin, it goes to a recycling center where it is processed and reconstituted into an acceptable aftermarket material. That material is then sold to converters who turn it into usable products once again. Genpak is one of these companies. We use over 10.5 million pounds of post-consumer material per year!
Learn More About Genpak’s Recyclable Products & Recycling Initiatives
Genpak is a leader in using post consumer recycled polystyrene in food packaging and containers, and continues to expand its recycling efforts to more products.