At the beginning of the year, Trader Joe’s announced plans to reduce the amount of plastic packaging used in stores and now you’ll start to notice some big changes taking place in the produce department

Even though most of Trader Joe’s plastic packaging already has the highest recycling acceptance rate, that’s still not enough for the eco-conscious grocery chain. As the company recently shared in this month’s Insider Trader Joe’s podcast, it’s beginning to take steps to go even greener, starting in the produce department. The first thing shoppers will notice is more loose, unpackaged produce.

“You’ll see it in our potato and onion section, and in our apples. We have more loose apples than we did before, and more loose potatoes and onions, too,”Jack, the category manager for produce at Trader Joe’s, explained to the podcast hosts. “But some things we need packaging on—it’s hard to sell loose blueberries.”

For those products, the company is testing out two new types of packaging according to Jack. One is a biodegradable and compostable cardboard-like material and the other is a recyclable plastic.

Trader Joe’s has created an ambitious plan to up its eco-efforts throughout the year, including removing unnecessary packaging, sourcing renewable and recycled packaging materials, choosing recyclable packaging, avoiding packaging made with harmful substances and educating consumers on best recycling and disposal practices.

In addition, Trader Joe’s new initiative includes reducing the number of solid plastic produce bags (such as potato bags), replacing Styrofoam meat trays with PET1 trays, replacing plastic greeting card sleeves with renewable, compostable ones, replacing plastic flower bags with renewable versions and getting rid of non-recyclable plastic and foil tea package pouches.

By committing to these new eco-friendly initiatives to cut down on packaging, Trader Joe’s is hopeful that it can eliminate more than one million pounds of plastic!

—Erica Loop & Shahrzad Warkentin

Featured photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr



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