Our Plastics and Packaging Pledge
Ensuring our products are better for people and the planet is an important priority for Albertsons Companies. We recognize that plastic waste is a problem, and we think it’s important to be part of the solution, that’s one of the reasons we’ve developed our Plastics and Packaging Pledge.
What is the problem?
Plastic waste has become a daily concern for our customers. Plastic waste is caused by a variety of factors, including non-recyclable and/or single-use plastics, inadequate labeling on recyclable plastics, and new plastic products
containing minimal recycled content. Together, these factors can lead to increased natural resource use and the creation of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and natural environments, like our oceans.
What is Albertsons Companies doing to help?
Albertsons Companies has made a plastic waste reduction pledge to advance sustainability throughout the company, starting with our operations and extensive Own Brands portfolio.
Albertsons Companies Plastics and Packaging Pledge:
- Achieve even greater sustainability of Own Brands product packaging by ensuring that 100% of packaging will be recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable by 2025
- Decrease plastic usage, with an emphasis on single-use plastics
- Own Brands plastic packaging will include 20% recycled content by 2025
- Recycle operational (non-consumer facing) plastics for use in new retail, industrial and/or consumer items
- Provide clear recycling communications on Own Brands product packaging, including the use of QR codes, by 2022. The company is working with How2Recycle to standardize its labeling system and improve the reliability, completeness, and transparency of recyclability claims.
- Source and share industry best practices with other members of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, a 250-company collaborative of retailers, manufacturers, governments and education institutions focused on strengthening and advancing the business case for sustainable packaging.
Albertsons Companies’ Plastics and Packaging Pledge furthers the opportunity to reduce single-use plastic and packaging at our more than 2,200 Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Tom Thumb, Shaw’s, Star Market, ACME Markets, Randalls, Haggen, and other banner stores. The initiatives we’re working on now are just the beginning of our efforts to reduce plastic waste and Make Every Day a Better Day.
How will Albertsons Companies meet the Plastics and Packaging Pledge?
Albertsons Companies is working to achieve the Plastics and Packaging Pledge through a variety of initiatives. These efforts can be categorized into Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rethink. Read about some of our initiatives to meet our commitment below.
In our manufacturing operations, we have light-weighting initiatives that reduce the amount of plastic we use to make products, such as our water bottles and milk jugs. Our teams engineered a milk jug that uses about 10% less
plastic than the previous design. That’s enough plastic to reduce resin usage by the equivalent of 13 million jugs per year. We also reduce our use of virgin plastic and create an end-market for recycled plastics by introducing recycled content into items, such as our O Organics® lettuce containers.
In our stores, we’re making every effort to reduce the use of bags needed by offering reusable bags, eliminating double-bagging, and minimizing the use of bags for items that may not require one.
In our stores, we encourage our customers to use reusable bags. They can bring these from home or purchase them in our stores. Some of our stores offer reusable shopping bags that are produced through a closed-loop process. We’ve
partnered with a bag manufacturer to produce bags that are made from 65% recycled material, including a minimum of 40% post-consumer waste. Some of the film from store operations and the single-use bags that customers bring in for recycling are incorporated into the bags. These durable bags can be used up to 125 times and are machine washable.
In our operations, we utilize Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) and reusable totes to transport products from farms to our stores in order to reduce waste.
Read more about some of these initiatives here: America Recycles Day
We offer plastic film and bag take back and recycling services for our customers at many of our stores, where collection bins are conveniently placed within stores entrances. The collected film gets upcycled into long-lasting composite
decking materials. In 2018 alone, we recycled more than 22 million pounds of plastic film and bags, enough plastic to make more than 22,000 composite decks!
Our Southern California Division utilizes an innovative closed-loop program to recycle #5 polypropylene crates that are used to ship products such as fruits and vegetables. After the crates are emptied at the store level, the store sends the crates to be recycled into plastic pellets which are then used to manufacture new crates.
We are rethinking the way we do business by finding new markets and a second life for items in our operations, such as plastic boxes and bags.
We recently introduced more products that use eco-friendlier recycled materials, compostable items, and bamboo. This includes our Open Nature eco-picnic products that feature BPA-free plates, bowls, cutlery, cold cups and hot cups.
Each of these items is certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), which guarantees products are tested and verified according to scientifically based standards.
We are also rethinking the way we communicate how to properly recycle our product packaging. We are working with How2Recycle to standardize our labeling system and improve the reliability, completeness, and transparency of recyclability claims.
Read more about some of these initiatives here: Open Nature Compostables
COVID-19 Bag Update
In regions where governments are limiting the use of certain types of bags, including reusable shopping bags, our stores will be providing customers with alternative bags at check-out (where feasible). Depending on product availability and shipping space, in some places these may include the use of a paper bag and/or a temporarily thinner plastic bag. These thinner versions allow us to continue to provide clean new bags to our shoppers during the COVID-19 pandemic, while maximizing space for other products on our trucks and using at least 75% less plastic than a standard reusable plastic bag. Customers can continue to bring back their plastic bags to participating stores for recycling.
Here are some tips for customer best practices for reusing bags, including:
- Clean your reusable bag after each use. Spray or wipe down bags with disinfecting wipes or solutions, or with warm soapy water. Follow the instructions on the bags, and allow bags to dry completely. Store bags in a clean, cool, and dry place. Learn more here.
- Use separate bags for non-food items and food items. Additionally, use separate bags for raw meats and other ready-to-eat foods.
- Where allowed, bag your own groceries. Keep your bags in your cart while you place the items from the bagging area into your shopping bags.
- Keep your bags in your vehicle when you go to the store. Skip using a bag in store, and just use the shopping cart to take items to your car where you can load them directly into your reusable bags.
Learn more on this webpage about our Plastics Pledge and our long-term goals to reduce plastic waste. For additional updates about how we are responding to other COVID-19 issues, please visit our Helping You Through COVID-19 webpage.