The change will hopefully make a big impact in reducing the produce industry's environmental footprint.

As consumers, it's the norm now to use reusable straws, nix single-use plastic utensils, and bring your own grocery bags to the store. And food producers, particularly those in the berry industry, are catching on, too. According to a release by Business Wire, The California Strawberry Commission, the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), Asociacion national de Exportadores de Berries (Aneberries, Mexico), National Berry Crops Initiative, and South American exporters joined forces to commit to more sustainable packaging, and to more clearly label their products so you know the containers are, in fact, recycle-ready.

“Berry farming has a long history of innovation and leadership that once again came together to make this ambitious pledge,” says California Strawberry Commission president Rick Tomlinson in the release. “Achieving 100% recycle-ready packaging represents the type of continuous improvement that is common among farmers as they strive for ever-improving efficiency.”

plastic packages of strawberries and blueberries on a light wooden surface
Credit: Claudia Totir/Getty Images

Since the '90s, we've been buying our berries in those clear "clamshell" ventilated plastic containers. The packaging is mostly made from converted plastic water bottles, which decreased greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the number of resources required to make them. The lighter packaging also reduced fuel use thanks to lighter shipments. According to Henry Bierlink, president of the National Berry Crops Initiative (NCBI), this initiative is what transformed the berry industry's ability to transport nationwide. Now, Bierlink says the next phase of sustainable packaging "preserves the ability to safely transport fresh berries to market while minimizing product damage, reducing food waste, and demonstrating ongoing environmental stewardship."

To follow the industry's progress (and learn more about how you can help), the berry organizations set up By 2025, not only can you expect to purchase your favorite berries in 100% recycle-ready packages, but you'll also find How2Recycle labeling on each carton to make sure you have all the info you need to get that container recycled properly. If you're looking for even more ways to be a little more green, check out our tips for how to cut down on food waste and ditch resealable plastic bags for DIY reusable food wraps.


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