New innovations in mail-in recycling allow companies to launch their own recycling programs and raise money for charity at the same time.

Waste management company TerraCycle has launched an innovative new program in which it partners with retailers or individual brands to offer free recycling of flexible plastic packaging. One of the largest brands to take advantage of the program is Ocean Spray, which is offering the program to consumers of its dried cranberry products.

Customers can use a free, prepaid shipping label to send empty Craisin packages to TerraCycle, where they will be cleaned and melted into hard plastic. According to TerraCycle, this material can be remolded into a range of products including picnic tables and park benches. Additionally, customers who utilize the Ocean Spray Recycling Program can earn points that can be donated to the charitable organization of their choice.

Another brand taking advantage of the TerraCycle program is Bimbo Bakeries, one of the largest bakery companies in the United States. The parent company of Sara Lee, Entemann’s, and other major labels, Bimbo plans to make all bread, bun, bagel, and English muffin packaging easily recyclable, moving to 100 percent sustainable packaging by 2025.

And in perhaps the biggest deal of all, grocery chain Kroger and TerraCycle are partnering to roll out the mail-in recycling/charity program to 300 of the store’s products. The grocer aims to phase out single-use plastic shopping bags in stores by 2025 and use 100 percent recyclable, compostable, or reusable packaging for its brands by 2030.

Quoted in an article in Food Engineering, TerraCycle’s founder and CEO Tom Szaky said, “As the first major retailer to create a free recycling program for their own private-label brand, Kroger is offering consumers the opportunity to divert packaging from landfills and make a positive impact on the environment for future generations.”

Read more about Ocean Spray’s partnership with TerraCycle here, and Bimbo’s and Kroger’s deals here.

Utilizing flexible packaging is one of the most environmentally responsible things a company can do. We recognize that there have been some challenges with the recyclability of these packages, though, so we are enthusiastic supporters of TerraCycle’s initiative to make recycling free and easy. And rewarding people who use the program with targeted charitable contributions is such an innovative incentive!

If you have been hesitant to incorporate flexible packaging into your brand because of recyclability concerns, now is the time to act! Let AMGRAPH show you how these lightweight, environmentally friendly packages can save you money throughout your manufacturing and distribution operation—and can support your green goals, too.