There hasn't been much news about the processed food industry to please the green consumer, with concerns over additives, preservatives, nutrition, processing, plastic ingredients and packaging waste always in our minds. But ConAgra has taken a modest but potentially significant stride: It will use post-consumer recycled plastic in its frozen meal trays.
(ConAgra makes Healthy Choice, Banquet, Kid Cuisine and Marie Callenders frozen meals.)
The decision, which the food giant claims is the first of its kind by a North American company, will divert about 8 million pounds of plastic from landfills. It's made possible through the use of a new technology that cleans used plastic effectively enough that it can be reused to package food. The process, relative to using virgin plastic, will save enough energy to power about 2,600 homes and reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of 2,000 cars.
While you're wrapping your mind around all the TV dinners that packaging must wrap, consider this: ConAgra will achieve that much waste reduction by incorporating just 30% to 40% recycled content in its packaging.
Remember, plastic is made from petroleum, so reducing plastic use reduces U.S. demand for oil as well as waste.
ConAgra's source for recycled plastic? Plastic beverage bottles, primarily the equivalent of 128 million 20-ounce bottles.
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