Bear Naked (San Diego, CA) had partnered with TerraCycle’s recycling program for the flexible packaging of its granola and granola bites products. The program requires consumers to collect the recyclable plastic bags and send them to TerraCycle (Trenton, NJ), where they are turned into new plastic pellets. I guess that partnership didn’t work out so well.
When I checked TerraCycle’s website, as instructed on Bear Naked’s site, I found the original instructions explaining the partnership TerraCycle had with Bear Naked for the returnable recyclable bags. Under that was the following message: We regret to inform you this program will be closing May 31, 2019. After this date you will no longer be able to recycle through this program. If you are still interested in recycling your granola bag packaging, visit the Bear Naked website.
Returning to the Bear Naked website, I found instructions to go to www.how2recycle.info/sdo to locate a retail store that provides in-store bag recycling. A customer service spokesperson I contacted at Bear Naked said the company discontinued its partnership with TerraCycle because it had recently developed a new, more recyclable bag for its Bear Naked granola and granola bites—a polyethylene film—that can be recycled in more in-store recycling locations.
The new Bear Naked granola package is manufactured by Berry Global, which has nine-layer blown extrusion equipment that provides the stiffness and superior sealing for hermetic packaging that requires gas flushing. Bear Naked also chose Dow’s RecycleReady technology, which enables recyclable film structures that meet the standards of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.
Now, with the recyclability challenge solved, the next step in the process is to get people to actually put these bags into the in-store recycling bins. That is a much easier, more convenient way to recycle than stuffing the empty bags into a package and mailing it to TerraCycle.
The recyclability of packaging is less of a problem today than getting people to actually recycle the plastic packaging. Heaven forbid if someone finds a Bear Naked granola package floating around in a lake somewhere! They’ll blame it on that terrible plastic material, rather than on the person who ate the granola and then pitched the package into the water!
If you eat Bear Naked granola, please take the empty bag to a retail store that has a recycling bin! Don’t be part of the people component of recycling plastic waste.