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The flexible-packaging manufacturer worked with D’Arrigo California to boost PCR content in packaging from 5% to 30%.

Kate Bertrand Connolly 1, Freelance Writer

December 13, 2023

2 Min Read
Emerald Packaging

Flexible-packaging supplier Emerald Packaging and produce grower D’Arrigo California partnered to launch a 30% post-consumer recycled (PCR) low-density polyethylene (LDPE) bag for Andy Boy brand lettuce.

The bag is rolling out to all grocery stores across North America that carry Andy Boy romaine hearts.

Based in Union City, CA, Emerald Packaging is a leading flexible-packaging manufacturer specializing in packaging for fresh produce and bagged salads for US food companies. D’Arrigo California, Salinas, CA, is a leading grower, packer, and shipper of fresh produce.

The launch of 30% PCR bags is a continuation of the companies’ work to develop more sustainable produce packaging. Since the beginning of 2023, D’Arrigo California has used millions of bags with 5% PCR to pack three-count romaine hearts.

During that time, the grower has gradually increased the PCR content in its bags, finally hitting the 30% mark in December. D’Arrigo California plans to transition Andy Boy two-count and three-count romaine hearts to LDPE bags made with 30% PCR over the next few months.

PCR resin sourced from mechanical recycling.

Houston-based Circulus Holdings supplies Emerald with resin for the bags; the resin’s PCR content is from mechanically recycled LDPE.

“Circulus makes the PCR resin. We blend it with virgin plastic at a 30% load and make the film. We then print on it and convert it into bags,” says Kevin Kelly, CEO of Emerald Packaging.

Circulus has received an FDA Letter of No Objection for its PCR resin, so materials made from the resin may be used for food packaging. Emerald worked with the resin producer’s Modesto, CA, facility for more than a year to develop D’Arrigo California’s PCR packaging.

“Emerald now includes 5% PCR in nearly all field-packed bags. We did this to get experience with the resin, to build a relationship with Circulus, and because it was the right thing to do,” Kelly says.

Incorporating more PCR into the produce bags aligns with D’Arrigo California’s emphasis on sustainable farming and packaging, which includes commitments to recycling, solar power, and water conservation.

In separate efforts, the grower has shrunk its packaging footprint in recent years by reducing the amount of plastic in its romaine bags by 25% and eliminating the bag’s zipper, which reduced plastic use by another 5%.

Emerald is committed to sustainable packaging, as well. The company is an Ellen MacArthur Signatory and helped shape California legislation for improving recycling infrastructure. The company has also earned California Green Business certification for its work on waste, water, and energy reduction.

About the Author(s)

Kate Bertrand Connolly 1

Freelance Writer

Kate Bertrand Connolly has been covering innovations, trends, and technologies in packaging, branding, and business since 1981.

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