Wildway, a San Antonio-based natural food company, is taking on what they consider to be a “broken” recycling industry by launching post-consumer recycled plastic packaging. In an effort to be more sustainable, the new packaging will prolong the life of plastic, giving it a second use before it reaches a landfill. The company will roll out the new design this fall with its best-selling Apple Cinnamon and Banana Nut grain-free granola and aims to have its entire product portfolio updated by 2023.
According to a recent Environmental Protection Agency report, only around 9.1% of plastic waste is recycled annually in the U.S., while 15.5 percent is burned and contributes to gas emissions. The rest—26 million tons per year—ends up in landfills. Previously, United States recycling companies had been sending plastic trash to China to process. This practice was shut down last year, and subsequent countries began to purchase American plastic trash without proper infrastructure in place.
“The recycling industry needs a complete overhaul to fix. By redesigning our packaging, we are doing what we can to prolong the life of non-recyclable plastics instead of contributing to more single-use plastics that go straight to the landfill, despite what marketing departments claim,” said Wildway co-founder and CEO Kelli Koehler. “By investing in better solutions, we hope to create a ripple effect amongst like-minded businesses that will gradually increase demand for more and better recycling options that actually work. As of now, the number of new bags we've used made of post-consumer recycled materials equates to 2,368 milk jugs. When laid down, the plastic we are reusing would stretch over nearly seven football fields.”
“Recycling plastics for secondary use is more costly than it is to create new plastic, so this is an added cost to our operations, but we are willing to do what is right. Just like with our ingredients, we happily eat added costs when it means delivering a superior product, both for our customers' sake and the health of our planet,” added Koehler.