Sambrailo Packaging—a 94 year old family-owned agriculture packaging company based out of Watsonville, California—pioneered the very first plastic clamshell used in the berry industry.
"Our design and innovation took off not only in the berry industry but paved the way for others to design plastic packaging for various fruits and vegetables in a rigid container," explains Juana Ramirez, Director of Sales and Marketing for Sambrailo Packaging.
But the story doesn't end there. "As we continue to see the damaging effects of plastics in our oceans, landfill, and on our Earth, we at Sambrailo Packaging are in a stage of re-inventing who we are," says Ramirez.
VP of Innovation Tom Taggart began creating the new packaging category ReadyCycle, made from corrugated cardboard without wax, labels, or plastic coatings, and designed for the existing cardboard recycling stream.
"We recognize and believe that we are at a point where change is desperately needed," continues Ramirez. "Introducing ReadyCycle as a packaging alternative to plastic for agriculture is our first step leading the charge."
ReadyCycle hit the market in 2017, and has been adopted by farms and markets throughout the Western U.S. and Mexico.
Durst Organic Growers, in Esparto, California, wrote about their switch to ReadyCycle on their blog: "This adjustment is a costly one, but represents a huge shift for us as we bring the same principles we use for growing our crops to our packaging. We believe in producing clean, organic produce for our consumers and in the same vein, believe that treating our planet with respect and keeping it clean is equally important."
While the benefits of using ReadyCycle are numerous, including the ability for markets and growers to print logos/branding on the containers, the Sambrailo team says the cost is more than the traditional plastic clamshells, and ultimately, the demand for ReadyCycle will be driven by the consumer.
“Anytime you see plastic packaging, there is an opportunity for ReadyCycle to step in and become a viable non plastic solution," said Sara Lozano, Marketing Manager for Sambrailo.
By all accounts, the change is happening. Using ReadyCycle has been voted as one of the top 30 seed ideas in Plastic Pollution Coalition and ANew Mission's Drastic Plastic Mission to reduce the amount of plastic on supermarket shelves. (Download the app here and vote on the seed ideas.)