How a Food Packaging Company is Changing the Industry for the Better

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 A New Mission’s Drastic Plastic Mission to reduce the amount of plastic on supermarket shelves.

Can ReadyCycle change the entire industry? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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Plastic Pollution Coalition has teamed up with an app called Anew Mission to help ordinary people create a collective movement to change industry behavior. The mission: Drastic Plastic is collecting seed ideas on how consumers can push supermarkets and grocery stores to stop using so much plastic.

As awareness about the global plastic pollution crisis grows, more and more consumers want to shop with less waste. In fact, a recent survey showed 91 percent of people in the UK wanted a plastic-free aisle in the supermarket.

“Consumers are often blamed for buying food in plastic packaging; however, many consumers do not have a choice to buy food items plastic free,” said Jane Patton, managing director of Plastic Pollution Coalition. “While you may bring your own bags to the market, food such as pears, cauliflower, avocado, lettuce, cucumber, meats, dairy, etc. may already be wrapped in plastic. We need supermarkets to hear us and commit to change.”

Already in the first two weeks of launch, more than 300 people have downloaded the app and started adding ideas, and a video explaining the mission has been viewed more than 22,000 times.

“How can we get supermarkets to stop using so much plastic packaging? By downloading the Anew Mission app, citizens can add their ideas, vote on the best ones, and strategize with us on how to make the solutions feasible,” said Jeremy Agnew, founder of Anew Mission.

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