Kellogg’s San Diego-based granola brand Bear Naked says it has introduced the first fully-recyclable stand-up barrier pouch for food in the United States.
Previously Bear Naked had a dedicated pouch recycling program with TerraCycle, but customers had sign up for a special program to collect, clean, and ship the packaging to New Jersey, Plastics Today’s Rick Lingle pointed out. “While commendable in diverting packaging from landfill, the process wasn’t efficient or convenient,” he wrote.
The new granola packaging that’s been rolled out across product lines is made from plastic film that consumers can drop off at 18,000 retail locations nationwide for recycling. Researching and designing the pouch took more than 18 months, Recycling Today’s Kelly Maile reported.
“When the brand had decided they wanted to go a bit further with their sustainability story, we spent some time working with our existing packaging suppliers and film converters,” Shannon Moore, Kellogg’s lead packaging engineer, told the outlet.
Kellogg collaborated with Dow and other packaging suppliers to make a monolayer polyethylene pouch that’s approved to have the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s How2Recycle label, Maile explained.
“The technology allows for a higher barrier material to go through the store drop-off process,” Moore said. “I’m sure other consumer goods companies are going to start similar projects.”
Creating a reclosable zipper for the pouch that could work with Kellogg’s existing equipment was challenging, but the company worked with Fresh-Lock on a certified recyclable zipper that wouldn’t melt through the film when it got sealed on the bagger.
Moore added that Kellogg is looking at incorporating the new packaging technology into other brands beyond Bear Naked that have similar formats. The Battle Creek, Michigan-based multinational food manufacturer also has its eye on developing food-grade post-consumer resin in order to fully close the packaging loop.