Global FMCG major General Mills has introduced its first film wrapper for the Nature Valley granola bar that is designated as fully recyclable by How2Recycle under the Store Drop-Off system in the US. According to the company, the newly packaged bars will hit the shelves this spring and bring Nature Valley closer to achieving its commitment to 100% recyclable packaging by 2025.
“By purposefully not patenting this wrapper, Nature Valley is welcoming other food brands to apply the technology to their product portfolios,” General Mills said.
The Store Drop-Off label applies to certain flexible polyethylene (PE) film packaging, such as bags, wraps, and pouches. Through Store Drop-Off recycling, consumers can take items featuring this label—like the wrap-around paper towels, produce bags, or certain stand-up pouches—to their local participating retail location to recycle along with any plastic shopping bags.
“This advancement led by Nature Valley demonstrates that big, innovative thinking can empower and enable consumers to take small steps, like recycling a wrapper through Store Drop-Off, to make a significant difference in the health of our planet,” said Mary Jane Melendez, chief sustainability and social impact officer, General Mills. “It’s up to brands like Nature Valley and others in the snack industry to make these changes and do our part to protect the environment for generations to come.”
Nature Valley to educate customers about the Store Drop-Off system
With this new packaging, Nature Valley plans to educate consumers about the Store Drop-Off recycling system, re-engage their interest in reducing landfilled material and stimulate recycling. According to the Hartman Group’s Sustainability 2019 report, 70% of the US population want to decrease plastic waste but doesn’t know how. Yet, over 90% of Americans are within 10 miles of a Store Drop-Off recycling location. That is a potential 295 million people who could participate in Store Drop-Off recycling.
Developed in collaboration with Nature Valley R&D scientists and packaging partners, the wrapper uses new-to-the-category, advanced film processing with unique polyethylene polymers. Once recycled, the materials can be used to create new products like synthetic lumber and decking equipment. In addition, this new packaging offers the barrier needed to preserve the product’s freshness and does not compromise the product’s shelf life. The goal is to implement the wrapper technology across the brand’s entire portfolio of snacks by 2025 and extend to other General Mills brands and products.
Along with other General Mills brands, Nature Valley is working with leading non-governmental organizations to create infrastructure for plastic film recycling, such as The Recycling Partnership and the Wrap Recycling Action Program (WRAP). In addition, to help encourage Store Drop-Off recycling of Nature Valley wrappers and other eligible plastics, the brand has created a multi-channel consumer education plan to drive awareness of Store Drop-Off recycling and promote small consumer actions that can lead to a significant impact in the world.