MINNEAPOLIS —Nature Valley launched the first plastic film wrapper designated as Store Drop-Off recyclable by How2Recycle. The new packaging was introduced with Nature Valley’s Crunchy granola bar and will help Nature Valley to reach its goal of 100% recyclable packaging by 2025.
The wrapper, developed in collaboration with Nature Valley R&D scientists and packaging partners, uses advanced fill processing with polyethylene polymers that are new to the category but still preserve product freshness. These materials, once recycled, can be used to craft products such as synthetic lumber and decking equipment. By 2025, Nature Valley aims to use the new wrapper for its entire portfolio of snacks, as well as for other General Mills products.
“Our drive to be a force for good, and a force for nature, led Nature Valley to invest in this packaging technology,” said Brian Higgins, grain snacks business unit director at General Mills. “And as the creator and share leader of the bar category, we feel a responsibility to continue innovating and encouraging future solutions that could make recycling wrappers even easier.”
Nature Valley and other General Mills brands are working with The Recycling Partnership and the Wrap Recycling Action Program (WRAP) to build infrastructure for plastic film recycling. Nature Valley’s multi-channel consumer education plan will bring awareness to Store Drop-Off recycling to not only promote consumer action but also engage consumers in reducing landfill waste. Plastic bags, wraps, films and other products that cannot be put in curbside recycle bins and have the How2Recycle Store Drop-off label can be taken to participating local retail stores and recycled there.
According to the Hartman Group’s Sustainability 2019 report, 70% of the population in the United States want to decrease plastic waste but don’t know how, yet more than 90% of Americans are within 10 miles of a Store Drop-Off recycling location. The How2Recycle Label is a standardized label that provides instructions for recycling on the package, including how to utilize Store Drop-Off recycling.
“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 has chosen to not patent the wrapper, so as to encourage other food brands to use the technology for their products.