ConAgra Foods announced today that its packaging innovation, frozen meal trays made from post-consumer recycled plastic, has received the Ameristar Package Award for food. The trays, which contain up to 40 percent post-consumer recycled plastic, will divert approximately 8 million pounds of plastic from landfills to the recycling stream each year. The Ameristar Awards are presented annually by the Institute of Packaging Professionals.
ConAgra Foods partnered with Associated Packaging Technologies to utilize a new technology that cleans recycled plastic for use as a component in frozen meal trays. Older plastics technologies limited food companies to using only new plastic to comply with regulations for direct food contact materials. The new ultra-clean processing technology makes it safe for consumers to eat the prepared food directly from the frozen meal trays. The new trays are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as direct food contact materials.
The post-consumer recycled plastic is used in nearly all of the company’s frozen meal trays for Healthy Choice(R), Banquet(R), Kid Cuisine(R) and Marie Callender’s(R) products. Traditionally, frozen meal trays have been made of crystallized PET plastic, a material that uses only newly produced plastics and that requires more energy and resources to produce. ConAgra Foods is the only company in North America using post-consumer recycled plastic in frozen meal trays.
“Our frozen meal trays with post-consumer recycled material are one small part of ConAgra Foods’ effort to reduce waste and positively impact the environment,” said Gail Tavill, ConAgra Foods vice president, Sustainability. “We are proud that the Institute of Packaging Professionals is recognizing our efforts, and we’re pleased to accept the Ameristar award,” she added.
ConAgra Foods began the transition to the new trays in June 2008. The company's frozen meal trays are now being produced using the more environmentally friendly material.
Source: ConAgra Foods, Inc.