Kroger teams with TerraCycle for Simple Truth Recycling Program

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Kroger teams with TerraCycle for Simple Truth Recycling Program

By Dan Ochwat - 08/05/2020

(This story was updated on 8/6 with new information from TerraCycle.)

Kroger’s Simple Truth is the first store brand to develop a recycling program with TerraCycle, a company that for several years has been helping retailers and consumer goods brands recycle products that aren’t traditionally recyclable.

The Simple Truth Recycling Program centers on its flexible packaging that’s not accepted in the curbside bin, including produce bags, bread bags and plastic overwrap found on items like tissue boxes and bottled water.

Kroger is assisting consumers to recycle more than 300 Simple Truth products where they can sign up at a page on the TerraCycle site, and then after purchasing Simple Truth products in the bags, pouches, etc., ship them to TerraCycle using a free, prepaid shipping label. By doing so, consumers will earn points for each package sent and can redeem points as donations to charitable organizations.

The recycling platform is the biggest service run by Terracycle, recycling chip bags, personal care products, cigarette butts and more. The company works with several national brands such as Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, General Mills, Nestle and many more.

It also has been working with some national brands in a reuse movement through its arm Loop, notably P&G was a key figure in Loop’s founding. Loop enables shoppers to buy a reusable package through the retailer online like a silver tin for Haagen-Dazs ice cream that was developed with Loop, gets shipped by Loop and then shoppers return it through Loop’s shipping system to get it refilled. The company likens it to the days of the milkman.

Store Brands reached out to Kroger and TerraCycle representatives to see if any private brands are leveraging the Loop reusable packaging system. A TerraCycle representative has shared that in 2021 Loop is planning on being available in brick-and-mortar locations, where shoppers will be able to pick up Loop reusable goods on shelves and drop off empty containers back at the store for the refill process. The representative said Kroger and Loblaws in Canada are both developing own brand products and packaging solutions to be used in the Loop system.

The Simple Truth Recycling Program is a big step from Kroger though and part of its Zero Hunger I Zero Waste initiative that aims to significantly add more recycling and reuse product packaging. By the end of 2019, Kroger reduced the amount of plastic resin in its private brands packaging by 10.1 million pounds, achieving its goal to reduce by 10 million pounds ahead of schedule. 

"As the first major retailer to create a free recycling program for their own private label brand, Kroger is offering consumers the opportunity to divert packaging from landfills and make a positive impact on the environment for future generations," said Tom Szaky, TerraCycle founder and CEO.

The Simple Truth Recycling Program is currently open to individuals, schools, offices and community organizations across the United States. 

"Sustainable packaging is a core tenet of our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan," said Keith Dailey, group vice president of corporate affairs and chief sustainability officer. "While packaging is important for preserving product quality, freshness and integrity, we also recognize the negative impact packaging—especially plastic varieties—can have on the environment. As we continue to drive progress toward our current 2020 sustainability commitments, we're laser-focused on reducing unnecessary packaging from our enterprise, reusing where we can and striving for more sustainable packaging across our private-label portfolio,” said Dailey.