Food Companies to Trim Packaging Waste by 2.5 Billion Pounds

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Food and beverage makers plan to eliminate 2.5 billion pounds of waste by 2020. (Stock Photo)

Thanks to skinny bottles and slimmer boxes, grocery shelves are a bit lighter now – and so are landfills.

Food and beverage makers slashed packaging waste by 1.5 billion pounds since 2005 and expect to eliminate another 2.5 billion pounds of it from the supply chain by 2020, according to a new report from the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Companies saved 800 million pounds of plastic and 500 million pounds of paper through changes such as redesigned packages and an increased use of post-consumer recycled materials.

“But the benefits go far beyond that,” GMA senior director of energy and environmental policy John Shanahan said in a statement. “Companies are reporting that packaging improvements are also enabling them to ship more units per truckload, reduce green house gas emissions and conserve resources such as water and energy.”

Cutting packaging waste by the projected 4 billion pound total – which represents a 19 percent drop in reporting companies’ average U.S. packaging weight – would avoid CO2 emissions equal to removing 815,000 car from the road for one year, GMA said.

The report, the result of two surveys conducted by outside firms, is available here.

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