Industry News

Rochester, New York grocery retail chain Wegmans, which has more than 100 stores in seven states, says it is now packaging its eggs in recycled-content molded fiber (also called molded pulp), switching away from polystyrene (PS) plastic.

In an early September blog post, the retailer says it has committed to reducing its in-store plastic packaging made from fossil fuels, along with other single-use plastics, by 10 million pounds (5,000 tons) by 2024.

States the blog post in part, “On our journey to improve the sustainability of our packaging, we recently made a change to our egg cartons. Previously made from PS foam, the new cartons are made of 100 percent post-consumer recycled newsprint and paper products. By making the switch from foam to molded fiber cartons, we will eliminate 625,000 pounds of foam from our stores every year.”

States Ron Indovina, a Wegmans dairy and frozen category staff member, “We decided to make the switch to paper pulp cartons because we heard from customers that wanted a fiber, paper option.”

The retailer says Indovina worked with the Wegmans sustainability team and its egg supplier, Clarence, New York-based Kreher Family Farms, to find a new carton. This April, the paper pulp cartons were launched at Wegmans stores in Massachusetts for an eight-week test, and the cartons were rolled out company-wide in early summer.

“We are eliminating foam packaging wherever possible,” says Jason Wadsworth, who has packaging sustainability responsibilities with Wegmans. “It’s not widely recyclable and never will be. The new cartons are a better option and are more widely recycled.”

At least one customer has contacted Wegmans to pass along a favorable comment, according to the blog post. Wrote the customer: “Thank you for finally getting rid of the foam egg containers. My husband has been storing them with the hopes that someday someone will figure out how to recycle them. He was so ecstatic when he saw the [molded fiber] egg containers when I brought home the groceries. We thank you for doing your part for the Earth!”