Clover Sonoma® Announces First Post-Consumer Recycled Gallon Milk Jug in the United States
September 28, 2021 – Petaluma, Calif. — Clover Sonoma, a third-generation family-owned and operated dairy and Certified B Corporation®, today announced it is launching the first post-consumer recycled (PCR) gallon milk jug in the United States. Starting with thirty percent PCR content on its organic gallon milk line, the company commits to increasing the PCR content and extending PCR content use across all Clover Sonoma gallon milk jugs by 2025. Using PCR content in plastic packaging creates a closed loop system for recycling plastic gallon milk jugs and ensures that plastic is neither created nor destroyed, but re-used for a single purpose.
Clover Sonoma is at the forefront of innovative, sustainable packaging solutions for the food and beverage industry having announced the first fully renewable milk carton in the United States in 2020. The company also made the conscious decision to reduce plastic waste by saying “no” to plastic caps on paper milk cartons. Being the first to come out with a thirty percent PCR content gallon milk jug is the next step in sustainable packaging innovation. The first PCR milk jugs will be on shelf in the first quarter of 2022 with a designated logo to educate consumers about the new packaging’s benefits.
“To reach our sustainability goals, packaging innovation is a priority for us as a company,” said Clover Sonoma CRO Kristel Corson. “Finding sustainable solutions means taking risks and investing in what’s best for the planet. We are focused on improving our packaging across product lines using reusable, recyclable, renewable, and environmentally conscious resources. We encourage the food industry to join us in this effort.”
PCR Content Benefits
Post-consumer recycled content is material that is made from the items that consumers recycle every day, like aluminum, cardboard boxes, paper, and plastic bottles. These materials are typically collected by local recycling programs and shipped to recycling facilities to be sorted into bales, based on the material. The bales are then purchased and melted (or ground) into small pellets and molded into new items. The new PCR plastic material can then be used for a variety of finished products, including plastic gallon milk jugs. Post-consumer recycled plastic packaging may have a slightly darker appearance and is food safe and FDA approved.
While all eco-friendly packaging options are a step in the right direction for brands looking to be more sustainable, PCR packaging has unique benefits. PCR packaging matches the quality of regular packaging including the same level of protection, barrier performance, and strength as regular plastic. PCR content will still block light, oxygen, and other gases from penetrating the package layer and contaminating the product. Overall, using PCR packaging helps reduce Clover Sonoma’s carbon footprint, lessens impact on landfills, and meets overall sustainability goals.
Recycled plastic is less wasteful than new plastic, because new plastic mostly comes from non-renewable fossil fuels like petroleum, which are hard on the environment. By contrast, recycled plastics require no “virgin” petroleum to be sourced and divert recycled materials from ending up in a landfill, so they alleviate much of the environmental burden.
The Value in a Circular Economy
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the circular economy can transform the future of plastic packaging as it focuses on transforming our throwaway economy into one where waste is eliminated, resources are circulated, and nature is regenerated. Clover Sonoma is doing their part to contribute to a circular economy by helping close the loop on gallon milk jug recycling.
“By closing the loop on gallon milk jugs, Clover Sonoma is helping keep packaging out of landfills,” said California Milk Advisory Board CEO John Talbot. “California dairy producers and processors are committed to providing a sustainable, nutritious product while working together to reduce the environmental impact of milk across its entire lifecycle. This initiative is an important step in that journey.”
Currently, the company’s gallon milk jugs are made of high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, commonly referred to as #2 plastic, which is one of the most widely accepted plastics in recycling programs across the United States. As Clover Sonoma produces milk gallon jug packaging using more PCR content, the company needs a greater volume of recycled HDPE. If more consumers rinse, cap and place gallon milk jugs in a recycling bin for pickup, the company can produce more milk gallon jugs from recycled PCR content to further support a circular economy.
About Clover Sonoma
Third-generation family owned and operated, Clover Sonoma is a leader at the forefront of the dairy industry, bringing conscious dairy products direct from its family farms to consumers. The Petaluma-based company in Northern California’s beautiful Sonoma County was the first dairy in the United States to become American Humane Certified, and hold its partnership of family-owned dairy farms to a higher standard by developing its own unique Clover Promise of Excellence. As a Certified B Corporation®, the company uses its business as a power to do good, and its passionate support of animal welfare, sustainable practices, and local community continue to be hallmarks of the business. Each year, the company gives back at least five percent of its profits to support these passions under its Clover Cares program. For more information, please visit www.cloversonoma.com and join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.