Canadian Packaging

New Seattle Ordinance Means More Green

July 2, 2010
by Canadian Packaging Staff

On July 1, 2010, the City of Seattle introduced an ordinance requiring all  single-use food-service packaging to be compostable or recyclable.

The new law is expected to yearly divert approximately 6,000 tons of throwaway containers and food waste from going to landfills each year, as well as saving a 100-car long train from making a trip to an Oregon landfill ,

Seattle, WA, is the first North American city to pass such an ordinance, although both San Francisco and Toronto have similar, but less strict packaging laws.

The ordinance includes retailer meat trays, in addition to Seattle’s previously banned polystyrene foodservice packaging and means all single-use foodservice packaging at quick-serve restaurants and grocery stores to be recyclable or compostable or recyclable.

While the new ordinance does pose a challenge at retail by banning the use of expanded polystyrene trays in the meat case, manufacturers are ready to offer an alternative. 

A compostable tray option available to retailers is the Cryovac NatureTRAY (see photo above), which has been offered by retailers in the Seattle market since April 2009 and is available in brown to indicate to consumers that it is compostable.

The NatureTRAY was the first foam tray in the U.S. created with NatureWorks PLA (polylactic acid) polymers and was introduced to the market in 2007. Made entirely from annually renewable plant materials, it can be used for in-store packaging of beef, pork, poultry and fish, as well as produce and dry goods.
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