Plastic Egg Cartons Crack the Reusable Packaging Market

Thinking “outside the carton” is how Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs has proven itself an exceptional packaging innovator in introducing the industry’s first reusable egg carton.

Pete Gerrys Eggs Reusable carton open displayHow exceptional?
While it’s now counted among select major consumer packaged goods companies like Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Nestlé and Unilever that have developed reusable packaging, Pete and Gerry’s offers a distinct difference: those brands operate within the relatively friendly and limited, closed-loop confines of TerraCycle’s revolutionary Loop system (Game-changing waste-free shopping platform introduced by TerraCycle at Davos, published January 2019).

The egg brand goes big and goes it alone in launching a test into retail, relying solely on its own know-how and select partners that include Hanover Co-op Food Stores in New Hampshire and Vermont where the pilot was launched in December.

A few key facts to know about what the refillable polypropylene carton brings to the table:

  • The average person in the U.S. eats approximately 279 eggs per year or about 23 cartons worth;
  • Projected over a lifetime, using a refill carton would save more than 1,800 cartons per person, according to the brand.

Reusable reasoning.

CEO Jesse Laflamme explains the game-changing reasoning behind the Monroe, NH, company's bold plans.

"While we are confident in the sustainability of our current carton, which is made from 100% recycled PET and has less environmental impact than the [expanded polystyrene] or molded pulp cartons used by conventional egg brands, we continue to challenge ourselves to find even better ways to improve our environmental stewardship,” he says. “Reusable cartons are a logical next step in our ongoing commitment to sustainability, moving consumer behavior from recycling to reuse a step up in the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle hierarchy. As many other major consumer packaged goods companies, we recognize that reuse is even better than recycling, and we’re proud to be at the forefront of this growing movement to help reduce the impact of packaging on the planet.”

The reusable cartons are made of white-pigmented PP that can be washed at home and reused repeatedly. Laflamme declines to identify the carton supplier.

“While the program is still in the pilot phase, the cartons are designed to be extremely durable, and have been thus far,” Laflamme tells PlasticsToday. “The goal is for them to withstand trips to the grocery store for years to come! We hope to have more data around its longevity as the pilot continues.”

There’s also a reason why new cartons are white, rather than clear as with the single-use rPET carton.

“The white variation made the most sense for low-volume production,” Laflamme explains. “We’re excited to have the chance to explore other options when we begin scaling up.”

Next: Shopping bags, payback and plans

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