GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — In an effort to be a good neighbor and lessen its impact on the environment, Meijer is encouraging its customers to bring their plastic flowerpots and trays – regardless of where they originally purchased the plants or flowers – to any Meijer Garden Center to recycle.
The retailer began collecting the plastic gardening containers – which primarily come from its three suppliers of annuals, like geraniums or petunias – on recycling carts in its Garden Centers in 2014 and has since contributed to the recycling of 1,825 tons of plastic through East Jordan Plastics, Inc., a South Haven, Mich.-based plastic processing company.
“At Meijer, we integrate environmental sustainability into our daily operations because it makes good business sense and aligns with our values of caring about the communities we serve,” said Jeff Lynch, Garden Center Merchant for Meijer. “Gardening is an activity that supports a natural environment where plants can flourish, but unfortunately, the majority are sold in plastic gardening containers. By working with our suppliers and customers to recycle those containers, it’s our way of being more environmentally friendly and moving the industry forward.”
Meijer works with three main suppliers of annual flowers, all of which are local: Masterpiece Flower Company in Byron Center, Kalamazoo Flower Group in Kalamazoo and Meadowridge, Inc. in Zeeland. The three suppliers provide Meijer with more than 6.5 million plants each year, and work together to consolidate, sort and ship the containers back to East Jordan Plastics, which continues the cycle.
In addition to keeping plastic out of the landfill, recycled plastic uses less energy and emits less carbon in its production compared to virgin plastic. In fact, the Association of Plastic Recyclers reported that recycled plastic reduced total energy consumption by 88 percent and cut emissions by 71 percent for Polypropylene, which is the plastic used to manufacture plant and flowerpots and trays.
Meijer has made significant strides in recent years to reduce plastic waste. For example:
- In April 2022, Meijer donated $1 million to the charitable arm of the Council of the Great Lakes Region in the United States – the CGLR Foundation – to clean up Midwestern beaches and waterways and provide greater awareness about the scale of the plastics pollution problem in the Great Lakes.
- In November 2021, Meijer wrapped up a pilot project with Dow (NYSE: DOW) that enabled a new paving technique using recycled plastic bags to create a more durable parking lot at the retailer’s Holland, Mich. supercenter. The project used approximately 12,500 pounds of post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR), which is the equivalent of 944,000 plastic grocery bags.
- In January 2020, Meijer opened its first small format store, Woodward Corner Market, without single-use plastic bags. The initiative was launched in April 2022 at Bridge Street Market in Grand Rapids.
- Since 2014, each Meijer store has collection bins inside its front entrance vestibules for customers to deposit clean, dry plastic bags and films, including single-use, bread, dry cleaning, produce and water softener bags. In 2021, Meijer recycled 7.6 million pounds of plastic bags that were sent to its distribution centers for remanufacturing into decking.
About Meijer: Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates more than 262 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. A privately-owned and family-operated company since 1934, Meijer pioneered the “one-stop shopping” concept and has evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive apparel departments, pet departments, garden centers, toys and electronics. For additional information on Meijer, please visit www.meijer.com. Follow Meijer on Twitter at twitter.com/Meijer and twitter.com/MeijerPR or become a fan at www.facebook.com/meijer.