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Performance Food Group and WestRock launch sustainability initiative
Performance Food Group, (PFG), and pizza box manufacturer, WestRock, are working together to deliver Sustainable Choices - a pizza box recycling educational program - to pizza box customers, and pizza consumers across the US.
The foundation of this project is a WestRock study, which was reviewed and endorsed by members of the American Forest & Paper Association. The study was designed to determine whether grease or cheese contamination levels typically associated with pizza boxes, impact the finished product quality of the corrugated cardboard.
Conclusions from the study state corrugated pizza boxes can be recycled with normal levels of residual grease and cheese.
Additionally, a consumer Access Study shows that approximately 73% of the US population is estimated to have recycling programs available for pizza boxes. Of that total, 27% of the population is served by programs with explicit acceptance of pizza boxes, 46% of the population has access to recycling programs that imply, but do not explicitly state, they accept pizza boxes. The remaining population's programs either imply, or explicitly state they do not accept pizza boxes.
PFG and WestRock partnered to develop a Sustainable Choices online portal designed to educate restaurant owners, and the public on pizza box recycling facts.
"Sustainability has long been a guiding principle for us here at PFG," says Dennis Riffer, president and CEO of Afflink - the division of PFG responsible for the company's non-foods business.
"Aligning with our partners at WestRock on this campaign, solidifies our corporate environmental, social and governance strategy in a way that will benefit our restaurant customers and their guests for years to come."
The portal also features a ZIP code lookup tool where a consumer can view their local pizza box recycling guidelines. A QR code on the side of WestRock-manufactured pizza boxes points visitors to the portal website.
Jeff Chalovich, chief commercial officer and president of Corrugated Packaging at WestRock, explains: "At WestRock, we connect people to products through innovative, sustainable fiber-based packaging.
"The pizza box recycling initiative is another great example of our broad range of digital capabilities and demonstrates how we work with customers and communities to improve the environment."
Participating restaurants have promotional materials available through PFG distribution channels. In addition to the QR code on the box, restaurant owners and operators can display their support through window clings, pre-printed stickers, and a selection of digital options for their websites or social media.
The goal for both WestRock, and Sustainable Choices is to increase awareness on pizza box recyclability and encourage pizza box recycling acceptance, in clear language, from municipalities on local pizza box recycling policies.
4th March 2021