In honor of Earth Day, today, we are hosting our annual community event at Berry Global’s headquarters in Evansville, IN. We have been celebrating Earth Day with this event for more than 30 years, giving students tours of our company’s largest manufacturing facility to offer an up-close look at how we are giving plastics multiple lives. Tours for more than 800 elementary students from across the local community include educational presentations and activities from Berry team members and our community partners, helping students understand the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling in their daily lives. 

Contributions from several supplier and community partners, including Green Bay Packaging, Republic Services, and CenterPoint Energy played an integral role in making the event a success. Participating classrooms were also provided curriculum in becoming Recycling Champions and promoting career paths within our company and the manufacturing sector at large that accelerate the circular economy.

Americans have been celebrating Earth Day since 1970, helping mobilize the modern environmental movement by raising consumer awareness and advancing numerous regulatory actions in the U.S., including the Clean Air and Safe Drinking Water Acts. 

As reinforced in our company’s latest sustainability report, Berry’s long-term vision is to be the leading source for sustainable packaging. Just as we support an international legally binding agreement on plastic pollution that all countries can sign, Berry Global supports and applauds efforts to keep plastics in circulation. By securing agreements across advanced and mechanical recycling streams, Berry will have access to 600+ million pounds of recycled content per year starting in 2025.

From its functionality, durability, and ability to provide a lower-carbon alternative to other materials, plastic offers a range of benefits that have made it a popular choice among brands for over a century. That said, our company recognizes the global problem and the role we play in eliminating it. 

Consumers are rightfully demanding change and looking to brands they trust to help end plastic waste. Because of our unmatched global capabilities, sustainability leadership, and deep innovation expertise, those brands look to us to help them keep natural resources in use and out of our environment. 

Moving away from using virgin plastic from fossil fuels, we are innovating circular products and packaging designed with end-of-life in mind. With safety always in focus, we push the limits of innovation for our customers with new, sustainable packaging solutions that drive circularity by increasing the use of recycled and renewable plastics, lightweighting items, offering reuse and refill options, and improving recyclability. 

Using our proprietary, closed-loop CleanStream® recycling technology, our new recycling facility in Leamington Spa, UK not only mechanically recycles domestically recovered household plastic waste, it also washes, sorts, and decontaminates it to produce lower-carbon, contact-sensitive recycled plastic at scale. According to an in-depth life-cycle analysis by Quantis*, CleanStream recycled material from this state-of-the-art facility has around 35% lower carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions than virgin plastic – a reduction of about 36,000 tonnes of CO₂ annually. 

Through these types of recycling advancements and the increased use of bio-based products made from renewable resources, such as used cooking oil, our company’s long-term vision is to decouple packaging solutions from fossil fuels that make virgin plastic. This is good for the environment and our bottom line. Here’s why: 

  • Compared to virgin plastic, mechanically recycled plastic uses as much as 88% less total energy.
  • The increased use of bio-based products made from renewable resources, like cooking oil and forestry residue, can further reduce the carbon footprint of plastic packaging solutions.
  • Advanced recycling can transform used plastics into new plastics and other products, reducing fossil energy use by up to 97% compared to landfilling.

In addition to setting science-based emissions reduction targets and minimizing our waste, water, and energy use, we partner with organizations, including the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and World Wildlife Fund, that are critical to the success of ending plastic waste. We have also taken a leadership role with the Alliance to End Plastic Waste and The Recycling Partnership to support education and infrastructure investments needed to increase the use of recycled content and improve the collection and recyclability of plastic waste.

Now that we can recycle and reuse even more types of plastic, the focus must be on greater access and improved recycling infrastructure – so everyone can play a role in eliminating plastic waste and advancing a circular economy.

*Assuming 36kMT output at 1.96kg