Plastic Ingenuity Thermoform Circularity Report 2021
Customer Stories

Plastic Ingenuity Incorporates 80% PCR into Existing Food Tray

Meat and Cheese snack side by side
Creminelli Meat and Cheese snacks

The Challenge

Transform Existing Package into Sustainable Solution

Creminelli Fine Meats, a crafter of ready-to-eat charcuterie, turned to Plastic Ingenuity for a sustainability assessment of their packaging. Creminelli strives for a packaging that reflects the values of their organization. Enhancing the sustainability of the thermoformed tray was seen as an opportunity for improvement, and a potential differentiator for consumers.

Two people collaborating

The Process

Plastic Ingenuity Conducts Sustainability Assessment

PI conducted a sustainability assessment focusing on material efficiency, structure selection, and design for recovery.  The process kicked-off with a thorough review of the design to discover optimization opportunities. Design attributes were compared to the Association of Plastic Recycler’s (APR) design guide to determine the impact on recyclability.  A determination of recycling was made and options for improving the design for recovery were proposed.  A sustainability improvement road map was created for collaboration with Creminelli to determine priorities and choose a path forward.  Trials and testing were conducted to ensure performance.

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    PCR Content

    80% PCR Content = 11,284,180 recycled water bottles

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    Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    137.6 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions reduced

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    Material Use Reduction

    7% reduction in material use

Meat and Cheese snack side by side

The Solution

A Meat & Cheese Approach

PI engineering determined the trays could be downgauged to reduce material usage without compromising performance.  Tray footprints were maintained to minimize disruptions to filling and packaging processes.

Comparing the tray structure to the APR design guide revealed the structure contains a barrier film that renders the package non-recyclable.  The barrier film is an integral component for performance by providing food preservation properties.  Reducing shelf-life by eliminating barrier properties is not an acceptable trade-off to improve the ability to recycle a package.  Preserving the food (and the valuable resources that went into growing it!) was top priority.

PI proposed the use of post-consumer recycled content in the tray to improve the circularity of the package and reduce inherent greenhouse gas emissions. 80% PCR was selected for implementation.

Results of Sustainability Assessment

Results of Sustainability Assessment

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reduction in material usage

cars removed from the road

trees planted