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Stonyfield Converts to Plant-Based Packaging for Multipack Cups

Stonyfield Farm has replaced its petroleum-based multipack cups for its yogurt products with new packaging made from plants. Claimed as a first for the dairy industry, the new cups cut the package’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 48 percent.

Stonyfield’s supplier, Clear Lam (whose supplier is NatureWorks, a Cargill subsidiary) is using corn to produce the polylactic acid (PLA) that makes up 93 percent of the plastic for the new cups.

The plant-based multipack replaces the petroleum-based polystyrene (PS#6) cups in all Stonyfield multipacks for YoBaby, YoToddler, YoKids, B-Healthy, B-Well, Probiotic & O’Soy). The new multipacks will be available this week in stores.

The organic yogurt maker says there won’t be any pricing increases as a result of the new packaging.

The corn used for the new packaging also will meet sustainable agriculture standards. Under the Working Landscapes Certificates (WLC) program, Stonyfield contracts for the volume of corn needed for their packaging to be grown according to WLC’s sustainable agriculture standards.

Like the polystyrene plastic packaging it is replacing, the new plant-based cup is not recyclable in most communities. However, Stonyfield says the new cup’s greatest environmental benefit comes up front during the growing and manufacturing process through the significantly reduced use of fossil fuels.

According to EL Insights, 27 percent of products at major U.S. retailers are estimated to have sustainable packaging in 2010, and by 2015, this figure is projected to reach 37 percent.

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2 thoughts on “Stonyfield Converts to Plant-Based Packaging for Multipack Cups

  1. Since it is not recyclable in most communities – does any one know if this product biodegrades better, faster – or is it just as bad as plastic in this regard?

  2. Hi John, Here’s what I found on the Stoneyfield website:
    “While PLA itself can be composted, the particular blend used in our multipack cups is too thick to be considered compostable under American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) international standards. And, surprisingly, the independent review of PLA’s environmental impact found that composting is not the best option for disposing of the cups. Why? Because composting would release the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the plant-based plastic (CO2 absorbed by the corn when it was growing) back into the atmosphere where it would contribute to global warming.”

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