Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Meijer is encouraging its customers to bring their plastic flowerpots and trays – regardless of where they originally purchased them – to any Meijer Garden Center to recycle.
“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 in state: 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.
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 strides in recent years to reduce plastic waste. For example:
- In April, Meijer donated $1 million to the charitable arm of the Council of the Great Lakes Region in the U.S. – the CGLR Foundation – to clean up Midwestern beaches and waterways and provide greater awareness about the scale of the plastics pollution problem.
- In November, Meijer wrapped up a pilot project with Dow that enabled a new paving technique using recycled plastic bags to create a durable parking lot at the retailer’s Holland, Michigan, supercenter. The project used 12,500 pounds of post-consumer recycled plastic, 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.
Meijer 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 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, visit meijer.com.