Weighing the options
After examining our yogurt packaging options (including glass, poly-coated paper and plastic), we chose lightweight plastic. Glass was rejected, despite its being widely recycled and made from recycled material, because the environmental costs of transporting heavy glass containers outweigh the benefits. The energy (fossil fuels) used over the entire life of the glass package for its manufacture and transport exceeds the energy that goes into the manufacturing and transportation of a plastic container.
Lightweight polypropylene (#5) plastic
In 1992, the Tellus Institute Packaging Study revealed a strong correlation between lightness in packaging weight and environmental friendliness. As a result, we converted all of our HDPE #2 plastic cup packaging to polypropylene (#5), the lightest-weight plastic that would protect our product. Today, our quart containers are more than 30% lighter than they were when we used #2 plastic. By using #5 plastic instead of #2, we prevent the manufacture and disposal of hundreds of tons of plastic per year, resulting in environmental savings from the decreased emissions and resource depletion from the manufacture and distribution of the packaging.
About our cup recycling
Many of our yogurt lovers have asked us to use HDPE (#2) plastic because it's the only yogurt container recycled in their communities. Unfortunately, although many communities accept #2 plastic for recycling, some recycle only the #2 bottles, and not wide-mouth containers such as yogurt cups. Wide-mouth containers have a different melting point than bottles, so the two cannot, in most cases, be recycled together. Often, to avoid confusion, a community will accept #2 bottles and wide-mouth containers, but recycle only the bottles and divert the wide-mouth to waste.
Our #5 recycling partnership with Preserve®
Since most community recycling centers don't accept yogurt cups and #5 plastic containers, we've partnered with Preserve—makers of 100% recycled household products—to turn our used yogurt cups into new products. You can drop off your clean, used cups in a Gimme 5 recycling bin at a Whole Foods Market or other retailers near you, and Preserve will recycle them. Learn more about Preserve and the Gimme 5 recycling program.
Stonyfield's take back program
If you can't find these innovative recycling programs in your community, you can send your clean Stonyfield yogurt cups back to us, and we'll make sure they get recycled. Send them to: Stonyfield Packaging Take Back Program, 10 Burton Drive, Londonderry, NH 03053.
Multipacks made from plants
All of our multipack cups (yogurt 4-pack and 6-pack cups) are 93% made from plant-based PLA plastic. Previously, our multipack cups were made from polystyrene PS #6, so this was a major move away from traditional petroleum-based plastic.
Since PLA is made from corn, which captures carbon as it grows, it releases 48% less carbon than PS releases into the atmosphere throughout its entire lifecycle. This one change to PLA is reducing the total global warming impact of our packaging by 9%. Find out more.
Smoothie bottles made from sugar cane
All of our smoothie bottles are now made of a new HDPE #2 plant-based plastic derived from sugar cane, which is a highly renewable resource vs. petroleum. This change applies to our organic Super Smoothies and YoBaby drinkable yogurt. These plant-based bottles can be recycled with any #2 plastic. Find out more.