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Back Room: Product and Packaging Improvements

Product and Packaging Improvements

We’re continually looking for ways to conserve resources and help our planet. One example is a recent change in how we ship our ice cream. When we began to use a steadier pallet to stack product in our Lakeland, FL dairy plant, we found that we no longer needed the cardboard slip sheets we used to protect the ice cream. That saves nearly one million square feet of cardboard each year!
We removed cardboard trays from our Publix 24-pack bottled water, saving more than 13 million trays—or 2.2 million pounds of cardboard—per year. Our bottles have been reconfigured to fill a “nested” pack, allowing us 16% more packs on each pallet. This means we move and store fewer pallets for the same amount of product.
Here are other examples of product and packaging improvements that help us be more sustainable:
Beverage stirrers: We removed plastic stirrers from our company breakrooms and cafeterias and in our retail cafes, replacing them with wooden stirrers. This saves more than 5,200 pounds of plastic annually.

Foam coffee cups: We removed foam coffee cups from our company breakrooms and cafeterias, replacing them with paper cups. This saves more than 61,700 pounds of foam annually.

Deli slider bags: We switched to a slider bag, which is lighter and made with stronger plastic—reducing our yearly use of plastic by more than 327,000 pounds.

Cutlery: We installed cutlery stations at each of our Deli counters, removing the need for plastic-wrapped cutlery sets. This eliminates the need for the outer wrap and also allows our customers to take only the cutlery they require. The removal of the overwrap and the new, lighter-weight cutlery saves an estimated 35,600 pounds of plastic per year.

Thermal paper receipts: We worked with our receipt paper supplier to reduce the size of the plastic core in the paper rolls. This improvement reduced the amount of plastic needed to hold our receipt paper by more than 8,000 pounds annually.

Bakery cold cup lids: We switched suppliers for Bakery Café cold cups and changed the lid material from polystyrene to a more recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Bakery muffin cups: We reduced the amount of paper in our Bakery muffin cups by 23% by working with our supplier, saving 13,000 pounds of paper per year.

Italian wedding cake trays: We eliminated 7,900 pounds of corrugated cardboard annually by working with our supplier to reduce the size of the sidewalls on our Italian wedding cake trays.

Reusable wine bags: In 2015, we worked with our supplier and saved 28,000 pounds of plastic by reducing the amount of material in our reusable wine bags.

Reusable plastic bins: Rather than ship meat to our Deli plant in nonrecyclable cardboard containers, four of our suppliers now ship in reusable plastic bins. This saves about 204,000 pounds of cardboard each year.

Single-scale label: We always look to improve—and in this case, less is more. We eliminated 35 million separate date, price, and product description labels by consolidating this information onto a single-scale label that acts as a security seal on the packaging, which reduces the chance of product spillage.

Returnable plastic totes: We reduced the amount of polystyrene foam and hard-to-recycle cardboard used to transport seafood products to our stores by switching to returnable plastic totes for our seafood shipments. In 2015, we eliminated more than 190,000 polystyrene foam containers with this new method.

Cotton mops: We worked with our cotton mop supplier to remove the plastic sleeves our mops are shipped in. Besides the cost savings, this change resulted in an annual reduction of 2,500 pounds of plastic.