Progress Toward Plastic-Free: PCC Community Markets Eliminates More Than 80 Percent of Petroleum-Based Deli Packaging from Its Stores

2019 News


(Aug 28, 2019) – PCC Community Markets (PCC), the nation’s largest community-owned food market, today introduced a collection of new compostable deli containers to its 11 Puget Sound-area stores. This change will eliminate more than 8 million pieces of petroleum-based plastic packaging from the supply chain each year, which accounts for more than 80 percent of the plastic packaging used in PCC’s scratch-made deli. The container is one item in the retailer’s growing collection of compostables — the co-op set a goal in 2018 to eliminate all petroleum-based packaging from its deli by 2022.

“We are one of a few grocers in the country committed to eliminating plastics at such an ambitious scale,” said Brenna Davis, PCC’s VP of Social and Environmental Responsibility. “According to scientists, plastics persist in the environment for generations and over 700 marine species are impacted by them. PCC wants the scratch-made food served in our deli to be both good for you and good for the environment. And for us, that includes the ingredients from which it’s made and the packaging in which it’s served.”

Critical to the success of the initiative will be a campaign to educate PCC members and shoppers on proper disposal of the compostable items in the co-op’s stores as well as at home. The campaign will introduce a bold new “compostable” logo which will be printed on much of the retailer’s compostable deli packaging, including the new deli half-pint, pint and quart containers, cold and hot drink cups, cup sleeves, soup containers, napkins and pizza boxes. The new logo is open-source, which allows other retailers and businesses to use it as well. In addition to in-store signage, the initiative will include a digital campaign focused on outreach to other industry leaders and publications.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, packaging — a majority of which is attached to food and beverage items — makes up nearly 25 percent of waste that ends up in U.S. landfills. Plastic packaging makes up 52 percent of all plastics thrown away.

A national leader in sustainability, PCC began to reduce its use of petroleum-based plastics in 2007 when it eliminated plastic grocery bags from all stores, five years before the City of Seattle’s plastic bag ban in 2012. The co-op introduced compostable trays in its meat and seafood department in 2010 and replaced plastic straws and utensils with compostable alternatives in 2015 — three years before the City of Seattle’s ban on these plastics went into effect in 2018.

As PCC works toward a plastic-free deli, it is collaborating with packaging manufacturers to identify innovative, new packaging options. The co-op anticipates rolling out additional sustainable and functional packaging in its deli in 2020. The retailer is also exploring a zero-waste approach that would encourage shoppers to take part in reducing packaging by using their own containers in the bulk section.

PCC’s full social, environmental and financial bottom line results can be found in the 2018 Co-op Purposes Report here.

View our infographic here.

About PCC Community Markets

Founded in Seattle in 1953, PCC Community Markets (PCC) is the nation’s largest community-owned food market with an unmatched enthusiasm for making food from scratch. PCC is a haven for those who share a dedication to fresh, organic seasonal food that is sustainably sourced from local producers, farmers, ranchers and fishers. With an active membership of more than 66,000 households, PCC operates 11 stores in the Puget Sound area, including the cities of Bothell, Burien, Edmonds, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and Seattle. Seattle stores are in the neighborhoods of Columbia City, Fremont, Green Lake, View Ridge and West Seattle, which will reopen in 2019. The co-op also plans to open new stores in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood in 2019, and Bellevue, Madison Valley and Downtown Seattle in 2020.

In 2018, PCC gave nearly 50 percent of after-tax earnings to members and the communities it serves, including schools and nonprofits around the Puget Sound area such as the PCC Farmland Trust, FareStart and Ventures. For more information, visit: Facebook or Instagram.

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