PCC Community Markets Further Reduces use of Petroleum-Based Plastics

2021 News

Co-op bans sale of plastic water bottles below one gallon; eliminates sale of nearly 100,000 single-use plastic bottles


(SEATTLE, June 30, 2021) – PCC Community Markets (PCC), one of Seattle’s original grocers and the largest community-owned food market in the U.S., announced it has discontinued the sale of plastic bottled water sized below one gallon. This move broadens an earlier PCC ban on single-serve plastic water bottles of 500ml or less and the change will eliminate the sale of roughly 100,000 single-use plastic bottles across PCC’s 15 stores each year.

The expansion of the existing ban on plastic water bottles is part of the co-op’s ongoing mission to reduce use of petroleum-based plastics. This ban is the latest step in work PCC has been focused on for years, that includes:

  • PCC working to eliminate all petroleum-based plastics from deli packaging by 2022; in 2019 it switched deli round containers from petroleum-based plastic to plant-based compostable, eliminating more than 8 million pieces of petroleum-based plastic per year
  • In 2015, the co-op replaced plastic straws and utensils with compostable alternatives; three years before Seattle’s ban on those plastics
  • The co-op eliminated plastic grocery bags from all stores in 2007; five years before the City of Seattle’s plastic bag ban

“PCC’s focus on eliminating petroleum-based plastics is an absolute priority,” said Brenna Davis, PCC’s VP of Social and Environmental Responsibility. “It is a critical concern for the co-op to address with plastics being tied to land and water pollution, human exposure to chemicals, and contributions to climate change through plastic production. At PCC we are continually looking to support the environment and provide our shoppers with sustainable alternatives.”

Aligned with the updated water bottle ban, PCC has worked to provide shoppers with more sustainable options, including water sold in refillable and reusable aluminum bottles.  Rather than single-use cans, these bottles are sturdy enough to be reused multiple times and if it gets damaged, the bottle can be easily recycled. Similar to glass, these aluminum bottles are infinitely recyclable.  Additional ways that PCC provides alternative options for water continues to include:

  • Bulk water dispensing
  • Boxed water (in packaging similar to milk cartons), which is 92% plant-based, recyclable in the Puget Sound region, and made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper
  • Water in glass bottles, which are reusable and recyclable

This ban connects with PCC’s 5-year sustainability goals that also include achieving carbon negative store operations and increasing the co-op’s selection of organic products. You can learn more about the co-op’s Social and Environmental Responsibly Goals and progress here.

Note: The ban does not apply to sparkling water or enhanced waters such as high-PH drinks.


About PCC Community Markets

Founded in Seattle in 1953, PCC Community Markets (PCC) is a certified organic retailer and 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 over 800 local producers, farmers, ranchers and fishers.

The co-op’s mission is to ensure that good food nourishes the communities it serves, while cultivating vibrant, local, organic food systems. With an active membership of more than 90,000 households, PCC operates 15 stores in the Puget Sound area, including the cities of Bellevue, Bothell, Burien, Edmonds, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and Seattle. Seattle stores are in the neighborhoods of Ballard, Central District, Columbia City, Fremont, Green Lake, View Ridge and West Seattle. The co-op also plans to open new stores in Downtown Seattle and Madison Valley and relocate its Kirkland location.

In 2020, PCC gave more than 60% of pretax earnings to members and the communities it serves. This includes the co-op’s first-ever member dividend and support of nonprofits around the Puget Sound area such as Ventures, Washington Farmland Trust and FareStart.

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