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Knowing Your Plastics: Recycling Symbols No. 1 to 7

May 8th, 2018 RSS feed icon

plastic resin identification codes

Have you ever wondered what the number inside the arrowed triangle means at the bottom of a plastic product? That logo printed on your plastic is known as a Resin Identification Code or RIC, which a set of symbols used to identify the type of resin from which a plastic product is made. Created by The Society of the Plastics, the system was introduced to U.S. recycling facilities in the late 1980s as a method of reprocessing plastics for further use and manufacturing. Today, the resin code system has become a useful tool for consumers after an increased public awareness of recycling.

What is Resin?

Before plastic is transformed into a product, it starts out in the form of tiny pellets known as resin. Resin is the base of the manufacturing process and have various properties. The pellets undergo a molding method where the plastic is transformed; but the way a product is manufactured depends on the type of resin used. For example, the forming process from P.E.T. resin will be different from the forming process of polystyrene resin, which is why the RIC system is important.

Do Genpak products contain BPA (Bisphenol-A)?

BPA is not used either directly or indirectly with any Genpak products include polystyrene or foamed polystyrene products.

 

Genpak products can be broken down and reformed into more products.

Here are our recyclable plastics, which are safe and offer various features and benefits.

 

#1 PETE - Polyethylene Terepthalate

Polyethylene Terepthalate

stacked clear food containers

P.E.T. plastic products are the most common type of curb-side recyclable plastic. Genpak’s containers made of this material also contain up to 30% post-consumer recycled content, in our conservational efforts to eliminate waste. Genpak’s P.E.T. products include Clear Hinged Deli Containers, Clear Hinged Food Containers, Oven Ready Bakery and Food Containers, Hinged Bakery Containers, Supermarket Containers, Serving Bowls, Clear Cups as well as most of our clear Foodservice Lids.

 

#5 PP - Polypropylene

Polypropylene

hinged, clear top food containers

Another common, curb-side recycled plastic is polypropylene. This type of material is commonly used to produce microwave safe products and great for carrying heavy meals. At Genpak, we produce our Smart Set Pro, Harvest Pro and our new ProView products from polypropylene, which are microwavable and dishwasher-safe for convenience.

#6 PS - Polystyrene

Polystyrene

polystyrene hinged food containers

Polystyrene is a common type of food packaging material with the #6 plastic identification symbol. It has been safely used for nearly 50 years. Genpak products made of polystyrene material include our Smart Set Foam, Foam Hinged Dinner Containers, Foam Hinged Snack Containers, Dinnerware, and our Food Serving Trays. For more information about polystyrene, click here. Need to know where to drop off a Genpak foam product to be recycled? Click here to search for a foam recycling facility nearest your location.

 

At Genpak, we’re passionate about engineering products that perfectly blend with immediate packaging needs. Our history has demonstrated a consistency in developing new products that are both sustainable and recyclable. To request free samples, click here.

PCR process image

Are These Containers Safe In The Microwave? How To Tell If Something Is Safe For The Microwave.

March 5th, 2018 RSS feed icon

We have all been there. The moment you go to reheat your leftovers and you’re not sure they can go in as is. Below are some instructions to ensure your container can handle the microwave.

  • Check the bottom of the container for a symbol. Microwave safe is usually a microwave with some wavy lines on it. If they container has a #5 on it, it is made from polypropylene, PP, so it is generally considered microwave safe. Smart Set Pro and ProView are perfect for microwave applications.microwave safe iconsSmart Set Pro food containers
  • CPET, #1 is safe for the microwave. These containers are usually used for oven ready applications like our meal solutions and bakery trays. Not to be confused the APET, CPET has been crystallized meaning it can withstand much higher temperatures.  CPET products are NEVER clear.
  • APET(E), #1 is not safe for the microwave. These are deli containers, supermarket containers, water bottles, and most containers used for cold foods and display packaging. They are recyclable but not safe to reheat in.
  • PS, polystyrene, Styrofoam, #7 is not safe for the microwave. Most take out containers and clamshells are made of foam for its insulation properties. They keep food warm during transport so you don’t have to reheat them. Be sure to put your food on a plate or other safe container before zapping them in the microwave.
  • Harvest Fiber containers are not recommended for microwave use. They are all natural and compostable.Harvest Fiber food containers
  • Paper products should not go in the microwave since many of them are coated, sealed, or glued to stay together. These additives could leak into your food.

How Genpak’s Microwavable Containers Protect The Environment

August 30th, 2017 RSS feed icon

Source reduction is becoming widely acceptable in our society in hopes of eliminating waste and protecting the environment. Manufacturers are taking advantage of this solution using the three R’s of sustainability: reduce, reuse, and recycle. This 3-step process generates new paths explored by Gen Xers and Millennials as they are more versed in saving the environment through various source reduction programs.

Microwavable Containers that protect the environment

Smart Set Pro containers are recyclable, reusable, and microwave safe.

Here at Genpak, we mark environmental solutions as a high priority by making conservational moves in the food packaging industry. Our best example of that is Smart Set Pro, a collection of microwave safe containers that are designed to be reused, as they are dishwasher safe and recyclable. High in quality and in value, these sustainable containers are perfect for signature menu items and are revolutionary for the ever evolving dine-in, take out, and home delivery platforms. In addition, it’s comprised of textured polypropylene, which is cool to the touch and 20% lighter compared to other competitor options.

We take pride in meeting the growing demand for quality products one container at a time, as we strive to be your food packaging company.

Interested in learning more about what Genpak is doing to protect the environment? Visit the Green Room for global facts, concerns, and our solutions. For more information about Smart Set Pro, click here. To request a free sample, click here.

Don’t forget to join us on our social media platforms for a chance to be featured on our page! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and simply hashtag #GenpakAdvantage to your next post!

Earth Day – April 22, 2017 – What are you doing to help?

March 28th, 2017 RSS feed icon

Earth Day

Earth Day is just around the corner on April 22, 2017. Since 1970, Earth Day has been celebrated around the world to support environmental issues across the world.

Harvest Fiber bowl with compostable lid

HF836 & HF936 – Harvest Fiber bowl with compostable lid

Not only is Earth Day promoting discussion about climate change and sustainable environments, but it also gets people thinking about how their daily lives can make an impact on our Earth.

At Genpak, we are committed to helping keep Earth viable for as long as possible. We use annually renewable resources to produce our Harvest Fiber items, post-consumer recycled content in our Deli Containers and Supermarket Containers. All of our Smart Set Pro and Oven Ready Containers are 100% recyclable. You can learn more about our sustainability efforts in our Green Room.

The ability for an item to composted and biodegradable is high on everyone’s list of environmentally friendly concerns. Harvest Fiber is 100% BPI certified compostable. It will completely breakdown in 90 days in a commercial compost facility

Check out our video to learn more about Harvest Fiber and Earth Day and request free samples.

hinged food container with lobster

HF270 – Harvest Fiber Super Jumbo Container

We hope you will participate with us this Earth Day to help keep the Earth around for many generations to come. For more information on Earth Day, visit www.earthday.org.

Albany County Ban

February 15th, 2017 RSS feed icon

I could not have said it any better myself. The proposed Albany County (NY) ban on polystyrene food packaging will put undo burden on local businesses. This article by one Albany County Legislator sums it up perfectly.

Earth Day 2016

April 7th, 2016 RSS feed icon

Well here we are again approaching another Earth Day which is April 22nd this year. For fun, I thought we’d do some trivia regarding Earth Day. Let’s see how much you know (or guess correctly). The answers are at the bottom…no peeking.

Q. In what year was Earth Day created? 1969, 1970, 1971 or 1972

Q. Who is the founder of Earth Day? Lyndon B Johnson, Richard Nixon, Senator Al Gore or Senator Gaylord Nelson

Q. What United States agency was a result of Earth Day? Rural Development Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture

Q. Since the inception of Earth Day, how much has air pollution decreased in the U.S.? 10%, 30%, 70% or 90%

I think everyone can agree, we must do all we can to help conserve the resource the earth has provided us so future generations can enjoy what we enjoy today. Even food packaging companies like Genpak must play a role. For our part, we practice conservation in many different forms from our manufacturing process to the various types of products we offer. Without question, the greenest products we offer have to be our Harvest Fiber line. They are fully, third party certified compostable, 100% all natural and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

So enjoy Earth Day and celebrate all that Mother Nature has provided!

Answers: 1970, Gaylord Nelson, EPA, 70%

Consumers Get A Victory!

December 8th, 2015 RSS feed icon

Initially I was going to entitle this blog entry as Foam Food Packaging Gets A Victory, but the more I thought about it, the real winner here is the consumer. In New York City, the appeals court upheld the New York State Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned NYC Mayor de Blasio’s ban on foam food service packaging. You can read about that here, but in a nutshell the Restaurant Action Alliance and the coalition of Restaurant Owners in NYC filed the lawsuit. The NYS Supreme Court and now the Appellate Court both agreed and the ban has been overturned. Who wins?

  • Consumers – the price for your favorite to go meal should not go up due to increased packaging costs
  • Food Service Workers – nobody should be laid off due to increased operating costs caused by increased packaging costs
  • Food Operators – you are free to choose the type of packaging you and your customers want. Nobody is forcing a certain type of packaging down your throat. You can stay with foam food packaging or, if you want explore other options, no problem. The point is the government is not forcing you one way or the other which is a good thing.
  • The Environment – according to the EPA, one of the best ways to reduce items heading to a landfill is to recycle. According to this article, the city has an offer to help recycle 100% of its foam products. If they choose to ignore it for political reasons, they’ve nobody to blame but themselves.

Easily Bring Recycling Into Your Restaurant Or Foodservice Business

January 8th, 2015 RSS feed icon

recycling chartThere are different ways in which food service businesses are environmentally friendly. Some use locally grown produce. Some offer reusable containers and packaging, or allow customers to bring their own in. Some use containers that are compostable or made of recycled content. Others use eco friendly chemicals for cleaning. Some find ways to conserve water doing dishes, while still others Use solar power or wind power to generate electricity. The list goes on and on, and many are finding new ways to make Go Green part of the way they do business.

For those businesses that have not initiated any eco friendly movements yet, or think it may be too hard to get started, we want to provide steps to incorporate one of the easiest eco friendly things you can do: Read the rest of this entry »

Recycling Polystyrene

October 17th, 2014 RSS feed icon

There is a belief by many out there that polystyrene and foamed polystyrene can’t be recycled. Just because a local municipality chooses not to pick up products that carry a chasing arrows #6 “recycle logo”, certainly does not mean that material can’t be successfully recycled and turned into useful products that re-enter the world of commerce. In fact there is a booming industry that employs many Americans to support this effort. This video at 10 minutes is a little long, but well worth viewing. It demonstrates the process from start to finish.

 

Busting Polystyrene Myths

October 3rd, 2014 RSS feed icon

The American Chemistry Counsel has just published an excellent piece of literature that busts some of the crazy polystyrene myths that are floating around the internet.  These myths were developed by people and groups who have a specific agenda and are designed to frighten and intimidate people into their specific narrative.

Myth #1 – Foamed Polystyrene is not safe for food contact.  BUSTED – The US Food & Drug Administration has determined for over 50 years that polystyrene is safe for use in foodservice products.   In fact when asked to comment about the safety of foamed polystyrene products used for foodservice, the National Toxicology Program Director, Dr. Linda Birnbaum was quoted as saying  “…in finished products, certainly [poly]styrene is no an issue.”

Myth #2 – Foamed Polystyrene makes up a huge portion of litter.  BUSTED – According to a May 2012 national report by environmental consulting firm Environmental Resources Planning, foam foodservice items makes up 1.5% of all litter.  Having said this, we must state that ALL litter is bad!  In fact we’ve mentioned many times in the past within these blog pages that local governments should focus their efforts on busting litter bugs and educating people about litter instead of whipping out the “ban pen”.  It’s been proven in communities that have banned one type of material in favor of another, that it did nothing regarding litter except trade one type of litter for another.

Myth #3 – Foamed Polystyrene can’t be recycled.  BUSTED – 20% of Californians can now recycle polystyrene foam items in their local curbside programs.  There are other communities that have jumped on that bandwagon and we support and applaud those efforts!

Myth #4 – Styrene = Polystyrene.  BUSTED – Polystyrene and styrene are two different substances.  Yes, polystyrene is made from styrene, but equating the two would be like saying diamonds are the same exact thing as carbon.  After all, diamonds are made from carbon.  But anybody who has purchased a diamond knows they they cost a lot more than a lump of carbon.

For more truthful information regarding foamed polystyrene and other environmental related questions, please visit our Green Room.  We’ve done our best to provide as much spin free truths that are readily verifiable.

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