MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota - Nature Valley is leading the charge to a more recyclable future and today, launches the first plastic film wrapper designated as Store Drop-Off recyclable by How2Recycle with the brand’s iconic Crunchy granola bar. The newly packaged bars are on shelves this spring and bring Nature Valley closer to achieving its commitment to 100% recyclable packaging by 2025. By purposefully not patenting this wrapper, Nature Valley is welcoming other food brands to apply the technology to their product portfolios.
“This advancement led by Nature Valley demonstrates that big, innovative thinking can empower and enable consumers to take small steps, like recycling a wrapper through Store Drop-Off, to make a significant difference in the health of our planet,” said Mary Jane Melendez, chief sustainability and social impact officer, General Mills. “It’s up to brands like Nature Valley and others in the snack industry to make these changes and do our part to protect the environment for generations to come.”
With this new packaging, Nature Valley plans to educate consumers about the Store Drop-Off recycling system, re-engage their interest in reducing landfilled material and stimulate recycling. According to the Hartman Group’s Sustainability 2019 report, 70% of the U.S. population want to decrease plastic waste but don’t know how, yet over 90% of Americans are within 10 miles of a Store Drop-Off recycling location. That is a potential 295 million people who could participate in Store Drop-Off recycling.
Developed in collaboration with Nature Valley R&D scientists and packaging partners, the wrapper uses new-to-the-category, advanced film processing with unique polyethylene polymers. Once recycled, the materials can be used to create new products like synthetic lumber and decking equipment. This new packaging offers the barrier needed to preserve the product’s freshness and does not compromise the product’s shelf life. The goal is to implement the wrapper technology across the brand’s entire portfolio of snacks by 2025 and extend to other General Mills brands and products.
Nature Valley introduced the world’s first granola bar in 1975 as an on-the-go snack designed to help people get outside and explore nature. The How2Recycle® Label is a standardized labeling system that clearly communicates recycling instructions right on the package.
“Our drive to be a force for good, and a force for nature, led Nature Valley to invest in this packaging technology,” said Brian Higgins, Grain Snacks Business Unit Director at General Mills. “And as the creator and share leader of the bar category, we feel a responsibility to continue innovating and encouraging future solutions that could make recycling wrappers even easier.”
Nature Valley along with other General Mills brands, are working with leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to create infrastructure for plastic film recycling, such as The Recycling Partnership and the Wrap Recycling Action Program (W.R.A.P.). To help encourage Store Drop-Off recycling of Nature Valley wrappers, and other eligible plastics, the brand has created a multi-channel consumer education plan to drive awareness of Store Drop-Off recycling and promote small consumer actions that can lead to big impact in the world.
The newly packaged Crunchy granola bars are available this spring at all major retailers. For more information about Nature Valley’s journey to create a more recyclable future, visit NatureValley.com/Recycle4Nature.