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Yoplait yogurt containers changed to non-recyclable!!!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

A couple months ago we noticed that "Yoplait Light" changed some of their yogurt containers to an oval style - from the original tapered cylinder style we are all familiar with.  It occured to me recently that there may be more to this than I think when I realized the peal-off top was not like the former foil type.  So I took a good look at the new container...

 

First - the original style, which we have some still coming in the Thick-n-Creamy variety, are plastic #5 (difficult, but possible to recycle/upcycle), and what appears to be an aluminum foil peel-off top.  Most of us are familiar with this one.

 

The new style is an oval shape, and as it turns out - regretably - is a plastic #6 container (polystyrene), and is not recyclable currently.  The top appears to be a chip bag type material... uncertain specifically. 

 

I was really surprised - in a bad way - that they would go to #6 instead of #1 or #2... cost may have something to do with it, but now you cannot make upcycled products like handbags and jackets out of the "recycled yogurt containers" with #6.  I was certainly not happy to see that with all that is going on in our world that Yoplait would make this kind of backwards change. 

 

I posted this on another green site as well and many are contacting them through their website in an e-mail campaign.  www.yoplait.com - go to the "contact us" portion if you wish to let them know how you feel about such a change...

post #2 of 11

That is definitely not a change for the better.  Thanks for letting us know!  My email to Yoplait has been sent.

post #3 of 11

That sucks! You would think that with all the green hype right now companies would learn their lesson and start using more sustainable materials, if for no other reason to attract customers who are concerned about the environment.

 

We have to get the message through to them. I believe in the power of the consumer!

post #4 of 11

whoa - that's very surprising. I just emailed in as well and put a link to the forum asking for a response...we'll see...

post #5 of 11

Here's what I just got back from Yoplait's customer service:

 

Dear Valued Consumer:
 
Thank you for contacting us about your recycling concerns.  General Mills has a long-standing commitment to our consumers to produce safe, high-quality products.  As a company with more than 100,000 employees, we're also strongly concerned about the health of our environment.
 
We use recycled materials to package our products whenever possible.  Currently, ninety-eight percent of our dry food products are packaged in recycled materials.  We display recycling codes on our packages to encourage consumers to recycle the materials that are accepted by their local community recycling programs.
 
The recycle symbol is owned and governed by the Plastics Industry.  It was designed to provide information about the kinds of materials that are contained within a particular package and that it can be recycled.
 
Because recycling programs are handled at the local level, we encourage you to contact your local city council for additional information.  We realize that many communities are just beginning to develop recycling programs for their residents and they may not be able to accommodate all the materials that can be recycled.  With this in mind, our policy is to use packaging materials that are not toxic when burned or buried in landfills.  Our containers are recyclable.  The seal is aluminum and the plastic is #5.  It depends on what your program accepts in your area.  Also our large multi packs of containers are now made wiht the #6 plastic.
 
At General Mills, customer feedback is critical to our success.  It's through communications like yours that we become aware of consumer concerns and preferences.
 
We share your concerns about the environment and we're continually looking for environmentally-safe packaging.  I hope you will continue to use and enjoy our products.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Paula A. Vaughn
General Mills
Consumer Services
post #6 of 11

That doesn't say much...

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deej:

Here's what I just got back from Yoplait's customer service

 

Yeah, I got back the exact same thing this morning.

It's kind of ridiculous that he says "The seal is aluminum and the plastic is #5.  It depends on what your program accepts in your area."  That's exactly the point!  The vast majority of recycling centers won't take #5 plastics so they just go straight to the landfill.

 

For example, when I was in school in Rhode Island, there was a huge campaign to get students to take off their bottle caps (typically made from #5).  If you stuck a plastic bottle in the recycling with the cap on, the recycling folk wouldn't bother taking off the cap.  They'd just throw the entire bottle in the pile to get trashed.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

So what they are saying is that their "case" size - like I get at Costco of the Yoplait Light - is #6... nobody recycles that!  I suppose it is chemically possible, but I dare them to find a public program that takes it in the USA!!!  #5 is hard enough!   ...and the bulk sales are the most important by volume!!!  AAAARRRGH!!!  (LOL)

 

On the original style - which is available for some varieties and individual sales - has an aluminum top, which I have forever been rolling up and putting in any aluminum can we recycle... sorta insures it get's a chance to be recycled.  And the plastic #5 is accepted in my area by Waste Management.

 

But now - unless I pay a whole lot more to buy them at a regular grocery store - is ALL waste.  Disappointing.  ...and they admit it... sigh.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

I could reuse some for what would probably be very good seed starters...

 

Read an article about how industry could take #6 plastics and easily disolve them in acetone to where it changes to a gooey consistency - which could then be remolded into other products like toys and figurines.  Not sure how eco-friendly the process is or isn't - if it's cost effective; nor have I heard of any actual significant interest in companies doing such a thing...  It is interesting that it is possible to upcycle #6 in a real way. 

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalSolar:

 

Read an article about how industry could take #6 plastics and easily disolve them in acetone to where it changes to a gooey consistency - which could then be remolded into other products like toys and figurines.  Not sure how eco-friendly the process is or isn't - if it's cost effective; nor have I heard of any actual significant interest in companies doing such a thing...  It is interesting that it is possible to upcycle #6 in a real way. 

 

Hm...yeah, I wonder if the energy it takes to upcycle the #6 plastic justifies the process or not.  Clearly, sending more resources down the drain (or to the landfill as the case my be) isn't stellar at all...but let's just hope that little by little, our consumer willpower will help spur some fundamental changes in our products and in their packaging.

post #11 of 11

Would the better approach be to require at state level that retailers of all goods be required to provide complete recycling facilities for their packaging and their products. Ok, if a companuy has a reusable container, we could accept that it might not be recycled if they buy it back for reuse.

 

We should probably get out of the business of fighting these battles over and over again for each product and packaging choice manufacturers make and go for legislation to require it.

 

I did say retailers, making it their responsibility to decline to carry products that they can not support. I know this would be a big benefit to major chains and be harder for mom and pop stores. But we have so little leverage on manufacturers, given interstate trade protections.

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