Whole Foods updates package guidelines for supplement, body care suppliers

AUSTIN, Texas Whole Foods Market has implemented new responsible packaging guidelines for all of its more than 2,100 body care and supplement suppliers, and has switched to post-consumer recycled content bottles for several of its store-brand supplements and body care products, the retailer announced on Wednesday.

Beginning in the summer of 2008, Jeremiah McElwee, global Whole Body coordinator for Whole Foods Market, and his team worked with 25 of Whole Foods Market's largest personal care product suppliers to develop the new guidelines, which became effective Sept. 1, 2009. The guidelines mandate that suppliers reduce the use of plastic in product packaging, encourage the switch to glass when possible and limit acceptable packaging materials to those that are easily reused or recycled and/or feature the highest percentage of PCR content.

Suppliers were given one year to transition to more eco-friendly packaging.

All new body care and supplement suppliers must meet the packaging guidelines before their products can be sold in one of the company's more than 300 locations in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

"At Whole Foods Market, we're committed to reducing, reusing and recycling waste on all levels of business, and we're thrilled to be leading the green packaging charge with our store-brand products," McElwee stated. "We knew that PCR-content bottles were the way to go. They require less energy and water to produce and generate far fewer greenhouse gases, while diverting reusable materials out of the landfill and reducing reliance on virgin plastics."

While the switch to PCR bottles began last September, the company expected to switch all of its house-brand Whole Body products, which now use amber plastic PET No. 1 bottles, to PCR packaging by late 2010. The new bottles bear a leaf symbol indicating that they are made from 100% PCR plastic.