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Recyclable California produce boxes tested

Abdullah Pope/AFP/Getty Images

Initial tests on newly developed recyclable boxes for California produce began in earnest last week.

Iceberg lettuce, broccoli and celery from Lakeside Organic Gardens’ Watsonville facility were packed into Fibre Box Association-certified recyclable boxes that were supplied by Global Green USA’s Coalition for Resource Recovery, Interstate Container and Green Bay Packaging.

The produce was closely tracked from the Watsonville location to the New Leaf Community Market in Santa Cruz, to see if the packaging could adequately handle transporting wet vegetables. As reported by the Packer, the delivered produce (which reached Santa Cruz “in pretty good shape”) was then used to make salads for those assembled for the event, including Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane.

The ultimate goal is to eliminate the use of paraffin wax, which has traditionally been used to seal boxes used for produce boxes and cannot be recycled.

“We’re in trial mode,” said Dick Peixoto, the owner of Lakeside Organic Gardens to the Packer. “We’ve tried several different companies in the past, and those were failures. This one looks a little more promising, but it’s a work in progress.

“A lot of our products are packed real wet, so some cartons have to be able to take a dousing of water, and some just have to be able to stack up against others that are wet,” Peixoto continued. “That’s where these (recyclables) might work out better.”