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Whole Foods, Environmental Center to recycle clamshell containers

Drop-offs to be accepted on four dates this year

BEND, Ore. - The Environmental Center and Whole Foods Market in Bend are teaming up to accept #1 plastic clamshells for drop-off recycling. 

Deschutes County currently accepts plastic bottles, tubs and jugs in the curbside recycling carts, at Deschutes Recycling and the county-wide transfer stations. Clamshells are often mistakenly thought of as an acceptable plastic in the mixed recycling, and this leads to contamination. 

“People often assume that if a container has a recycling symbol on it, that it is automatically recyclable,” said Denise Rowcroft, Rethink Waste Project Manager with The Environmental Center. “When it comes to plastic, all containers will have that symbol, and the number just indicates what type of plastic it is. It is always important to check locally, as it varies regionally.”

Rowcroft said this is more important than ever, because it is this kind of contamination that led to China cracking down on what they are accepting from other countries in the global recycling market. Rowcroft also encourages the use of reusable containers, jars and bags when clamshells are avoidable. 

Whole Foods worked with their distributor to find an alternate solution, as they sell numerous products across several departments that come in the clear, plastic clamshell containers. Whole Foods bails the plastic on site and returns it to Portland with their distributor, DCI. The bails are then recycled through EFI Recycling.

Whole Foods reached out to the Environmental Center to help educate customers and support their staff on drop-off days. Drop-off days have been scheduled one time per quarter, the last Saturday of the month, 10 am-4 pm. The clamshell return will kick off on January 27 and will be followed up on April 28, July 28 and October 27.     

“Our customers and vendors have been asking for this for a long time,” said Becca Burda, the Marketing and Community Relations Liaison for the Bend store. “Given our green mission, we’ve long felt a responsibility to keep these clamshells out of the landfill and couldn’t do it without the support of our friends at the Environmental Center.”

The containers don’t need to be sterile, the organizers said, but should be rinsed of all food residue. 

WHEN: Clamshell Return and Recycling – January 27, April 28, July 28, October 27, all Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

WHERE: Whole Foods Market - 2610 NE Highway 20, Bend


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