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Recycle Check Deep Dive With General Mills

Research has shown us that 7 in 10 consumers look at a product’s label or packaging to determine if it can be recycled. Recycle Check is an exciting new on pack solution that tells consumers whether or not a package goes in their curbside recycling bin, using information from local community recycling programs. By simply entering a zip code or allowing location permissions, consumers can receive a clear, yes-no answer about whether to recycle a specific item where they are – in seconds.  

We are excited to announce that the General Mills Pillsbury pie crust tray has arrived on shelves just in time for pie season, featuring the first Recycle Check QR code to hit the market. We spoke with Patrick Keenan, General Mills Sustainable Packaging R&D, to discuss his experience with the adoption of Recycle Check!  

General Mills is a longtime supporter of on-pack labeling for recycling information, including the How2Recycle label. Why did you choose to be a Recycle Check early adopter?  

As a company we are proud that 92% of our packaging is recyclable and we will continue to make progress to 100% by 2030. We also know our consumers care deeply about recycling. When they trust on pack information and can quickly understand how to properly dispose of packaging, we all benefit.  

General Mills works with third party organizations, like The Recycling Partnership & How2Recycle who are experts on circularity, to provide unbiased, easy to understand on-pack instruction for packaging disposal.  Over two thirds of our packaging is labeled with the How2Recycle label. These static labels can include instructions like ‘Check Locally’ or ‘Store Drop-Off’. The addition of Recycle Check, a scannable QR code for localized recycling instructions, further improves the process for consumers. Transparent, clear, localized disposal instructions for packaging is critical to make the overall waste and recycling system more efficient. These efforts and others can prevent non-recyclables from ending up in the recycling stream or valuable recyclables ending up in the landfill.  

It’s important to leverage technology to provide a remarkable experience for our consumers.  The data and technology behind Recycle Check will be a useful tool for the industry to understand consumer access to recycling and standardizing rules from community to community. Being an early adopter allows us to support this technological advancement that supports circular packaging.

Why did you choose the Pillsbury pie crust tray for your first Recycle Check product? What are the benefits to starting with this particular product/package? 

Our Pillsbury pie crust tray currently has a How2Recycle label. We know consumers tune into and care about the action that is needed next. For the aluminum pie crust tray, when they see the ‘Check Locally’ status, the addition of the scannable Recycle Check QR code will empower them to quickly access local, package specific recycling information.  Data today suggests around 40% of households have access to recycling pie crust trays and we are working to improve access through our support of The Recycling Partnership.  We are eager to have the opportunity to pilot this with our consumers over the next few months.  

What do you hope to learn from the pie crust trays hitting store shelves this fall?

As consumers and passionate packaging professionals bake their seasonal pies we are eager to learn how often Recycle Check is being used & the value it brings to them. A key part of the tool is an additional survey so we can learn more about our consumers recycling needs. 

To learn more about Recycle Check and consider this dynamic solution for your brand’s products, visit recyclingpartnership.org/recyclecheck.

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