Meijer Helps Gardeners Recycle Plastic Waste

a close up of a sign

Meijer is encouraging shoppers to bring their plastic flowerpots and trays — regardless of where they originally purchased the plants — to any of the retailer’s Garden Centers to recycle.

Meijer began collecting the plastic containers — which primarily come from its three suppliers of annual flowers — on recycling carts in its Garden Centers in 2014. Since then, the retailer has contributed to the recycling of 1,825 tons of plastic through East Jordan Plastics, a South Haven, Michigan-based plastic processing company, according to a news release.

"At Meijer, we integrate environmental sustainability into our daily operations because it makes good business sense and aligns with our values of caring about the communities we serve," said Jeff Lynch, Garden Center merchant for Meijer, in the release. "Gardening is an activity that supports a natural environment where plants can flourish, but unfortunately, the majority are sold in plastic gardening containers. By working with our suppliers and customers to recycle those containers, it's our way of being more environmentally friendly and moving the industry forward."

Meijer works with three main, Michigan-based local suppliers of its annual flowers: Masterpiece Flower Company in Byron Center, Kalamazoo Flower Group in Kalamazoo and Meadowridge in Zeeland. The suppliers provide Meijer with more than 6.5 million plants each year and work together to consolidate, sort and ship the containers back to East Jordan Plastics, which continues the cycle.

In recent years, Meijer has put forth multiple efforts to reduce plastic waste, including:

  • In April 2022, Meijer donated $1 million to the charitable arm of the Council of the Great Lakes Region in the U.S. — the CGLR Foundation — to clean up Midwestern beaches and waterways and raise awareness about the scale of the plastics pollution problem in the Great Lakes.
  • In November 2021, Meijer wrapped up a pilot project with Dow that enabled a new paving technique using recycled plastic bags to create a more durable parking lot at the retailer's Holland, Michigan, supercenter. The project used approximately 12,500 pounds of post-consumer recycled plastic.
  • Also in 2021, Meijer partnered with Clorox Co.'s Brita to launch a back-to-school-themed "Brita Meijer Recycled Garden Program" that awarded a Midwestern school with three recycled garden beds, two picnic tables, three benches and a trash receptacle. 
  • In January 2020, Meijer opened its first small format store, Woodward Corner Market, without single-use plastic bags. The initiative was launched in April 2022 at Bridge Street Market in Grand Rapids.
  • Since 2014, each Meijer store has collection bins inside its front entrance vestibules for customers to deposit clean, dry plastic bags and films, including single-use, bread, dry cleaning, produce and water softener bags.

Meijer is also holding its first Sustainability Supplier Summit virtually from June 20-23 for vendors nationwide to showcase sustainable products across categories to Meijer merchants.