The Airlite Blog


Sustainable Food Packaging – A Future-First Mindset

April 2021 marks the 51st anniversary of the beginning of Earth Day. We’re proud to lend our support and voices to the Earth Day cause, but more importantly, we’re also taking action.

It all starts with recycling.

All of our signature containers and lids are made with sustainability in mind. We ensure that each molded unit we make is 100% recyclable and reusable—all 2 billion+ of them. However, regardless of those efforts, we know that we have a global problem regarding plastic waste being discarded into landfills and our natural environment.

So we’ve made significant efforts, partnerships and acquisitions designed to maximize our post-consumer recycling efforts. In fact, we’re a top consumer of post-consumer plastic ourselves. Airlite is a zero resin waste facility, which means that all scrap produced in our manufacturing process is reground and reused to create products for our other divisions like Fox Blocks® and TrueGrid®.

Innovations in reduction.

On top of creating premium containers that stand out on the shelf, we’re also focused on creating containers that keep products on the shelf longer.

We’ve been able to help our customers, and grocery chains reduce their impact by providing full-wrap in-mold labeled (IML) containers with an EVOH oxygen barrier layer. The oxygen barrier helps protect the product from spoiling, being thrown out, and restocked unnecessarily.

Another innovation in the grocery aisle is Airlite’s “Microwaveable Sleeveless Tray” (MST), a breakthrough in the microwaveable ready-to-eat food category. The MST removes the need for the secondary paperboard sleeve and therefore eliminating the waste of tons of raw paper material.

With the premium-branded IML lid of the MST, a consumer can heat mashed potatoes, refrigerate unused portions without tin foil or cellophane, and later reheat the product in the same container. And best of all, the MST can be made using up to 50% post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR). This is a big step towards accomplishing our vision of a circular economy, where all plastic is recycled, and all of our products are created without the need for virgin resin.

Reusability is key.

At Airlite, we create products that have the ability for a second life. The vast majority of our products are durable, dishwasher safe, microwavable, and reusable. So when the product is gone, they’ll have a container that remains easy to repurpose in the kitchen or around the home.

Our focus on creating a circular economy for our products led to the launch of our Again! Cup® which aims to help put a significant dent in the 120 billion disposable, single-use coffee cups American’s use every year. The waste from these cups alone adds up to over 2.2 billion pounds of waste annually. The Again! Cup® is a sustainable, BPA-Free, injection-molded drink cup that is ultra-durable, dishwasher-safe, and infinitely reusable. This cup provides the opportunity for local, regional, and national coffee shops, restaurants, and convenience stores to incentivize and reward the use of these reusable cups. And like the MST and all of our products, it is fully recyclable and can be produced using 50% FDA-approved, post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR).

Learn more on our sustainability practices page.

Happy Earth Day 2021!

Product Feature

Discover the Impact of the Again! Cup®

Two Again Cups

Sustainable beverage packaging is incredibly rare at quick-service restaurants (QSR), gas stations, and other regional coffee houses.

Forcing a change in these industries can be difficult, but more companies are rising to the challenge every day—trying to find ways to minimize their impact on the environment. And the Again! Cup® from Airlite provides us, our customers and their customers an amazing opportunity to work together and do just that.

The Big Problem

Every year, Americans use 120 Billion disposable, single-use coffee cups. When you combine that with the raw materials used in the lids, sleeves, and straws, these paper cups create over 2.2 billion pounds of waste a year.

Some people may assume that these cups are easily recycled. However, what makes these cups functional in the first place, is the plastic lining on the inside. It’s this lining, on top of the paper, that makes recycling these cups a challenge, and more often than not, cups like these end up in a landfill.

Our Sustainable Solution

At Airlite, we’re hyper-focused on helping minimize our impact on the environment. Our clients are the same way—continually looking for ways to make sustainable practices easier for them and their clientele.

Our Again! Cup® is a sustainable, BPA-Free, injection-molded drink cup that is ultra-durable, dishwasher-safe, and infinitely reusable.

But it’s not enough to be technically reusable; a cup like this needs to be something people like using and are happy to reuse. The Again! Cup® is a stylish cup that can be labeled using our The Look® printing method or branded with Airlite’s premium in-mold labeling to create a lasting brand impression.

Along with a premium look, the cool-touch ribbing surrounding the cup makes it easy and safe to grip without the need for single-use cardboard sleeves every time you order a coffee or tea.

On top of being reusable, the Again! Cup® is like all Airlite containers in that it is 100% recyclable. And it is also part of a growing list of Airlite products made using up to 50% FDA-approved, post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR).

This is big because only half of the product relies on virgin resin, with the rest coming from polypropylene that has already gone through the recycling stream. The Again! Cup® is a big step towards our goal of creating products made with a high-percentage or entirely from post-consumer recycled plastics.

Our Vision

Between our initial rollout of the Again! Cup® and today, the product’s relevance and potential have only grown. Our vision is to continue to expand the use of the Again! Cup® by partnering with organizations like Loop and providing our customers a cup that they could use to build their own reusability program around—a cup that can be cleaned, reused, and even distributed for resale over and over again.

We see an opportunity for local, regional, and national coffee shops, restaurants, and convenience stores to incentivize and reward the use of these safe-touch, premium-branded, and reusable cups.

Airlite is excited to work with our clients in these industries to customize an Again! Cup® that fits their business goals and helps reduce our collective impact on the environment.

Contact us to learn more.