Back to the Roots, America's leading organic gardening brand, announced that in the 2024 garden season, packaging for its best-selling Organic Potting Mix will begin transitioning to bags made from certified circular, 100% Post-Consumer-Recycled plastic (PCR) — a first for the soil category.

Back to the Roots has been driving sustainability in the Lawn & Garden industry for over a decade with its 100% organic promise and original Grow Kits made from upcycled coffee ground waste. In recent years, Back to the Roots has been investing in R&D and leaning into recycled materials with its PCR-based Plant Food & Wildflower Seed Mix Packaging, Hydroponic Grow Kit, and Seed Starting Trays.

Bringing recycled content into the soil category, however, has been a tough challenge given the unique environmental demands on the packaging. For this launch, Back to the Roots is leveraging new recycling technologies recently pioneered by leading consumer brands such as Kind Bar, Mars, Mondelez, and Unilever to help drive the Lawn & Garden industry forward. 

To develop the 100% PCR packaging, the company partnered with ProAmpac, a global leader in flexible packaging and material science, and had the recycled material certified under the Global ISCC PLUS Certification (Institute of Sustainability & Carbon Certification). This widely recognized international sustainability certification uses a mass balance approach to verify the quality and authenticity of the recycled material along the supply chain from waste feedstock to the final product. 

"ProAmpac, as an innovator of sustainability and a circular economy in material usage, is proud to leverage our ISCC-certified supply chain to offer advanced recycled PCR content (cPCR). Ensuring the technical and durability needs that outdoor environments require, cPCR performs at the same high level as virgin resin-based film," said Gary Koellhoffer, Product Manager at ProAmpac. "Back to the Roots is a brand partner who shares our sustainability goals, and their adoption of advanced PCR content in the Lawn & Garden industry is inspiring. This launch sets the trend, pushing more brands across the industry to embrace cPCR and work towards greater sustainability in packaging."

"When it comes to sustainability and minimizing our environmental footprint, we feel like you're never really 'there' - it's just a path you commit to in order to get a bit better each day and not settle for the status quo. This launch is a huge step for the soil industry towards getting better and helping reduce the 100s of millions of pounds of virgin plastic being used each year,” said Co-Founder & Co-CEO Nikhil Arora. “Acknowledging the fact that only ~5% of all plastic ends up being recycled and soil packaging is traditionally landfilled, we challenged ourselves on how to try to make our bags out of recycled materials to start the road towards a circular plastic economy.”

"When we think about reducing the footprint of our soil packaging, we go back to the fundamentals we learned in elementary school - reduce, reuse, and recycle. This is just the start of our journey towards a more sustainable soil category,” added Co-Founder & Co-CEO Alejandro Velez. “We ultimately envision a world where our community can bring back their own reusable totes into stores to fill up with soil year after year after year; but in the meantime, we want to reduce & recycle — each bag we sell should use less and less drilled oil/gas and virgin plastic.”