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As we celebrate Earth Day (which turned 50 last year), the topic of sustainability becomes prevalent. There is a lot of terminology that falls under the category of sustainable, and some of it can be vague or confusing.

Today, we’ll be learning by clarifying what some of the most commonly used phrases related to sustainability mean.

Berry Global and Their Commitment to Sustainability

Our supplier partners at Berry Global were kind enough to contribute to this educational pursuit. Berry Global, a Fortune 500 global manufacturer and marketer of plastic packaging products, is striving to maximize their sustainability efforts, including designing 100% of their packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable.

They implement technology, in the form of refining and recycling machinery, and sophisticated software to monitor production, efficiency, waste, and any biproduct that can be reused, to minimize their ecological impact and associated costs to their customers.

Berry Global’s commitment to sustainability aligns with AFFLINK, and parent company, Performance Food Group’s Sustainable Choices™ program, dedicated to furthering a high standard of sustainability efforts.

Simplifying the Sustainability Lingo

Read further and discover what these commonly used terms mean in reference to sustainability and its practice in the real world.

Bio Based or Bio Sourced

When the product is partially or fully derived from renewable sources. Biobased plastics, a type of bioplastic, are typically made from algae, corn, or sugarcane.

Circular Economy

An industrial economy that promotes resource efficiency as an alternative to the traditional linear economy of “take, make, use, dispose” production. The circular economy aims to extract maximum value from each resource used, at each stage in its lifecycle, then to recover and reuse these materials at the end of the resources’ serviceable life.

Closed Loop (systems)

A business model or process that completely reuses or recycles all materials. For example: A closed loop water system will continuously cycle the same water to cool materials, and a closed loop recycling system is a concept that has zero waste.

Post-Consumer Resin (PCR)

Once a material or product has served its intended use and been recovered from waste, it is considered post-consumer. The intended use may have been as transportation packaging or household usage. The material can then be recycled having finished its life as a consumer item. The new product could then be marketed as having “x-amount” post-consumer recycled (PCR) content in it.

Post-Industrial Resin (PIR)

This refers to material that has been processed initially but has failed to meet specifications or otherwise not sold as prime material, and is therefore sold to another party for reprocessing. This material is not post-consumer, as it was never sold to serve its intended use. The new product could then be marketed as having “x-amount” post-industrial recycled content in it. This does not include internal scrap, where scrap is reprocessed on-site.


If material is recyclable, it means that it is theoretically able to be recycled. This does not necessarily mean the infrastructure is in place everywhere for current recycling of a product made from that material. The recyclability of a product is based on the material(s) it is made from, and whether those materials are recyclable.

Recycled Content

The amount of recycled content can be defined as the proportion, by mass, of recycled material in a product or packaging. This can be recycled content from both post-consumer recycled material and industrial recycled material.  

Small Actions Breed Big Results

We take action everyday to continue our environmental stewardship. Whether those actions involve corporate partnerships, or simply volunteering to pick up debris on a riverbank, they all count.

Join us in our mission. Click the links provided to learn more about Berry Global at and Performance Food Group’s corporate responsibility focus.


Image of Michael Wilson
About Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson is AFFLINK'S Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He has been with the organization since 2005 and provides strategic leadership for the entire supply chain team. In his free time, Michael enjoys working with the Wounded Warrior Project, fishing, and improving his cooking skills.

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