Gilbert-based company building towards a plastic-free grocery store

Bassett hopes that by creating durable plant-based fiber alternatives for everything from straws to coolers, Arizonans don’t feel as overwhelmed.
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 10:08 PM MST
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GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - One of the keys to lowering our carbon footprint is using less plastic. And one of the companies playing a leading role in the shift to more environmentally-friendly packaging is Footprint, headquartered in Gilbert, Arizona.

“Our long-term vision and plans at Footprint are to transform every single aisle of that grocery store,” Footprint’s Senior Vice President of Sales Jeff Bassett said.

Bassett and his team at Footprint realize that plastic isn’t going away overnight. “It is a massive situation that we’re in with a lot of the plastic,” Bassett said.

In the meantime, Bassett hopes that by creating durable plant-based fiber alternatives for everything from straws to coolers, Arizonans don’t feel as overwhelmed on their journeys to a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

“The number one way that a consumer can understand your sustainability message is through your packaging,” he said. “It’s the first thing they interact with when they buy your product. So the more sustainable you can make that, the more you can communicate your position to your consumers.”

Restaurants like Panera or Chick-Fil-A have already bought into the impact Footprint’s packaging can have. “We were able to last year replace 565 million plastic straws with our fiber straws,” Bassett said. “That’s the equivalent of eliminating a million pounds of plastic or 33 city buses worth of plastic.”

It’s pretty clear at this point that using less plastic is a good thing. But are plant-based fiber alternatives more cost-effective? Footprint says, on average, the fiber alternatives are only a cent or two more than plastic options. That’s why Bassett is optimistic about a plastic-free grocery store happening soon.

“Within the next 2-5 years, I think the pressure is going to be overwhelming for brands to make the transition and to really think twice about the amount and types of plastic they are using,” he said. “We actually see a future where there will be a lower cost than plastic today.”