Johnsonville Sausage, LLC, Sheboygan Falls, Wis., is further reducing its environmental impact by switching to polystyrene foam trays used for its fresh sausage products sold in retail stores.

Cascades, Canada, one of Johnsonville’s packaging vendors, produced EVOK, what is said to be the first ever North American fresh meat polystyrene foam tray that contains 25% recycled material, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15%. Johnsonville is said to be the first national branded sausage leader to use this EVOK packaging in the United States. EVOK was introduced in Canada in 2013.

Johnsonville will use this EVOK packaging on all of its fresh meats, including fresh bratwurst, fresh Italian links and ground sausages, Johnsonville Naturals, breakfast patties and links, fresh grillers and its new chicken kabobs.

“Our members (employees) are empowered to propose and implement continuous improvement initiatives across many areas of our organization, and we’re always excited to see these ideas come to light,” says Dave Nicholson, from the R&D department. “Many passionate Johnsonville members have implemented such improvements that have significantly reduced our waste, energy and water use.”

The other most notable packaging projects include a recycle and reuse program with its zipper spool vendor, and changing the shape of some of its polystyrene foam trays. The zipper spool recycle and reuse program allows Johnsonville to return the high-impact polystyrene “spool” that holds the zipper lock material that Johnsonville uses in its smoked-cooked sausage products. The impact of this recycle-and-reuse program has resulted in 50,000 pounds kept from being disposed in a landfill.