Allstar Recycling will be opening a new plant for International Paper’s Riverdale Mill to help reduce the amount of solid waste being thrown away each year.
Ashley Freeman, the owner of Allstar, is a native of Muscle Shoals; he played baseball for Vanderbilt University before joining the Colorado Rockies.
Freeman left his MLB career in 2006 after an injury, but he used his interest in business to begin a recycling company in the Muscle Shoals area. International Paper’s Cortland Mill was one of the company’s clients, according to Freeman.
Allstar will focus on recycling the food containers to reduce pollution. Those made of glass, for example, can be recycled an infinite number of times without sacrificing strength or quality.
The other goal of the business, says Freeman, is to reduce the amount of reusable solid waste, especially that which is caused by “sell by” dates on food products.
Many people tend to throw food and food containers out once it is passed the “sell by” date — some 51 percent according to an NSF International survey.
Freeman warns that this causes more food to be wasted. Certain dry foods like cereal and rice, Freeman says, won’t go bad, but the flavor may not be the same after a while.
Dave Oliver, owner of Dave’s Market in Valley Grande, has noticed a change in food labeling over his 40 years in the business and emphasizes the importance of tracking expiration dates to his employees. Authorities are getting “tougher on dates,” says Oliver, “Everything is dated now, except for the non-food stuff.”
Businesses today have to comply with standards set by the county health inspector and state inspector, he says — especially for baby food and WIC items.
Yet newer research, like Freeman, says that these dates may be arbitrary. One study, from the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, says that the dates don’t matter as much as most people would think, but they result in 40 percent or $165 billion of food being trashed each year in the U.S.
Paul VanLandingham, EdD, a senior faculty member at the Center for Food and Beverage Management of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., explained to WebMD that food is still edible for some time after a “sell by” date, but it’s no longer at its highest level of quality beyond that point.