Green packaging shifts up the priority list for brand owners and consumers

By Chris BARKER , 29-Nov-2013

100% recycled packaging logo

Increasing environmental awareness means that sustainable packaging is becoming a higher priority for both consumers and brand owners, as evidenced by the number of cosmetics firms opting for a greener option.

Elizabeth Arden this week chose the Airopack dispensing system, and this adds to the long list of brands opting for environmentally friendly packaging in order to appeal to customers.

The Elizabeth Arden Ceramide products are being produced through the Airopack Full Service Operation, which will see the dispensers produced, filled, sleeved and packed to meet the brand’s specifications.

Increasing awareness

“Brand owners become more aware of their responsibility in today’s society. As environmental awareness shifts higher up the priority list at both consumers and brand owners, sustainable products become increasingly important to express a brand message,” Airopack marketing manager Caren Kuijs tells to CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com

“Over the last 10 years we have identified an enormous growth in cosmetic formulations holding natural ingredients and with this Airopack is able to enhance the total sustaining message on shelf for the consumer.”

This technology has also been adopted by other major companies in the recent past; including Procter & Gamble and Danish brand Nordictan.

As technology advances, lightweight packaging and aerosols with a low carbon footprint and CO2 impact are becoming more practical and are being adopted by larger numbers of companies.

Industry examples

Estee Lauder subsidiary Aveda recently brought a new dimension to packaging by introducing 100% recycled packaging for eye colouring in their ‘Essence of Nature Single Eye Color Refil’ line, launched earlier this year.

The company also adopted the tactic of selling refills of its most popular colors, to allow consumers to re-use the same packaging multiple times.

Copyright – Unless otherwise stated all contents of this web site are © 2013 – William Reed Business Media SAS – All Rights Reserved

Advertisements

Sustainable Solutions at TLMI Tech Conference

Industry leaders gathered in Chicago to address one of the industry’s most pressing issues.

Industry leaders gathered at this year’s TLMI Technical Conference in Chicago to discuss – among several other topics – sustainable labeling solutions. Session Chairs Cindy White of Channeled Resources Group and Darrell Hughes of Avery Dennison Materials Group North America opened the floor to a panel of five experts with several decades of experience between them. On the panel was Tamsin Ettefagh, vice president of sales and purchasing at Envison Plastics; Weilong Chiang, senior principal engineer at PepsiCo; Mitch Rackovan, principal scientist at Avery Dennison; Jeff Sherwood, technical sales representative at Flint Group Packaging and Narrow Web; and Joel Schmidt, market development manager at Outlook Group Corporation. 

Ettefagh, who has more than 26 years of experience in the areas of recycling and plastic recycling, opened the session with a presentation that examined the difficulties faced by plastic recyclers, and took a look at what label manufacturers can do to make the recycling of plastics easier. According to Ettefagh, its not only policy that drives recycling initiatives. Consumer product companies have made it a priority to have their plastic packages collected and recycled, and to incorporate recycled content into their packaging. To put the growth of recycling initiatives into perspective, Ettefagh told the audience that HDPE recycling grew from “nothing” to a half billion pounds in 1996. The need for continued research, development, and innovation is critical, she said. “There is no such thing as a plastic so good it can just be thrown out,” she said. 

Chiang has lead several sustainability projects at PepsiCo, including a recent and extensive study to identify the key features of recycling-compatible shrink labels. During the course of this study, Chiang said, he had the opportunity to visit several recyclers. At one site, he had the opportunity to see firsthand the number of contaminated bales kept in a storage yard. There were hundreds, all filled with shrink, pressure-sensitive, metalized, and other specialty labels. While his focus has been on shrink labels, Chiang drove home the point that recycling solutions for any and all materials need to be found – and the sooner, the better. Shrink labels that are compatible with PET recycling are emerging, he said, but the driving force behind progress in this field will be continued collaboration between brand owners and label converters.

Rackovan’s work at Avery Dennison has included the design of products intended to mesh with a PET container value stream through the recycling process. He was part of the team that established the Engineered Films business and the launch of Primax and FasClear film products. He also develops adhesives designed to meet the performance and cost demands in the beer and beverage markets. His presentation focused on the recycling of pressure sensitive labels. The biggest problem, he said, is that today’s pressure sensitive labels limit PET recyclability, prohibiting recyclability into food-grade rPET (due to adhesive contamination). The solution, he said, is a “switchable” pressure sensitive label which adheres to a PET bottle until the end of the cycle, where the cohesive bond is broken (at the recycler), thereby allowing the PSL facestock and adhesive to cleanly separate from the PET flake. The key market drivers for this solution, he said, are numerous. The use of rPET reduces US dependence on foreign oil and petrochemicals; the recycling industry alone employs more than 450,000 Americans and generated $10.3 billion in domestic tax revenues; and for every pound of rPET flake used, energy is reduced by 84% and greenhouse gas emission by 71%. 

Sherwood’s presentation focused on the recycling of flexographic inks. The bottom line in terms of recycling flexo inks, he said, is that there can be no staining to PET flakes. Printed labels are required to meet APR’s Guidelines for PET Thermoform Labels and Adhesives for Compatability with PET Recycling, and each label has to be evaluated and tested as a unique construction. One hurdle, he said, is that testing is expensive; costs can run up to approximately $5000 per submission. For his work in recycling flexo inks, pre-qualification testing was performed by Avery Dennison. Numerous construction combinations were tested with different inks and APR-approved substrates. The results were varied, he said, but generally paper constructions failed. Films performed far better. Constructions with an OPV or lamination performed the best. Of the colors tested, he added, yellow and black stained the PET flakes more than others. Unprotected inks – which include those printed directly on paper or on a film without a lamination or UV OPV – broke down significantly more when mixed with the caustic solution, he said. UV and water-based inks appeared to perform the same in terms of breaking down into solutions with or without the OPV or lamination. Looking towards the future of flexo ink recycling, Sherwood said some possibilities include alternative pigments (though they could be costly), alternative barriers on paper, alternative ink chemistries (including different resin systems), and solvent-based inks. 

Finally, Schmidt offered a converter’s perspective on sustainable label solutions. He outlined his customers’ sustainable label demands, which include source and waste reduction, a greater use of sustianable materials (including renewable, bio-based, and PCR), greener end-of-life options, and above all else, practicality. His customers, Schmidt said, want zero operational impact and it must be either cost-neutral or offer cost savings. He said that there are three key strategies for success: broader industry partnerships, expanded technical expertise, and extensive customer engagement. Part of this strategy, he said, is simiply to communicate the benefits of sustainability in a way that customers can readily understand. 

“Frame sustainability in the language of business and explain how your solution will impact your customers’ key business objectives,” he said.  – See more at: http://www.labelandnarrowweb.com/contents/view_online-exclusives/2013-09-08/sustainable-solutions-at-tlmi-tech-conference/#sthash.DPyCYv6Z.dpuf

Weighing the next 40 years of recycling

Editor’s Note: This story appears in Waste & Recycling News’ commemorative issue, “40 Years of Curbside Recycling.”

Recycling at high-rise apartments offers a great opportunity to collect a large amount of materials from one location, but containers that tenants empty their household bins into can fill fast, especially on weekends.

Instead of toting the potential commodities back to their unit, some residents trash them.

Overcoming the hurdles to convenient recycling at multiple-family housing needs to be addressed, said Steven Thompson, executive director of Curbside Value Partnership, a non-profit group that works with cities and states to increase participation.

“You have to have architects designing multiple chutes on the 30th floor instead of just one for trash,” Thompson said. “That’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of time.”

He hopes it is one of the changes that come about in the next 40 years for curbside recycling.

“There are conundrums the industry doesn’t have its head around, like rural areas,” Thompson said. “It’s very hard to cost-effectively recycle when you have three miles between mailboxes.”

The 40th anniversary of curbside recycling begs the question: What will it be like in the next four decades? What quandaries will be cleared up? What new ones will pop up?

Waste & Recycling News asked some of the leaders in the industry to look into their crystal balls and offer a glimpse of what may be in 2053.

The predictions, aspirations and cautions ranged from boosting the recycling rate beyond 34% to finding profitable solutions to problems and to this warning: Without more attention to quality control during processing, the pendulum could take an ugly swing backward to manufacturers using virgin material.

Steve Miller, CEO of Bulk Handling Systems, sees several trends moving forward, such as more mixing of materials, better technology to extract materials, and higher quality of extracted materials for reprocessing today’s common recyclables.

There will be less left to waste if advances in refuse-derived fuel take some big steps forward in the next four decades, he added. All eyes and many minds are on the organic fraction of the waste stream and anaerobic digestion.

Miller expects the industry to next go after materials like used paper plates, tissues and towels, and plastic films.

“[They’re] not in sufficient quantity to have a commodity value to them but when thought of as an energy source they have a high-caloric value to them and could be utilized that way,” Miller said. “When you go forward I think there will be much more work in that area.”

Contaminated paper products, which can’t be recovered as a fiber source, and other components of the light and high-energy fraction could become a refuse-derived fuel that helps utilities power plants now using coal or natural gas.

Thompson also sees more waste-to-energy facilities on the horizon and his fingers are crossed the option doesn’t deter recycling.

“Waste-to-energy needs to be thought through so it doesn’t become a reason not to recycle,” he said. “People might say, ‘Oh we don’t need to do that. We’ll just burn it.’ There are ways they can co-exist nicely and have a high functionality but it needs to be carefully designed and implemented.”

For now, the industry is stumped as to how to remove the so-called “frozen fuel” of plastic film — grocery bags, dry cleaners bags, and the clear packaging for men’s dress shirts — that gets intertwined with recyclables.

“That material is substantially more than what people think,” said Nathiel Egosi, owner and founder of RRT Design & Construction. “It’s problematic to process because it’s difficult to remove in an automatic fashion.”

Egosi expects those pesky flexible plastic packages to be sorted in some systematic way in upcoming years.

“It’s not a desirable material in bales of plastic and other types of commodities,” he said. “The whole industry is working to develop a technique to get that plastic film out.”

MRFs will evolve to process more materials and do so more economically in the next 40 years, said Bill Moore, president of the consulting firm Moore & Associates. In the 1990s, a big MRF cost $1 million to build and handled 100 tons of material a day; today, $20 million MRFs process 1,000 tons daily, he said.

“I suspect we’ll grow that with more regional facilities,” Moore said. “MRFs will continue to look like sophisticated manufacturing operations. They bring in raw materials and process it. That’s the mindset. They are manufacturers creating value out of product.”

Mick Barry, a board member of the National Recycling Coalition, is rooting for dual-stream recycling to win out over single-stream. He’s concerned about commingled recyclables causing impurity problems with the finished product and turning off buyers.

Barry, who also is a materials broker, points to China’s “Green Fence.” The crackdown on imported waste is more than a short-term awareness campaign about sub-standard scrap, Barry said. He sees it as a long-term, quality-control initiative that affects one of America’s top exports.

There is no longer a ready market in China for impure bales of plastic, paper and other recyclables from the U.S. and Europe.

“We’ve got to clean up our act,” Barry said. “The [United Kingdom] sent too much junk in with plastic and they finally cut the U.K. off. They sent a message to the world: Hey, enough is enough. Don’t dump on us and blame us for being the garbage guys of the world.”

It’s critical that all U.S. recyclers remember their bottom line is creating a raw material from a used material and not simply recovering things from the waste stream, Barry said. His message: Have some pride of ownership.

“If we don’t go back to that, we will lose our position as the primary source of materials for manufacturing product back to the virgin base,” Barry said.

Kate Krebs, a former director of the NRC, envisions a future with no waste at all.

“Waste to me is a design flaw,” she said. “If you design a product correctly, you factor in not only the form and function but end of life. That thinking is permeating through our global manufacturing side. That helps us shift. If we really got the consumer marketing going and we continue to spread end-of-life strategies to the makers of product, looking ahead 40 years we should have a much more efficient, simple system.”

Cereal launches in a reusable zippered pouch

Kellogg uses a pouch instead of a traditional bag-in-box format.

By Liz Cuneo, Editor-in-Chief – Food & Beverage Packaging Magazine
July 9, 2013
For the first time, Kellogg is using post-consumer resin in a retail pouch; Kellogg is implementing a reusable pouch for its Kashi cereal from Envision Plastics. The EcoPrime™ pouch is the only FDA-approved, food-grade, recycled high-density polyethylene plastic (HDPE) resin on the market in North America. The pouch is reusable, uses less material than the traditional bag-in-box and is a first-of-its-kind packaging that contains at least 15% recycled material including the first food-safe, post consumer HDPE plastic available. An added consumer perk is that after the cereal is gone, the pouch can be used as a freezer bag for leftovers or to store dry goods because the pouch has a zipper.

Kellogg’s reusable Kashi cereal pouch contains 15% EcoPrime food grade recycled HDPE Resin.

Kellogg’s reusable Kashi cereal pouch contains 15% EcoPrime food grade recycled HDPE Resin.

The main benefit for Kellogg in using EcoPrime™ is the reduction in the use of virgin HDPE. In addition, it ultimately reduces the amount of energy required to obtain virgin petroleum material from the earth. The pouch uses material that was reclaimed from the waste stream, while also providing the barrier needed to protect the food. Kellogg is currently using EcoPrime™ on a variety of Kashi cereals and is evaluating opportunities to expand their use of post-consumer HDPE. Food and Beverage Packaging asked Kellogg for more information about the new pouch and the motivation behind the decision.
Food and Beverage Packaging:  Has Kellogg/Kashi used post-consumer recycled material in the production of pouches before?
Kellogg: No, the new bag for GOLEAN Crisp!™ Cinnamon Crumble and Toasted Berry Crumble cereals is the first of its kind for Kashi as it’s made with post-consumer HDPE—a plastic made with materials reclaimed from the waste stream—rather than traditional HDPE.
FBP: Why did Kellogg/Kashi want to use post-consumer recycled plastic in their pouches?
Kellogg: More than one third of shoppers claim they want environmental packaging, and Kashi has cared about making foods with the health of people and planet in mind for more than 25 years. This new cereal bag offers an environmental benefit and allows us to deliver our foods safely to the consumer. Kashi retailers and consumers recognize and appreciate that commitment.
FBP: How did you start working with Envision Plastics?
Kellogg: Kashi is always seeking ways to improve the health of people and the planet. Through our supplier, we identified the opportunity to use post-consumer HDPE that’s safe for use in a flexible food bag.
FBP: Which Kellogg’s brands will be using the pouches?
Kellogg: We used post-consumer HDPE for a limited run of Kashi® GOLEAN Crisp! Cinnamon Crumble and Toasted Berry Crumble cereals in conjunction with Earth Day.
FBP: Why only a limited run?
Kellogg: We’re evaluating opportunities to use the new bags for other Kashi foods, as well as for our other brands, based on the feedback of our customers and retailers.

Republished from Food & Beverage Packaging Magazine, July 2013
Read the original article here:  http://tinyurl.com/keoru6n

Alpla to Produce Milk Bottles with 50% Recycled Content for Arla Foods

Arla Foods has appointed leading plastic packaging company, Alpla, to manufacture bottles on site at its new one billion-litre dairy in Aylesbury, and support Arla’s aim for the dairy to be the most environmentally advanced in the world.

Arla Foods Milk Bottles will Contain 50% Food Grade Recycled HDPE

Alpla, which is targeting an industry first recycled HDPE material content of 50 per cent in all bottles for Arla, will support the dairy company’s aim of delivering a zero carbon facility with zero waste to landfill in Aylesbury.  Alpla has already designed a new range of lightweight HDPE bottles, which will deliver a weight saving in excess of 20 per cent compared to Arla’s current milk bottles.

 
Lars Dalsgaard, director of supply chain at Arla, said: “The appointment of Alpla supports our sustainability strategy and commitment to become Closer to Nature. Alpla will blowmould and handle plastic bottles for Arla with the lowest energy consumption possible, which will assist our zero carbon ambition. It will also provide our customers with the lowest carbon fresh milk packaging available in the UK.”

 
Alpla will work at Aylesbury dairy through a ‘hole-in-the-wall’ operation. Although on site bottle production is currently used at a number of Arla’s other sites, this will be the first on this scale in the dairy industry. The new facility will be of the highest quality, and will have total flexibility, allowing Arla to react quickly to customer requirements in today’s challenging dairy market.

 
Guenther Lehner, CEO of Alpla global, said: “We’ve been working with Arla on this project over the last 18 months and it has been hugely challenging. Our continuous effort to develop plastic container manufacturing processes and packaging designs with utmost environmental and economic efficiencies in mind has resulted in Alpla being a perfect match for Arla in this exciting project. The whole Alpla team is looking forward to putting this ambitious concept into reality and to strengthening the close partnership between our two organisations.”

 
Alpla has considerable experience in the plastic bottle market, having in-plant facilities at blue chip companies all over the world (including five in the UK), as well as two stand-alone UK sites in Milton Keynes and Manchester, ensuring Arla has good supply contingency to support the company’s changing requirements.

 
More info: www.arlafoods.co.uk

Use of Recycled HDPE in Milk Bottles Expands in the U.K.

The Co-op invests in new eco milk bottles

11 April 2012

The Co-operative Food has become the first retailer to reduce the tint in all of its own-brand plastic coloured milk bottle tops, making it easier for them to be recycled into new bottles.

The Co-operative sells 202 million bottles of milk every year, and previously, the amount of recycled plastic that can be used to make new clear milk bottles was limited because bottle tops colour the material.

The move will mean that the retailer will potentially increase the recycled content of plastic milk bottles from 10% to 30% – helping to produce an extra 4,500 tonnes of recyclable material every year.

Iain Ferguson, environment manager for The Co-operative Food, said: “Protecting the environment is a key part of The Co-operative’s groundbreaking Ethical Plan, and we are proud to be leading the way with this initiative and that The Co-operative is the first UK retailer to complete this move on all of its own-brand milk bottles.“

Marcus Gover, director of Closed Loop Economy at WRAP, said: “We are pleased to see The Co-operative making this commitment to boost the recyclability of its own-brand milk bottles. WRAP research found that reducing the tint in milk bottle tops is a ‘quick win’ that can help achieve higher recycled content in milk bottles, thereby reducing the use of virgin plastic and ensuring more efficient use of resources, which is good news for the environment.”

Source: The Co-op

Save the Plastics 2011 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for our blog.  Thanks for reading and stay tuned in 2012 for new content as we strive to Save the Plastics!   Happy New Year!

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,900 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.