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

“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

Recycling Of HDPE Bottles Tops 1 Billion Pounds In 2012


Baled plastic bottles waiting to be recycled

Baled plastic bottles waiting to be recycled

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2013 — Rate Climbs to Nearly 32 Percent

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Plastic bottle recycling by consumers increased 161 million pounds in 2012, edging up 6.2 percent, to reach nearly 2.8 billion pounds for the year, according to figures released jointly today by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC). The recycling rate for all plastic bottles rose 1.6 percent to 30.5 percent for the year.

The 23rd annual National Post-Consumer Plastics Bottle Recycling Report marks the twenty-third consecutive year that Americans have increased the pounds of plastic bottles returned for recycling. The number of pounds of used bottles collected in the United States has grown each year since the industry survey began in 1990.

During 2012, the collection of high-density polyethylene (HDPE, #2) bottles – a category that includes milk jugs and bottles for household cleaners and detergents – rose 45.3 million pounds to top 1 billion pounds for the first time, helping to boost the recycling rate for HDPE bottles from 29.9 to 31.6 percent.

“We are very encouraged by the steady growth in plastic bottle recycling,” said Steve Alexander, executive director of APR.  “Used plastics are valuable materials, and recyclers rely on all of us to make sure these resources make it into a recycling bin.”

“Thanks to increased consumer access to recycling programs and growth in single-stream collection – whereby consumers place all recycled materials into a single bin – plastics recycling is one of the easiest things we can do to benefit the planet,” added Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council.

“In the United States, we have the capacity to recycle more used plastics than we are currently collecting, and innovative manufacturers are using these materials in new and exciting ways.  Each of us can help by doing our part to get more used plastics into a recycling bin,” Russell said.

Alexander and Russell offered three simple tips to help consumers recycle more of their plastic bottles:

  • Bring it back. If you empty a plastic bottle on-the-go, bring it back to a bin.
  • Recycle all plastic bottles.  Today, recyclers collect all types of plastic bottles, regardless of the number, or resin identification code, printed on the bottom.
  • Don’t forget about caps! Recyclers want both caps and bottles, so please remember to twist caps back on bottles after use.


This year’s survey of plastic bottle recycling also found that the collection of polypropylene (PP, #5) bottles rose to nearly 47 million pounds, an annual increase of 7.2 percent, with 73 percent of that material processed domestically as PP, rather than mixed with other resins.  Domestic processing of postconsumer PP bottles increased 14 percent to reach 43.5 million pounds.  Although PP caps and non-bottle containers are widely collected for recycling in the United States, these data are released in a separate report on recycling non-bottle rigid plastics, which will be released in the coming weeks.

Together, polyethylene terephthalate (PET, #1) and HDPE bottles continue to make up over 96 percent of the U.S. market for plastic bottles with polypropylene bottles comprising half of the remaining 4 percent.

Exports of HDPE bottles rose 30 million pounds to 201 million pounds in 2012, while imports of postconsumer HDPE decreased by 35 percent to 33.1 million pounds, which, combined with increased collection and exports, resulted in slightly lower purchases for U.S. reclamation plants.

The full 2012 report National Post-Consumer Plastics Bottle Recycling Report is available on the “Reports and Publications” section of ACC’s website and on APR’s ( website.

Data on PET recycling referenced in the report were separately funded and published by APR and the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR).  A separate report, entitled 2012 Report on Post-Consumer PET Container Recycling Activity, is available on APR’s website.

The survey of reclaimers in the study was conducted by Moore Recycling Associates, Inc.

Resources for municipal recyclers are available at and

The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) is the national trade association representing companies that acquire, reprocess and sell the output of more than 90 percent of the post-consumer plastic processing capacity in North America. Founded in 1992, its membership includes independent recycling companies of all sizes, processing numerous resins.  APR strongly advocates the recycling of all post-consumer plastic packaging.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people’s lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $770 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation’s economy. It is one of the nation’s largest exporters, accounting for twelve percent of all U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

Please click on the link below to hear a Podcast with our very own Tamsin Ettefagh discussing some of the many challenges of handling, marketing and processing various types of scrap plastics.

Podcast with Tamsin Ettefagh

Cereal Lauches In a Reusable Zippered Pouch

More on Kellogg’s reusable zippered pouch containing 15% recycled material including the first food-safe, post-consumer HDPE plastic available, Ecoprime.

Click on the link to learn more

Envision Plastics Makes Food Logistics 2013 Top Green Providers List

Reidsville, N.C.  –June 20 , 2013  – Food Logistics, the only publication dedicated exclusively to the food and beverage supply chain, recently announced this year’s Top Green Providers list which includes Envision Plastics, the creator of EcoPrime™, the only FDA approved, food-grade recycled HDPE resin available in North America.

The Top Green Providers focuses on sustainability in the global food supply chain with profiles of companies who are exceeding industry standards in their sector. This year’s list includes food producers and manufacturers, 3PLs and transportation and logistics providers, equipment manufacturers, and others whose products and services are driving sustainability from farm to fork.

“Food producers and manufacturers have a longstanding and unique relationship to sustainability and environmental conservation considering their dependence on water resources and arable land,” noted Lara L. Sowinski, editor-in-chief for Food Logistics. “In recent years, sustainability has also become critical to other players in the global food supply chain, particularly transportation and logistics providers, equipment manufacturers, software and technology companies, and others who recognize that incorporating sustainable practices leads to more efficient, ethical, and profitable organizations.”

Envision Plastics and other companies on this year’s Top Green Providers list are profiled in the June 2013 issue of Food Logistics, as well as online at

About Food Logistics

Food Logistics is published by Cygnus Business Media, a leading diversified business-to-business media company. The publication serves the information needs of executives involved in various aspects of the global food and beverage supply chain. Through our print and online products, we provide news, trends, and best practices that help more than 24,000+ grocery and foodservice suppliers, distributors, and retailers make better business decisions. Visit us online at


About Envision Plastics

Envision Plastics has been a pioneer in the post consumer recycled resins (HDPE) industry for over a decade.  As leaders in the next generation of recycling processes, Envision is the creator of a proprietary process called EcoPrime™ which produces the only FDA approved, food-grade recycled HDPE resin on the market that meets exacting sustainability standards for packaging.  Envision is also home to the exclusive color sorting process called Prisma™, which is capable of recognizing 40 million shades of color saving clients time, money and resources while reducing waste. Known for their expertise in plastics recycling production and design, Envision provides consulting services to assist clients in optimizing their production while minimizing materials. With locations in California and North Carolina, distribution across the country is cost-effective and convenient for clients. For more information about Envision Plastics, visit

Handle on recyc…

Handle on recycling

Eugene packaging firm aims to use more recycled plastic in its handles

 By Saul Hubbard

The Register-Guard

 Published: August 19, 2012 12:00AM, Midnight, Aug. 19

Like many businesses that make products using virgin plastic, Eugene-based PakTech is facing an identity crisis.

The national marketplace, responding to a more environmentally conscious consumer base, is shifting slowly toward recycled plastics, forcing plastic manufacturers to adapt.

Since the 1990s, PakTech, a family-run business based in two factories in an industrial section of west Eugene, has produced the handles that bind the multi-packs of food products that can be found on the shelves of Costco stores and other bulk retailers.

The company’s handles are used on everything from juice, soda, beer and salsa to cleaning products, mouthwash and fabric softener. The company’s most popular handle is what they call their TwinPak — which binds two items — but their product line is malleable: new handles are being developed constantly to meet the specific needs of their customers’ products.

It’s a niche industry. But PakTech dominates it nationally, with an estimated 95 percent share of the market, thanks in part to design patents it holds on several key characteristics of its molded plastic handles.

The company also has strong relationships with Costco and Wal-Mart-owned Sam’s Club, which often send food producers trying to meet the retailers’ multi-pack requirements PakTech’s way.

PakTech sells 300 million handles a year — at prices ranging from a few cents to more than a dime — more than double the volume it moved a decade ago.

While declining to release specific revenue numbers, Amie Thomas, PakTech’s vice president of sales and marketing and daughter of company founder Jim Borg, said that sales have increased consistently — and the recession did little to slow them.

“Packaging is the second biggest industry in the world,” Thomas said. “But people don’t think about it unless it’s causing them problems.”

Last summer, PakTech started what could turn out to be a major transition for the business: integrating “post-­consumer” or recycled plastic handles into its product line.

From a production standpoint, the transition is simple. The handles are made in huge industrial mold presses: small plastic resin pellets, blended with coloring, are injected into aluminium molds, heated, solidified through pressure and cooled with water — all in about eight seconds.

Using recycled plastic pellets, which PakTech purchases from a California supplier, doesn’t change that process.

The challenge lies in getting food producers to accept the recycled plastic handles, Thomas said, even though they are priced the same as the virgin plastic handles.

But virgin plastic pellets produce brightly colored and shiny handles, while the recycled pellets can produce a dull or matte finish.

PakTech’s customers also can be wary of switching to a new product that they fear might be less sturdy and durable, Thomas said. It can take some time for customers to conduct the tests they need to be satisfied with the new products, she said.

Still, just a couple of weeks ago, PakTech’s biggest customer — a major U.S. soft drink company — signed up to use the recycled handles.

“That was great,” Thomas said.

A year into the transition, about 10 percent of the handles PakTech sells are made with recycled plastic. Thomas said that, eventually, the company would like to sell recycled handles exclusively, although she acknowledges that might be an overly optimistic goal.

PakTech currently has 126 permanent employees, up from 60 in 2001. While some of the company’s low-skill workers have been replaced with automation over time, the company’s high-skill, technical work force has grown. Those high-skill workers build applicators, large automated machines that attach PakTech’s handles to products as they move along a customer’s assembly line. PakTech sells and ships about 15 applicators a year.

Although some of the newer machines cost several hundred thousand dollars, the applicator side of the business largely has been a money loser over the last decade, Thomas said. But customers need the equipment to attach the handles rapidly, so selling applicators helps the company sell more of their primary product, she adds.

More than 80 percent of PakTech’s customer base is headquartered on the East Coast, but the company hasn’t considered relocating, Thomas said.

“That’s certainly one of the benefits of being a family-owned business; there are less outside forces to deal with.”

“We like the (Eugene) community. We enjoy being a good employer locally. … You can diss plastic all you want, but if we weren’t here there would just be someone doing this in China instead.”

PakTech has made some forays into the international marketplace in recent years, targeting Mexico and Latin America. Those efforts are still in the embryonic stage, Thomas said, although the company has opened a distribution center in Mexico.

Although many of the company’s patents, which last 10 years, will end soon — the “Unipak” patent already has expired — Thomas said there isn’t much concern about new competitors popping up.

“We have so much expertise and know-how in this business that it would be hard for a new company to come in and compete with us immediately,” she added. “They’d have to eat years of (financial) losses.”

Thomas said the plan is to keep the business in the family after her father, company President Jim Borg, retires (“which will be never,” she jokes).

Thomas and her brother, Zak Borg, current vice-president and director of engineering, are expected to eventually take over the reins.

“The succession is all very amiable, and we are learning the best way to run the company together,” Thomas said.