Walmart highlights Sustainability Index progress






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Posted by Rick Lingle, Technical Editor — Packaging Digest, 9/16/2013 5:17:57 PM





 

Walmart logoIn front of an audience of associates, suppliers and nonprofit organizations at its Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting, Walmart highlighted on Sept. 12 its progress with the Sustainability Index, a measurement system used to track the environmental impact of products. The company also outlined key initiatives where it can use its size and scale to help address “hot spots” and accelerate progress in supply-chain sustainability.

 

“We’ve reached an acceleration point where we are moving from measurement to results. We’re starting to really drive progress with the Index,” Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke says. “This is about trust and value. Using less energy, greener chemicals, fewer fertilizers and more recycled materials – all of this – is the right thing to do for the planet and it’s right for our customers and our business.”

 

As of today, the Index has been rolled out across 200 product categories, and to more than 1,000 suppliers. By the end of this year, Walmart expects the Index will expand to include more than 300 product categories and as many as 5,000 suppliers.

 

Consistent growth


Since the Index rolled out broadly to Walmart product categories in August 2012, it has shown a consistent trend of improved product sustainability. For example, Walmart’s general merchandise department has improved its Index product sustainability score by an average of 20 percent; grocery department by an average of 12 percent; and consumables and health and wellness by an average of 6 percent.

 

“With the Sustainability Index, Walmart is applying the science and research that we’ve developed to create a more sustainable supply chain globally,” says Kara Hurst, CEO of The Sustainability Consortium. “We’re excited about the significant progress Walmart and its suppliers are making and value their partnership with us to address big issues and drive real social and environmental change.”

 

Based on the insights and data from the Index, Walmart has been working with suppliers, nonprofits, industry experts and government to develop and implement solutions that address critical “hot spots” and opportunities across the global supply chain. As part of the progress update at today’s meeting, executives, merchants and suppliers shared progress on five major initiatives underway:

 

Increasing the Use of Recycled Materials. More than 29 million tons of valuable plastics are sent to landfills every year in the U.S. at a cost of about $6.6 billion annually. Walmart aims to grow both the supply and demand for recycled plastics so they can be diverted from landfill and get a second life. The company is working with cities to increase plastic recycling and with suppliers to increase the use of recycled content and make packaging more recyclable. Changes in packaging are already being implemented in product categories such as beverage, over-the-counter drugs, dairy creamers and berry containers.

Earlier this week, Walmart and Sam’s Club also announced a smartphone trade-in program in the U.S. that goes into effect on Sept. 21. The company will not send these trade-ins to landfills, domestically or internationally, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of smartphones from landfills annually.

 

Offering Products with Greener Chemicals. Walmart provided an overview of its new Consumables Chemicals initiative, describing how it is working with suppliers to reduce or eliminate the use of priority chemicals used in consumables products in favor of greener alternatives. It will begin with household cleaning, personal care, beauty and cosmetic products, asking suppliers to transition to greener substitutes for priority chemicals.

 

In addition, starting in Jan. 2014, Walmart will begin to label its private brand cleaning products in accordance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended Design for the Environment (DfE) Safer Product Labeling program, and will continue to assess the applicability of DfE as Walmart expands it to broader product areas.

Reducing Fertilizer Use in Agriculture. Walmart is requiring suppliers who use commodity grains, such as corn, wheat and soy in their products, to develop a fertilizer optimization plan that outlines clear goals to improve performance based on Index research.

Improving Energy Efficiency. The Index has uncovered the importance of energy efficiency in several product categories, such as televisions, plastic toys, small appliances and greeting cards. By working with suppliers to improve energy efficiency through the supply chain of these products, Index energy scores have already improved 23 percent in general merchandise categories. Walmart is now providing tools for suppliers to help track and reduce the energy used to produce these products.

 

Source: Walmart

 

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New website launched for ‘EcoAware moms’






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Posted by Kari Embree, Senior Digital Content Editor — Packaging Digest, 7/22/2013 9:53:05 AM





 

EcoAware carton website

 

Today, more moms are taking steps toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle and are instilling those practices in their children. These “EcoAware Moms” strongly believe in leaving an eco-conscious legacy for their children to carry on.

According to EcoFocus Worldwide’s 2013 EcoFocus Trend Study, nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of women with kids are classified as EcoAware Moms. This group views sustainability from a hands-on point of view and believes there is a very close correlation between personal and environmental health.

In fact, many EcoAware Moms also consider the environmental impact of a product’s package as an important factor that influences their purchasing decision. Consider that: 

–Nearly three fourths (72 percent) believe that choosing products packaged responsibly is a very to extremely important action
–Some 83 percent try to buy products in packaging that is recyclable
–More than half (54 percent) usually or always think about the environmental impact of product packaging before purchasing 

“EcoAware Moms know their eco-friendly lifestyle choices are important in shaping their children’s attitudes as they grow into adulthood,” says Erin Reynolds, Evergreen Packaging’s marketing director. “With this in mind,families can choose product packaging made from renewable resources, such as cartons. Over 70 percent of a carton is made from paper, which comes from a renewable resource-trees.”

In an effort to provide families with information on packaging choices, Evergreen Packaging recently relaunched choosecartons.com, a community dedicated to educating consumers about the benefits and eco-friendly attributes of carton packaging. The website, which offers downloadable children’s activities, sharable tips and eco-facts, and regular Facebook promotions, is a simple, easy-to-access platform for those desiring to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle.

 

Source: Evergreen Packaging

 

 

 

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New website launched for ‘EcoAware moms’






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Posted by Kari Embree, Senior Digital Content Editor — Packaging Digest, 7/22/2013 9:53:05 AM





 

EcoAware carton website

 

Today, more moms are taking steps toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle and are instilling those practices in their children. These “EcoAware Moms” strongly believe in leaving an eco-conscious legacy for their children to carry on.

According to EcoFocus Worldwide’s 2013 EcoFocus Trend Study, nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of women with kids are classified as EcoAware Moms. This group views sustainability from a hands-on point of view and believes there is a very close correlation between personal and environmental health.

In fact, many EcoAware Moms also consider the environmental impact of a product’s package as an important factor that influences their purchasing decision. Consider that: 

–Nearly three fourths (72 percent) believe that choosing products packaged responsibly is a very to extremely important action
–Some 83 percent try to buy products in packaging that is recyclable
–More than half (54 percent) usually or always think about the environmental impact of product packaging before purchasing 

“EcoAware Moms know their eco-friendly lifestyle choices are important in shaping their children’s attitudes as they grow into adulthood,” says Erin Reynolds, Evergreen Packaging’s marketing director. “With this in mind,families can choose product packaging made from renewable resources, such as cartons. Over 70 percent of a carton is made from paper, which comes from a renewable resource-trees.”

In an effort to provide families with information on packaging choices, Evergreen Packaging recently relaunched choosecartons.com, a community dedicated to educating consumers about the benefits and eco-friendly attributes of carton packaging. The website, which offers downloadable children’s activities, sharable tips and eco-facts, and regular Facebook promotions, is a simple, easy-to-access platform for those desiring to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle.

 

Source: Evergreen Packaging

 

 

 

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New website launched for ‘EcoAware moms’






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Posted by Kari Embree, Senior Digital Content Editor — Packaging Digest, 7/22/2013 9:53:05 AM





 

EcoAware carton website

 

Today, more moms are taking steps toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle and are instilling those practices in their children. These “EcoAware Moms” strongly believe in leaving an eco-conscious legacy for their children to carry on.

According to EcoFocus Worldwide’s 2013 EcoFocus Trend Study, nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of women with kids are classified as EcoAware Moms. This group views sustainability from a hands-on point of view and believes there is a very close correlation between personal and environmental health.

In fact, many EcoAware Moms also consider the environmental impact of a product’s package as an important factor that influences their purchasing decision. Consider that: 

–Nearly three fourths (72 percent) believe that choosing products packaged responsibly is a very to extremely important action
–Some 83 percent try to buy products in packaging that is recyclable
–More than half (54 percent) usually or always think about the environmental impact of product packaging before purchasing 

“EcoAware Moms know their eco-friendly lifestyle choices are important in shaping their children’s attitudes as they grow into adulthood,” says Erin Reynolds, Evergreen Packaging’s marketing director. “With this in mind,families can choose product packaging made from renewable resources, such as cartons. Over 70 percent of a carton is made from paper, which comes from a renewable resource-trees.”

In an effort to provide families with information on packaging choices, Evergreen Packaging recently relaunched choosecartons.com, a community dedicated to educating consumers about the benefits and eco-friendly attributes of carton packaging. The website, which offers downloadable children’s activities, sharable tips and eco-facts, and regular Facebook promotions, is a simple, easy-to-access platform for those desiring to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle.

 

Source: Evergreen Packaging

 

 

 

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New website launched for ‘EcoAware moms’






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Posted by Kari Embree, Senior Digital Content Editor — Packaging Digest, 7/22/2013 9:53:05 AM





 

EcoAware carton website

 

Today, more moms are taking steps toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle and are instilling those practices in their children. These “EcoAware Moms” strongly believe in leaving an eco-conscious legacy for their children to carry on.

According to EcoFocus Worldwide’s 2013 EcoFocus Trend Study, nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of women with kids are classified as EcoAware Moms. This group views sustainability from a hands-on point of view and believes there is a very close correlation between personal and environmental health.

In fact, many EcoAware Moms also consider the environmental impact of a product’s package as an important factor that influences their purchasing decision. Consider that: 

–Nearly three fourths (72 percent) believe that choosing products packaged responsibly is a very to extremely important action
–Some 83 percent try to buy products in packaging that is recyclable
–More than half (54 percent) usually or always think about the environmental impact of product packaging before purchasing 

“EcoAware Moms know their eco-friendly lifestyle choices are important in shaping their children’s attitudes as they grow into adulthood,” says Erin Reynolds, Evergreen Packaging’s marketing director. “With this in mind,families can choose product packaging made from renewable resources, such as cartons. Over 70 percent of a carton is made from paper, which comes from a renewable resource-trees.”

In an effort to provide families with information on packaging choices, Evergreen Packaging recently relaunched choosecartons.com, a community dedicated to educating consumers about the benefits and eco-friendly attributes of carton packaging. The website, which offers downloadable children’s activities, sharable tips and eco-facts, and regular Facebook promotions, is a simple, easy-to-access platform for those desiring to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle.

 

Source: Evergreen Packaging

 

 

 

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Best-in-class bottle from Innis & Gunn






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Posted by Kari Embree, Senior Digital Content Editor — Packaging Digest, 7/18/2013 12:34:49 PM





 

Innis & Gunn bottle

 

 

Ardagh Group has produced a new lighter weight 660mL bottle for Innis & Gunn’s Original and Rum Finish beers. In keeping with its record of continuous innovation, Innis & Gunn set Ardagh the task of producing the lightest weight bottle in its class at 360 grams, which will sit alongside a newly light weighted 330mL bottle.

Ardagh’s product design team applied its advanced computer simulation technology including finite element analysis (FEA) and prototype modelling to develop the new bottle.

Moving to lower weight glass bottles will considerably lessen the brewer’s environmental impact. The combined weight reduction—the 330mL bottle now weighs 195 grams, down from the current 245 grams—will represent a saving of 2,000 metric tonnes of CO2 over the next three years.

Celebrating 10 years in business, Scotland’s leading independent beer company can now offer a 660mL serving to its loyal band of followers across the globe. Innis & Gunn is the best-selling British bottled beer in Canada and number one bottled import ale in Sweden.

 

Source: Innis & Gunn

 

 

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Packaging is the gateway to a deeper conversation about sustainability






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Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor — Packaging Digest, 7/15/2013 9:58:11 AM





Jim HannaJim HannaHow do you use packaging to communicate your sustainable strategy to customers? Come and find out.

 

On July 17, 2013, Jim Hanna, director, environmental impact, Starbucks Coffee Co., will speak at the Packaging Digest Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit conference in Chicago. His topic: “How we build successful sustainable packaging.”

 

Here, he gives us a preview of some key points in his presentation. For more information about the conference and/or to register, visit www.fbpackaging.com.

 

Q: What is the Starbucks approach to sustainable design in packaging?

Hanna: Our approach is to focus on the entire life cycle of the packaging from raw material sourcing all the way to end of life and to where we can use the life cycle approach assessment to determine the true sustainability of packaging. A lot of folks focus on materials or on end of life specifically. As a company that is focusing pretty heavily on climate change as one of our primary environmental drivers, the climate footprint of our packaging is one of the essential pieces that we take a hard look at.

 

Q: Why is this holistic approach so successful?


Hanna:
It’s successful because it’s credible. Unfortunately, there’s still lot of green washing in sustainable packaging out there. Our approach is agnostic to type of material. It looks really at where the true inputs are going into manufacturing and packaging. How do we design packaging in the best way to not only reduce all the environmental impacts of it but make it appropriate for existing end-of-life management infrastructures out there? 

We’re not a company that has a zero-waste goal because zero-waste goals are often the distraction from reality. We will always create some waste. We’re not a company that focuses on landfill diversion as the only definition of sustainable packaging because, again, landfill diversion doesn’t necessarily equate to environmental efficacy or environmental mitigation. We try to take a credible, long term approach and not get trapped into a lot of the fads and trends we see out there today, which play a role at raising awareness of the issues of packaging’s footprint—but often don’t tell the complete story by locking on to one specific metric of a package’s sustainability. 

Also, we’ve always taken a collaborative approach to defining sustainable packaging because, if we’re going to be successful as an industry, we have to be working together as an industry to create the necessary scale and break down some of the largest barriers to issues like waste management and harmonization of materials. We’ve done number of initiatives over the years that have brought stakeholders into the room from up and down the entire value chain to create a sense of thinking like an integrated system toward a common purpose.

 

Q: Why do you think it’s beneficial to engage the community in your sustainability efforts?


Hanna:
When we define our community, it’s the 60 million people that walk through our doors as customers every week, it’s the places where we operate our stores and the impact that we have on those towns, as well as the place that we hold within those communities as a contributor to their livelihoods. It’s also the nearly 200,000 partners that put on the green apron as employees of Starbucks every day.

Finally, we see our community as the stakeholders who have influence in our company and are keen on how our company operates because of the size and the ubiquity of our brand and the reach it has on a global scale. Whatever their area of focus, these stakeholders have a key interest in the betterment of our world and they are looking to corporate leaders to solve these tough global issues. 

If we’re not engaged with those folks, then we’re not relevant with them. Obviously, from a customer base, that impacts sales. But from a community base, it impacts the place that we hold within those neighborhoods, and our ability to operate successfully within them. It’s beneficial for every company to be directly engaged with their communities—however they define them—because it’s critical to their success.

 

Q: How do your customers influence your sustainable packaging initiatives? 


Hanna:
That’s an interesting question because often I think that we, as companies, aren’t necessarily aligned with what our customers expect from us around sustainable packaging. 

Here’s a good example: We were the first large company in the world to take the use of food-contact post-consumer fiber to scale. With our supply chain partners, we went through the challenges of getting FDA approval (to the FDA, “approval” is defined as a “no objection”) for food-contact post-consumer fiber. It took us a number of years to make that happen and, although we’re still one of the only companies out there using post-consumer fiber at scale for food contact in our hot paper cups, we haven’t necessarily seen a significant resonance within a customer base around that leadership model. 

You don’t see customers out there asking “Why are you only 10 percent PCF Starbucks? You really should increase that to 20, 30, 40, 50 percent” or whatever the number is. 

Consumers, especially in the U.S. and Canada, define sustainable packaging by focusing on end of life. That’s caused us to focus a lot of effort and resources into creating solutions for our packaging because we know that’s what resonates most with our customers. Yes, we work to mitigate the footprint of our packaging from cradle to grave. But we need to realize that our customers, and most consumers, are locked in on end-of-life as their definition of sustainable packaging today.

We need to create solutions for our customers so we can have broader conversations about the true sustainability of packaging and about the sustainability of our businesses. 

Here’s another example: Around 75 percent of our environmental footprint comes from the operation of our stores. Three years ago, we made a commitment to reduce that operating footprint and set out to build every company-owned store in the world to be LEED-certified. If you’re familiar with the challenges of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification system, that’s a really big deal. That being said, if you ask any customer what is Starbucks’ greatest environmental footprint, most of them will assume it’s our cups. 

I always jokingly say, I would much rather customers come into our stores and say ‘I choose to shop at Starbucks because you guys have this super-efficient HVAC system, because as a conscious consumer, I get that this is where the rubber hits the road when we talk about Starbucks’ environmental impact and good for you guys for addressing it!’ 

I know to even attempt to get to that point, what we’re going to have to do is solve for the most pressing and prominent issue in their eyes-which is our packaging. It’s essential that we at Starbucks, and that we as an industry that’s using single-serve packaging, solve these end-of-life issues for our customers regardless of the contribution they make to our total footprint, so that we can shift the conversation to more pressing environmental issues.

If you look at the global problems we face around environmental degradation, climate change, water scarcity and other pressing issues, citizens and consumers have to be focused on what really matters if they are to play an impactful role in shifting the direction of current negative environmental trends. It’s our job as businesses to help them understand where the real impacts lie and how the choices they make every day as consumers have a huge impact on the environment. 

If we as a business sector are just placating their current perception of environmental impact—which we often do, unfortunately—we’re not going to be able to cross that hurdle to really focus on solving the true and massive environmental issues we face. Yes, we cannot downplay the importance of solid waste management, including the impact that recycling and diversion have on climate change. But the conversation can’t end here.

 

Q: How can packaging help show a brand’s commitment to environmental responsibility? How can your packaging communicate all of what you just said? 


Hanna:
Packaging is that tangible, touchable, seeable thing that is our first and primary touch point with our customers. Packaging must tell the right story to begin the conversation around sustainability. 

Packaging is the starting point and is the gateway to great conversations. It’s essential that we get that part right because that puts our customers and consumers on the path of either trusting the brands they’re using or not trusting them. If we can build that level of trust, if we’re doing the right thing around packaging, then that gives us the ability to engage in deeper conversation around our total environmental footprint and how our customers can play a role in driving that impact down by “voting” with their dollar. 

Addressing end-of-life specifically, and how we should think about brands’ “responsibility,” it’s no longer acceptable for the business community to simply accept a lack of recycling infrastructure in the communities where they operate or assume that we have no influence in driving development of that infrastructure to move our single serve packaging out of the landfill pipeline. We know the necessary pieces in solving the infrastructure puzzle, including market development, material optimization, creating material scale for recyclers to invest in their capacities, along with local policies that catalyze the factors and drive consumer behaviors. But, frankly, we don’t tap into the power we have as a business community to proactively impact local environmental policy.

 

Sure, we are great at playing defense and activating our trade associations to (rightly) oppose material bans or Draconian fees on packaging. But we’ve never been effective at sitting down with local lawmakers ahead of time to hash out good policy that drives infrastructure development and acceptance of our products into recycling streams, leaving us vulnerable to bans, fees, extended producer responsibility (EPR) and other last-resort policies to divert our products from landfills. We need to take a second look at our engagement strategies as an industry.

For example, I can’t tell you how many cities I’ve gone to that, when I walk in their doors, they weren’t accepting Starbucks cups into the recycling system at either the commercial or residential level. By educating and helping policy makers understand that our business goals actually aligned with the city’s/county’s environmental goals, and by aligning all of the players within the local recycling “system” we’ve been able to break through those barriers in a number of cities and get our cups accepted. What we can’t do is sit on the sideline and just throw up our hands and say “The infrastructure or the markets don’t exist”—because it’s our job to make sure that, if they don’t exist, we do everything we can to drive those markets. 

That was a longwinded answer to how packaging can demonstrate brands’ environmental leadership, but that’s really one of our commitments here at Starbucks: To lead the initiative to ensure that our packaging, and our industry’s packaging, is able to reduce its environmental footprint in every way from cradle, to use, to end of life.

 

Q: How does Starbucks balance the need for packaging that’s eco-responsible with packaging that fulfills the consumer’s desire for convenience? 


Hanna:
We try to take a holistic approach to our packaging in a way that, rather than focusing on the packaging, it focuses on the needs. Starbucks’ need is to deliver the best cup of coffee we can to our customers in a way that creates brand connection and elevates the experience for our customers every day beyond what our competitors can do. 

We’ve taken the approach of focusing on our packaging goals from a broader perspective of how to deliver this great cup of coffee to our customers in a way that reduces our environmental footprint while enhancing (or at least maintaining) their experience. 

We have a three-pronged approach at Starbucks. 

Number one is—and this may not sound too exciting to the folks in the single-serve packaging industry—we’re trying to get our customers to use fewer of our paper and plastic cups. We have a program to incentivize people to bring their own reusable cups into our stores. When they do that, we’ll wash it for them and prepare their beverage in those cups, whether it’s a tumbler or a travel mug and we’ll give the customers a discount for their efforts. We have a target at Starbucks that, by 2015, 5 percent of all of our transactions occur with customers who bring in their own reusable mugs.

Unfortunately, we’ve hovered around 2 percent since the inception of the incentive program. The numbers dance around that a bit, but that’s been where we’ve been locked in for years. What we discovered is that the discount we offer is great, but it’s only a driver for a limited number of consumers. Most consumers are bringing in their own mugs because they simply enjoy the beverage that way or they have their own sense of environmental consciousness and this is how they’re doing their part every day to reduce their environmental footprint, regardless of whether or not they get a discount. 

It’s also a convenience issue, as carrying around a big bulky mug that may or may not be clean or may have been sitting in your car for a week, often negatively impact people’s ability or choice to bring in their own reusable mugs. 

In January 2013, we introduced a new concept. It’s a $1 reusable mug that’s made out of 100 percent polypropylene, the lid and the cup. The cool thing is the convenience factor is solved and the cost factor is solved because it’s only a buck, instead of our standard price between $10 and $18 for our mugs. It looks and feels like our existing paper cup, maintaining the brand attachment and Starbucks experience. For folks who were previously comfortable with our single-serve cups, this gives them an option for a reusable cup. And, because it’s only a buck, if you forget it at home or in your car or office, you can buy another one. After the introduction of the $1 reusable cup, we saw a significant bump in the purchase of reusables overall. But, more importantly, we also saw a marked increase in the number of people bringing their mugs back into the store to be reused.

Number two is encouraging our store managers to learn which customers typically enjoy their beverages in the stores and serve them in ceramic mugs, again, to reduce the use of single-serve packaging. You’d be surprised at how many customers don’t even know that we offer ceramic mugs in our stores. 

Number 3 is, for customers who choose to use single-serve cups, how do we do that in a way that provides that great Starbucks experience they’ve come to expect, delivers their beverage safely and conveniently every time, and has the lowest environmental footprint. 

That’s where we can really look at materials innovations, such as the post-consumer fiber we already use, innovation in coatings on the paper to impact recyclability and industry-wide material standardization to create scale for recyclers. Finally, when I talk about our 2015 goal of declaring our cups recyclable, what I’m talking about is access to recycling. The industry often defines recyclability or compostability based on the materials of our packaging, when we should be defining it based on access that our customers have to recycling or composting services. This isn’t Jim Hanna making up his own definitions. It’s the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guide that defines recyclability in that way and that’s the definition we use for our target.

For Starbucks, we define recyclability as follows: When our customer chooses to dispose of their cups—whether it’s in our stores, in their homes, in their offices or in a public space, if they don’t have access to recycling at that point, then the cups aren’t recyclable. They’re going to go into a landfill. That’s what we’re focusing on—building those infrastructures for recycling and end of life so that, hopefully, by 2015 we can actually cross the Federal Trade Commission’s 60 percent access threshold and declare victory.

 

Q: How do your packaging designs used in the foodservice environment at the point of consumption differ from some of those used in your retail products and why?


Hanna:
They don’t—and that’s a good thing. We take a holistic approach to packaging design whether it’s for retail stores or in our foodservice operations. 

We also look at our transport packaging, the movement of packaging from our distribution centers into our stores or the packaging that comes directly into the stores. We have significant focus on our supply chain to be able to help them minimize over packaging—which has been a pet peeve of our store partners (employees). Nothing galls them more than to get a small delivery in a big box. We know that cubing efficiency and standardization of packaging sizes is essential for efficient transportation, but we know there’s a significant footprint associated with transportation that can be significantly reduced if done right. 

We’ve been making significant progress in balancing efficient transportation with minimization of packaging, while balancing the need to maintain integrity of the items being transported. This includes introduction of durable, reusable transport packaging across our distribution network. While we’ve made huge progress, other retailers out there live and breathe this stuff, especially the ones that own their entire distribution systems, and have had significantly more leadership in this area that we can learn from.

We want to be game changers in the industry. But we’re also willing to follow game changers in areas where they either have more influence, more exposure to the issue or a greater ability to be those game changers. That’s one exciting culture of our company: We put a stake in the ground where we think we can change the world. We also know that there are many other companies who can do the same thing and we’re glad to follow them.

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PACKAGING BRIEFS Monday, March 11






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Posted by Jenni Spinner, Senior Editor — Packaging Digest, 3/11/2013 8:21:00 AM





IoPP Ontario Chapter presents local packaging show
IoPP 2013 Ontario chapter exhibitorsThe Ontario chapter of the Institute of Packaging Professionals is producing a packaging show (scheduled Tuesday, April 16, noon to 5 pm at the Centre for Health & Safety Innovation in Missisauga) that is designed to bring together suppliers and packaging professionals. The theme of the event is “100 mile Packaging : Local Innovation for Global Change.” Exhibitors include Atlantic Packaging, Blow Mold Tooling, Deco Label Systems, Deco Label Systems, Independent Corrugator Inc, Jones Packaging, Lintec Label & Print Solution, Pano Cap, Roda Packaging, Saxco International, Speedway Packaging , Sleever International, Smurfit Kappa Bag in Box, Viva Healthcare Packaging and others. For more information or to register, click here.

 

Rexam aims to cut environmental impact with modular conveyors
Packaging manufacturer Rexam has installed DynaCon modular conveyor systems from Dynamic Conveyor at its Union, MO plant, which produces 1.2 billion thermal formed high barrier food containers per year. The conveyors are aimed to help the facility meet its zero scrap-waste goals by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of its scrap transport. The equipment reportedly helps increase the facility’s sustainability because they weigh less and require less effort to move, and they help reduce emissions.

 

Awards recognize personal care packaging excellence
HBA Global Expo is accepting nominations for its annual IPDA (International Package Design Awards) on its website. The program honors the year’s most innovative beauty packaging in several categories including cosmetics, fragrance, personal care, skin care and innovations in sustainability. Categories for Hair Care, Sampling/Travel Size products, and At-Home Devices and Tools have also been added to the program. Any size company can submit designs that are introduced for retail from June 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, including suppliers, design firms, public relations and marketing agencies, and brand manufacturers. Designs that have been re-freshed, improved, or offer new features or technologies are also eligible to participate. The deadline for IPDA submissions is March 22, 2013. Finalists for the IPDA Awards are announced in early May and the Category Winners and the Grand Award will be revealed during the HBA Global Expo & Conference June 18 – 20, 2013 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York

 

International Paper partners to save 200,000 acres of forest
International Paper, a company that provides packaging paper and materials, has gifted $7.5 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help conserve and restore southern forestlands, an effort aimed to help restore, protect and enhance 200,000 acres of forests across eight southern states–the low country of North and South Carolina, the Cumberland plateau in Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, and the piney woods on the Louisiana-Texas border. International Paper has nine mills and several other facilities located in these regions, affording IP employees an opportunity for hands-on conservation contributions in their local areas.
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Unilever reduces waste by one million household bins






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Posted by Rick Lingle, Technical Editor — Packaging Digest, 2/13/2013 3:47:52 PM





 

Unilever Knorr 322Unilever reported that more than 50 percent of all its factories have achieved the goal of sending no waste to landfill in 2012.

 

This goal was achieved while the company reported annual sales of €51 billion – up from €40 billion when Unilever set out its new vision of doubling the size of its business while reducing its environmental impact and increasing its positive social impact. Unilever has already reached the milestone of 100% of sites sending zero waste to landfill in 18 countries. This achievement is equivalent to removing more than one million household bins of waste every year.

 

Over 130 Unilever factories across the world, from Costa Rica to Japan, send no non-hazardous waste to landfill, up from 74 at start of the year. Key driver for this achievement is the elimination of waste in the factories. Additionally, waste is reduced, reused, recycled and recovered. Under its Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever announced that by 2020, total waste sent for disposal will be at or below 2008 levels – despite producing significantly higher volumes. Today, Unilever is stretching the original target even further by bringing the 2020 commitment 5 years forward. A total of 252 factories across the world will not send any non-hazardous waste to landfill by end of 2015.

 

“This is a significant achievement for Unilever as we make progress towards reaching our ambitious sustainability goals,” says Tony Dunnage, Unilever eco-efficiency manager. “It’s a great example of how we are putting our sustainability strategy into action – by decoupling the growth of our business from its environmental impact. Today’s landmark demonstrates how our factories are more environmentally responsible, which is helping us to save money to invest in our business. Having over 130 sites not sending waste to landfill equates to a cost saving of almost €70 million, all achieved without the need for capital expenditure.”

 

Unilever is implementing best practices from all over the world, actively using the global supply chain network, to create more environmentally responsible factories. By using the “design once and deploy everywhere” philosophy, the company is driving a sustainable model that is good for the environment and saves costs. Every new factory will produce 50% less waste than 5 years ago and will not send any non-hazardous waste to landfill by design.

 

Where reduction of waste is not sufficient it will reuse, recover or recycle waste to reach zero-waste to landfill. For example, in Russia Unilever collects a few tons of perforated outer-tea bags annually and this is sold in pet shops as animal bedding, used for wallpaper, etc. In Hefei (China) Unilever reduced plastics to wrap boxes on pallets by replacing it with reusable elastic fabrics.

 

Source: Unilever

 

 

 







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Recycling plastic packaging too costly: public official






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Posted by Jenni Spinner, Senior Editor — Packaging Digest, 2/1/2013 8:40:00 AM





Bale of plastic packagingThe solid waste supervisor at the Asotin County Regional Landfill says recycling plastics is costing the county about $8,000 a year and is not worth the effort.

 

Stephen L. Becker, who oversees the program, has asked the Asotin County commissioners to discontinue plastics recycling, saying it’s an economic drain and doesn’t provide a substantial environmental benefit. The commissioners plan to discuss the issue Monday.

 

“You get to the point where you have to decide how much you want to spend to recycle a commodity,” Becker said. “You have to get it to a clean enough state that it can be recycled, and there is a cost to get the product to a recycling facility in Seattle or Portland. It takes fuel and manpower, and sometimes there’s a larger environmental impact than if you just throw it away.”

 

Some commodities, such as newspapers, catalogs, phone books, cardboard, aluminum and tin cans are ideal products for the recycling process, Becker said. But he said plastic milk jugs and water bottles are not cost-effective.

 

The Asotin County Regional Landfill recycles approximately 30 tons of plastics every year. It costs $77 a ton to sort and separate the plastics that are placed in bins at four unmanned sites in the county, and the landfill is paid just more than $20 a ton for the cleaned plastics, Becker said.

It costs the landfill about $4,000 a year for labor and equipment to haul the plastics to the recycling site. The charge for garbage that is left at the sites averages $2,160 a year.

 

“Our biggest problem is people bringing non-recyclable trash to the drop-off sites,” Becker said. “We get garbage on the ground and in the container itself. We have to sort everything, and we don’t have the workforce for that.”

 

The No. 1 rule for plastics is the container’s lid must be smaller than the actual container, such as milk jugs, water bottles and soda pop containers. Egg cartons, plastic bags and foam products are not acceptable.

 

Asotin County has four drop-off recycling sites for residents to use. Rinsed milk jugs and water bottles also are accepted at Lewis Clark Recyclers and Pacific Steel and Recycling, both located in Lewiston. Plastics are not accepted in the bins operated by the city of Clarkston inside city limits.

“Some people use our recycling sites for trash disposal,” Becker said. “People who abuse the system are ruining it for the people who are doing an excellent job. They try to sneak stuff in all the time.”

 

Becker figures if the county ends plastics recycling and it winds up in the landfill, it will use less than 22 cubic yards, which is roughly one-quarter of 1 percent of available space. Solid waste at the landfill is entombed, he said, so it won’t become an environmental issue.

 

“I’d rather spend the county’s time, manpower and efforts on recycling the products I believe are most economically feasible,” Becker said.

When the proposal surfaced at this week’s Asotin County commission meeting, the commissioners voiced concerns about ending the plastics recycling program in the county. They want more information before they make a decision.

 

Source: Asotin County Regional Landfill

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