Recycled HDPE Okay For Food
Volume 11, Issue 3
In This Issue:
Recycled HDPE Okay For Food
EcoPrime recycled high-density polyethylene (rHDPE) can be used in any type of food packaging including applications for fatty foods, spirits and retorted products.
High-Strength Board Contains 100% Recycled Fiber
With startup of its No. 10 linerboard machine, Kruger Packaging LP, Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada, begins production of its next-generation XTR containerboard.
Also Featured In This Issue:
Recycled HDPE Okay For Food
EcoPrime recycled high-density polyethylene (rHDPE) can be used in any type of food packaging including applications for fatty foods, spirits and retorted products. A letter of no objection from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration clears the resin from Envision Plastics, Atlanta, GA, for use at levels up to 100% under FDA’s Conditions of Use A through H.
The EcoPrime® resin offers a drop-in replacement for virgin HDPE for containers for foods and beverages, as well as beauty, cosmetic and personal care products. It’s also fully recyclable in the HDPE waste stream.
“Made from U.S.-sourced recycled food packaging, integrating EcoPrime® not only provides your end consumers the products they love, but within packaging they can feel good about,” says Tamsin Ettefagh, vice president of Sales & Procurement for Envision Plastics, a subsidiary of Consolidated Container Co.
High-Strength Board Contains 100% Recycled Fiber
With startup of its No. 10 linerboard machine, Kruger Packaging LP, Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada, begins production of its next-generation XTR containerboard. The new board combines 100% recycled content with the highest strength-to-basis-weight ratio in North America. A newly built plant converts old corrugated containers into pulp to supply the 360,000-metric-tonne-per-year linerboard machine.
Michael Lafave, chief operating officer of Kruger Packaging, reports, “XTR linerboard is designed to surpass industry standards in terms of performance, efficiency and quality, and to deliver higher strength using lighter weight corrugated material. This will enable corrugated sheet plants and box producers to refiber their corrugated structure while reducing their costs. Early customer feedback has been exceptionally positive.”
Nestlé Waters Supports Recycling
Nestlé Waters North America, Stamford, CT, joins the Closed Loop Fund, New York, NY, a shared effort among business, government and community partners to help people recycle more, efficiently turn emptied packages into new products, save taxpayer dollars and improve the recycling system. As a member of the Fund, Nestlé Waters plans to invest $6 million to help close the recycling gap in the United States.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 75% of the waste stream in the United States is recyclable, but only 30% actually is recycled. Aside from the environmental impacts, U.S. municipalities and businesses spent more than $5 billion in 2015 disposing of waste in landfills. Much of this waste, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), is in demand among manufacturers as raw material for everything from textiles to packaging.
“The United States has one of the lowest recycling rates of any industrialized country, but it doesn’t have to stay that way,” says Nelson Switzer, chief sustainability officer at Nestlé Waters North America. He explains, “The United States has an opportunity to lead the way in recycling, while creating jobs, economic growth and a more sustainable future. As a company, we are on a very deliberate journey toward zero landfill waste in our products and operations, so I can think of no better opportunity than working collectively to ensure these recyclable materials are transformed from garbage to the valuable resources that they are.”
To date, Closed Loop Fund has diverted more than 100,000 tons of recyclable content, and the 11 projects currently funded are poised to divert 4 million tons by 2025. In that same timeframe, the Fund aims to:
- Eliminate more than 40 million tons of greenhouse gas
- Divert more than 20 million cumulative tons of waste from landfills
- Provide a $40 million economic benefit to municipalities
- Prove replicable models that will help unlock additional investment in recycling
Joining the Closed Loop Fund is the latest in Nestlé Waters’ efforts to enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier, more sustainable future for the planet and its people. Other efforts include lightweighting containers by more than 60% since 1994 and expanding use of recycled PET. In fact nine out of 10 of its California-born Arrowhead® Mountain Spring Water bottles now contain 50% post-consumer recycled content.
Contest Seeks To Recycle All Plastic
A $1 Million Circular Materials Challenge invites innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs to submit materials solutions that eliminate plastic pollution.
The competition, organized by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK, and NineSigma, Cleveland, OH, seeks ways to make all plastic recyclable and keep it out of landfills and oceans. The $1 million prize will be shared equally by up to five winners. Winners also will have access to The New Plastics Economy Innovation Accelerator, a 12-month program offering connections to industry experts, commercial guidance, feedback on user and scalability requirements, advice on performance expectations and entry to innovation labs for testing and development.
“If we want to effect broad systems change, we need to rethink the way we make plastic items,” said Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder, Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “That’s why we are calling for scientific and technical experts from around the globe to help us keep these materials in the economy and out of the ocean.”
About 13% of today’s packaging is made of layers of different materials fused together. This multilayer construction meets important needs like keeping food fresh, but also makes the packaging hard to recycle. The Challenge, therefore, invites innovators to find alternative materials that can be recycled or composted.
The judging panel consists of senior executives from major businesses, widely recognized scientists, designers and academics. Solutions will be assessed against a broad range of criteria. Deadline for submissions is 5:00 p.m. US EDT on Oct. 20, 2017. Proposals may be submitted via NineSigma’s Open Innovation community.
Edible Packaging Derives From Seaweed
Fast-growing seaweed serves as the source for Ooho packaging from Skipping Rocks Lab, London, UK. Designed for single-serving water destined for distribution at outdoor events like races, the package, which looks like a squishy ball, can be used for other beverages and liquids. Packages can be formed, filled and sealed onsite and multipacked in groups in a peelable skin of Ooho material. The edible material can be flavored and colored and biodegrades in four to six weeks.
During the summer of 2017, Skipping Rocks Lab is selling its own brand of flavored waters and health shots at shops, festivals and running events in 20ml, 55ml and 150ml sizes. Flavors include minty fresh, elderflower, blackcurrant, orange, ginger shots and hot shots. The company plans to work with brands to encapsulate their drinks, and with retailers to install Ooho production capability in stores.
The company closed a round of funding in May 2017 and is working on a fully automated production machine. Plans call for leasing the machines and selling the proprietary Ooho material to retailers to package water and other soft drinks onsite. Compared to production of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the Ooho material reduces carbon dioxide emissions by a factor of five and energy consumption by a factor of nine. It’s also said to cost less than PET.
Bioplastic Packaging Grows
Rising consumer demand for resource-efficient and eco-friendly products will drive the global bioplastic packaging market at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.3% to $34.24 billion by 2024, according to a report by Hexa Research, Felton, CA.
Europe ranks as the largest market, accounting for 32.7% of the volume share in 2016 due to supporting regulations coupled with consumer awareness regarding conservation of the environment. With demand growing, suppliers are ramping up production capacity as well as developing biopolymers. For instance, in October 2016, BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Avantium, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, entered into a joint venture to form Synvina JV, which is slated to manufacture 50,000 metric tons per year of 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid, which can be used to make polyethylene furanoate, a bio-polyester.
Moreover, companies are focusing on R&D to expand the utilization of different raw materials such as polybutylene succinate, polylactic acid and polybutylene adipate-co-terephthalate in various mainstream packaging applications. For instance, in April 2017, UK-based Biome Bioplastics developed a fully compostable and recyclable coffee cup made entirely from bioplastic materials. These factors together are expected to provide an impetus to the growth of the bioplastic packaging market during the next seven years.
Polyethylene terephthalate dominated the global market contributing $1.84 billion in 2016. The polymer is extensively used in rigid packaging due to its high durability, transparency and moldability and increasingly is derived from plant-based materials. Initiatives undertaken by companies such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and Heinz are expected to bolster growth in the rigid packaging market.
The report, Bioplastic Packaging Market Size and Forecast, By Raw Material, By Product, By Application and Trend Analysis, 2014-2024, also discusses increasing demand for flexible packaging. In fact the report predicts expansion for this segment at a CAGR of 20.6% between 2017 and 2024.
Label Maker Practices Stewardship
Sustainable practices have become deeply entrenched at WS Packaging Group, Green Bay, WI. “We recycle everything we can,” says Charlie Eitel, CEO of the label converter. He reports, “We bale it, we sell it, we recycle it, and we don’t do it to make money. It’s just the right thing to do. We’re always looking for more innovative ways to recycle and leave a cleaner footprint. It’s good for the environment and good for our customers.”
One example is how WS Packaging turns waste from one process into a usable resource for another. The company has invested in converting more than 1,000 tons of matrix waste from the printing process into fuel pellets each month. This keeps the waste out of the landfill. Other “green” practices include
- The WebFlex™ paperless ordering process – no paper for quotes, order acknowledgements and invoices
- Installing more energy-efficient P Series presses from Mark Andy, Chesterfield, MO
- Switching from analog to digital plate-making as well as water-based inks to dramatically reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Greater use of VOC-free LED-UV inks
- Transition from UV bulbs to a more efficient LED curing system
- Installation of a bulb crusher to help ensure safe disposal of spent lamps and easier recycling
- Certifying plants to the Label Initiative for the Environment (LIFE) program established by the Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute, Alexandria, VA
- Reducing the carbon footprint associated with transportation by operating a network of strategically located manufacturing facilities across the United States and Mexico
- Reducing consumption of corrugated shippers via reuse and helping customers to do the same
WS Packaging helps end users reduce their environmental footprint in other ways. Its patented EasyTab® extended-text label helped meet stringent regulatory labeling requirements when Insight Pharmaceuticals, Feasterville-Trevose, PA, decided not to use a unit carton for Anacin® Advanced Headache Formula. Eliminating 219 million chipboard boxes saved 16.9 million square inches of paperboard and $0.50/package.
“It’s important that we proceed and progress and continue to look for sustainable avenues,” says Allen Bonnell, environment, health and safety manager at WS Packaging. “Whether it's offering sustainable products like our linerless labels or continuing to recycle and remove waste, it’s a combination of the bigger innovations and all the little things we do that really add up,” he concludes.
Brand Owners Protect The Endangered
A number of brand owners focus on protecting endangered species or environments.
Stonyfield, Londonderry, NH, for example, supports the SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction® program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Silver Spring, MD. The program fosters conservation efforts for 10 endangered species. Funds from Stonyfield will help reverse the decline of the African penguin and drive conservation awareness. As part of a year-long effort, Stonyfield will not only support fieldwork but also encourage kids and their families to see animals and conservation projects firsthand.
The African penguin and other endangered species will be featured on Stonyfield YoKids® packaging, along with an on-pack offer to visit AZA member zoos and aquariums.
“AZA SAFE’s conservation work is keenly aligned to Stonyfield’s longstanding mission of healthy food, healthy people, healthy planet,” says Andy Sundberg, senior brand manager, Stonyfield YoKids. As a provider of organic products, he says, “Each year Stonyfield keeps over 185,000 pounds of toxic persistent pesticides out of the environment, helping to safeguard species and their ecosystems, but we know there is always more to be done. More than ever before, we want kids to learn about these animals so they can become better stewards for generations to come.”
Dan Ashe, president and CEO of AZA, reports, “Support for conservation projects from brands like Stonyfield YoKids is essential to our success. People are more willing help what they love, so the earlier we can nurture that innate sense of wonder and appreciation for animals through visits to zoos and aquariums, the more we inspire the next generation to save them.”
Videos and resources to learn more about AZA SAFE are available on the Stonyfield website. Stonyfield also invites fans to join the campaign and submit videos to their own social platforms using the hashtag #ImagineHow.
SC Johnson, Racine, WI, is working in conjunction with Conservation International (CI), Arlington, VA, to preserve 10,000 acres of rainforest.
Currently, the Amazon rainforest loses 3.7 million acres per year – forests that provide habitat for 10% of the world’s known species and account for a significant portion of carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere. The acre-for-acre campaign was promoted in conjunction with SC Johnson’s sponsorship of Under the Canopy, an immersive 360-degree virtual reality film that allows viewers to experience the wonders of the Amazon. Co-produced by CI and cinematic virtual reality company Jaunt, San Mateo, CA, the film explores the landscape of Amazonia guided by the indigenous people who inhabit the region. It has been seen by more than half a million viewers worldwide.
“We are encouraged by the public response to Under the Canopy and to support efforts to save the Amazon rainforest,” says Fisk Johnson, chairman and CEO of SC Johnson, which became a founding member of CI’s Team Earth in 2009. “It is our hope that we can continue to inspire others to help protect this vital resource for future generations,” he adds.
Kimberly-Clark (K-C), Dallas, TX, also is working to protect forests and raising awareness about sustainably made personal-care products and certification from the Forest Stewardship Council, Minneapolis, MN. Working in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Washington, DC, K-C will display the WWF logo on its paper towel, facial tissue and toilet paper sold in North America as part of its ♥ YOUR PLANET campaign. Participating brands include Kleenex®, Scott®, Viva® and Cottonelle®. In addition, K-C is donating $4 million to support WWF’s efforts to protect forests and other critical ecosystems. FSC® is considered a “gold standard” in forest certification and assures that these products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, and social benefits.
Jay Gottleib, president of Family Care for K-C North America, notes, “Put simply, K-C cares….We were the first U.S tissue company to bring FSC-certified tissue products to market, and the first U.S tissue company to have 100% of our suppliers certified as providing fiber from responsibly managed sources. Today, we will be the first U.S tissue company to partner with WWF through an on-pack campaign…to help drive even more awareness…of the importance of…looking for FSC certification.”
Protecting the ocean from plastic pollution is the goal of Corona beer, a brand from Labatt Breweries of Canada, Toronto, Ontario. In conjunction with Parley for the Oceans, New York, NY, the brewer is working to protect 100 islands by 2020 starting in six key regions – Mexico, Maldives, Australia, Chile, Italy and Dominican Republic.
An estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the oceans each year. If current marine pollution trends continue, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050. The partners will protect these regions by implementing the multidisciplinary Parley AIR Strategy (Avoid, Intercept, Redesign). Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans, explains, “Plastic trash travels around the world and washes up on the most remote beaches, enclosing paradise with a belt of colorful plastic debris….To raise awareness and immediately reduce the production of new plastic, we invented Ocean Plastic™ from upcycled marine debris and developed a formula for long-term change – the Parley AIR Strategy: Avoid plastic; Intercept plastic debris; Redesign materials, products and the ways we use them. In Corona, we found the perfect partner to bring this philosophy and strategy to a new territory: the beverage sector.”
Glass Container Plants Earn Stars
Ardagh Group, Glass – North America, Indianapolis, IN, a division of Ardagh Group, has earned three ENERGY STAR® plant certifications from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The plants, located in Bridgeton, NJ; Dunkirk, IN; and Madera, CA; have demonstrated best-in-class energy performance and perform within the top 25% nationwide for energy efficiency. This is the third consecutive year for Bridgeton, the fourth consecutive year for Madera, and the fifth consecutive year for Dunkirk to be awarded certifications. “Ardagh Group is honored to remain the only U.S. glass container manufacturer to earn the prestigious ENERGY STAR plant certifications,” says John Riordan, president and CEO of Ardagh Group, Glass – North America. Minimizing energy consumption depends on maximizing use of recycled materials and optimizing manufacturing operations by upgrading and fine-tuning furnaces, installing energy-efficient lighting fixtures and repairing air compressor leaks.
About the author
Hallie Forcinio has covered packaging-related environmental topics for more than 25 years, first as an editor on Food & Drug Packaging magazine (now Packaging Strategies) and more recently as a freelance packaging journalist and principal of Forcinio Communications, an editorial services firm. “My interest in the environment dates back to a high school government class,” she notes. “I was collecting glass, newspapers and aluminum cans for recycling long before my community had a curbside recycling program.” In addition to preparing the TricorBraun Sustainability Times, she contributes articles to numerous trade publications including Pharmaceutical Technology, Dairy Foods and National Provisioner. She also serves as editorial director of the PACK EXPO Show Daily.