rPET Becoming a Popular Sustainability Option, Volume 4, Issue 6

rPET Becoming a Popular Sustainability Option

Volume 4, Issue 6

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Sustainable Efforts

Fragrance Maker Selects Refillable Package

Refillable 35- and 100-milliliter (ml) bottles for Voyage d’Hermès Eau de Toilette spray from Hermès, Paris, France, feature a Melodie® pump with a specially designed threaded ferrule and NoC® dip tube from MeadWestvaco Corp., Richmond, VA.

Light-refracting technology makes the NoC dip tube virtually invisible so there’s no distraction from the bottle designed by Philippe Mouquet. The components not only improve package aesthetics, but also enable refills from 125-milliliter containers, which are sold separately.

The Melodie threaded ferrule is available in Europa 4 and GCMI 18-405 finishes. For more information, visit www.mwv.com.

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P&G Plant Sends No Waste to Landfill

The Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, achieves a milestone in its effort to send zero waste to landfills. A plant in Auburn, ME, ranks as its first North American facility and ninth worldwide to eliminate landfilled waste. The feminine care product production facility worked with employees and suppliers to recycle or reuse more than 60% of its waste and convert the rest to energy.

The P&G Global Asset Recovery Purchases (GARP) team--charged with finding external partners that can turn waste and nonperforming inventory into something useful--connected the plant with a firm that helped collect recyclables and convert non-recyclable materials to energy through incineration. The incineration-generated electricity is used by the facility or sold to the local power company. For more information, visit www.pg.com.

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PACK EXPO Exhibitors Focus on Sustainability

Sustainability was a strong theme at this year’s PACK EXPO International (October 31-November 3, 2010, in Chicago, IL). Strategies include source reduction via downgauging, lightweighting and/or structure simplification and specifying of materials based on renewable sources or recycled content.

Many innovations involve film or sheet. For example, Taghleef Industries LLC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates/North Charleston, SC, recently opened a plant in San Giorgio di Nogaro, Italy, to produce corn-based, biodegradable, biaxially oriented Nativia polylactic acid (PLA) film. For more information, visit www.ti-films.com.

Dordan Manufacturing, Inc., a thermoformer based in Woodstock, IL, is working with sheet made of PLA and a PLA/starch blend as well as other bioresins such as cellulose acetate and poly hydroxyl alkanoate (PHA).



Wood-fiber-based cellulose acetate meets biodegradability and compostability standards. Available in matte and semi-matte finishes, it is acceptable for food contact and exhibits high clarity and gloss with low haze, high water vapor transmission rate, good tensile strength, elongation and die-cutting performance and relatively low tear strength. It also offers good printability and compatibility with adhesives.

PHA, a durable, general-purpose, high melt strength material derived from plant sugars, resists heat and moisture. It awaits clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Washington, DC, for use in nonalcoholic food-contact applications, from frozen food storage and microware reheating to boiling water up to 212 F. For more information, visit www.dordan.com.

Other biodegradable materials include Pentafood Biofilm and Pentaform Biofilm rigid thermoplastic starch films from Klöckner Pentaplast Group, Gordonsville, VA. The films contain up to 90% plant-based content and offer excellent flavor and odor barrier as well as grease resistance. Applications include thermoformed trays, shelf-ready displays and insert trays for products with low or no moisture content.

Klöckner also supplies TerraPET amorphous polyethylene terephthalate (APET) with 30% renewable content. The films exhibit the same properties and recyclability as APET made from petroleum-based feedstock, but are produced from sugar-cane-derived ethylene.

Klöckner also offers PET materials with recycled content. Options include heat- and radio-frequency-sealable Pentaform SmartCycle rigid PET films with 35-50% post-consumer-recycled (PCR) content, three-layer Pentafood kpbar SmartCycle PET/ethylene vinyl alcohol/PET barrier film and two-layer Pentafood kpseal SmartCycle PET/PE film. For more information, visit www.kpfilms.com.

Another supplier of recycled PET (rPET), Placon Corp., Madison, WI, produces, sells and thermoforms Ecostar sheet with 35% PCR content. With construction of its own recycling facility for post-consumer PET bottles and thermoforms, the company will be able to support production of Ecostar rPET with 100% PCR content, including food-contact grades. For more information, visit www.placon.com, www.ecostarplastics.com.

A foaming process, commercialized by MicroGreen Polymers, Inc., Seattle, WA, lightweights InCycle rPET film with 50% recycled content, while significantly increasing its length and width. Control of microcellular bubbles produces surface finishes ranging from matte to glossy and also turn the film white and impart insulating properties. Acceptable for food contact and available in 20-, 30-, 40- and 55-mil thicknesses, InCycle rPET film is suitable for thermoforming or convolute forming. It also is waterproof, greaseproof, printable, scorable, foldable, foil-stampable and embossable/debossable. It serves as a drop-in, cost-effective replacement for standard PET, PE and polystyrene and is a slightly pricier alternative to solid bleached sulfate paperboard. For more information, visit www.microgreeninc.com.

Lightweighting also is achieved by simplifying structures. For example, high-barrier metallized Metallyte oriented polypropylene (OPP) from ExxonMobil Chemical Co., Macedon, NY, achieves equal or better barrier properties than more complex foil laminations. With fewer layers, it’s possible to downgauge packaging up to 50% and cut costs. For more information, visit the OPP Films page.


Other potential replacements for foil laminations, Overture One laminations from Rollprint Packaging Products, Inc., Addison, IL, eliminate metal completely. The clear, all-PET materials combine Rollprint’s ClearFoil barrier-coated polyester with an aggressive sealant for a 33% gauge reduction compared to foil laminations. The clear film for stick pack and flow wrap applications also provides product visibility, doesn’t interfere with metal detectors and is compatible with gamma sterilization. A mono-material structure enhances chances of recycling. The high-barrier materials can be configured to achieve oxygen transmission levels as low as 0.0008 cubic centimeters (cc) per 100 square inches (in. 2) per 24 hours (hrs.) and water vapor transmission rates of 0.0008 grams per 100 in. 2 per 24 hrs. For more information, visit www.rollprint.com.

Fres-co System USA Inc., Telford, PA, showed a hot-filled, stand-up pouch for a fruit punch-flavored nutritional protein shot. The large-format pouch offers the mobility and convenience of a single-serve package at 30% less per serving, as well as a smaller environmental footprint. Billed as a replacement for a #10 can, the 1-gallon Multiserve SafePak™ pouch contains 48 servings. Finger holes simplify handling, and The Answer® dispensing tap from International Dispensing Corp. (IDC), New York, NY, maintains product freshness before and after initial dispensing without refrigeration.


“The Answer® [dispensing tap] makes this package possible by keeping the contents safe with or without refrigeration,” says Greg Abbott, founder and chairman of IDC. “The Sunkist® pouch…is a bulk package, but it is also mobile. Each time you consume the product, you can roll up the pouch a bit more so that it becomes smaller with use. You can safely store it anywhere – in your car, office, backpack, fridge – without concern. At the end, you can squeeze out every last drop….” Fres-co supplies the G90 filler as well as the multilayer foil laminate and preformed pouch. The Sunkist® protein shots are produced under a license between Sunkist Growers, Inc., Visalia, CA, and BioBev LLC, and manufactured by Protica Inc., Whitehall, PA. After a fourth quarter 2010 debut in the SkyMall Catalog for air travelers, the bulk protein shot product will be available in large retail outlets in 2011. For more information, visit www.fresco.com, www.idcdispensing.com, www.protica.com, www.BioBev.com.


Even point-of-purchase displays can support sustainability objectives. An eco-friendly True Blue display, designed and produced by the Global Services division of Sonoco, Hartsville, SC, for Vaseline® Sheer Infusion™ body lotion from Unilever, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, uses 32.65 square feet of paperboard, 50% less than the floorstand wing unit it replaces. The reduction is achieved without sacrificing the display’s eye-catching impact. For more information, visit www.sonoco.com.

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Source Reduction

Blow/Fill Line Produces Lightweight Hot-Fill Container

The world’s first ThermoShape™ integrated high-speed blow and fill packaging line starts up at Al Ain Mineral Water Co., Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. On the line, designed, commissioned and installed by Plastipak Packaging, Inc., Plymouth, MI, a patented process reshapes the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle after hot filling with juice. At 25 grams, the 500-milliliter (ml) bottle with 38-millimeter neck finish weighs 30% less than traditional, hot-fillable, 500-ml PET containers. This is largely due to elimination of the vacuum panels and other vacuum-resistant features normally needed by hot-fillable PET bottles. In addition, slightly positive internal pressure provides superior vertical load resistance for packaging and distribution. Bottles achieve shelf life of up to 12 months under ambient conditions without bottle deformation.

Installation of the line allows Al Ain Mineral Water to expand its product line with value-added beverages such as sports drinks and juices. The lighter containers deliver “on both cost and energy savings…and further demonstrate our corporate social responsibility commitment of reducing our environmental impact,” says Fasahat Beg, general manager of Al Ain Mineral Water. Eventually, the company plans to expand the line to run 250ml and 1-liter containers. “…the ThermoShape system easily fits into a small footprint space, allowing existing glass or plastic hot-fill lines to seamlessly convert to the ThermoShape system,” says Jean-Guy Delage, Plastipak’s director of Technology Integration. Plastipak licenses its ThermoShape technology worldwide. For more information, visit www.plastipak.com.

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Recycling/Recycled Content

Maker of ‘Green’ Cleaners Converts To 100% rPET


Bon Ami, Kansas City, MO, adopts 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) containers, sourced through TricorBraun, for its biodegradable, nontoxic and hypoallergenic cleaning products. In addition, labels and adhesive are chosen for maximum compatibility in the recycling stream.

The 125-year-old, family-owned company celebrates the smoky appearance of the rPET. “Adding unnecessary and harmful dyes goes against Bon Ami’s pure heritage both inside and out,” says Carolyn West, Bon Ami’s director of Sustainability. “That smoky color is a hallmark of recycled plastic, and we think our customers will be as proud of it as we are,” she adds. For more information, visit www.BonAmi.com.

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Juice Maker Expands Use Of rPET Bottles

Naked® Juice, Monrovia, CA, transitions more sizes of its super-premium juice and juice smoothie products to reNEWabottle® containers. Made of 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET), 10-, 15.2- and 64-ounce containers join a 32-ounce reNEWabottle introduced in 2009. The company projects the conversion will save 7.4 million pounds of virgin resin each year. The transition to the reNEWabottle helps Naked Juice reduce its overall carbon footprint and save more than 12,000 cubic meters of landfill space. Using recycled bottles instead of virgin PET also reduces greenhouse gas emissions 35%, the equivalent of saving more than 500,000 gallons of gas a year.


In addition, as a new partner of RecycleBank®, New York, NY, a rewards program that motivates consumers to take environmental actions, Naked Juice plans to launch interactive Web content, leveraging RecycleBank’s Learn & Earn platform to educate consumers on the power of recycling PET and the environmental benefits of the reNEWabottle. After accessing the content and playing a short game, consumers receive RecycleBank points that can be redeemed for Naked Juice products and other rewards from local and national partners.

Naked Juice also sponsors America Recycles Day (November 15) and supports its organizer, Keep America Beautiful, Inc., Stamford, CT, a volunteer-based community action and education organization. “With the expansion of the reNEWabottle, it’s critical to educate consumers about ongoing sustainability efforts because, together, we can help reduce the amount of plastic in our landfills and, in turn, make new Naked Juice bottles,” Armistead explains.

Other sustainability-enhancing practices include:

  • Working with the Rainforest Alliance to procure bananas in a way that ensures sustainable livelihoods and protects wildlife and the environment
  • Completing a full carbon lifecycle assessment and developing a comprehensive long-term plan to shrink the company’s carbon footprint
  • Rebuilding its manufacturing facility to improve energy and water efficiency well beyond the industry standard and achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, DC.

For more information, visit www.nakedjuice.com, www.recyclebank.com, www.kab.org.

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rPET Wine Bottle Goes To The Beach


An EnVino polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle weighs about 80% less than a comparable glass bottle for Hang Time Rose from Naked Winery, Hood River, OR. With 70% recycled content and oxygen barrier technology to protect quality and flavor, the production of these bottles consumes 77% less water and generates less greenhouse gas and air pollution then traditional glass bottle manufacturing. The switch to the PET container and screw cap from TricorBraun WinePak, Benicia, CA, formerly Caliber WinePak, makes it possible for wine lovers to take Hang Time Rose to state beaches where glass is prohibited. For more information, visit www.tricorbraunwinepak.com.

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Kashi Promotes Carton Recycling

From now through June 30, 2011, cartons of products from Kashi Co., La Jolla, CA, will invite consumers to “Recycle This Box to Get Rewards.” The promotion in cooperation with the Points for the Planet promotion from RecycleBank, New York, NY, involves entering a code online and pledging to recycle the box for Kashi Organic Promise® biscuit cereals, including Autumn Wheat®, Cinnamon Harvest® and Island Vanilla®. Individuals earn 15 RecycleBank points per carton, which may be redeemed for rewards from local and national business partners, as well as for coupons for Kashi® cereal.

“Through our partnership with RecycleBank, we have an ideal opportunity to help educate people on the importance of recycling paperboard packaging to support our environment,” says Jeff Johnson, senior nutritionist and natural lifestyle expert. “Paper is one of the easiest materials to recycle, yet paper and paperboard make up more than 30% of our landfills. At Kashi, we realize that recycling isn't the only way to green our planet, but it is one of the many actions that can make a positive impact. This RecycleBank program presents a unique opportunity to help drive waste down in a way that is measurable and rewards people for helping the overall recycling cause.”

Kashi also supports America Recycles Day (November 15), a program organized by Keep America Beautiful, Stamford, CT. For more information, visit www.recyclebank.com.

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Phone App Helps Find Recycling Centers, Track Results

Aluminate™ iPhone application makes recycling aluminum cans fun and easy. Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices, the free application from Alcoa, Pittsburgh, PA, helps consumers find recycling centers, track how many aluminum cans they recycle, and calculate the cash earned. The app tracks both individual and team recycling efforts, calculates earnings based on the amount of aluminum cans (used beverage, food and pet food cans) recycled, shares results via Facebook or email, “Aluminates” photos and posts them online, and displays videos and fun facts about how recycling aluminum helps save energy and protect the environment. “This app is the most comprehensive available for anyone who wants to recycle aluminum cans,” says Beth Schmitt, director of Recycling for Alcoa, adding, “It’s great for organizations that want to create a recycling campaign and to encourage others to join their efforts.” Download Alcoa’s Aluminate recycling app at Apple App Store by searching keyword “Aluminate.” For more information, visit www.alcoarecycling.com/iphone.

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Renewable Materials

Beverage Firm Transitions To Plant-Based HDPE Bottle


By the end of the first quarter of 2011, Odwalla, Half Moon Bay, CA, plans to complete its conversion to PlantBottle™ packaging for all of its single-serve juice, juice drink, smoothie and protein drink products. Although the PlantBottle container, developed by its parent company, The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, GA, consists of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) made from feedstock derived from molasses and sugarcane juice, it performs and recycles exactly the same as a conventional HDPE bottle based on petroleum feedstock.

According to Odwalla, conversion to the plant-based bottle will reduce its annual carbon dioxide emissions in an amount equivalent to 400,000 gallons of gas. Coca-Cola uses a PET version of the PlantBottle for certain brands in certain markets.

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European Juice Maker Extrusion-Blowmolds PLA Bottle

Europe’s first extrusion-blowmolded biobased bottle holds Bio organic lemon juice from Polenghi LAS, San Rocco al Porto, Italy. The squeezable Eco bottle relies on a special formulation of Ingeo polylactic acid from NatureWorks LLC, Minnetonka, MN. Switching from low-density polyethylene (LDPE), the resin traditionally used for squeeze bottles, to Ingeo™ bioplastic for 10 million bottles conserves 1,000 barrels of oil and reduces Polenghi’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by 126 tons. The resin manufacturing process itself generates additional benefits by cutting carbon dioxide emissions 38% and energy consumption 45% versus LDPE. “This bottle and shrink-sleeve label, both made from renewably sourced Ingeo™ bioplastic, presents us with the opportunity to differentiate our Bio organic lemon juice,” says Marco Polenghi, sales director Bio organic lemon juice sells throughout Europe in the Eco bottle. For more information, visit www.polenghigroup.it, www.natureworksllc.com.

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About the author

Hallie Forcinio has covered packaging-related environmental topics for more than 20 years, first as an editor on Food & Drug Packaging magazine and more recently as a freelance packaging journalist. “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 Packaging Machinery Technology, Pharmaceutical Technology, Managing Automation and Ben Miyares’ Packaging Management Update, the weekly e-newsletter that posts each Monday on Packexpo.com.

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