Reusable Bottle, Design 4 Recycling = Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 1

Reusable Bottle, Design 4 Recycling = Sustainability

Volume 5, Issue 1

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Reusable Bottle Earns Finalist Status in Edison Awards

A reusable bottle system from Replenish, West Hollywood, CA, has been named a finalist in the Packaging segment of the Energy and Sustainability Category of the 2011 Edison Awards. Designed to last three years, the reusable polyethylene terephthalate container and replaceable Concentrate Pod allows consumers to measure, mix, store and spray 98% plant-based cleaners.


In use, the pod is attached to the base of the container. The container is flipped upside down, and the pod is squeezed to release concentrate into the container’s builtin measuring cup. Then water is added to fill the container. One-way valves prevent leakage if pod and container are separated. Each Concentrate Pod makes four bottles (64 ounces) of cleaner. To enhance recyclability, the sprayer eliminates the metal spring found in traditional designs

Replenish reduces plastic waste and carbon dioxide emissions 90% and costs 50% less than traditional pre-mixed cleaners. Completely made in Wisconsin, the product boasts a supply chain with a radius of less than 200 miles. “We believe that by focusing on reuse and smarter product design, we can dramatically improve the footprint of the household products we buy,” says Jason Foster, chief executive officer and founder of Replenish. By encouraging reuse and point-of-use mixing, Replenish hopes to eliminate 1 billion bottles from landfills, 1 billion miles of travel and 1 billion pounds of chemicals from the environment.

Nominees for the Edison Best New Product Awards™ are judged by roughly 2,000 members of the not-for-profit Marketing Executives Networking Group, Old Saybrook, CT. Judges consider Marketplace Innovation, Marketplace Success, Technological Innovation, Market Structure Innovation, Societal Impact and Design Innovation. “The innovative, human-centered thinking behind Replenish’s bottling system, its value proposition for consumers and retailers, and its economic and environmental impact caught our attention as a truly remarkable and meaningful new innovation this year,” says Thomas Stat, a member of the Edison Awards Steering Committee. Winners of Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be announced in April 2011. The Awards are granted under the aegis of the Thomas Edison Papers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ, a globally recognized research network dedicated to the study of innovation and its application in the 21st Century. For more information, visit,

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irm Focuses on Biodegradable Performs, Containers

Casey Container Corp., Scottsdale, AZ, ramps up production of biodegradable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) preforms and bottles to address demand from bottled water companies and container manufacturers. A second-generation, proprietary, organic additive, dubbed EcoPure®, imparts biodegradable properties to the PET. Casey currently ships approximately 750,000 biodegradable preforms each week for bottled water. For more information, visit

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Spring water qualifies for USDA Biobased Product Seal

Bottled water from Totally Green, Tulsa, OK, ranks as one of the first products to carry the USDA Certified Biobased Product Seal developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Washington, DC. The seal confirms the biobased nature of the bottles made from corn-based Ingeo polylactic acid (PLA) from NatureWorks LLC, Minnetonka, MN. To reduce carbon footprint and shipping costs, Totally Green bottled water is filled by copackers chosen in part for their proximity to customers. For more information, visit

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European Beverage Groups Advocate Design for Recyclability

Brussels, Belgium-based UNESDA (union of European nonalcoholic beverage associations) and EFBW (European Federation of Bottled Waters) recommend members adhere to design criteria that improve the recyclability of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. The Design for Recycling Guidelines established by the European PET Bottle Platform, an initiative supported by multiple Belgium-based trade groups, recommends avoiding materials that adversely affect bottle-to-bottle recycling, including barriers, additives, sleeve labels, adhesives and opaque coloring. Guidelines, as currently drafted, recommend avoiding polyvinyl chloride components, metal closures and aluminum layers in liners and seals. Our goal is to encourage members to consider the recycling of PET bottles at the very beginning of the planning process when developing new PET bottle designs,” says Philippe Diercxsens, a leading packaging expert and vice-chair of EFBW’s Environment Committee. Similar guidelines are available from the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, Washington, DC. For more information, visit,

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Standardized Recycling Bin Signage Boosts Collections




Recycle Across America, a Minnesota-based nonprofit dedicated to simplifying recycling, proposes standardized labeling on recycling bins. Standard signage reportedly reduces confusion, minimizes contamination that can lower the quality of recycled materials and increases the amount of material collected. Labels feature the chasing arrows symbol, a color-coded background, material name(s) and illustrations. To encourage adoption, labels are sold at a nominal charge. For more information, visit

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PET Bottles Return as rPET Food Packaging

Peninsula Plastics Recycling, Turlock, CA, converts 80 million pounds of post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles to flake each year. A sister company in Exeter, CA, which derives some of its power from solar energy, takes the flake to produce clear trays for baked goods and produce. Post-consumer-recycled content is 70%. Colored containers also are collected for use in products like cafeteria trays. For more information, visit

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Recycling Cuts Costs for Beverage Bottlers

Nestle Waters North America, Stamford, CT, and Cliffstar Corp., Dunkirk, NY, discover recycling offspec preforms and bottles not only cuts waste disposal fees, but generates income from the recycled plastic. Both firms work with Commercial Plastics Recycling, Inc. (CPR), Tampa, FL, to establish programs that increase the percentage of recycled materials. In an exhibit at Nova-Pack 2011, a conference organized by Schotland Business Research, Inc., Skillman, NJ, January 26-26, 2011, in Amelia Island, FL, CPR reported its recycling program reduced county taxes for one Nestle facility from $124,000 to $5,000 per year. In effect, Nestle reduced the facility’s waste from more than 30 tons per month to 10 tons. Further reductions are anticipated. For more information, visit

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Household Products Maker Shrinks Its Carbon Footprint

Reckitt Benckiser plc, which operates a U.S. headquarters in Parsippany, NJ, reports it is halfway toward its 2020 goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 20%. The 11% reduction can be attributed primarily to consumers using cooler water in dishwashers and washing machines (70%). Other contributors involve raw and packaging materials (21%), product and packaging disposal/recycling (3.5%), retailer operations (2.5%), product manufacturing (1.5%) and logistics and distribution of products to retailers (1.5%). The company has had particular success in combining heat and power energy systems in its plants and installing solarpowered lighting and water heating.

To quantify results, Reckitt Benckiser relies on a measurement system developed in conjunction with environmental consultancy, URS, New York, NY, and is in line with the PAS 2050:2008 carbon footprinting specification of the British Standards Institution, London, UK. The company’s Carbon20 methodology also is externally verified by Deloitte LLP, New York, NY. For more information, visit

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Closure Maker Recycles More, Consumes Less Energy

Conservation efforts at its eight North American closure manufacturing facilities cuts energy usage 10.5% at Portola Packaging, Inc., Naperville, IL. The company’s plants and offices also recycled 2.5 million pounds of regrind, corrugated, paper, aluminum and steel in 2010. To conserve energy, Portola has purchased more energy-efficient equipment, converted some products to compression molding from injection molding, implemented productivity improvements to consume less energy and established shut-off protocols for idle equipment and plant/office heating/cooling.

In addition to the material and energy reduction strategies, all of the corrugated cases Portola purchases have been certified under the standard requirements of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc., Washington, DC.

The company also is investigating alternative packaging approaches that would increase the number of closures per truckload 30% to 35% and reduce fuel and packaging material costs by more than $1 million annually.

The company’s five international manufacturing plants (two in China, plus the U.K., New Zealand and the Czech Republic) are working on a parallel environmental stewardship path. For more information, visit

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LCA Helps Certify Houseware Products

A lifecycle analysis (LCA) by FirstCarbon Solutions, West Chester, PA, confirms Zeroca cookware and kitchen gadgets from M.E. Heuck Co., Mason, OH, are carbon neutral. FirstCarbon considered data on energy usage, raw material usage, packaging and solid waste and transportation emissions from both internal and external sources. Calculating a preliminary greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory and carbon footprint per unit allows M.E. Heuck to offset carbon dioxide emissions by investing in an equivalent amount of carbon offset projects in the United States and China. As a result, Zeroca cookware and kitchen gadgets carry CarbonNeutral® Certification. For more information, visit

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Alternate Energy Sources Reduce Reliance on Grid

A growing number of firms are reducing their reliance on the energy grid by taking advantage of alternate energy sources like wind, solar and carbon-neutral, renewable biomass material.

Procter & Gamble (P&G), Cincinnati, OH, is using wind power at its pet care plant in Coevorden, The Netherlands, and extending its commitment to solar energy with the installation of solar panels at its Beauty & Grooming plant in Cologne, Germany. The achievements of these plants demonstrate P&G’s continued progress toward achieving its long-term environmental vision to power plants with 100% renewable energy and its 2020 goal to power plants with 30% renewable energy.

The Coevorden turbine is the company’s first investment in wind energy and supplies approximately 17% of the plant’s annual energy consumption. The turbine produces approximately 5,500 megawatt hours of energy per year, enough to power up to 1,500 houses in The Netherlands.

Solar panels installed atop a plant in Cologne, Germany, generate about 796 megawatt hours of energy per year; enough to power approximately 200 households in Germany and contribute to a reduction of 544 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. The Netherlands and Germany plants join P&G sites in the United States and Mexico making progress in renewable energy use.

Graphic Packaging International, Inc., Marietta, GA, a supplier of paperboard packaging and packaging machinery, is increasing its reliance on biomass energy derived from logging residuals (tops and branches of trees) at its paperboard mill in Macon, GA. An $80 million project will install a highefficiency biomass boiler and a 40-megawatt turbine generator to further the company’s sustainability strategy, reduce energy costs, and improve the profitability of the Macon mill in advance of expected increases in electricity costs. The mill currently produces approximately 1,600 tons of paperboard per day.

Scheduled for startup by mid-2013, the biomass system will make the Macon mill self-sufficient from an electrical power and steam generation standpoint, thereby stabilizing and reducing energy costs and dependency on fossil-fuel based alternatives. The mill expects to become a net producer of electricity and will reduce the mill’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 200,000 tons per year. Rated at 40 megawatts per hour, the system will convert approximately 400,000 tons of logging residuals per year into electrical power equivalent to the energy needed to support approximately 27,400 homes.


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Speaker Outlines Business Case for ‘Greener’ Packaging

Rita Schenck, executive director, Institute for Environmental Research and Education, Vashon, WA, discusses The Business Case for Greener Food & Beverage Packaging at the Food & Beverage Packaging and Innovation Summit 2011, May 23-25, 2011, in Las Vegas, NV. For more information, visit

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About the Author

Forcinio has covered packaging-related environmental topics for more than 20 years, first as an editor on Food & Drug Packaging magazine (now Food & Beverage Packaging) 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 Packaging Machinery Technology and Pharmaceutical Technology.

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