Reusable Packaging and YouTube Recycling Video, Volume 5, Issue 2

Reusable Packaging and YouTube Recycling Video

Volume 5, Issue 2

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4 Billion Pounds of Packaging Waste Disappears by 2020

By 2020, food, beverage and consumer products manufacturers anticipate they will eliminate 4 billion pounds of packaging waste nationwide. According to a survey by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Washington, DC, source reduction eliminated more than 1.5 billion pounds of waste between 2005 and 2010, primarily through package redesign and increased use of recyclable materials.

The 1.5 billion pounds of packaging includes more than 800 million pounds of plastic and more than 500 million pounds of paper.

“In eliminating this packaging from the supply chain, we are reducing a significant volume of waste that would otherwise end up in landfills, but the benefits go far beyond that,” says John Shanahan, senior director, energy and environmental policy at GMA, adding, “Companies are reporting that packaging improvements are also enabling them to ship more units per truckload, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve resources such as water and energy.”

The 4 billion pounds represents a 19% reduction in average U.S. packaging weight for the companies participating in the survey. The greenhouse gas emissions prevented by eliminating 4 billion pounds of packaging are equal to removing 815,000 cars from the road or 363,000 homes from the energy grid for one year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator.

The report is based on two surveys conducted for GMA by McKinsey & Co., New York, NY, and Georgetown Economic Services, Washington, DC. For more information, visit

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Replenish Hopes to Start a ‘Reuse Revolution’

A joint venture between Nypro Packaging, part of Nypro Inc., Clinton, MA, and Replenish Bottling, West Hollywood, CA, broadens access to Replenish’s patented Reusable Dispensing System. The winner of the Bronze Medal for Best New Product in the Energy and Sustainability, Packaging Category at the 2011 Edison Awards consists of a metal-free, reusable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) container and replaceable Concentrate Pod (see TB Sustainability Times, January/February 2011).

Adding the water and mixing the product at home, eliminates the bulk and weight of water, cuts freight and distribution costs up to 20 times versus a single-use PET bottle, consumes 90% less resin and energy and reduces carbon dioxide emissions 90%. Made of specialty PET resins from Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, TN, both pods and bottles are fully recyclable.

“This new approach is not only better for the environment, but it also saves money for everyone involved,” says Jason Foster, founder of Replenish Bottling. “We are confident this alliance will change the packaged goods category by creating a new option with a smart reusable bottle and distribution system that’s good for consumers’ wallets, good for companies’ bottom lines and good for the environment,” he adds, noting. Collectively…we can take a billion bottles out of the landfill and a billion miles out of the supply chain. We hope it will start a reuse revolution.”

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Craft Distillery Tries Reusable Glass


Being the first distillery to operate in Wisconsin since Prohibition is not the only distinction enjoyed by Great Lakes Distillery in Milwaukee. It reuses some of its clear glass bottles.

Empties that once held vodka, gin, absinthe or maple-flavored rum are returned by its bar/restaurant and liquor store partners or may be dropped off at its tasting room. The Bottle Conservation Program began late in 2010 after the distillery received permission from the federal government to begin a reuse program.

Each reused bottle reduces the number of new glass containers that must be manufactured and shipped to Milwaukee. The energy savings quickly adds up since the energy needed to manufacture one bottle can power a 100-watt CFL bulb for five hours.

The distillery, which opened in 2006 and is built partially underground to reduce heating needs in the winter, makes most of its sales within a 100-mile radius of its operation. It also buys locally whenever possible.

Other sustainable practices include using hot water produced during the distillation process to clean equipment. Organic waste is composted by a local organic fish farm and other recyclables are picked up weekly. As a result, the amount of waste the distillery sends to a landfill has dropped 60%. Plans call for installing a system to capture the heat in its process water and use it to heat the distillery in cool weather.

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Deposit States Work on Bottle Bill Amendments

Many deposit states want to amend their bottle bills. Legislators in Oregon, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York want to expand their laws, while Maine seeks to scale back requirements. In Hawaii and Vermont, proposed bills cover repeal and expansion.

Vermont could be the first state with an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program. Bills S.21 and H.74 would expand deposit products to include wine and all noncarbonated beverages and establish an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program for certain consumer products. H.218 would phase out the bottle bill by establishing an EPR program for all printed materials and packaging sold in Vermont.

In Oregon, House Bill 3145 proposes increasing the deposit from $0.05 to $0.10 per container as well as the types of containers collected. If passed, Oregon would add nonrefillable glass, metal or plastic containers holding three liters or less of sports drinks, energy drinks, coffee, tea, juice and similar noncarbonated drinks to the list of products subject to deposit.

Connecticut Senate Bill 57 would add juice, punch, tea, and sport drinks. Massachusetts House Bill 890 and its Senate counterpart, currently listed as Senate Docket 45, is a broader proposal that would extend deposits to all nonalcoholic drinks except milk and dairy beverages, and FDA-approved medicines.

Most bills exempt milk from deposits, but New York’s A3630 bill would add it along with fruit juices, ice tea beverages, wine and liquor to the deposit list.

Several bills are under consideration in Maine. LD 728/SP 217 Truck Travel Bill seeks to reduce the frequency of pickups at redemption centers and other locations that redeem empty containers; LD 1324 Deposit Reduction Bill would reduce the deposit on wine and spirits containers from $0.15 to $0.05 and the maximum size of deposit containers from 4 liters to 28 ounces. For more information, visit

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L’Oreal Partners with TerraCycle

Garnier, a brand owned by L’Oreal, New York, NY, anticipates collecting millions of pieces of personal care and beauty packaging waste worldwide through a partnership with TerraCycle Inc., Trenton, NJ.

TerraCycle will repurpose the material to build eco-friendly playgrounds across the United States.

Fructis Pure Clean shampoo and conditioner bottles consist of polyethylene terephthalate with 50% recycled content. On-pack instructions promote recycling of used bottles and reducing water consumption by showering just five minutes less a day.

A mobile marketing program, The Cleaner Green Tour, will promote the partnership and launch of Fructis Pure Clean shampoo and conditioner.

For every unit of post-consumer packaging waste shipped to TerraCycle by individuals and groups participating in the Personal Care and Beauty Brigade, Garnier will contribute $0.02 to a designated charity. For more information, visit,

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YouTube Video Promotes Public Space Recycling

Every Bottle Counts, a YouTube video posted by the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), Alexandria, VA, looks at how a teenager recycles empty polyethylene terephthalate (PET) water bottles in public or saves them for the home recycling bin if no public recycling bin is available.

“At no time does she simply throw her empty containers away in regular trash receptacles,” says Tom Lauria, IBWA vice president of Communications.

The message is part of an effort to continue increasing the recycling rate for bottled water containers, now at 31%, nearly double what it was in 2004 when the National Association for PET Container Resources, Sonoma, CA, did its first bale analysis.

The video also explains that communities with public space recycling programs generate income or cut costs by making it easier to recycle bottles, cans and containers when away from home. “Consumers should know they have the ability to make public recycling bins happen in their communities and that their cities and towns can benefit financially from making the effort to capture and recycle PET…, glass, aluminum and other recyclable materials,” concludes Lauria. For more information, visit,

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Redesigned Water Bottle Contains 50% rPET

The redesigned 1.5-liter bottle for evian from Danone Waters of America, Inc., White Plains, NY, weighs 28.6 grams, 11% (3.4 grams) less than its previous design, and boosts recycled content from 25% to 50%. The changes reduce the bottle’s carbon footprint 32% and moves evian toward its goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions 40% between 2008 and the end of 2011.

The redesigned container also is easier to hold and even more compactable than its crushable predecessor so it occupies less space in recycling bins. For more information, visit

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Recycled Barrels Store Wine Bottles


A wine rack created from a used wine barrel receives a utility patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Washington, DC.

The recycled oak storage racks are sold by Chet Bassetti, the inventor and founder of Barrel Rack, Reno, NV.

The full barrel design holds up to three bottles (neck to base) per cradle. Other options include a One-Half Barrel that measures 17 inches deep and holds up to two bottles per cradle and an 11-inch-deep, One-Third Barrel. For more information, visit

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Report Predicts Shift in Interest Away from Biodegradable Packaging

The packaging market is shifting from biodegradable and compostable polymers to biopackaging based on renewable and sustainable materials, according to a report from Pira International, Leatherhead, UK.

The Future of Bioplastics for Packaging to 2020: Global Market Forecasts report predicts global bioplastic packaging demand will reach 884,000 tonnes by 2020. A projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25% between 2010 and 2015 will slow to 18% in the five years to 2020. Microorganism-generated bioplastics like polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) and bio-derived polyethylene (PE) are expected to gain market share with CAGRs of 41% and 83%, respectively. Traditional bioplastic packaging technologies based on starch, cellulose and polyester are forecast to lose market share by 2020.

“Demand will be driven by the commercialization of bio-derived PE and PHA, and the wider availability and improved properties for biaxially oriented polylactic acid film,” says Adam Page, head of information at Pira.

Top producers of bioplastic packaging are shifting too as Braskem, São Paulo, Brazil; Dow Chemical Co., Midland, MI; and Solvay, Brussels, Belgium, start up bio-derived PE production by 2012. Telles, the joint venture PHA producer, also is expected to become a major world player, and several Chinese companies are investing in capacity that should propel them into leading market positions.

Rigid packaging held an estimated 52% of the bioplastic packaging market in 2010 according to Pira, with flexible packaging accounting for the remaining 48%. Retail and foodservice trays and containers rank as the largest single pack type for bioplastic packaging, followed by flexible film. Pira expects flexible packaging to account for a growing share of the bioplastic packaging market through 2020.

Europe is the largest regional market for bioplastic packaging, consuming more than 50% of world tonnage in 2010. However, Pira expects North America and Asia to show higher growth rates than Europe through 2020.For more information, visit to-drive-bioplastic-packaging-market-to-2020.aspx.

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Use of Plant-Derived Resins Expands


Sales of products in containers made of plant-derived resins expands as Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, GA, begins national distribution of its Dasani® and Odwalla® brands in its PlantBottle® packaging, and H.J. Heinz, Pittsburgh, PA, licenses PlantBottle technology for ketchup containers (see TricorBraun Sustainability Times, November/December 2009). In addition, Danone Canada, Boucherville, QC, and Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, OH, have adopted containers made of sugarcane-based high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

Single-serve packages of Odwalla juice products consist of HDPE derived from ethylene made from ethanol derived from sugarcane (see TricorBraun Sustainability Times, November/December 2010). The polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles for Dasani water contain 30% renewable content, also based on sugarcane. The PlantBottle containers offer the same shelf life protection, composition and appearance as petroleum-based HDPE and PET packaging. Unlike other plant-based plastics, PlantBottle packaging is recyclable through existing recycling streams.

“The national launch of Dasani PlantBottle packaging represents an important step toward reducing our carbon footprint, and the up to 100% plant-based, recyclable packaging used for Odwalla is the first of its kind in the beverage industry,” says Scott Vitters, general manager, PlantBottle Packaging Platform at Coca-Cola.

“It’s our goal to make traditional plastic bottles a thing of the past and ensure that every beverage we produce is available in 100% plant-based, fully recyclable packaging.”

Coca-Cola predicts sales of products in PlantBottle containers will exceed 5 billion in 2011, about twice the number sold in 2010. Geographic availability has increased too, from nine countries in 2010 to 15 in 2011.

Currently, Coca-Cola is working to develop the PlantBottle technology to use other plant materials. The ultimate long-term goal is to turn waste into a resource, resulting in a carbon-neutral, 100% renewable, responsibly sourced bottle that is fully recyclable. “Several approaches to a PET package made entirely from plants have been successfully demonstrated in laboratory testing. We’re working to advance this breakthrough science to ensure it is commercially viable,” explains Vitters.

Since its launch in select markets in 2009, Coca-Cola estimates PET PlantBottle packaging has eliminated the equivalent of 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or three million gallons of gasoline.

Heinz plans to launch PlantBottle containers of ketchup in June 2011 and eventually expand distribution worldwide. Dr. Michael Okoroafor, vice president-Packaging R&D/Innovation will discuss the decision in a keynote address at the BioPlastek 2011 Forum on Bioplastics Today and Tomorrow, June 27-29, 2011, at The Waldorf-Astoria, New York, NY.

Despite slightly higher manufacturing costs, Danone Canada plans to complete the conversion to sugarcane-based HDPE for DanActive, Danacol, Danino Go and Drinkable Activia drinkable yogurt containers by the end of 2011 and estimates the move will reduce its carbon footprint 55%.

“The packaging for Danone products accounts for 40% of our company’s ecological footprint, and is the second most important factor in terms of emissions,” reveals Anne-Julie Maltais, manager of external communications for Danone, Canada. Converting to sugarcane-based HDPE is one tactic in the effort meet Danone Canada’s goal of reducing its carbon footprint 30% by 2012.


P&G is launching sugarcane-based HDPE bottles for Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion products in Western Europe and expects the container to be global by 2013 (see TricorBraun Sustainability Times, September/October 2010). Sugarcane-derived HDPE cuts fossil fuel consumption more than 70% and releases 170% less greenhouse gases per ton than traditional petroleum-based resin.

“The use of sugarcane-based plastic in our Nature Fusion packaging allows us to offer the same performance consumers expect from Pantene but in a more sustainable way,” says Hanneke Faber, vice president & brand franchise leader for Global Pantene. “We’re thrilled to be the first hair care brand to use this technology on its packaging.”

The shift to sugarcane-based HDPE will help P&G meet its goal of replacing 25% of petroleum-based materials with sustainably sourced renewable materials by 2020 as well as its ultimate goal of 100% renewable or recycled materials for all of its products. For more information, visit,,,

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New Group Influences Public Policy Impacting Packaging

AMERIPEN - The American Institution for Packaging and the Environment, East Lansing, MI, forms to give consumer packaged goods companies and other members of the packaging supply chain a voice with opinion leaders, legislators and regulators.

Based on similar groups in Europe and the United Kingdom, the material-neutral organization advocates science-based decision making to achieve sustainable production, distribution and consumption. Activities include shaping public policy, education and outreach, issue management, collaboration with other stakeholders to compile statistics, partnering on research strategies and public relations and communication tools.

“With the emergence of extended producer responsibility and other potential packaging legislation in the coming years, this is a critical time for our industry to offer a compelling voice,” says Gail Tavill, vice president of AMERIPEN. “We’re committed to providing necessary expertise and insight to ensure sustainable management of packaging throughout its life cycle,” she explains.

Julian Carroll, managing director of EUROPEN, Brussels, Belgium, notes: “Today, the complexity of environmental issues confronting packaging is greater than ever. Having a voice to represent common industry views of these matters and help shape public policy is an absolute essential. In Europe our experience with such an approach over more than 20 years has been positive and productive for industry.”

Founding members include The Coca Cola Co., Atlanta, GA; Colgate-Palmolive Co., New York, NY; ConAgra Foods, Inc., Omaha, NE; The Dow Chemical Co., Midland, MI; DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers, Wilmington, DE; Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, MI.; MeadWestvaco, Richmond, VA; Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH; Sealed Air Corp., Saddle Brook, NJ; Tetra Pak, Inc., Vernon Hills, IL. For more information, visit

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CCMA Leads Effort to Increase Recycling of Caps/Closures

Since many curbside programs require removal from containers, billions of caps/closures end up in the trash. A Sustainability Action Committee formed by the Closure and Container Manufacturers Association (CCMA), Barrington, IL, intends to change that outcome.

“One of the most challenging and confusing issues confronting the worldwide packaging industry is what to do with the over 250 billion caps/closures once they are separated from containers,” explains Roy Robinson, chairman of CCMA’s board of directors. “Lack of knowledge, information and collaboration on all of the issues surrounding their recyclability has compelled CCMA to take ownership of this challenge.”

Technical and Marketing subcommittees are exploring issues such as the need for applications for post-consumer-recycled material. For more information, visit

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Consumers Balk at Paying More for ‘Green’ Products

Few consumers in the United States and Canada are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products and packaging.

Only 37% of Canadian consumers are willing to pay extra for “green” products, according to a survey by Leger Marketing, Montreal, QC, for Cascades Tissue Group, Kingsey Falls, QC, a supplier of 100% recycled paper products. In the United States, the percentage willing to pay a premium for environmentally friendly packaging is 51%, but declining (down from 57% in 2008), according to a survey by Perception Research Services (PRS), Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Recycling attitudes differ more dramatically with 89% of the Canadian respondents claiming to be recyclers, versus about 66% in the U.S. sample. Canadians also object to over-packaged products (88%) and want more recycling containers in public settings (83%, a 5% increase).

In the United States, the percentage of respondents who agree that they should take responsibility for recycling packaging is declining and now stands at 38%, 4% lower than in 2009. In addition, only 17% of the U.S. consumers surveyed check to see if the packaging is recyclable before they buy a product. Nevertheless about half of the U.S. group notice claims about environmentally friendly packaging, and 25% think the number of claims has increased during the past six months.

“It’s becoming clear that while consumers may voice concern for the environment, most appear unwilling – at the moment – to make any major sacrifices to make a difference,” says Jonathan Asher, senior vice president of PRS. “They’d rather rely on manufacturers to provide products and packaging that they can feel good about, without changing their behavior, giving up performance, or paying more,” he adds.

“Our findings suggest that rather than follow consumers’ lead, manufacturers must be at the forefront, making it easier for shoppers to buy the products they prefer while also feeling good about the environmental impact, and making as little sacrifice as possible,” he continues. “It’s a tall order, but if delivered, will be highly rewarded.” For more information, visit,

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Sustainability Scorecard Identifies ‘Greener’ Suppliers

Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G), Cincinnati, Ohio, is expanding use of its Environmental Sustainability Supplier Scorecard to 600 suppliers globally and will begin to consider Scorecard ratings in its purchasing choices. The Scorecard also supports P&G’s long-term environmental goals:

* Convert to 100% renewable or recycled materials for packaging and products
* Eliminate manufacturing waste or product-associated consumer waste sent to landfills
* Convert to energy derived 100% from renewable sources

“Working with our external partners is clearly critical to realizing our long-term environmental vision as a company, and this Scorecard is a helpful tool to facilitate that collaboration,” explains Dr. Len Sauers, vice president for global sustainability at P&G.

The Scorecard reports energy use (electric and fuel), water input/output, nonhazardous and hazardous waste disposal and greenhouse gas emissions on a year-by-year basis. Designed to rate any type or size of supplier, the Scorecard is available to any organization that wishes to use it. For more information, visit

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Analyzing Shipping Improves SustainabilityCompanies that want to ship product more sustainably have many resources, including recyclable, biodegradable and/or reusable materials and the Eco Responsible Packaging Program from UPS, Atlanta, GA.

Evaluations done as part of the Eco Responsible Packaging Program consider damage prevention, right sizing, and materials content of the distribution packaging and any fill material. Qualifying packages may carry the Eco Responsible Packaging Program logo. If a package doesn’t qualify, the UPS Package Lab can suggest improvements via its consulting services.

When it comes to packaging materials, ShurTech Brands, LLC, Avon, OH, bills its Caremail® brand as “green.” An emphasis on 100% post-consumer-recycled paper content reduces energy and water consumption and minimizes air pollution.

The Caremail product line includes includes padded and rigid mailers, corrugated boxes and mailing tubes, biodegradable packing peanuts, kraft paper, Greenwrap® protective packaging, tapes and Custom Wrap™ protective packaging. For more information, visit,

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