How2Recycle labels, P&G Everyday Earth Day Inspire, Volume 7, Issue 2

How2Recycle labels, P&G Everyday Earth Day Inspire

Volume 7, Issue 2

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Developed by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC)

Consumers see more How2Recycle Labels on store shelves

A number of brands adopt How2Recycle Label to divert waste from landfills and increase package recycling rates. Developed by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), a project of GreenBlue, Charlottesville, VA, the labeling system communicates recyclability across all material types and provides consumers with explicit instructions to aid in recycling. It also identifies nonrecyclable packaging components.

The SPC’s goal is for the label to appear on the majority of consumer product packaging by 2016. Like any packaging change, adding the label requires some lead time.

“This long-term project of the SPC is poised to make a significant impact,” says GreenBlue Senior Manager Anne Bedarf, who with GreenBlue Project Associate Danielle Peacock has led the development of the How2Recycle Label. “With the revision of the FTC’s Green Guides, attention again has turned to accurate and transparent recyclability messaging, and the SPC’s How2Recycle Label is quickly becoming the industry standard. We designed the business model with a tiered structure to encourage participation by businesses of all sizes, and we look forward to working with a diverse group of forward-thinking companies and stakeholders as we enter the next phase.” Licensing fees, based on company size and SPC membership status, range from $2,000 to $6,000.

Response to packaging from early adopters shows the label is understood by consumers, prompts action, elicits positive impressions of products and companies, and meets Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requirements. In addition, the label serves as a valuable tool for companies wishing to understand the specific recyclability of their packaging.

The 12 brand owners committed to using the label include Best Buy, Minneapolis, MN; Microsoft, Redmond, WA; Estee Lauder Cos., New York, NY; The Clorox Co., Oakland, CA; and The Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, MI.


At Kellogg, we have a long-standing commitment to sustainability, and the How2Recycle Label on our products honors that legacy,” says Kellogg’s Melissa Craig. “We continually look for ways to educate consumers on the recyclability of our packaging materials. Consumers need clear, concise communication when it comes to recycling, so materials that can be reclaimed don’t accidentally end up in landfills. This label helps ensure all packaging components are recycled, as intended, to further reduce the environmental impact of our products and promote conservation."

Of note is Kellogg’s use of the Store Drop-off version of the How2Recycle Label for certain plastic bags, wraps and other films accepted at many retail locations for recycling with plastic carry-out bags. The familiar cereal bag-in-carton format will carry this label as it applies to the inside bag. The SPC has partnered with the Flexible Film Recycling Group of the American Chemistry Council, Washington, DC, to increase use of this label and awareness regarding plastic film recycling. The paperboard carton remains recyclable to the majority of the public either at curbside or municipal drop-off locations.


In addition, Kellogg’s paperboard packaging formats carry the 100% Recycled Paperboard symbol of the Recycled Paperboard Alliance (RPA), Washington, DC, making the connection between the act of recycling and the need to buy products made from recycled materials. Paul Schutes, executive director of the RPA, notes, “The How2Recycle Label will lead to greater consumer understanding about the recyclability of fiber-based packaging, leading to more fiber being collected, which is important to the 100% recycled paperboard industry.”

At Clorox, the label will begin appearing in May 2013 on Fresh Step® and Scoop Away® kitty litter cartons, Green Works® laundry detergent and dishwashing liquid and Oxi® stain remover. The label will be added to packaging for other products as graphics are redesigned. Clorox plans to include the logo on all U.S. and Canada product packaging by 2020.

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Metallized paperboard combines shelf impact with recyclability

Carton printer adopts metallized paper to give liquor customers beauty plus recyclability. Barbados-based COT Holdings specifies VacuBRITE® metallized paperboard from AR Metallizing, Franklin, MA, for the elegant cartons it produces for its customers’ premium liquors.


Metallizing achieves a metallic finish with a fraction of the aluminum content and none of the film involved with a foil or metallized film lamination.

Eliminating the film results in smoother throughput, quicker diecutting and fewer knife changes, as well as a faster gluing process, which saves oven energy and time. With no film layer and minimal aluminum, the cartons pose no issues to the repulping process and are 100% recyclable with conventional paperboard.

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Natural pet care products launch in recycled-content packaging

Bottles and cartons with post-consumer-recycled (PCR) content hold Burt’s Bees Fetch...for Pets!™ natural petcare products, developed in conjunction with Burt’s Bees Licensing, LLC, a subsidiary of Burt’s Bees, Inc., now part of The Clorox Co. Oakland, CA. The high-density polyethylene bottles for canine sprays, lotion and shampoo contain 50% recycled content, a level Fetch for Pets!, New York, NY, hopes to eventually increase to more than 90%. Cartons also contain PCR content, currently 83%.


Environmental impact is further reduced because the PCR-content packaging can be recycled with conventional containers. According to a Fetch…for Pets! spokesperson, the recycled-content packaging wasn’t difficult to source, but does cost a bit more than packaging made from all-virgin materials.

“We’re really excited to be working with the leading brand in natural health and beauty care to develop a line of products that’s extends the ethos of Burt’s Bees from people to their pets,” says Steven Shweky, top dog at Fetch…for Pets!

Burt’s Bees™ Natural Pet Care products follow the same rigorous natural standards as the brand’s personal-care products for people with a minimum of 95% natural ingredients. In addition, the Cruelty Free formulas are pH-balanced for pets and contain no parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances or sulfates.

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Company matches surplus, scrap to new applications

It may not be a match made in heaven, but both sides are blessed. So is the environment. The matchmaker, Denver, CO-based repurposedMATERIALS, provides a forum where byproducts and scrap find a new purpose. Buyers lower the cost of materials, suppliers eliminate waste disposal expenses, and useful materials are diverted from landfills.

Examples of materials available for repurposing include cargo quilts that kept refrigerated products cold, conveyor belting, 275-gallon totes, 55-gallon drums, beverage filter cloths, plastic pallets, bulk bags, burlap sacks and wine barrels.

A website, blog, online auction, classified ads and bi-monthly newsletter help byproducts and scrap find new homes, present ideas for repurposing and describe successful “repurposed” projects. For more information, visit

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Small changes in behavior multiply for positive environmental impact

Consumer packaged goods companies, packaging suppliers and recycling organizations educate consumers about how small changes in behavior add up to a positive impact on the environment and themselves.

According to The Everyday Effect Study, conducted by Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G), Cincinnati, Ohio, 84% of Americans say that even simple, everyday actions help them feel like they’re making a contribution to the environment, and 75% say that these actions make them feel better about themselves.


To help inspire these acts, P&G launched a video (, “Everyday Earth Day.” It describes personal habits that make a difference. “Inspiration to reduce waste can come from anywhere,” says Dr. Forbes McDougall, P&G’s global “Zero Waste To Landfill” leader. “At P&G, I lead a team dedicated to finding creative ways to reuse, recycle or repurpose our waste, but even I was surprised at some of the things I learned while making this film. After meeting folks who are making changes to reduce their own environmental footprint, it’s clear that the everyday things we do can have a surprisingly positive impact on the environment.”

In the video, McDougall also shares some ways P&G reduces and reuses waste. Examples include an innovative partnership to turn paper sludge into low-cost roof tiles for local homes, and a program to turn diaper scraps into dashboards. Other sustainable efforts include formulating laundry detergent for cold water to save energy and bottles made with up to 59% plant-based resin for Pantene Natural Fusion.

And for the first time ever, P&G is inviting its fans on Facebook to visit and share the everyday things they do to make every day extraordinary, which will culminate in P&G’s first ever piece of crowd-sourced copy to be showcased in July 2013. McDougall adds, “The world is full of people who care about the earth and are committed to taking action. We hope people will be inspired by the video to look at their own everyday actions and discover the surprisingly positive impact we can all have on the environment. That’s the power of The Everyday Effect.”

Hain Celestial Personal Care, Melville, NY, the supplier of Alba Botanica natural personal-care products, also encourages consumers to change habits. With the slogan “don’t’ just be beautiful, Do Beautiful™,” the brand has partnered with Recyclebank, New York, NY, an organization that rewards consumers for recycling. In celebration of Earth Month, March 5-April 30, 2013, the two organizations are issuing coupons for $2 off any Alba Botanica® product, rewarding consumers who care for the environment by purchasing beauty products sold in recyclable packaging. Alba Botanica®, not only uses recyclable packaging where possible, but also has converted to 100% post-consumer-recycled (PCR) content bottles for many products.

“We are passionate about recycling and committed to steadily increasing the amount of PCR materials used in our packaging,” says Sarah Galusha, director of Marketing for Alba Botanica®, Hain Celestial Personal Care. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Recyclebank®, which has empowered more than 4 million members and mobilized green behavior worldwide. Our goal this Earth Month is to inspire people across the country to join the effort to make recycling a permanent national habit,” she concludes.

A carton converter, touting the renewable nature of wood-fiber-based paperboard packaging, follows the same “small steps, big return” theme for its Choose Cartons campaign.


Evergreen Packaging, Memphis, TN, encourages shoppers to lessen their environmental impact and save money by following four steps: 
*Pick products with less packaging to reduce the waste stream 
*Use reusable or renewable paper grocery bags
*Buy products in recyclable packaging
*Choose products with renewable packaging

“Natural Marketing Institute data shows that 72% of consumers are looking for packaging made from renewable resources,” reports Erin Reynolds, marketing director at Evergreen Packaging, a carton converter headquartered in Memphis, TN. “With this in mind,” she adds, “look for packaging made from renewable resources, such as cartons. Over 70% of a carton is paper, which comes from a renewable source—trees.”

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