Boosting PP recycling and CPG companies set new recycling goals, Volume 7, Issue 4

Boosting PP recycling and CPG companies set new recycling goals

Volume 7, Issue 4

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Campaign encourages non-recyclers to recycle

Only one-third of Americans classify themselves as avid recyclers. A public service ad (PSA) campaign by Keep America Beautiful, Stamford, CT, and the Ad Council, New York, N.Y., seeks to increase the number of avid recyclers and recycle a higher percentage of the 250 million tons of trash discarded each year.

Research by the Ad Council indicates lack of information about where and what to recycle rank as the most common reasons for not recycling.

This campaign is the emotional push needed to raise awareness and positively change people’s behavior to recycle more,” explains Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, Recycling at Keep America Beautiful. She adds, “Our intent is to increase recycling rates, which translates into measurable benefits including waste reduction, energy savings, natural resource conservation and job creation. Based on survey feedback, we know people want to recycle. This campaign is designed to tap into that desire as well as provide helpful tools to make recycling easier.”

The goal of the “I Want to Be Recycled” campaign is to motivate Americans to recycle every day.

Created pro bono by San Francisco-based ad agency Pereira & O’Dell, the campaign shows that recyclable materials can be given another life and become something new if someone chooses to recycle. “The core idea is to tell people to recycle and give their garbage another life,” says PJ Pereira, chief creative officer at Pereira & O’Dell. “Showing that a bottle has dreams seems like a very powerful yet delicate way of doing it,” he concludes.

The campaign directs audiences to, a new website with a localized search tool to help users find where to recycle either at their curbside or their nearest recycling center. The website illustrates the recycling process through an interactive infographic and offers detailed information about what materials can be recycled, how they should be recycled and what products they can become in the future.

“We are thrilled to be again collaborating with Keep America Beautiful, our longstanding partner in creating PSAs that lead to a more sustainable environment, as we work to increase rates of recycling nationwide,” says Peggy Conlon, president and chief executive officer of the Ad Council.

“Together, I know that we can reach the ‘occasional’ recycler and transform recycling into a simple, daily habit for millions of Americans.”

The latest ad follows a long, distinguished collaboration between the Ad Council and Keep America Beautiful who partnered in 1971 to create a campaign highlighting how litter and other forms of pollution were hurting the environment. The “Crying Indian” ad, featuring Iron Eyes Cody, first aired on Earth Day in 1971 and emphasized that every individual has a personal responsibility to help protect the environment. The ad became one of the most memorable and successful campaigns in history and is ranked by Ad Age as one of the top 100 advertising campaigns of the 20th century.

The “I Want to Be Recycled” campaign is funded through Keep America Beautiful by Alcoa Foundation, American Chemistry Council, Anheuser-Busch Foundation, Nestlé Waters North America, Niagara Bottling, Unilever and Waste Management. In addition, the TV PSA, “Stadium,” was filmed on location at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens football team. The stadium’s exterior and other areas are 
constructed partially from post-consumer-recycled aluminum.

The Ad Council is distributing the PSAs to more than 33,000 television, radio, outdoor and digital outlets nationwide and will run in space and time donated by the media. A comprehensive public relations and social media program on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube support the campaign. For more information, visit

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Sonoco launches microsite to provide information about recycling

Brand owners and consumers find recycling information on a new searchable website established by Sonoco Recycling, LLC, Hartsville, SC. Accessible on a variety of devices, including mobile phones and tablets, the site helps visitors identify Sonoco Recycling facilities in their area, lists industries and markets served by the company, provides a contact form to request information and presents a calendar of recycling-related events such as trade shows, recycling drives and educational programs. An education page delivers resources for teachers and parents.

“Our new microsite makes it easier for customers to find us and the information on recycling they need, whether they are a municipality, CPG, government agency or a grocery store chain,” explains Ray Howard, general manager, Sonoco Recycling. “Additionally, the site provides a platform where we can share educational assets for teachers and parents, such as the ‘Remarkable Recyclables’ video, which teaches kids about what happens to materials after they’re placed in the recycle bin, or our ‘Green Steps’ curriculum for environmental education.”

Sonoco Recycling is a subsidiary of Sonoco, Hartsville, SC, a global provider of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging and packaging supply chain services. Each year Sonoco Recycling collects nearly 3 million tons of old corrugated containers, various grades of paper, metals and plastics. Its 50 locations worldwide include five material recovery facilities, which serve nearly 150 communities and process curbside-collected residential and commercial materials. The company also helps consumer product companies organize recycling programs that identify waste reduction opportunities and cut operating expenses. Other services involve creation of secure, reliable and innovative recycling solutions for residential and commercial customers. For more information, visit

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Container maker joins effort to boost PP recycling

Container maker Berry Plastics Group, Inc., Evansville, IN, joins Gimme 5 program to promote recycling of polypropylene (PP) containers. The Gimme 5 program, established by Preserve®, Waltham, MA, a producer of goods made of recycled plastic, encourages consumers to recycle yogurt cups, butter tubs and cold drink cups identified by the #5 code for PP. Berry Plastics, a manufacturer and marketer of plastic packaging, film products, specialty adhesives and coated products with more than 50,000 package stock keeping units, relies on PP more than any other resin.


The Gimme 5 program supplies dedicated collection bins at more than 245 retail locations nationwide, including Whole Foods Markets, and accepts containers by mail. After sorting, cleaning and testing, Preserve recycles the material into products such as toothbrushes and razors. “The avenues available for recycling PP have steadily increased through recent years, with more than 62% of Americans now having access to at least one such alternative,” reports Jon Rich, chairman and chief executive officer of Berry Plastics. “Even though recycling venues have increased, at Berry Plastics we believe it is prudent to do our part to encourage recycling and to promote the available recycling avenues. For this reason, we are extremely excited to partner with Preserve to increase the awareness of their Gimme 5 program and the opportunity it creates to help educate the public on a viable second life for our products.”

Other Gimme 5 partners include Stonyfield, Brita and Burt’s Bees. Since 2008, consumers have dropped off more than 250 tons of yogurt cups, butter and cottage cheese containers and other #5 plastic packages for recycling. For more information, visit

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Recycler marks first anniversary, 500 million bottle miletone

Continuum Recycling (CR), the recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) joint venture between Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), Atlanta, GA, and ECO Plastics, Hemswell, UK celebrated its first anniversary in May 2012 and the recycling of 500 million bottles.
The CR site in Hemswell now processes about 50% of all the plastic bottles collected in the UK and played a key role in CCE’s recycling efforts during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In total, some 15 million plastic bottles were collected from Games venues and returned to shelves as part of 63 million new bottles in a process as brief as six weeks.

“Continuum was fundamental in helping the Coca-Cola system to deliver on its Olympics legacy pledge and its materials are now used across our full range of plastic packaging,” reports Nick Brown, associate director for Recycling at CCE. “Perhaps most significantly its success should demonstrate to everyone, from householders to Local Authorities and policy makers, the real environmental and economic benefits of recycling.”

Alongside the plant’s environmental credentials, which include saving a level of carbon dioxide equivalent to taking more than 15,700 cars off the road per year, the joint venture has added 30 jobs to the economy of rural Lincolnshire. Jonathan Short, managing director of ECO Plastics, concludes:

"We hope that Continuum will prove to be a gateway project, demonstrating the value of long-term partnership and providing a template that others can follow."

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Sustainable Efforts

CPG companies meet environmental goals, set new targets

Many consumer packaged goods firms have achieved sustainability goals and are setting new targets. Characteristic of firms with more mature sustainability programs, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Leuven, Belgium, has set environmental goals for the next five years with particular focus on management of water, greenhouse gas emissions (especially in China) and packaging. If successful, packaging usage will shrink 100,000 tons between 2012 and the end of 2017, the equivalent of about a 250 million full cans of beer.

Diageo plc, a multinational alcoholic beverage company headquartered in London, made environmental improvements part of a project to expand its plant in Plainfield, IL. New equipment not only generates water and energy efficiencies, but the design of the new bottling hall conserves energy by taking advantage of natural light and sensor-driven doors and lighting. In addition, the facility is powered by 100% renewable electricity. As a result, the site’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) have plunged almost 65% since 2007, despite a significant increase in production volumes. In addition, the plant is 14% more water efficient (vs.2007) and ranks as the company’s first zero waste-to-landfill site, a milestone achieved in 2009.

“The transformation we have delivered at the Plainfield facility illustrates how we are creating best-in-class operations that are more flexible, efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable,” reports Paul Gallagher, president, Supply, Diageo North America, Norwalk, CT.

Burt’s Bees, Durham, NC, now part of Clorox, Oakland, CA, met its zero-waste-to-landfill goal in 2010 and is now working toward limiting waste-to-energy to less than 10% of total byproduct, with the ultimate ambition of zero waste. With bee populations declining, the company has strengthened its focus on the health of bees in its community outreach, philanthropic giving and responsible sourcing efforts.

Other commitments involve low-impact packaging and reduction in GHG emissions. In fact, the company has saved 8.4 million transport miles and related GHG emissions by labeling lip balm tubes instead of shipping them to be transfer printed.

By 2020 Burt’s Bees plans to reduce packaging materials 10% and increase post-consumer recycled (PCR) content and recyclability of remaining materials. At present, approximately 42% of its primary packaging is recyclable and 35% contains PCR content.

Computer giant, Dell, Round Rock, Texas, is working toward a waste-free packaging stream by 2020. Tactics include sourcing all packaging from recycled or renewable content materials, which in turn can be recycled or composted. About 50% of Dell’s packaging already meets these criteria.

“Packaging is often the first part of our products that customers see and touch,” says Oliver Campbell, director of Packaging Procurement at Dell. “From that first interaction, we want to ensure our customers know we’re dedicated to operating in an environmentally responsible manner, and we want to make it easier for them to be sustainable as well," he explains.
Dell’s 2020 packaging goals build on successes in the sustainable packaging realm. Last year, Dell achieved the goals defined in its 3Cs packaging strategy, which involves optimizing box dimensions (cube), sourcing eco-friendly materials (content) and specifying curbside-recyclable materials (curb). As a result it has shrunk the size of its packaging more than 12%, increased the amount of recycled and renewable content up to 40%, and confirmed that up to 75% of its packaging is recyclable at curbside. Since 2008 this effort saved more than 20 million pounds of packaging material and $18 million.


As part of this push, the company has transitioned from petrochemical-based foam cushioning to renewable materials. In fact, Dell ranks as the first technology company to replace foam with bamboo cushions to protect lightweight products such as notebooks. The material is not only lightweight and strong, but grows at a rate of up to an inch per hour.

For heavier products such as servers, Dell relies on mushroom-based material as an organic alternative to foam. Both mushroom- and bamboo-based materials are recyclable or compostable.

Dell also is experimenting with converting an agricultural waste, wheat straw, into corrugated packaging in China. Currently this byproduct is burned by Chinese farmers and contributes to air pollution. Dell plans to begin incorporating straw in its corrugated at a level of 15% by weight in August 2013. The wheat straw/recycled fiber material looks and performs like conventional corrugated and will be recyclable after use.

During pulping, the wheat straw experiences an enzymatic process — modeled after the way cows digest grass — that uses 40% less energy and almost 90% less water than traditional chemical pulping. Dell estimates it will use 200 tons of wheat straw per year initially, a move that could alleviate 180 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, the equivalent of carbon sequestered by more than 4,600 seedlings planted and grown for a decade.

Dell also helps create demand for recycled packaging materials by sourcing recycled-content materials for its products. For example, its monitors and OptiPlex desktop systems rely on PCR beverage bottles.




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