Light Barrier Bottle, Algae-based BioPlastic

Volume 4, Issue 3

In This Issue:

  • Picking the right green claims
  • Source Reduction

    AriZona upgrades to lighter barrier bottle

    A lightweighted 16-ounce polyethylene terephthalate (PET) barrier bottle from Graham Packaging, York, PA, makes it possible for AriZona Beverage Co., Cincinnati, OH, to load 7,650 more containers per truck.

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Source Reduction >

AriZona upgrades to lighter barrier bottle

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A lightweighted 16-ounce polyethylene terephthalate (PET) barrier bottle from Graham Packaging, York, PA, makes it possible for AriZona Beverage Co., Cincinnati, OH, to load 7,650 more containers per truck. At 20% lighter than AriZona’s previous bottle, the proprietary Slingshot™ barrier bottle fits nearly 350 more bottles per pallet and reduces the weight of a truckload by 1,000 pounds. “The space, weight, and fuel savings accrue both to AriZona and to the environment,” says Mark Leiden, vice president of global marketing and PET business manager for Graham Packaging. “The consumer also gets a lighter bottle that’s easier to handle,” he notes.

Based on production volume estimates, the savings in material to make the bottle and fuel to transport it will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 3.3 million pounds per year, according to Leiden.

The Slingshot technology eliminates the need for vacuum panels in the label area. The sleek, cylindrical design makes the container easier to handle and label and provides a more ergonomic feel in the consumer’s hand. Barrier technology preserves freshness and flavor without the use of preservatives, while an amber color protects the natural antioxidant properties of the tea-based beverages.

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Switch to PET saves 250 tons of plastic

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GOJO Industries, Akron, OH, expects to save 250 tons of plastic packaging annually with the conversion of PURELL®* Green Certified Instant Hand Sanitizer to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers. The PET pump containers and dispenser refills based on GOJO Smart Flex technology consume 30% less material than high-density polyethylene bottles without any decline in durability.

PURELL® Green Certified Instant Hand Sanitizer, the world’s first EcoLogo™-certified hand sanitizer, consists of a biodegradable formula, derived from renewable ethanol. Now recognized worldwide, The EcoLogo program, which is managed by TerraChoice Environmental Marketing, Ottawa, ON, was founded in 1988 by the government of Canada to identify environmentally superior products. The Global EcoLabelling Network, a consortium of environmental performance recognition, certification and labeling organizations, also based in Ottawa at TerraChoice, certifies the EcoLogo program meets ISO 14024 standards for eco-labeling.

* PURELL is a trademark of Johnson & Johnson and is used under license.

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Reusable >

Reuse reduces waste

Reuse, the second tenet of the environmental mantra, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” requires advance planning and careful design, but can be found at all levels of packaging.

Reusable bulk containers

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Bulk containers, which often transport ingredients or products in closed-loop scenarios, typically are designed for reuse. In fact, a number of companies specialize in reconditioning this type of packaging.

Maverick Containers, Jackson, MI, for example, cleans and repairs totes, bins and pallets, removes old dunnage and installs new. The company recycles any broken parts and containers that are beyond repair and uses only recyclable materials. It also molds new multi-trip totes, bins and pallets from expanded polypropylene, which reduces finished weight about 25% compared to traditionally molded containers and pallets.

Increasingly, makers of reusable bulk containers build other environmental attributes into their products. New DuraGreen collapsible bulk containers from RPP Containers, Cincinnati, OH, for example, combine reusability with recycled content, economical pricing and a warranty. “RPP’s state-of-the-art recycling and grinding facility for out-of-service plastic bulk containers enables us to put the highest quality of recycled plastic back into new DuraGreen collapsible containers,” says Scott DeNoma, president and chief executive officer of RPP Containers. Heavy-duty, stackable and easy to assemble and knock down, DuraGreen reusable bulk containers are available in three popular footprints -- 48x45, 48x40 and 32x30 inches.

Multi-trip corrugated

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When it reaches its destination, the patent-pending, regular-slotted-case-style Globe Guard® Reusable Box from Salazar Packaging, Inc., Plainfield, IL, inverts to form a clean, like-new shipper. Reusing the corrugated box reduces material and shipping costs, streamlines procurement, eliminates stock keeping units and conserves warehouse space.

“Shipping boxes are typically still structurally solid after their first use, but they are thrown away or recycled because of how they look” reports Dennis Salazar, president of Salazar Packaging. “Our design enables the clean inside of the box to quickly and easily become the new outside, at least doubling the box’s life cycle. Essentially, the Reusable Box does the job of two boxes, possibly more,” he explains.

The Reusable Box communicates brand owners’ sustainable values and encourages reuse. Printable inside and out, the design is particularly well-suited for applications where more than one shipper is used to transport products back and forth such as warranty claim and replacement shipments, repair and return operations, e-commerce returns, parts exchanges, product loaners and intra-company and -office transfers. Available in a wide range of custom sizes and board strengths, minimum order quantities vary depending on box dimensions.

Reusable tote bag

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Bona US, Aurora, CO, the North American subsidiary of Bona AB, Malmö, Sweden, packs its premium Hardwood and Stone, Tile & Laminate Floor Care Systems in reusable shopping bags. Replacing the typical box with a reusable tote bag will keep 50 tons of packaging out of landfills in 2010. In addition, since each bag is made from recycled PET, it diverts 11 bottles per bag from the waste stream.

Kits feature a nontoxic, biodegradable, GreenGuard-certified cleaner, reusable and washable microfiber pads for dry dusting, dry mopping or wet cleaning. Also in the kit is the durable four-piece mop and base with quick-connect system, designed and supplied by TricorBraun, as is the concentrated floor cleaner refill bottle. The refillable bottle replaced the previous bottle, which had to be disposed.

Refillable primary containers

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A closed-loop system established by PolyOne, Cleveland, OH, makes it possible to collect and refill pails for its OnColor Complete™ Liquid Color Solutions. The three-part system combines pails and delivery management from PolyOne with patent-pending colorant and metering technologies from Maguire subsidiaries, Riverdale Color Co., Perth Amboy, NJ, and Clearfield Color, LLC, Aston, PA. The closed-loop system helps packaging converters and other manufacturers reduce operating costs by eliminating unusable colorants, equipment cleanup and associated disposal costs. It also minimizes environmental impact, improves workplace safety and minimizes inventory and capital investment requirements.

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Another refillable concept, a two-piece polyethylene terephthalate (PET) jar from a company in Israel, refills by simply exchanging an empty removable inner part refill for a full one. GP-50 jars may be refilled repeatedly. Decoration options include silk screening or pad printing as well as hot stamping on the caps. The jar is compatible with several cap styles and is also possible to customize the color of both jar and cap.

Secondary uses

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A newly patented coupling system from KleinCepts, Inc., Walnut Creek, CA, provides a way to assemble empty beverage containers into toys or sheets of low-cost insulation for use in developing countries and disaster areas. The Eco-Connect Bottle System™ molds a female orifice into the bottle base so empties can be nested with the caps on or threaded together with the caps off without affecting bottle shape or brand identity.

With additional connector pieces and accessories such as wheels, lights, arms, legs, stickers, kids can construct rolling or floating toys, soccer goals, tunnels, playhouses and other items. Themed kits of parts simplify the process and make it possible to build licensed characters for movie tie-ins and other promotions.

Currently in the prototype stage, the connection system can be sized to fit various neck finishes. “Connectors will be customized for the brand [and container],” says Steven Klein, the inventor of the system and president of KleinCepts. In addition, “We are looking to form a relationship with a machine company so we can offer a turnkey approach.”

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According to Klein, the system could help divert some of the billions of empty beverage containers that end up in landfills each year. “Bottles featuring our patented technology are designed to take a different journey,” he says. In addition, “They’ll address consumer concerns about the environment and add value to the brand after it’s consumed. Essentially, without increasing its retail cost, a brand can create a difference that will drive purchase loyalty and frequency,” he concludes.

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Recycling/Recycled Content >

Glass Recycling Week features online scavenger hunt

Recycle Glass Week e-Hunt teaches participants about the value of glass bottle recycling and offers a chance to win prizes during Recycle Glass Week, September 12-18, 2010. Little Bottle, an animated character created by Saint-Gobain Containers Co., Muncie, IN, will guide recycling enthusiasts, glass lovers, “green” people and other consumers through the online search for a chance to win iPod Shuffles, T-shirts, cash and other prizes.

“We hope the recycle e-Hunt…will encourage people to recycle more glass bottles and jars,” says Joseph Cattaneo, president of the Glass Packaging Institute (GPI), Washington, DC, the sponsor of Recycle Glass Week. “Recycling glass saves energy, reduces use of raw materials, and lessens carbon dioxide emissions. Recycling…glass containers will help glass container manufacturers…meet the goal to use 50% recycled glass in the manufacture of new glass bottles and jars by 2013,” he concludes. Other e-Hunt partners include Earth911.com, Scottsdale, AZ; Owens-Illinois, Inc., Perrysburg, OH; and Race Across America, Boulder, CO.

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MVR plans to produce food-grade recycled resins

A new source of food-grade recycled polypropylene and recycled polystyrene will start up by the end of 2010 in Frankfort, KY, in a 220,000-square-foot facility previously used to manufacture auto parts. The 90-million-pound-per year recycling operation, owned by MVR, Boca Raton, FL, is expected to produce several grades of post-consumer-recycled resin.

Outfitted with cutting-edge sorting, cleansing and pelletizing equipment and MVR’s proprietary technology, the plant will employ a workforce of 360.

“The new Frankfort plant is an important first step in the expansion of MVR’s sustainable plastic resin manufacturing and will serve as a model for the company’s future expansion,” says Ronald Whaley, president and chief executive officer of MVR.

Compared to virgin resin, MVR’s recycled resin presents a 70% smaller carbon footprint. Each 50 million pounds of recycled resin manufactured by MVR saves the equivalent of 275,000 barrels of oil in carbon dioxide emissions. Cleaning and recycling process water further reduces the environmental impact of the recycled resin.

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Sustainable Efforts >

Pressure continues on bottled water

Joining various organizations and governmental entities, MOM's Organic Market, Rockville, MD, a six-store regional grocery chain, has quit stocking bottled water and launched a Battle the Bottle campaign. “Not only does plastic damage our environment, but it increases our dependence on oil,” states Scott Nash, founder and chief executive officer of MOM’s, who advocates use of biodegradable polymers.

Water filtration machines installed in each store facilitate use of reusable containers for water, and consumers may take home one free gallon each visit. The retailer also has given employees a free counter-top home water filter and reusable water containers.

Bottles for water are not the only packaging receiving attention from the retailer. The chain also is eliminating many bags from its produce department, especially for potatoes, onions and oranges. Salad mixes will transition from bags to biodegradable clamshells. Other produce will switch to bioplastic or cellophane packaging, as will prepackaged and self-serve bulk products, bread and bagels with the latter using wax paper with biodegradable wax.

In a related endeavor, the chain has configured its point-of-sale system to handle reusable containers customers bring in to carry home bulk purchases.

The latest initiatives expand the retailer’s environmental efforts. The chain eliminated plastic grocery bags in 2005 and already recycles bottles, bags, shrink wrap and plastic containers and returns foam packing peanuts to outlets in the UPS Store/Mail Boxes Etc. network. It also specifies wood coffee stirrers and bioplastic packaging, utensils and gift cards; factors in packaging when choosing which products to sell; and encourages suppliers to use biodegradable plastic or less plastic/foam.

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Tools help confirm ‘green’ package/product qualities

It’s easy to claim to be “green.” It’s much harder to prove it. However to avoid accusations of greenwashing, proof is essential. A growing number of tools and certification programs help collect and analyze supporting data.

To help consumers interested in buying “green,” Greenopia, Santa Barbara, CA, ranks beverages and other products in an online directory, www.greenopia.com. The most eco-friendly products receive a 4-Leaf Rating based on both environmental impact and health-effect characteristics. To calculate scores, researchers use a proprietary lifecycle eco-cost methodology to analyze data related to container, ingredient analysis (including product toxicity), supply chain, sustainability reporting, green building design initiatives and history of environmental violations.

McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, LLC (MBDC), Charlottesville, VA, runs a multi-level certification program. The certification process considers five criteria: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy use, water stewardship and social responsibility.

“Obtaining external verification from MBDC, the people who wrote the book on cradle-to-cradle design, reinforces the work we’re doing to make our products safe for people and the environment, and it reflects our authentic mission of sustainability at a time when many companies talk about being green,” says Adam Lowry, cofounder and chief greenskeeper at Method Products, Inc., San Francisco, CA. Other clients include Nestle Waters North America, Greenwich, CT; Aveda Corp., Blaine, MN; and Van Houtum Papier BV, Swalmen, The Netherlands.

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Biodegradable >

Compostable packaging needs to be readily identifiable

Most composting facilities that accept food waste also accept compostable packaging, but would like it to be easier to identify. Roughly 33 out of 40 respondents to a survey conducted by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, Charlottesville, VA, want a more universally recognized label of compostability. The study, Compostable Packaging: The Reality on the Ground, also reports 67.5% of the respondents require compostable packaging to have some type certification before allowing it in the front gate.

Materials meeting the certification wishes of composting facilities include new biodegradable copolyester (PBAT)/thermoplastic starch (TPS) blends from the Bioplastics Division of Teknor Apex Co., Pawtucket, RI. Certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), New York, NY, the Terraloy™ 20000 Series compounds meet requirements specified in the ASTM D6400 standard for plastics intended for composting. The blends are designed to replace polyolefins and polystyrene in sheet, film and thermoformed or molded parts with a maximum thickness of 250 mils (0.250 inch). Applications include shrink wrap, produce wraps and trays, cosmetics jars and containers, carrier bags, can liners, trays and plates, cutlery and flower pots.

“Because 100% TPS biodegrades much more rapidly than 100% PBAT, the blends of these materials making up the Terraloy 20000 Series open new applications for PBAT,” says Edwin Tam, Teknor Apex manager of strategic initiatives. “Plastics processors can use Terraloy compounds to produce thicker sheet and parts than with PBAT alone and still meet requirements for compostability,” he concludes.

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Teknor also supplies bio-based colorants for the most common biodegradable resins including PBAT, polylactic acid, polyhydroxyl butyrate and polyhydroxyl butyrate/valerate.

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Algae-based bioplastic moves closer to commercialization

Cereplast Inc., El Segundo, CA, plans to introduce its first algae-based bioplastic before the end of 2010. According to the company, Cereplast Algae Plastics® represent a technological breakthrough, move bioplastic feedstock choices away from the food chain and have the potential to replace 50% or more of the petroleum content used in traditional plastic resins.

The production process harvests algae from photo-bioreactors, which capture pollutants from smokestacks, and converts the biomass into monomers, which, in turn, are converted into biopolymers.

“In the not so distant future, we believe that algae will become one of the most important ‘green’ feedstocks in bioplastics as well as biofuels,” says Frederic Scheer, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Cereplast, which recently raised $7.5 million from institutional investors to fund growth initiatives.

The algae-based resin family joins Cereplast’s Compostables® and Hybrid® resins, which rely on renewable materials such as starches derived from corn, tapioca, wheat and potatoes. “…the use of algae as a feedstock for plastics allows us to go full circle: The very substance that can absorb and minimize carbon dioxide and polluting gases from the industrial process can also be turned into sustainable, renewable plastic products and biofuels while reducing our use of fossil fuels,” concludes William Kelly, the leader of Cereplast’s algae-to-plastics development efforts.

The Compostables family recently added 11 grades including several injection molding resins, Compostable 2001 for blowmolded bottles and containers, Compostable 3000 for blown film extrusion applications like bags and overwrap, Compostable 4001 for extrusion coating paperboard and corrugated, Compostable 5001 for extruded foam sheeting for thermoformed trays, clamshells and egg cartons, and Compostable 6000 and 6001 for extruded sheeting for thermoformed cups, plates, bowls, trays, clamshells, containers and packaging.

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Study examines biopolymers in packaging

The market study, Biopolymers in Packaging 2010-2014, forecasts a 40% annual growth rate for the next five years. The report from Packaging Strategies, West Chester, PA, identifies emerging markets in various end-use segments and geographic regions and analyzes trends, market conditions and market drivers. It also offers consumption projections by plant source, end-use segment, package type and geographic region. The report discusses each biopolymer individually and includes 28 producer profiles, plus a glossary of terms. For more information, visit www.packstrat.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 (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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The market study, Biopolymers in Packaging 2010-2014, forecasts a 40% annual growth rate for the next five years. The report from Packaging Strategies, West Chester, PA, identifies emerging markets in various end-use segments and geographic regions and analyzes trends, market conditions and market drivers. It also offers consumption projections by plant source, end-use segment, package type and geographic region. The report discusses each biopolymer individually and includes 28 producer profiles, plus a glossary of terms. For more information, visit www.packstrat.com.

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