Award Winning Hybrid

Volume 5, Issue 4

In This Issue:

BIODEGRADABLE/RENEWABLE >

Deal Finances Capacity for Biodegradable PET Preforms

Casey Container Corp., Scottsdale, AZ, expects to begin production of biodegradable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) preforms and bottles before the end of 2011.

The facility, located near Tampa,, FL, is the product of a $4 million equity funding agreement with Crown Hospitality Group, LLC, Schaumburg, IL. Under the agreement, Crown will provide the cash to establish up to four U.S. facilities to produce biodegradable preforms and containers based on the EcoPure additive and technology from Bio-Tec Environmental, Albuquerque, NM.

Crown, an affiliate of UK-based CEG Fund Ltd., will deliver the cash in four payments and will receive about 6.4 million shares of restricted common stock, about 50% of Casey Container shares. Crown also will seat two out of five members of Casey’s Board of Directors. A tentative agreement reached in March 2011 with CEG is expected to provide financing for several international production facilities.

“We’re excited about Crown’s decision to directly invest in Casey Container Corp. and partner with us to accelerate our expansion in the United States alongside the natural expansion internationally with CEG,” says Martin R. Nason, president and chief executive officer of Casey Container. “Although there is no guarantee or assurance a Definitive Agreement for the international factories will be signed, it confirms that Crown recognizes the need for viable PET biodegradable plastics solutions….” For more information, visit www.caseycontainer.com.

Back to Top >
>

Joint Venture in Brazil Produces Bio-based PET

The Dow Chemical Co., Midland, MI, and Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan, have formed a joint venture to produce bio-based polymers from renewable feedstocks. When complete, Dow and Mitsui will have the world’s largest integrated facility for the production of biopolymers made from renewable, sugar-cane-derived ethanol.

Biopolymers produced at this facility will be a green alternative and drop-in replacement for petroleum-based polymers used for a variety of applications including flexible packaging, hygiene and medical markets.

The first phase of the project, expected to be underway before the end of the third quarter of 2011, includes the construction of a sugarcane-to-ethanol production facility in Santa Vitória, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Under the terms of the agreement, Mitsui becomes a 50% equity interest partner in Dow’s sugar cane growing operation in Santa Vitória. The initial scope of the joint venture includes production of sugar-cane-derived ethanol for use as a renewable feedstock source. For more information, visit www.dow.com, www.mitsui.com/jp/.

Back to Top >
>

Nanotech-based Biopolymer Could Compete with Traditional Polymers

Biodegradable microfibrillated cellulose made from wood pulp may be able to replace polyethylene in some packaging applications. According to Kelley Lynn Spence, a doctoral candidate at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, microfibrillated cellulose can offer strength and barrier properties equivalent to petroleum-based polyethylene. The research described in Spence’s dissertation, Processing and Properties of Microfibrillated Cellulose, also showed that microfluidization using a system from Microfluidics International Corp., Newton, MA, resulted in tougher films and consumed less energy than micro-grinding or homogenization. For more information, visit www.microfluidicscorp.com, http://repository.lib.ncsu.edu/ir/bitstream/1840.16/6909/1/etd.pdf.

Back to Top >
>

Gevo Develops Bio-based PET Ingredient

Renewable para-xylene, an ingredient needed to make polyethylene terephthalate (PET), has been developed by Gevo, Inc., Englewood, CO, from the company’s plant-based isobutanol. Toray Industries, Inc., North Kingstown, RI, has used the para-xylene along with plant-based mono ethylene glycol to make 100% bio-based PET and produced test quantities of film. The next step is to move from lab-scale “proof of concept” to a commercial-scale operation.

“We believe there is strong customer demand for fully renewable, non-petroleum derived PET,” says Christopher Ryan, Ph.D., president and chief operating officer of Gevo. “We are pleased to have validated this technology with Toray and look forward to building a market for fully renewable PET,” he reports.

The bio-based PET also is being studied for use in bottles. A number of firms are working on bio-based feedstocks for PET [see TB Sustainability Times, May/June 2011]. For more information, visit www.gevo.com, www.toraytpa.com.

Back to Top >
>

Expansion Adds Capacity for New PLA Resins, Lactide Intermediates

An expansion project at NatureWorks LLC, Minnetonka, MN, will enable high-volume production of new grades of Ingeo polylactic acid.

Potential applications include injection molding, thermoforming, film extrusion, injection stretch blowmolding and formed extrusion. Samples of the biopolymers will be available in 2012, with commercial scale production in 2013.

The new capacity also will produce lactide intermediates for additives/modifiers, adhesives, coatings, elastomers, surfactants and solvents. For more information, visit www.natureworksllc.com.

Back to Top >
REUSABLE >

Refillable Household Cleaner Wins Award

Replenish, maker of an ultra-concentrated Multi-Surface Cleaner in a Reusable Bottle System, has won a Bronze International Design Excellence Award (IDEA®) in the Packaging & Graphics category in a competition sponsored by the Industrial Designers Society of America, Dulles, VA.

Replenish’s all-in-one bottle [TB Sustainability Times, March/April 2011] allows consumers to measure, mix, store and spray natural cleaners using replaceable Concentrate Pods, instead of buying pre-mixed cleaners that are almost 95% water. By not shipping water and designing for reuse, Replenish reduces energy, plastic waste and carbon dioxide emissions 90% and saves consumers 50% over traditional pre-mixed cleaners.

With cradle-to-cradle gold certification from McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, Charlottesville, VA, Replenish Multi-Surface Cleaner is classified as one of the safest and most sustainable household cleaners on the market. For more information, visit www.myreplenish.com, www.mbdc.com.

Back to Top >
SOURCE REDUCTION >

Brand Owner and Suppliers Reduce Weight of Crown Closure

SABMiller plc, London, UK, applies 42 billion crown closures each year to its beer and carbonated soft drink bottles. Lightweighting designs 10% could save more than 10,000 tonnes of steel and an estimated US$12.6 million per year in material costs. In addition, the resulting weight savings adds up to 360 grams, or nearly a pound per pallet. Lighter loads reduce transportation costs, allow more product to be shipped per truck and cut carbon dioxide emissions.

After a successful test, one design from Packaging Products del Perú SA, Lima, Peru, has been adopted by Backus, SABMiller’s Peruvian subsidiary and will be fully deployed in Peru and Ecuador by the end of June 2012. At a thickness of 0.17-millimeter (mm), the steel measures substantially thinner than the 0.22-0.24mm gauge typically used for crown closures. An embossed ring around the bottle lip prevents any “spring-back” effect that could lead to leakage and contamination.

SABMiller subsidiaries in other regions also are testing lightweighted crowns. The Grolsch brewery in Enschede, The Netherlands, has trialled a 0.18mm crown from Pelliconi, Bologna, Italy. Market tests will occur throughout Europe in 2012. For more information, visit www.sabmiller.com, www.packagingperu.com/english/, www.pelliconi.it.

Back to Top >
RECYCLING/RECYCLED CONTENT >

Demand Expands for rPET Containers

Although progress has been slow, it shouldn’t be long before containers with some level of recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) outnumber all-virgin PET containers. Increasingly, brand owners are either switching from all-virgin PET to some recycled content or increasing its percentage, in some cases, as high as 100%. The supply of food-grade rPET also is growing.

In the United States and Canada, soft drink bottles used by PepsiCo, Purchase, NY, currently average 10% rPET. However, PepsiCo Beverages Canada, Mississauga, Ontario, recently introduced a 100% rPET EcoGreen container for all sizes of 7UP and Diet 7UP lemon/lime soda. Reportedly the first 100% rPET soft drink bottle in North America, the self-manufactured EcoGreen container looks, feels and performs the same as a bottle made of 100% virgin resin

PepsiCo predicts the transition to the EcoGreen bottle for 7UP in Canada will save about 6 million pounds of virgin PET resin each year. According to studies published in 2010 by the Association for Post-Consumer Plastic Recyclers, Washington, DC, this reduction will cut energy consumption more than 55% and lower greenhouse gas emissions more than 30%.

To keep up with rising demand for rPET, suppliers are investing in facilities around the world.

In the United States, Plastipak Packaging, Plymouth, MI, is expanding its Clean Tech plastic recycling facility in nearby Dundee. The additional equipment will produce ultracelan rPET from post-consumer-recycled material and enable Plastipak to injection stretch blowmold food-grade containers with higher levels of recycled content. With recycling capacity in every region it operates, Plastipak expects to recycle about 5 billion bottles this year and double that number by 2016.

In England, a £24 million (US$38.8 million) expansion at ECO Plastics, Hemswell, UK, will boost capacity nearly 50% from 100,000 tonnes to 140,000 tonnes and more than double British production of food-grade rPET. The increased output will supply the food-grade rPET Coca-Cola Enterprises, Atlanta, GA, needs to increase recycled content to 25% in all its PET packaging in Great Britain by 2012.

Another European plant, Artenius PET Packaging Europe (APPE), Wrexham, UK, was recently recognized with a Beyond the Package Award in the 2011 Greener Package competition, sponsored by Summit Media Group, Inc., Chicago, IL. The maker of PET preforms and bottles is the packaging division of La Seda de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, a PET resin producer. With virgin resin, recycled resin and preform and bottle production, the group delivers cradle-to-cradle capability. A 2008 upgrade of its closed-loop, bottle-to-bottle PET recycling plant in Beaune, France, increased annual rPET capacity from 25,000 tonnes to 35,000 tonnes. The new capacity enables recycling of about 720 million more 25-gram PET bottles each year. As a result, the plant diverts about 1.8 billion bottles from landfills each year. The extra 10,000 tonnes of capacity will make 400 million 100% rPET bottles or 1.6 billion bottles with 25% rPET, the level currently preferred by most beverage manufacturers. The Beaune plant also manufactures preforms, eliminating the need to ship rPET to another facility.

A plant in Vietnam, scheduled to start up in January 2012, will recycle 1.5 billion PET bottles per year to produce food-grade rPET from PET flake. Thanh Tai Gas Co., Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam targets output primarily to bottle-to-bottle applications, but also can produce recycled resin for fiber or carpet using technology from Bepex International, Minneapolis, MN. The BePET process simultaneously controls contamination levels and intrinsic viscosity (IV) while cutting energy consumption up to 60%. A second parallel line, scheduled to be installed after the first line begins production, will produce rPET with an IV suitable for applications like food packaging. For more information, visit www.pepsico.ca/en/Purpose/Environmental-Sustainability.html, www.plastipak.com, www.ecoplasticsltd.com, www.cokecce.com, www.greenerpackage.com, www.appepackaging.com, www.ttagas.com, www.bepet.com.

Shareholder Advocacy Group Presses Brand Owners to Support Recycling
None of the firms surveyed by As You Sow, San Francisco, CA, earned an A on its Beverage Container Recycling Scorecard, 2011.

The top grade, a B-, was given to Nestle Waters North America, Greenwich, CT; PepsiCo, Purchase, NY; and The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, Ga. Four firms received Cs. More than half of the companies sent surveys chose not to participate and received a failing grade.

According to Waste & Opportunity 2011, a report based on the survey responses, Coca-Cola and Nestle Waters earned points for supporting extended producer responsibility laws, legislation favored by As You Sow. Respondents lost points if they lacked container recovery goals and/or tactical strategies for achieving those goals.

Primary obstacles to increasing the U.S. recovery rate include inadequate infrastructure for collection, sorting and preparing post-consumer materials, the absence of leadership outside the beverage industry, few incentives for consumers, insufficient government commitment and a lack of markets to support the costs of collecting materials.

The report concludes beverage brand owners need to emphasize design for recycling and use of Life Cycle Assessment data to reduce the environmental impact of packaging. For more information, visit www.asyousow.org.

Formica Recycles Foam Cups, Packaging into Solid Surfacing
New e Series Solid Surfacing from Formica Corp., Cincinnati, OH, contains 5% post-consumer-recycled content from foam cups and packaging and 10% pre-consumer recycled content (manufacturing waste). Available in six neutral earth tones, the material is priced competitively with all-virgin solid surfacing. The 15% recycled content may help earn credits for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the US Green Building Council, Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.formica.com, www.usgbc.org.

 

 

Back to Top >
SOURCE REDUCTION >

Brand Owner and Suppliers Reduce Weight of Crown Closure

SABMiller plc, London, UK, applies 42 billion crown closures each year to its beer and carbonated soft drink bottles. Lightweighting designs 10% could save more than 10,000 tonnes of steel and an estimated US$12.6 million per year in material costs. In addition, the resulting weight savings adds up to 360 grams, or nearly a pound per pallet. Lighter loads reduce transportation costs, allow more product to be shipped per truck and cut carbon dioxide emissions.

After a successful test, one design from Packaging Products del Perú SA, Lima, Peru, has been adopted by Backus, SABMiller’s Peruvian subsidiary and will be fully deployed in Peru and Ecuador by the end of June 2012. At a thickness of 0.17-millimeter (mm), the steel measures substantially thinner than the 0.22-0.24mm gauge typically used for crown closures. An embossed ring around the bottle lip prevents any “spring-back” effect that could lead to leakage and contamination.

SABMiller subsidiaries in other regions also are testing lightweighted crowns. The Grolsch brewery in Enschede, The Netherlands, has trialled a 0.18mm crown from Pelliconi, Bologna, Italy. Market tests will occur throughout Europe in 2012. For more information, visit www.sabmiller.com, www.packagingperu.com/english/, www.pelliconi.it.

Back to Top >
SUSTAINABLE EFFORTS >

Study Values Sustainable Packaging Market at $107.7 Billion

A study by visongain, London, UK, estimates the global sustainable packaging market is worth $107.7 billion and predicts steady growth through 2021. Driving forces include rising environmental concerns, increasing health awareness, high disposable incomes, rapidly growing economies, dearth of natural resources and high energy consumption.

In addition to discussing trends, the Sustainable & Green Packaging Market 2011-2021 report details global market forecasts as well national and submarket forecasts for Japan, China, Canada, Germany, France, Brazil, India, United Kingdom, Russia, Spain, Italy, Mexico, South Africa and the United States.

Another section describes more than 20 leading companies in the sustainable packaging market. Information is presented in narrative form as well as through tables and illustrations. For more information, visit www.visiongain.com/Report/638/The-Sustainable-Green-Packaging-Market-2011-2021.

Back to Top >
SUSTAINABLE EFFORTS >

Anodizing Process Achieves Higher Volumes, Lower Environmental Impact

Double-anodizing technology from Anomatic Corp., Newark, OH, produces higher volumes of metal packaging components with less environmental impact. With an output of 50,000 parts per day, unit costs are lower too.

In production, Anomatic’s process prints a design, logo or artwork on an anodized surface using masking ink. An exterior treatment strips the anodic film base, and the surface is re-anodized in a second color and/or finish. The resulting, attention-grabbing surface resists scratching, denting, peeling and chipping. Applications include components like capsules for wine and spirits bottles.

The upgraded double-anodizing process recycles water to cut consumption 40%; while programmable logic control minimizes the chemicals needed for wastewater treatment. Nearly all (90%) stamping oil is recovered for reuse, and a closed-cycle vapor cleaning system cuts energy requirements for part cleaning 92%. Air scrubbing technology captures 98% of nitrogen oxide emissions, significantly exceeding requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.anomatic.com.

Back to Top >
SUSTAINABLE EFFORTS >

Alternate Energy Sources Supply Power

Two firms choose different paths to embrace alternative energy sources. Snyder’s-Lance, Inc., Charlotte, NC, adopts solar power; MeadWestvaco Corp., Richmond, VA, is using biomass as a fuel source.

Snyder’s-Lance recently completed the largest ground-based solar farm in Pennsylvania. Covering 26 acres and comprised of 15,092 solar panels, the 3.5-megawatt operation is located in Hanover, PA, across from the company’s office and manufacturing plant. It’s expected to generate 4,453,136 kilowatt hours per year and reduce the facility’s energy costs by almost one-third. The solar farm also will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in excess of 230 million pounds of carbon dioxide over a 25-year period. This is equivalent to more than 111 million miles not driven by a medium-size car.

MeadWestvaco is investing $285 million to build a biomass boiler and upgrade the associated power infrastructure at its paperboard mill in Covington, VA. When completed, the world’s largest solid bleached sulfate mill will be self-sufficient in electrical power and steam generation. The new system also is expected to significantly reduce operating and maintenance costs. The boiler and related 75-megawatt steam turbine generator system will replace two less efficient units and is expected to be operational by the end of 2013. It primarily will burn renewable biomass such as tree bark, wood residues left behind from logging operations and residuals from the waste water from the papermaking process. For more information, visit www.snydersmediacenter.com, www.meadwestvaco.com.

Back to Top >
>

Hybrid Container Wins Greener Package Award

In March 2011, a low-density polyethylene (LDPE) pouch in a molded paper fiber shell launched Seventh Generation Natural 4x Laundry Detergent and helped it quickly claim third position in its category.

undefined

In August 2011, the design by Ecologic Brands, Oakland, CA, won a 2011 Environmental Impact Award in the non-FDA-regulated products category in the Greener Package competition, sponsored by Summit Media Group, Inc., Chicago, IL.

Certified compostable by Control Laboratories, Watsonville, CA, the outer shell consists of 100% post-consumer-recycled content – 70% old corrugated containers (OCC)/30% old newspapers (ONP) – and is recyclable in the OCC or ONP stream. Inside, the spouted LDPE pouch represents a resin savings of 75% compared to a traditional rigid container. It’s recyclable with grocery bags. The package also increases carbon savings since the outer shells nest and the pouches are shipped flat. As a result, only one truck is needed to transport the equivalent of roughly nine truckloads of rigid plastic containers. For more information, visit www.ecologicbrands.com, www.greenerpackage.com.

Back to Top >
>

Alcoa Supports Students Pursuing MBAs in Sustainability

A $50,000 grant from Alcoa, Pittsburgh, PA, will allow Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA, to award fellowships to students working on Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees in Sustainability. The grant in honor of Bill O’Rourke, Alcoa’s vice president, Sustainability, Environment, Health and Safety, will fund a $10,000 fellowship each year for the next five years.

“Alcoa has been a valued partner since the beginning of our MBA Sustainability program in 2007,” notes Dr. Alan Miciak, dean of Duquesne’s Palumbo Donahue School of Business. “The O’Rourke Alcoa Fellowship continues our partnership to advance sustainable business thinking and practice.”

O’Rourke retires on August 31, 2011, after a 36-year career with Alcoa, but continues to serve as a member of the Alcoa Foundation’s Board of Directors. A Pittsburgh native, he is a graduate of Duquesne’s School of Law. For more information, visit www.alcoa.com.

Back to Top >
>

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.

Back to Top >
Your search is being processed...