Info about public and deodorant stick recycling, Coke’s zero-waste

Volume 6, Issue 6

In This Issue:

RECYCLING/RECYCLED CONTENT >

Bev industry encourages recycling from public areas

The American Beverage Association (ABA), Washington, D.C., wants to recycle more containers discarded in public spaces. As a result, it supports Recycled on the Go, a pilot project in Palm Beach County, Florida.

“Our industry is committed to supporting recycling efforts, and the Recycle on the Go program is simply another way for us to encourage residents in Palm Beach County – and throughout the nation – to reduce, reuse and recycle,” says Susan Neely, president and chief executive officer of the ABA. “We are honored to be a part of this collaboration with local government, and we look forward to expanding public recycling opportunities like this nationwide.”


In 2012 ABA funded Recycle on the Go bins and provided project support and assistance for promotion and education components. ABA will monitor the results and use the information to help establish a best practices-approach to developing public space recycling programs in other communities.


ABA member companies also are at work to support and promote recycling in their communities. In 2012 The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, GA, expanded its community recycling program with Keep America Beautiful, Stamford, CT, to include recycling bin grants for colleges. Through this initiative and others, Coca-Cola has placed more than 160,000 bins throughout North America since 2008. This is in support of Coca-Cola's goal to recover the equivalent of 50% of the bottles and cans it places in market by 2015. In addition, Coca-Cola’s North American facilities divert more than 94% of their solid waste from landfills.


In 2011, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Plano, TX, diverted 81% of manufacturing solid waste – more than 37,000 tons – from the waste stream. This exceeded the goal it set just a year earlier to recycle 80% of solid waste from its manufacturing plants by 2015. The company has since raised its goal to 90% and is well on the way to achieving it, expanding the work it is doing with third-party recycling companies to increase the efficiency of its landfill diversion efforts.


To celebrate the launch of its 50% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) ReBorn bottle, the Arrowhead brand, owned by Nestle Waters North America (NWNA), Stamford, CT, is promoting public space recycling in the San Francisco Bay area (see next story). In addition, NWNA supports Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging and printed paper and is working with a coalition to advance state-level legislative solutions to overcome barriers to recycling.


PepsiCo, Purchase, NY, created the Dream Machine Recycling Initiative on Earth Day 2010 in collaboration with Waste Management, Houston, TX, and Keep America Beautiful to address the need for greater public access to recycling solutions and to help increase the national recycling rate. Since program launch, 4,000 Dream Machine bins and electronic kiosks have been placed, and nearly 1,000 K-12 schools across 34 states have participated in the Dream Machine Recycle Rally program. This has resulted in more than 160 million bottles and cans being diverted from landfills to recycling. By increasing its availability, PepsiCo has sustained its commitment to using rPET in its beverage bottles, making it one of the largest users of food-grade post-consumer PET. PepsiCo also builds sustainable facilities. For example, its Frito-Lay manufacturing complex in Casa Grande, AZ, landfills no waste and runs primarily on renewable energy and recycled water.


The Sunny Delight Beverages Co. (SDBC), Cincinnati, OH, continues to maintain Zero Waste to Landfill at its five manufacturing sites—diverting nearly 36 million pounds of waste since setting its Zero Waste goal in 2007. Externally, and in partnership with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, in 2012 SDBC sponsored its second recycling challenge with some local schools. The goals of these in-school recycling challenges have been to divert waste from landfills; educate students and staff about the importance of recycling, composting and environmental stewardship; and to help the participating schools work toward permanent, zero waste programs. In 2012 the participating schools diverted 88,485 pounds, or 44.2 tons, of waste from landfills. SDBC is now entering its third year of partnership with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and some local schools in a sustainability challenge that will include water and energy reductions in addition to waste reduction.

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Arrowhead Water converts to a lightweighted, 50% rPET bottle

Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water from Nestle Waters North America, Stamford, CT, now makes its lightweight, half-liter Eco-Shape polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle with 50% recycled content. The ReBorn bottle cuts energy consumption 15% versus bottles made of virgin PET.

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Now widely available in Arrowhead’s West Coast distribution area, the recycled-content bottle will help increase awareness and educate consumers about recycling. “Our goal is to keep valuable plastic materials from being discarded by encouraging recycling and using recycled plastic in our products,” says Gigi Leporati, brand manager, Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water. “Arrowhead is sourced from carefully selected mountain springs, so it is natural for us to be respectful of the environment to ensure the sustainability of our spring sources and be responsible with the resources we use. The ReBorn bottle is a symbol of our ongoing effort to reduce and recycle resources.”

To help collect recyclable containers, Arrowhead is sponsoring year-long placement of four solar-powered BigBelly waste and recycling stations around San Francisco, CA. The one-stop collection point for recyclables, compostables and trash at Fisherman’s Wharf ranks as a first for public spaces in the United States.

Finally an interactive campaign, Recycling Is a Beautiful Thing, educates and motivates consumers to recycle and spread the word about the importance of recycling. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/arrowheadwater/app_361797150578972

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Experiment studies deodorant stick recycling

Unilever, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, the maker of Axe, Degree, Suave and Dove deodorants, embarks on a project to determine whether it’s economically feasible to recycle deodorant sticks with high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) polypropylene components.

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“If successful, the PP will be separated and reprocessed into high-quality resin that can be used to manufacture new packaging,” reports Michael Hughes, senior manager - Packaging, Research/Development for Unilever. “During this test we will explore the economics of converting the smaller HDPE portion to energy,” he adds.

Partners include Earth911 and its parent company Infinity Resources Holdings, Scottsdale, AZ; Nextlife, Boca Raton, FL; and FundingFactory, Erie, PA, a fundraising-by-recycling program for schools and nonprofits. The project enlists the help of students from 50 high schools and colleges to collect deodorant sticks for the recycling test. “We are receiving a positive response from school participants and have started receiving post-consumer deo-sticks,” says Hughes. “Once we collect enough sticks for a full-scale test at the processor, Nextlife, we will begin the processing test,” he adds. Results are expected by mid-2013.

Earth911 President Corey Lambrecht explains: “It’s the perfect outcome of companies working together to reach a common goal. Earth911, using our network, facilitated a solution for Unilever to fulfill a product stewardship initiative. FundingFactory and Nextlife get valuable recyclable materials out of the waste stream. And, as an added bonus, schools will get fundraising opportunities until enough sticks are collected for the project. It is a true triple bottom-line win for everyone.”

Hughes concludes, “If the program is successful, we will be able to provide the recycling industry with information that shows multi-resin deo-sticks can be profitably recycled. National recycling of deodorant sticks will reduce the environmental footprint of our brands as well as our competitors.”

The deodorant recycling program is a step toward fulfilling goals set forth in Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan. Established in 2010, the Plan involves more than 50 targets under three initiatives. By 2020 Unilever has committed to:
* Helping more than 1 billion people improve their health and well-being;
* Halving the environmental footprint of its products;
* Sourcing 100% of the company's agricultural raw materials sustainably.

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PET collection volume and rPET production set records

A record 1,604 million pounds of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers were collected in 2011, according to the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), Sonoma, CA, and The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR), Washington, DC.

The amount of recycled PET (rPET) produced also set a record – 667 million pounds. Applications for rPET in order of size of market share include fiber, food and beverage bottles, sheet and film, strapping and nonfood bottles.
Despite the record collection, the PET recycling rate only rose slightly to 29.3% from 29.1% in 2010 due to the impact of a larger container pool, lightweighting and yield losses due to contamination. In fact, the widespread conversion to single-stream recycling and lack of attention to designing for recycling caused the yield level for curbside bales to fall to 65% in 2011.

For the first time, the report includes a recycling total for thermoformed PET packaging – 45 million pounds. “It’s gratifying to see PET thermoform recycling measured…, and we feel the APR plays a key role here by providing Design for Recyclability guidelines that specifically address PET thermoform labels and adhesives,” says Bill O’Grady, chairman of APR and vice president and general manager of Talco Plastics, Corona, CA. “We encourage all plastic packaging decision makers to review the different Guidelines posted on the APR website as we’re certainly pleased to see increases in PET bottles collected and reclaimed, but we share the concern expressed in this year’s report about the impact of increasing contamination levels.”

Also worthy of note: U.S. reclamation capacity exceeds the amount of PET collected. With demand exceeding supply, prices for post-consumer packaging and rPET for new packages could reach unsustainable levels. The 2011 Report on Postconsumer PET Container Recycling Activity may be downloaded from www.napcor.com or www.plasticsrecycling.org.

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Steel packaging recycling rate hits all-time high

With more than 1.5 million net tons recycled, the steel packaging recycling rate hit an all-time high in 2011, 70.8%, up from about 67% in 2010. This strong performance helped boost the 2011 recycling rate for all types of steel to a record 92%, an increase of nearly 10 million net tons versus 2010. According to the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), Pittsburgh, PA, the industry recycled more than 85 million tons of steel scrap in 2011. Each year, more steel is recycled than paper, aluminum, plastic and glass combined, maintaining steel’s rank as North America’s most recycled material.

“This high level of scrap consumption is a reflection of the North American steel industry’s commitment to conserving energy and natural resources,” says Gregory L. Crawford, executive director of SRI. However, he adds, “…there is still progress that can be made. Educating recycling coordinators and consumers on the inclusion of materials, especially empty steel aerosol cans, will increase the overall tonnage for the industry.”

In addition to packaging, sources of steel scrap include vehicles, appliances and construction materials. SRI’s Steel Recycling Locator helps consumers learn about how and where to recycle steel products locally at www.recycle-steel.org. “The Steel Recycling Locator is one of the most comprehensive resources for steel recycling available to the public,” says Crawford. “It contains more than 35,000 records that benchmark the recycling infrastructure for all steel products.”

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SUSTAINABLE EFFORTS >

ISTA publishes Responsible Packaging by Design Guide

The Responsible Packaging by Design (RPbD) Guide, published by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA), East Lansing, Mich., outlines a step-by-step process for design, testing and qualification of responsible packaging.
“Until now, there has not been one unified standard that would ensure that everyone is on the same page, meeting all of the applicable industry and package functional requirements while taking into consideration all the new sustainability initiatives that have been introduced in the past decade,” notes Larry Dull, chair, ISTA Sustainability Solutions Division.

The Guide outlines methodology for comparing package designs to ensure the packaging:

* Protects the product and performs all other necessary functions
* Minimizes product waste by preventing damage or spoilage
* Optimizes use of materials, energy and water in production, distribution and use and
* Maximizes recovery of materials and energy from used packaging.


The data-driven protocol provides a broad-to-narrow analysis of packaging systems with an eight-step Stage-Gate Process. A template at each stage helps users gather data. Developed with the help of industry leaders, the Guide has received positive reviews from brand owners, non-governmental organizations and governmental agencies.


Dull will present an RPbD Training Program on implementing the process on February 20-21, 2013. Location and registration information will be available before mid-January 2013 on the ISTA website, www.ista.org. ISTA members may download the RPbD Guide for free. Non-members may purchase a $750 annual license from the ISTA E-Market (https://secure.ista.org/emarket/index.php).

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Coca-Cola Enterprises works on becoming a low-carbon, zero-waste business

Coca-Cola Enterprises, Atlanta, GA, invests US$8.6 million in a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling facility in France and funding research aimed at influencing consumer recycling behavior. Measures support effort to become a low-carbon, zero-waste business. CCE produces, markets and distributes Coca-Cola products in western Europe.

The recycling operation, a joint venture (JV) with APPE, Wrexham, UK, will add a new line and boost capacity 70% at APPE’s plastics reprocessing facility in Beaune, France. This will recycle 20,000 additional tons of plastic into food-grade packaging per year. The investment also supports the trial and introduction of state-of-the-art technology, enabling more efficient recycling.

The CCE-supported research partnership is exploring how consumer behavior change strategies can improve at-home recycling rates in Great Britain and France, ensuring more bottles enter the recycling stream and are available to be made into new bottles. Recycling rates in Great Britain and France remain below most other European countries. A survey at the 2012 Olympic Games in London shows a disconnect between claimed behavior and the national recycling rate. Although 79% of consumers surveyed stated they always recycle plastic bottles at home, the national recycling rate hovers around 50%.

The research program seeks to define interventions to overcome this gap between belief and behavior. It will be delivered in partnership with the University of Exeter and will be based on in-depth, ethnographic research with households in Great Britain and France over a 10-month period. Dr Stewart Barr, associate professor of Geography at the University of Exeter, says: “Our approach will be to work intensively with households to understand how recycling and waste behaviors have developed and how the dynamics within family units influence such everyday practices. In this way, we will work alongside households to co-create strategies to embed sustainable recycling patterns in the future. This project will provide valuable knowledge for a wide range of businesses seeking to influence environmental behaviors, as well as government and non-governmental organizations.”

"Our goal to lead our industry in sustainable packaging and recycling means we must support and promote improvements throughout our value chain," says John F. Brock, chairman and chief executive officer of CCE. “These initiatives aim to address two of our biggest challenges in this area - improving recycling rates by influencing consumer behavior at home and meeting the increasing demand for recycled PET through investments in strategic infrastructure projects," he concludes.

The JV with APPE follows by a few months the opening of Continuum Recycling in Great Britain, a JV between CCE and ECOPlastics. Currently the largest plastics reprocessing facility in Europe, Continuum Recycling doubles the amount of recycled PET available in the British market. It recycled all plastic bottles collected at 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games venues so CCE could put new bottles on shelves within six weeks.

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Green packaging market anticipates major growth

The global market for green packaging is expected to grow from US$109 billion in 2011 to nearly US$178 billion by 2018, according to a report published in October 2012 by Transparency Market Research, Albany, N.Y. Recycled packaging accounts for the highest market share, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 6.9% between 2013 and 2018.

Key growth factors include a growing awareness about carbon emissions, energy consumption and waste reduction targets, rapidly growing economies, a lack of natural resources and consumers’ preference for ecologically clean products. The 85-page report, Green Packaging Market (Recycled, Reusable & Degradable) - Global Scenario, Trends, Industry Analysis, Size, Share and Forecast, 2011 – 2018 segments the market geographically and by application and packaging type. Copies may be purchased for US$4,595. For more information, visit http://marketpublishers.com/report/industry/packaging_industry/green-packaging-market-recycled-reusable-degradable-global-scenario-trends-industry-analysis-size-share-n-forecast-2011-2018.html.

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SOURCE REDUCTION >

Soju lightweights closure, adopts short-height finish

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Lotte Liquor.BG Co., Ltd., Seoul, Korea, adopts the lightweight AS-Lok mini 28mm closure from Closure Systems International, Indianapolis, Ind., for its line of Soju, a popular Korean liquor rich in natural minerals. The AS-Lok mini closure is a one-piece, linerless, tamper-evident design suitable for liquor, non-carbonated and aseptically filled beverages.

Lotte offers several varieties of Soju in 600-milliliter and 1.8-liter polyethylene terephthalate bottles with a 1881 short-height finish. Material reductions in both the bottle finish and the closure have yielded significant environmental and economic sustainability benefits. CSI’s technical service team assisted with the conversion to ensure a trouble-free transition.

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