A growing number of brand owners are adding recycling messages on packaging to boost the chances the material will be recycled.Read More >
Corrugated, the most-recycled packaging material, continues to be recycled at ever higher levels.Read More >
A growing number of brand owners are adding recycling messages on packaging to boost the chances the material will be recycled. Participants in the I Want to Be Recycled and How2Recycle campaigns help consumers minimize the amount of waste they send to landfills.
Keep America Beautiful, Stamford, CT, and the Ad Council, New York, NY, partners in the I Want to Be Recycled initiative, have welcomed Best Buy, Richfield, MN, to the program. Starting in November 2016 BestBuy.com will ship orders in customized packaging emblazoned with “I Want to Be a Pizza Box. Recycle Me” to remind consumers to recycle shipping and product packaging. The packaging also encourages consumers to learn more on where, what and how to properly recycle at IWantToBeRecycled.org.
“We share a common objective to improve recycling and reduce our carbon footprint in the United States,” says Greg Revelle, chief marketing officer, Best Buy.
Since its launch in July 2013, the I Want to Be Recycled campaign has received more than $129 million in donated media support, attracted almost 4 million visitors to IWantToBeRecycled.org, and been seen or heard by nearly 40% of the U.S. population. “As we encourage people to ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ in all parts of their lives, this new partnership with one of the nation’s top retailers will inspire and educate people during the busy holiday shopping season to remember to recycle their shipping boxes and product packaging,” says Jennifer M. Jehn, president and CEO, Keep America Beautiful.
Gerber Products Co., Florham Park, New Jersey, is adding recycling instructions on its packaging as a member of the How2Recycle label program organized by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), Charlottesville, VA. More than 50 companies participate in the voluntary program.
In coming months consumers can expect to see the How2Recycle label on Gerber cereals, formula and infant meals. “As a leading nutrition company we have a responsibility to be stewards for the environment,” says Bill Partyka, president and CEO of Gerber.
“Gerber’s commitment to clear, concise and accurate recycling claims on packaging demonstrates that it cares about the planet and recycling,” says Kelly Cramer, senior manager at SPC.
How2Recycle labels are divided into four categories: Widely Recycled, Check Locally, Not Yet Recycled, and Store Drop-Off. Packaging type is identified at the bottom of the label, and additional recycling instructions are added as a tab on top of the label as needed.
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Corrugated, the most-recycled packaging material, continues to be recycled at ever higher levels. In 2015 the recovery rate for old corrugated containers (OCC) hit 93%, a new record, and substantially higher than the 54% recorded in 1993, according to the Corrugated Packaging Alliance, Itasca, IL. In fact most Americans (95%) can recycle corrugated via curbside or drop-off collection programs.
Nearly all OCC goes into new paper products. Advancements in papermaking technology and the availability of high-quality fiber have made it possible to reuse more OCC while maintaining the strength characteristics of new boxes. As a result recycled content in corrugated boxes averages 47%. The actual percentage of recycled content depends on application. It can be as high as 100% for packaging many consumer products and as low as 38.4% for packaging direct food-contact items like fresh produce.
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PTM Images®, West Hollywood, CA, diverts expanded polystyrene from landfills by recycling packaging materials, coolers and foodservice containers in a closed-loop process.
The material is collected from retailers, recycled at a 300,000-sqare-foot facility in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico, and converted into moldings used in the production of mirrors, picture frames and wall décor. With construction of the facility in Mexico, PTM shifts its supply chain from China to the United States, where the company can source more than 80% its raw materials.
“There are clearly solutions for difficult-to-recycle waste streams,” says Jonathan Bass, CEO, PTM Images. “Our customers vote everyday with their wallets. Sustainability is extremely important to them,” he adds, noting consumers reward “companies and retailers that honestly put our planet first.”
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Disposable bag usage has plunged and charities have benefited from a 5 pence ($0.07) bag fee in the U.K., according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The fee, which took effect on October 5, 2015, is charged by all retailers with more than 250 employees. Retailers donate the proceeds to good causes.
During the first six months the fee was in place, the number of single-use plastic carrier bags issued by the U.K.’s seven largest retailers dropped to 0.6 billion from about 4 billion. Net proceeds amounted to £41.3 million ($54.2 million) and at least £29.2 million ($38.3 million) was donated to environment, education, health, arts, charity or voluntary organizations, heritage preservation and sports as well as local causes chosen by customers or staff.
In Wales, where a similar fee has been in place longer, plastic bag consumption dropped 79% in its first three years. Other benefits are likely to come to pass in Britain. Defra estimates that during the next 10 years, the fee will:
• Add more than £780 million ($1 billion) to the U.K. economy
• Generate up to £730 million ($958 million) for good causes
• Save £60 million ($79 million) in litter cleanup costs
• Provide carbon savings of £13 million ($17 million)
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North American employees of Ball Corp., Broomfield, CO, collected more than 210,000 pounds of canned food and donated $58,000 during the company’s 2016 Let’s Can Hunger food drive. In total, this will provide nearly 930,000 meals to those in need in communities where Ball operates in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The food collected, combined with employee donations, the Ball Corp. match and The Ball Foundation’s dollar-per-pound-of-food match, benefits nonprofit organizations, which improve local access to sufficient food resources for individuals and families in need.
“Providing nearly a million meals to our communities demonstrates the generosity of Ball’s people,” says Kathleen Pitre, vice president, Communications and Corporate Relations. “Our communities can count on us to make a difference in many ways, including our efforts to bring nutritious food and other necessities to those who need it.”
Ball is considered a top environmental performer too, ranking 24th on the U.S. 500 list in the 2016 Newsweek Green Rankings. “Sustainability is critical to our stakeholders, and is vital to Ball’s long-term success and our Drive for 10 vision,” says Bjoern Kulmann, Ball’s director of Sustainability. By balancing the economic, environmental and social impacts of its businesses and products in decision making throughout the year, Ball continues to create shared value for the company and its stakeholders through ongoing improvement in key focus areas, including product stewardship, operational excellence, talent management and community ambassadors.
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The growing emphasis on eco-friendly materials is expected to propel the biodegradable plastics market at a 9.9% compound annual growth rate from $7.6 billion in 2014 to $16.7 billion in 2023, according to a report by Transparency Market Research, Albany, NY.
The report, Biodegradable Plastics Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015-2023, predicts that increasing consumer awareness about ecofriendly products and strict legislative regulations will drive the global market for biodegradable plastics.
The primary challenge to growth is cost. Biodegradable plastics cost six times more to produce than conventional plastics.
Intermediate raw materials such as polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoates, polybutylene succinate, polycaprolactone, starch and regenerated cellulose are used to manufacture biodegradable plastics, which degrade if environmental conditions are suitable. PLA, manufactured by the fermentation of renewable materials such as wheat starch and corn starch, accounts for the major share of the global market. Good appearance, high mechanical strength and low toxicity make PLA well-suited for packaging.
Packaging (food, beverage and industrial) and agriculture applications held major shares of the biodegradable plastics market in 2014. Europe constituted the largest share of the market that year and is projected to maintain its dominance due to favorable regulations and a higher acceptance rate from consumers. North America ranks second. However, in terms of demand, Asia Pacific is anticipated to be one the fastest growing regions of the biodegradable plastics market.Back to Top >
Hallie Forcinio has covered packaging-related environmental topics for more than 25 years, first as an editor on Food & Drug Packaging magazine (now Packaging Strategies) 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 Pharmaceutical Technology, Dairy Foods, National Provisioner and Healthcare Packaging. She also has served as editor of the PACK EXPO Show Daily.Back to Top >