Learn Cereplast Biopropylene, COMPASS Sustainability Analysis Tool
Volume 7, Issue 1
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Group helps firms identify and adopt sustainable practices
GreenBlue, Charlottesville, Va., a nonprofit devoted to sustainability, expands its Advisory Services business with customized and standardized off-the-shelf offerings to help consumer packaged goods companies improve sustainability.
Customized services include sustainability scenario planning, roadmapping and implementation, supply chain improvement, performance measurement, progress assessment, materials assessment, development of sourcing policies and guidance to ensure successful communication of sustainability efforts with particular emphasis on ensuring the validity of marketing claims.
Off-the-shelf package design analysis tools rely on GreenBlue’s lifecyclebased COMPASS® software and the soon-to-be-launched Material IQ™ database. The latter material assessment tool helps quantify tradeoffs and implications of material choices.
To support the expansion, Katherine O’Dea has been promoted to senior director, Advisory Services and Innovation. “It is…an exciting time for GreenBlue as we are rolling out a new five-year strategy, launching some new tools and resources, and expanding our educational programs internationally,” says O’Dea.
Since coming to GreenBlue in 2007 as a senior fellow, O’Dea has been instrumental in the startup and growth of the Advisory Services program.
She also helped the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, GreenBlue’s flagship project, draft its Sustainable Packaging Indicators and Metrics Framework, a document that served as the baseline for the Global Protocol for Packaging Sustainability.
Other accomplishments include authoring practical guidelines for the incorporation of recycled content in plastic and fiber-based packaging. For more information, visit www.greenblue.org.
CPG companies push sustainability envelope
Two sustainability leaders, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), Parsippany, NJ, and SC Johnson, Racine, WI, continue to push forward, setting new sustainability goals as targets are achieved.
“Targets drive progress,” says Dave Challis, director – Global Sustainability for RB in a statement on the company’s website. “…[Targets] are essential to focus action on the right priorities and highlight success as well as demonstrating how much further we have to go,” he explains.
The owner of brands such as Clearasil®, Mucinex®, Lysol® and Woolite®, RB intends to improve design and production practices to decrease water use and carbon footprint by one-third and derive one-third of its net revenue from more sustainable products by 2020. Its new betterbusiness sustainability strategy builds on its Carbon20 program, which spurred a 21% improvement in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions per dose since 2007 and achieved its goal eight years ahead of the 2020 target. This reduction is equivalent to taking 3 million cars off the road. In addition, to date, RB’s Trees for Change project has planted more than 5.4 million trees in Canada to offset greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing operations.
The implementation of the betterbusiness strategy is well underway in the United States. Switching from a canister to a cube-shaped carton for Finish dishwasher detergent, sold at COSTCO, has eliminated more than 7,000 pallets from the supply chain, effectively removing more than 200 trucks from the roads and saving 100,000+ road miles. The change in primary packaging increases the stability of the pallet eliminating the pallet trays needed to hold the canisters in place. Finally, the paperboard cartons offer greater potential for recycling versus the canister, which contained plastic and metallized components.
At SC Johnson, 2016 targets center on greater reliance on clean energy, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and creating innovative products that use fewer resources. To meet its target of being landfill neutral by 2016, the household products company is reducing packaging and using more post-consumer-recycled content in its packaging.
The company also has expanded its concentrated cleaner refills to five brands: fantastik®, Pledge®, Scrubbing Bubbles®, Shout® and Windex® in an effort to save millions of pounds of plastic and keep empty containers out of landfills nationwide.
A growing percentage of the company’s energy needs are met by wind power, and a biofuel initiative at the SC Johnson factory in Surabaya, Indonesia, is projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 7,800 tons each year by using rice husk waste as a fuel source.
Other efforts involve phasing out less desirable ingredients and extension of its ingredient disclosure program to fragrances. The company also has launched a consumer initiative to study and increase recycling by families.
Water brand promotes recycling via video
A one-minute, stop-motion video from Arrowhead® 100% Mountain Spring Water promotes recycling by showing products made from recycled materials. The video joins other sustainability-building measures including Arrowhead’s Recycling Is a Beautiful Thing campaign and its 0.5-liter ReBorn polyethylene terephthalate bottle with 50% recycled content.
roduced by Bent Image Lab, Portland, OR, the video describes the endless possibilities recycling offers, and notes the more materials recycled, the more materials available for reuse. The animatic in the video eventually portrays a 3D landscape followed by an Arrowhead label from which the ReBorn bottle emerges. “We’re excited to demonstrate that recycled materials have significant second life utility,” says Gigi Leporati, brand manager, Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water. “Through this video, we hope to motivate consumers to recycle more and think about recycling in a new way.”
Unfortunately, the video points out, too many recyclable plastic bottles still end up in the trash. In California alone, more than 2.8 billion plastic bottles went to landfills in 2011, according to CalRecycle’s Calendar Year 2011 Report of Beverage Container Sales, Returns, Redemption and Recycling Rates.
The interactive campaign is hosted on a dedicated tab on the Arrowhead brand Facebook page, www.facebook.com/arrowheadwater/app_361797150578972?ref=ts. The Arrowhead brand is owned by Nestle Waters North America, Stamford, CT.
Railroad uses recycled materials close to their source
Long Island Railroad (LIRR), the busiest commuter railroad line in North America, relies on rail ties made of 100% recycled plastic, primarily derived from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) packaging waste collected curbside by the Department of Sanitation in nearby New York, NY. “It’s exciting to think that detergent bottles put out for recycling collection by New Yorkers can show up in a long lasting and local application like transit lines right here in our own backyard,” concludes Tom Outerbridge, general manager, Sims Municipal Recycling, which holds a 20-year contract with New York City to recycle all commingled waste.
Tests performed by CTL Group, Skokie, IL, show the EcoTrax™ rail ties from Axion International Holdings, Inc., New Providence, N.J., maintain structural durability and exhibit no signs of degradation after more than eight years in use. The tests further conclude the ties meet and exceed standards set by the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association.
“The 2000 Axion-formulated ties that were installed on the LIRR roughly 10 years ago have maintained a 0% failure rating,” reports Cory Burdick, sales manager at Axion. In addition, he says, “The testing conducted by the CTL Group proves that these ties in some ways actually improve over time. “The screw spike pull-out tests showed that our ties actually strengthen their grip on the spike over time, yielding higher pullout resistance as the ties age. And while accelerated lab testing of EcoTrax composite ties has historically shown that they don’t degrade over time, it’s great to have real-life testing that proves after more than eight years of on-track use on one of our nation’s busiest transit lines, and in some of the harshest weather environments on the east coast, Axion-formulated ties are just as strong, if not stronger, than the day they were installed.”
LIRR plans to install more EcoTrax ties along its routes, including custom lengths up to 31 feet. The patented production process, which relies on scrapped plastic car parts as well as post-consumer-recycled HDPE, makes it easier to produce custom sizes than if traditional lumber were used.
Cereplast commercializes algae-based Biopropylene
Biopropylene® 109D resin debuts as the first commercial algae-based bioplastic from Cereplast, Inc., El Segundo, CA. An injection molding grade, Biopropylene 109D resin runs on conventional electric and hydraulic reciprocating screw injection molding machines, and is suitable for thin-wall injection molding applications such as cups and tubs.
The resin is manufactured with 20% post-industrial algae biomatter, byproducts derived from production of algae biofuels and nutritionals. The renewable content reduces petroleumbased content as well as the carbon footprint of the resin. “We have several customers evaluating this technology and anticipate generating revenue from it during the first half of 2013,” reports Frederic Scheer, chairman and chief executive officer of Cereplast. For more information, visit www.cereplast.com.
Reusable boxes replace single-use corrugated and plastic containers
Reusable shipper from Notbox Co., London, UK, typically makes 15-20 round trips before being recycled, reducing carbon footprint and cutting costs up to 30 percent. One European user has shrunk its annual carbon footprint 60 metric tonnes by replacing 234,000 single-use corrugated cases with 20,000 of the reusable shippers.
Now available on the other side of the Atlantic, Notbox North America, Bluffton, SC/Vancouver, British Columbia, offers shippers in various styles, sizes and colors and two constructions, a nonwoven polypropylene (PP)/recycled paperboard/nonwoven PP or a more durable polyester/recycled fiber combination, both with stitched seams. Stock or custom boxes fold to less than 2 inches high for easy storage and backhaul and can be prepared for manual loading in two seconds.
Compression testing shows the reusable shippers handle loads up to 77 pounds/35 kilograms. The shippers may be wiped down between trips or used with a disposable poly bag liner. When its last trip has been made, the shipper is returned to Notbox for recycling.
Thomas Hellman, a former institutional investor on Wall Street, owns Notbox North America and serves as its president with assistance from Shelley Slaughter, vice president, North America.
“Reducing corrugated…is one of the fastest and most effective steps a company can take to reduce waste,” notes Hellman. “We can demonstrate not only the environmental benefits of using Notboxes but also the cost advantages, especially for the supply chain sector where vast quantities of products move in cycles between distribution centers and retail stores,” he concludes. For more information, visit www.notboxusa.com.