Consumer options exist for difficult-to-recycle plastics

Americans generate more than 33 million tons of plastic annually. A recent report by the EPA places the plastics recovery rate at 9%. Why does so little plastic find its way back into the system?

A cause of low plastics collection and capture is consumer confusion. The SPI’s Resin Identification Code was introduced in 1988 for recycling centers to help with sorting plastic waste. Used to identify the plastic resin in an item, the RIC uses symbols that look a lot like the universal recycling symbol, confusing many people to think it’s recyclable, which is often not the case.

Types of plastic accepted at most recycling programs vary greatly and the instructions delineating what is and is not recyclable are often inconsistent. For example, the term “plastic bottle” refers to an item that is understood to be recyclable. In terms of accepted waste, food and beverage plastics, such as soda bottles, are different than household plastics, like cleaning sprays and their trigger heads.

Program language when referring to recyclables (polymers, specifically) can lead well-intentioned people who recycle to place unaccepted plastic waste into the recycling bin—and this causes problems on all fronts. Complicating this issue further for both the consumer and the collection facility are products and packaging comprised of mixed plastic resins and other materials

To read the full article, click here: http://www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/consumer-options-exist-for-difficult-to-recycle-plastics-2016-07-21

Source: Packaging Digest

Breaking down the value of compostable packaging

When a consumer tosses a product’s outer packaging into the trash, instead of recycling or composting it, the consumer may have a negative impression of the company. To improve a company’s environmental impact, while improving the consumer’s brand experience, companies are increasingly addressing the challenges around packaging and waste.

There are multiple paths to divert waste from going to landfills, such as reuse, recycling, composting, incineration or digestion with capabilities to capture energy. A company should consider several factors, including packaging functionality, available recovery infrastructure and value of the solution in determining a waste solution.

Here are some of the opportunities and challenges related specifically to composting:

Cost: The design stage is when a package will be designed to enable compostability through choices such as materials and thickness. Brands must be prepared to pay for this packaging attribute, though. Often compostable packaging incurs higher costs compared to a standard packaging. Added costs may come from materials, testing, additional resources or necessary certifications.

Performance: There may also be limitations on materials available that meet performance needs in a compostable material offering.

Infrastructure: The infrastructure for commercial composting in the U.S. is still in its infancy, but many stakeholders are interested in fostering its growth. One opportunity that could fuel these advancements is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) goal to reduce food waste nationally by 50% by 2030 from the 2010 baseline. Composting is one means to reduce food waste. Thus, progress towards this goal could result in improvements in composting infrastructure resources, availability and viability.

However, where composting infrastructure exists, compostable packaging is not always accepted into the program. Thus, it is important for the industry to stay engaged to make the case for composters to accept compostable packaging.

We are yet to see what infrastructure for composting will look like in its mature form. Efforts for national brands to implement national programs will need to engage locally to be successful. The opportunity that brands have now is to establish themselves as progressive leaders in the industry with proactive behavior, taking initiative in composting and developing packaging that is conducive to the processes available.

Consumer engagement and collection: Helping consumers understand how to properly dispose of compostable packaging is key to realizing its value and potential.

However, the concept of composting and compostable packaging is a newer idea for many, and may not be as well understood as recycling. There are also legal requirements companies must navigate to ensure they do not unintentionally mislead consumers, as detailed in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Green Guides. GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition has developed a consumer-facing on-pack program called the How2Compost label, which aims to clearly, and simply communicate to consumers the appropriate action to take.

There has been successful deployment and collection of compostable packaging in specific localized instances, such as sports stadiums, institutional cafeterias and cities with local curbside collection programs that accept compostable packaging. For example, if the stadium requires all vendors to use only compostable packaging, it makes it easier for event attendees and staff to dispose of the packaging properly. Additionally, most of the packaging material will remain in the venue, so the facilities managers can capture a high volume of compostable material.

Read the full article:
http://www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/breaking-down-the-value-of-compostable-packaging-2016-10-19

Source: Packaging Digest

The USDA Is Working On A New Type Of Sustainable Food Packaging

USDA researchers have devised a different way to package things like meat, bread, and cheese. Instead of using plastic, they’ve developed an edible, biodegradable packaging film made of casein, a milk protein, that can be wrapped around food to prevent spoilage.

The United States produces a lot of milk, but milk consumption has been on the decline for years. So the USDA has been working to find a way to take that excess milk, usually stored in powder form, and create something usable with it. Even though the USDA has been working to create food packaging with milk products for decades; it’s only in the last few years that researchers cracked the code for making casein-based films competitive with plastic-films.

The biggest problem researchers faced with casein-based films is that casein is extremely sensitive to water . This is a serious problem for a product that is supposed to keep food sealed and dry. Adding pectin to the casein mixture created a film that, while still more sensitive to moisture than plastic, did not immediately dissolve in water or areas with humidity. The casein-based film was actually 250 times more effective at blocking oxygen than plastic. That keeps food from oxidizing and going stale, and also slows down the growth of bacteria.

There are still some issues associated with the casein-based packaging. Due to it being moisture sensitive  and because it is edible, the packaging cannot be used alone on store shelves, yet. In order to keep the packaging both stale and sanitary, the packaging would need to be used in conjunction with a secondary layer of packaging. The casein-film could be used to make single-serving packaging for items like a soup or coffee, that, when dropped into hot water, would dissolve completely.

The casein-based film could be sprayed directly onto food, or directly onto packaging, to create a moisture resistant barrier or add nutrients. With the right industry partners, consumers could see this packaging on the shelves in as little as a year.

To read the full article, click here:
https://thinkprogress.org/usda-edible-food-packaging-9caa16d7d4fd#.mikofvkay

Source: Think Progress

Sustainable packaging requires yin and yang thinking

Sustainable Materials Management and The Circular Economy are two big picture catch phrases competing for the attention of the packaging industry. Do you know which is better for the environment and which is better for your bottom line?

Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) is a framework for minimizing the environmental impacts related to the consumption of products and services. It is based on the concept of lifecycle thinking, whereby the cradle-to-grave chain of inputs, throughputs and outputs of a specific product or service is measured, analyzed, compared and evaluated.

There are two primary aspects to SMM. The first relates to source reduction; the goal is to minimize the amount of materials and energy needed to deliver 100% of the value expected from purchased products and services.

After source reduction techniques are applied, the key to successful SMM implementation is to:

• Use only the most effective, efficient material and energy resources when creating products and services, and

• Keep those resources operating indefinitely within the economic system.

Doing so requires Circular Economy (CE) thinking, which minimizes disposability and waste while maximizing conservation, reuse and recovery.

When working within both SMM and CE frameworks, it is important to keep a couple of points in mind:

1. Looking at the “big picture” from a lifecycle perspective can produce counter-intuitive, but more effective, actions and results.

2. Because we haven’t yet invented a perpetual-motion machine, achieving SMM and CE is a journey, not a destination. Over time, innovation and its long-term effects can create the need to augment or modify strategies and tactics.

To read the full article, click here:
http://www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/sustainable-packaging-requires-yin-yang-thinking1608

Source: Packaging Digest

Responsible food packaging could connect consumers to the environment

Research reveals that 80% U.S. food shoppers agree that reducing food waste is as important as reducing packaging waste. According to Mintel’s 2016 US Food Packaging Report 52% of consumers indicate they would prefer to buy foods with minimal or even no packaging to reduce waste.

81% of consumers say they would choose resealable packaging over non-resealable packaging to extend the shelf life of food. 54% would pay more for packaging with added features, such as being resealable or portion controlled. 30% indicated they often reuse food packaging for other purposes. However, recycling of food packaging is far from a universal behavior, as only 42% consumers report recycling most of the food packaging they use.

A lack of clear communication on labels may be a contributor to the relatively low recycling rate, 25% of consumers said it’s not always clear which food packaging is recyclable. Only 13% of consumers make an effort to avoid foods in packaging that cannot be recycled.

“Our research shows that reducing food waste is top of mind for consumers,” says John Owen, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel. “This presents opportunities for food brands and retailers to address these concerns through innovative packaging and product messaging.”

However, in 2015, only 21% of food product launches in the U.S. included on package claims regarding environmentally friendly packaging.

“The prevention of food waste can be positioned not only as a good way for consumers to save money, but also as a way to work toward reversing the growing food waste trend through conscious consumption,” says Owen.

Click here to read the article:
http://www.packagingdigest.com/food-packaging/responsible-food-packaging-could-connect-consumers-to-the-environment-2016-09-01

Source: Packaging Digest

Food packagers prefer recyclable over compostable materials

The latest finding from Packaging Digest’s Sustainable Packaging Study is that recycling is preferred over compostable packaging. In the survey 57% of brand owners and packaging suppliers sited recyclability as the most important environmental claim. Recyclability has the advantage of already having a large infrastructure in place that can collect, sort and sell the recycled materials.

Commercial composting facilities, which are necessary to create composted materials that can be reused, are less available and often require a drive to offload the materials for composting. This additional use of gas negates some of the green benefits of composting. Since only 20% of the total respondents polled selected compostable as important to their environmental claims, compostable might not offer a good return on investment.

To read the full article, go to
http://www.plasticstoday.com/food-packagers-prefer-recyclable-over-compostable-materials/35071181924370

Source: Plastics Today

The outlook for the green packaging market to 2020

Global Green Packaging Market 2016-2020, from Infiniti Research conducted a new study predicting the global green packaging market will experience growth at a CAGR of more than 7% during the forecasted period. With the consumer demand for eco-friendly and sustainable packaging material on the rise, vendors are focused on developing materials that have the traditional qualities but can also be recycled.

Europe leads the market with more than 31% in 2015; the rest of the world is well diversified as well. The leading countries in this region are Germany, United Kingdom and Italy.

According to the report, one of the major drivers of the market is the demand for bioplastics. Bioplastics are considered more sustainable than conventional plastic packaging products because they consume less energy and natural resources during the manufacturing process, generate lower CO2 emissions, and are lightweight by nature.

Click here to read the full article: http://www.packworld.com/sustainability/bioplastics/outlook-green-packaging-market-2020

Source: Packaging World

Package Sustainability Now an Expectation

Smithers Pira’s report, “Ten-year Forecast of Disruptive Technologies in Sustainable Packaging to 2026,” says, “Sustainability will become an increasingly important factor for decision makers at all stages of packaging value chains. Sustainability is now a fast-growing and vitally important area of concern for packaging and addresses economic, environmental and social objectives.”

“The trend toward sustainability is an important influence on the packaging industry. Consumers, manufacturers and retailers are all demanding more sustainable systems, which are formalized in corporate social responsibility goals and publicized in product marketing,” says Dr Terence A. Cooper, author of the report.

“Consequently, sustainability is no longer just nice to have, but is now seen as a necessity for attracting consumers and protecting market share – i.e. it is now an expectation, not a differentiator.”

Smithers Pira’s report makes the following points:

• Mechanical recycling and sustainability are not synonymous and many different factors contribute to the carbon footprints of different packaging types and materials.

• The most important rigid packaging plastic is PET, followed by polyethylene (PE); PET and PE combined account for about 65% of plastics used for rigid packaging. Polypropylene is next. In contrast, the most important plastic material used for flexible packaging is PE, followed by PP and PET.

• There is presently no package that is completely sustainable and the various packaging materials (including plastics, paper, paperboard, metals and glass) all have advantages and shortcomings depending upon the product application.

To read the entire article, click here: http://www.healthcarepackaging.com/sustainability/strategy/package-sustainability-now-expectation

Source: Healthcare Packaging

Cosmetic Packaging market worth $37.25 Billion by 2022

The global cosmetic packaging market is expected to reach $37.25 billion USD by 2022, according to Grand View Research. Driving increase in cosmetic and beauty products is the advancement in packaging technologies. This will be a key driver over the next several years. The light weight property, as well as the durability of flexible packaging in countries like China, Brazil and India is also expected to propel industry growth over the forecasted period. Also expected to see significant gains in the cosmetic industry is rigid packaging. Rigid plastic accounts for 35% of the global revenue as they are non-corrosive, light, and cheap. There is an increase demand for rigid plastics in hair care and skin care applications due in part to its superior properties of high impact strength, high stiffness, and high barrier properties.

 

Further findings from the report indicate a boom in fragrances, this growth is expected at CAGR of 6.3% from 2015 to 2022. There is a large demand from perfumes, deodorant, soaps, body washes and moisturizers for flexible and rigid packaging. In addition to the demand for cosmetic packaging for fragrances, there is a demand from cosmetic manufacturers like Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble in the United States for bio-base plastics and paper packaging as a departure from glass and can packaging. Also expected to see a significant rise are pouches. The ease of use and superior properties, including chemical resistance and high barrier ability, is a huge benefit for cosmetic packaging. This particular segment is anticipated to generate revenues exceeding $1.6 billion by 2022. Lastly, the cosmetic packaging market is fragmented in nature with key players like Amco, Mondi PLC, Bemis, Donoco and Ardagh Group making up 30% of the global share in 2014. With the introduction of bio-base packaging for cosmetics, we will see an outgrowth in the industry. The reduction of weight by replacing glass bottles will reduce energy required to produce and transport them will encourage growth.

 

 

 

For more reading please visit:

http://www.econotimes.com/Personal-Care-Packaging-Market-Worth-$3725-Billion-By-2022-Grand-View-Research-Inc-165858

 

Source: Econo Times

 

 

The Difference between Biodegradable and Compostable Packaging Materials

Many packaging products boast environmentally-friendly benefits such as “biodegradable” and “compostable” materials. But what exactly do these terms mean, and what is the difference between them?

 

What Does Biodegradable Mean?

Biodegradable refers to the ability of materials to break down and return to nature. In order for packaging products or materials to qualify as biodegradable, they must completely break down and decompose into natural elements within a short time after disposal – typically a year or less. The ability to biodegrade within landfills helps to reduce the buildup of waste, contributing to a safer, cleaner and healthier environment. Materials that are biodegradable include corrugated cardboard and even some plastics.

 

What Does Compostable Mean?

Compostable materials are similar to biodegradable materials, as they are both intended to return to the earth safely. However, compostable materials go one step further by providing the earth with nutrients once the material has completely broken down. These materials are added to compost piles, which are designated sites with specific conditions dependent on wind, sunlight, drainage and other factors. While biodegradable materials are designed to break down within landfills, compostable materials require special composting conditions.