WWF, major brand owners launch Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance

WWF, major brand owners launch Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance
Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance logo

Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance logoEight of the world's leading consumer brand companies and conservation group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced November 19 the formation of the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA) to support the responsible development of plastics made from plant material, helping build a more sustainable future for the bioplastics industry.

The primary focus of BFA will be on guiding the responsible selection and harvesting of feedstocks-such as sugar cane, corn, bulrush, and switchgrass-used to make plastics from agricultural materials. As the development of these renewable materials has grown, so has the opportunity to address their potential impacts on land use, food security, and biodiversity. BFA intends to bring together leading experts from industry, academia and civil society to develop and support informed science, collaboration, education, and innovation to help guide the evaluation and sustainable development of bioplastic feedstocks.

Consumers across the world increasingly are looking for more sustainable products, including those made from plant-based plastics. With increasing market demand for food and fiber in the coming decades, responsible sourcing of these materials is the key to enabling sustainable growth.

"This alliance will go a long way in ensuring the responsible management of natural resources used to meet the growing demand for bioplastics," says Erin Simon, of WWF. "Ensuring that our crops are used responsibly to create bioplastics is a critical conservation goal, especially as the global population is expected to grow rapidly through 2050."

The Alliance's eight founding companies, along with WWF, are supported by academic experts; supply chain partners; suppliers; and technology development companies, all of whom are focusing on a variety of issues, challenges, and possible tools within the growing bioplastic industry.

Nestlé's perspective

"Joining the alliance means we will be able to help build a more sustainable future for the bioplastics industry whilst addressing issues such as land use, food security and biodiversity," says Anne Roulin, Nestlé's global research and development sustainability manager.

Already, bioplastics made from sugar cane and other plant-based materials are used in Nestlé's product portfolio. Since early 2012, for example, several sizes of VITTEL bottled water have been packaged in an innovative PET bottle made from 30% plant-based material.

Nestlé is particularly interested in second generation bioplastics, made, for example, from the by-products of forestry, agriculture or the food chain - such as molasses or cane residue - or non-food sources such as algae, cellulose and waste products.

Sources: www.bioplasticfeedstockalliance.org, Nestlé 


Conference to present new ideas in sustainable packaging

Sustainability in Packaging 2014 logo

Smithers Pira, in association with Packaging Digest and Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News, will bring together leading brand owners; packaging manufacturers, converters and designers; sustainability leaders and more for the 8th annual Sustainability in Packaging conference and exhibition. Microsoft, Aveda, Waste Management, The Coca-Cola Co., Method and Zappos are just a few of the industry leaders scheduled to address the audience of more than 250 packaging innovators March 5-7 in Orlando, FL.

"Sustainability in Packaging 2014 will provide attendees with the latest information on using packaging design and new materials to enhance sustainability; new technologies like 3D printing and returnable packaging; and innovation trends for flexible packaging, plus much, much more. At the end of the event, not only will you have exciting new ways to make your package and supply chain more sustainable, you'll be able to use those ideas to increase your profitability as well," says Barbara Fowler, conference director at Smithers Pira. "In addition to the conference program, attendees will be able to visit our packed exhibition hall, participate in our new Suppliers Forum and network with fellow attendees at numerous events!"

Delegates at Sustainability in Packaging 2014 will hear keynote addresses from April Crow, ‎global sustainability director, packaging at The Coca-Cola Co. on "Moving Towards the Circular Economy" and Jill Boughton, ‎president/CEO, W2Worth Innovations on "Designing for Recovery of Waste Resources."

Other organizations on the 2014 program include Amcor, Animation Dynamics, Aveda, Bonsucro, Flexible Packaging Assn., Happy Family Brands, Herman Miller, Innventia AB, Kaleidoscope, Method, Microsoft, OtterBox, Pearlfisher, Procter & Gamble, RTI International, Safeway, Tetra Pak, US Department of Defense, Waste Management, Williams-Sonoma, Zappos and many others. View the complete agenda here.

Lisa McTigue Pierce, executive editor of Packaging Digest and advisor to the conference, says, "Ideas don't usually happen in a vacuum. Exposure to thought-leaders, as well as others in a similar situation, can help tremendously. We've put together another dynamic program that is sure to generate new ways of thinking about packaging sustainability.This is one can't-miss event."

Source: Smithers Pira


PUJOLASOS develops Visoanska Source Premiere's cap

PUJOLASOS develops Visoanska Source Premiere's cap


Latest Pujolasos launch is a beech wood cap. It has been specially developed for Visoanka Source Premiere. "Our customer wanted a component similar to its formulas: natural, innovative and efficient. This is what we offered while developing this smooth and perfectly tight cap." says Isabel Pujolasos, sales director of the company.

"Prodigiously efficient and with an optimal tolerance for both the face and the eyes, SOURCE PREMIERE frees the skin from the impurities and removes the makeup, even waterproo,f" explains Visoanska. "Our formula is enriched with prebiotics, minerals and oligo-elements that restore and durably protect the integrity of the cutaneous ecosystem and inhibits the growth of pathogenic microorganisms. Dermo-soothing, the application of SOURCE PREMIERE reveals a purified, smoothed glowing skin with vibrant complexion." A similar effect to Pujolasos cap finish.

In the heart of Catalonia, Pujolasos has been offering wood components for almost half a century to perfumery and cosmetics premium and masstige brands.

Source: Pujolasos


Top brand trends for 2014 predicted

Top brand trends for 2014 predicted
Landor Associates

Landor Associates

In with the old and out with the new-the top brand trends of 2014 may surprise you. Social media becomes "old school" and the commitment to "second life" packaging intensifies. These are just some of the coming year's predictions released by Landor Associates, the global strategic brand consulting and design firm.

Hayes Roth, chief marketing officer of Landor, comments, "Our team of experts selected 2014's top trends by looking at the behavior and attitudes of high-profile demographics, especially the Millennials and Gen Y'ers, who will outspend baby boomers by 2017. Assessing changes and innovations in leading industries like technology and health care, our specialists identified the most important drivers behind these insights. Health and fitness, individual empowerment, and social responsibility emerge as key themes."

Landor's top 10 brand trends for 2014 are:

1. Wearable tech is not just for gadget heads. Health-oriented consumers, and those who use their social media networks for inspiration and support, embrace technology that would normally appeal to only geeks and early adopters. Wearable tech will help people create, track, and achieve their activity and weight management goals in ways that were previously the domain of costly personal trainers. A circuit "tattoo" that delivers real-time data to physicians? T-shirts that measure body temperature and vital signs? The market for wearable and mobile health-device technology was worth $2 billion in 2011 and is projected to reach $6 billion by 2016. Brands to watch include Avery Dennison (Metria Wearable Sensor), AiQ (smart textiles), and Zephyr Technology (BioHarness BT). 

2. Obamacare opens the door for greater and healthier consumer empowerment. U.S. healthcare reform is causing a shift in responsibility. Consumers will be more empowered as a result of their increased financial responsibility, which in turn creates more involvement in their health care choices. In particular, people will be more interested in eating healthy-giving consumer packaged goods markets the opportunity to help. Consumer-friendly nutritional labeling and packaging will be used as a powerful marketing tool. 

3. Brands become "enablers" of public service. With governments under financial pressure, brands will put their name on more projects that support the public good, rather than stadiums or venues. Citibank's New York City bike program gives city-goers a healthier, environmentally friendly mode of transportation. 

4. Man as "wife." There are more reversed roles in households and fewer gender-specific brand plays as we shift to an era of gender equilibrium. Women aren't the only consumers targeted for skin care products and baby accessories. Examples include Dove Men+Care, a new skin care line for men, and DadGear, a collection of masculine bags and accessories designed specifically for dads-which also include compartments for diapers. 

5. "Second life" packaging becomes first priority. Doing good for the environment still means doing good at the cash register for many brands, so it's no surprise that packaging with a dual use resonates with the environmentally conscious and the budget conscious alike by reducing waste and giving the customer two products in one. A Dutch company sells light-bulbs in whose packaging turns into a lampshade. Lu, the French biscuit brand, has introduced a box that becomes a children's toy when refolded. 

6. "Clean slate" brands clean up. Consumers are rushing to clean-slate brands, or brands without heritage and history. These brands appear newer, better, faster, cleaner, more open and responsive to consumers versus their old, slow, and untrustworthy brands of the past. This trend is seen primarily in developed countries as a result of the lack of trust in big business right now. W Motors, a new luxury car brand in the Middle East, is booming even without history behind it. A South African social messaging app, 2go, has double the number of users compared to Facebook. 

7. "What happens at Yale stays at Yale." Destination branding goes beyond tourism to universities, colleges, and high schools to spur recruitment efforts, attract money, and drive campus culture. 

8. Luxury brands are back and bigger than ever. Purchasers are gender neutral, and more women will be buying their own high-end "rewards" from cars to jewelry. Luxury brands are turning their attention to the boomer woman and extending lines to reach this high-potential consumer. Surprisingly, Millennials will be the most important consumer in this category by 2016. Masculine brands like Johnnie Walker are now targeting women, appealing to contemporary lifestyles, and having a unisex tone without feminizing the category. 

9. Social media becomes "old school." Social engagement transitions from being a shiny, new object to being a customer service and marketing necessity. With the rise of visual content on social media, brands can increase engagement and inspire a community of sharing. Social listening allows brands to assess and identify reach. 

10. Brand is as brand does. What brands truly stand for, not just what they say, will be the deciding factor in

increased sales. There will be an intensified focus on values, beliefs, and corporate social responsibility. Going well beyond the functional and emotional benefits of products and services, corporate culture will determine brand loyalty. Like Southwest Airlines, that recruits "happy" people, if you recruit the type of people you want, you'll get the work and brand experience you want. 

For more in-depth 2014 brand and industry trends information, please visit http://landor.com/#!/talk/articles-publications/articles/landor%E2%80%99s-2014-trends-forecast/

Source: Landor Associates


Three ways to improve sustainability metrics while also saving money

Three ways to improve sustainability metrics while also saving money
Dave Moszak

Dave MoszakPackaging is always challenged to balance a number of competing priorities. On one hand is Marketing, and the desire for innovative packaging that acts as the "silent salesman," driving customer purchase intent and revenue. On the other hand is Procurement, which is frequently tasked with avoiding the introduction of any incremental supply chain complexity or incurring any cost increases as a result of packaging changes. Add Sustainability to the mix, and the challenge of balancing all of these competing objectives gets all the more challenging.

This article outlines three packaging material ideas that can positively impact sustainability metrics for resin-based packaging, with a neutral impact on appearance, and potentially lower costs and improve price stability.

1. Sustainable Calcium Carbonate Additives: Adding a small percentage of calcium carbonate (CC) into plastic packaging is not a new idea, but there is now a new twist that makes CC more sustainable. Traditionally, the CC used as a mineral plastic additive in packaging has been extracted from the earth through mining or quarrying from non-renewable resources. However, over the past few years, new, renewable, sustainable sources for CC have entered the molding additives market.

Calcium carbonate (in varying forms) is produced naturally in some bodies of water around the globe. The natural formation process has an added benefit of sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere through a photosynthesis process. Pricing for these naturally occurring CC additives has historically been lower than resin and offers more price stability.

2. Bio-Based Thermoplastics: Looking for ways to improve the sustainability profile of your resin-based packaging without impacting its appearance? A number of resin manufacturers now produce bio-based thermoplastics derived from ethanol made either from corn, sugar beets or sugar cane. Bio-based thermoplastics provide a positive impact on CO2 environmental emissions because they are produced from plant-based CO2 sequestering feedstocks. On the supply side, use of bio-based thermoplastics should improve price stability when compared to petroleum-based counterparts and their linkage to oil market price volatility (and related geo-political uncertainty).

3. Biodegradable/Compostable Packaging: Traditional resin-based packaging components can take anywhere from months to hundreds of years to decompose. Three different green resin technologies exist that can positively impact biodegradation or allow for the resin to be composted: 

• One technology is to use a polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastic. In the U.S., PLA-based packaging is typically made from corn starch (a renewable resource). PLA is also a plastic that can be composted.

• Another technology is using an oxo-degradable plastic additive. The additives are essentially metal salts that act as a catalyst to speed up the natural degradation process, although the additives do not have much of an effect if they are in a low-oxygen environment such as a landfill. These oxo-degradable additives are commonly used in plastic bag applications and are a solution to help combat littering.

• A third technology is using biodegradable plastic additives. These additives increase the speed of degradation when they are placed in a biologically active landfill. Biodegradable plastic additives can be used in most thermoplastics to support a range of packaging products.

There are many ways to improve sustainability efforts for resin-based packaging that can also have a positive effect for procurement initiatives. These changes can be made without impacting the cosmetic properties of packaging-and therefore Marketing's objectives-and also allows for new labeling and sustainability bragging rights.

As with all packaging changes, these ideas may not be feasible in every industry and thorough package testing should be completed to validate that any changes will be acceptable for the specific use, end customers and supply chain constraints.

Author David Moszak is a sourcing lead in the global packaging practice at Procurian (www.procurian.com), the leading specialist in comprehensive procurement solutions. The company's built-out Specialized Procurement Infrastructure integrates with businesses to optimize spending and deliver real savings that equal a margin point or more.


Blog: Thinking inside the box?

Blog: Thinking inside the box?
Tom Szaky

Boxed beverages, like juice-boxes, have been around since the mid-60s. Children have been drinking juice out of cardboard squares lined with plastic or aluminum for years. This hybrid, multi-layer construction makes recycli

ng the ubiquitous boxed beverage nearly impossible at least for traditional recyclers. The problem is compounded by the growing trend of packaging a wide variety of beverages into cardboard boxes—wines, lemonades, ice teas, and even water can now be found in cardboard boxes as well. It is not just the liquids and beverages that are changing, but the packaging itself.

A wider trend of using a fully recyclable box with a separate plastic pouch inside the box is become popular especially amongst wine manufacturers. As both companies and consumers look to boxed beverages as a more economical alternative it also creates an opportunity for a more sustainable beverage industry.

One of the most prominent form of boxed beverage today is the boxed wine. The "Bag in Box" or BiB wine industry had a shaky start because many wine drinkers found no appeal in drinking wine out of box and taste-wise it wasn't up to par to bottled wine. Since it's re-release in 2003, it has made some major changes and established itself as a drink of choice for outdoor events, parties, and even a night at home.

As many wineries expand their business to include a line of boxed wine they are able to save costs and limit their carbon emissions. A standard wine bottle holds 750 ml of wine and generates approximately 5.2 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions as it travels across America to local retailers, while a standard 3-liter box generates half of the emissions for every 750 ml of wine. If wineries continue with their traditional production and shipping habits the amount of greenhouse gas emissions will increase by about 2 million tons a year, or the equivalent of putting 400,000 cars more cars on the road per year. Clearly from a shipping standpoint boxed beverage is a major win over glass bottles.

In addition to making beverage containers far more stackable lighter weight for advantageous shipping, the cardboard box itself is fully recyclable in most municipalities. It leaves only one problem, what to do with the plastic pouch inside which is usually a blend of different polymers and thus traditionally non-recyclable? Companies like The Naked Grape works with TerraCycle by setting up the the Naked Grape Wine Box Brigade, a program that collects the box, spout and plastic bag for recycling thereby potentially keeping millions of pounds of plastic from ending up in landfills. Creative upcyclers have found unique uses for the bags in the box as well. They refill the bags with water and turn it into ice packs or fill it with air to use as a makeshift pillow. Not only is upcycling the package a great way to keep the environment clean but it also adds to the product's packaging useful lifecycle.

Since the trend of boxed beverages seems to bring more positives than negatives it becomes easy to see why other companies are adopting this type of packaging aesthetic. Founded in 1922, Gregory's "BOX'D Beverages" sells boxed lemonade, teas and juices to major supermarkets such as Wegmans and Shoprite.

Another example of a company putting their beverage in a box is Boxed Water is Better. This Michigan-based sustainable water company sells single servings of water through various retailers. Cutting out the use of plastic altogether, Boxed Water is Better is sold in a cardboard box which is shipped flat to a filler near the markets the company serves. The company is able to save on shipping costs because they are shipping flat boxes as opposed to full boxes or bottles. Despite their efforts, many consumers ask what's the difference in packaging a single serving of water in either a plastic bottle or a cardboard box? The answer to that is since single serving beverages is always going to be around it makes more sense to have it in packaging that is biodegradable. The same sentiment can be applied to the packaging of boxed wine and other beverages.

The movement towards boxed beverages can be labeled as source reduction. Companies are trying to reduce the amount of waste they create by designing their products in a way that accomplishes that. Not to denounce plastic and glass packaging which come with their own set of benefits but the move toward boxed beverages makes sense when thinking about reducing carbon emissions. Boxed beverages create a more sustainable production and shipping process for beverage companies. They also provide consumers with many economical and sustainable benefits, which will create a promising future for our environment.

It's safe to say, the box is back!

Author Tom Szaky, founder/CEO of TerraCycle, has won more than 50 awards for entrepreneurship, also writes blogs for Treehugger and The New York Times, recently published a book called "Revolution in a Bottle" and is the star of a National Geographic Channel special, "Garbage Moguls."


Eco-aware moms wield significant beverage buying power

Eco-aware moms wield significant beverage buying power
Eco-Aware Moms horz

Eco-Aware MomsEvergreen Packaging, a global leader in creating fiber-based packaging solutions, has released a new white paper that provides key insights for beverage manufacturers and retailers on a growing consumer segment whose eco-conscious values and lifestyle are transforming the beverage industry.

The white paper, "Packaging can Attract Eco-Aware Moms for Beverage Manufacturers and Retailers," recognizes Eco-Aware Moms as a key market segment for beverage manufacturers and retailers and identifies product packaging as a means to tap into this influential group of shoppers.

"With Eco-Aware Moms holding $1.75 trillion in buying power and representing 62 million women, it's clear that this group of consumers should be top of mind for brands," says Erin Reynolds, marketing director at Evergreen Packaging. "And, product packaging presents an opportunity for beverage manufacturers and retailers to connect with this valuable shopper."

According to the white paper, beverage manufacturers and retailers should consider these key insights and strategies to effectively build brand affinity among Eco-Aware Moms: 

• Product packaging is a priority: Eco-Aware Moms are more likely to switch brands based on packaging alone. Consider that 59 percent of Eco-Aware Moms say they have changed what they buy based on the type or amount of packaging. 

• Packaging influences brand reputation: 65 percent of Eco-Aware Moms say that product packaging greatly influences their opinion of a company's eco-friendliness. Retailers who use eco-friendly packaging choices can better position both product and store in a positive light among Eco-Aware Moms. 

• Eco-Aware Moms see a strong correlation between personal and environmental health:
Eco-Aware Moms do their best to avoid potentially harmful chemicals from product ingredients as well as packaging. They view beverage packaging options such as cartons and glass as being more eco-healthy than other materials.

• Make your eco-friendly story visible: On-pack messaging serves as the number one way to communicate to Eco-Aware Moms and reinforce a brand's commitment to sustainability.

"Brands that effectively connect with Eco-Aware Moms have an opportunity to grow market share by aligning with this influential group," says Reynolds. "And, with recyclable and renewable packaging materials topping the list of priorities they want from product packaging, beverage brands should consider cartons as a packaging option to connect with this group. "

More than 75 percent of an Evergreen carton is made from paper, which comes from a renewable resource-trees. Additionally, cartons are recyclable for more than 53 million households across the country, where facilities exist.

To download a complete copy of the white paper and read other consumer findings, visit http://evergreenpackaging.com/about/newsroom/133-ecomom-whitepaper. The white paper was developed from research and data compiled from EcoFocus Worldwide Trend Survey. Interviews with subject matter experts around Eco-Aware Moms and packaging choices available upon request.

Source: Evergreen Packaging


Promising Packaging Patents: A leak-proof closure with a 3D seal

Promising Packaging Patents: A leak-proof closure with a 3D seal
StarOne chemical closure

StarOne chemical closureNecessity is the mother of invention, which is as true for package development professionals as for garage tinkerers. We spoke recently with Aron James Clarkson, designer-inventor and CEO of StarOne Group, who says he's in business to "invent, design, and develop new technologies. We make sure that the patents are worthy and have meaning because there's no point in owning patents if they don't really work."

We reported on one of his inventions in April: The Drop-Top Dispensing closure.  Now we report on another of his inventions: Smart-Seal Closure Technology.

The search for a new concept resulted after his firm began working on problematic containers for crop control products for a multinational chemical company.

The 1-, 5-, and 10-L containers usually molded of HDPE were notoriously leaky, not good for chemicals and certainly not welcome around humans and especially children.

The top lip of these containers are sealed with a plastic closure supplied with a flexible disc made of polyethylene polymer comprising of micro air-cells extruded into flat sheets which are punched into round disks that become the wad or inner liner of the closure.

Aron describes the existing method of sealing these type of containers using closures with wads only comprising of a two-dimensional flat wad that only engages and seals with the narrow top rim face of the container edge. He goes on to say that this out-of-date method of one dimensional sealing that is widely used throughout the packaging industry for many different products, does not work in the way it should. Many times result in faulty leaking closures on containers that are filled with dangerous chemicals being transported to market and many times when tested do not comply with the UN charter safety guidelines, he adds.

According to Aron the problem is that the extrusion blow molded containers vary in thickness including across the critical top portion of the container including the threads. This is exacerbated by on-going light-weighting/thinwalling of the containers and closures to cut costs and because of this the closure has little chance of sealing these very light-weight blow molded containers in the way they need to be sealed especially if you are needing to rely on them to store or transport harmful chemical products in them. 

"There's just no way you can get a proper seal," observes Aron James.

Tightening the closure down more using higher torque (12 to 14 Newton meters force) ends up cracking the closure and simply makes the situation much worse, he adds.

StarOne Group was called in to not only solve the problem, but to do so realistically and without increasing costs, Aron emphasizes. His idea was Smart-Seal Closure Technology.

"That means the closure uses all three container sealing edges, the outside edge of the container, across the top edge, and down on the inside edge of the container," Aron explains. "The actual surface of sealing becomes three to four times greater than a normal closure on such containers. So instead of sealing it only a one and a half millimeter across the top lip edge we're also sealing about two to three millimeters around the circumference of the container. We've basically increased the surface of the seal area around 60 to 70 percent more, which is a substantial increase on the old traditional sealing methods currently used and certainly has not before been possible to do with other types of closures."

Aron has also developed a new way to produce the sealing wads which inserts into the matching three-dimensional closure body to obtain the optimized result and maximizing all the sealing wad properties. 

"We take that same PE material foam sheeting and then laminate it with a PA or EVOH protective film and then re-mold it into a three-dimensional shape using pressure," he explains. "However, it was certainly not easy and took a lot of development as we had to make a compression molding machine by modifying an existing machine used in another industry to high pressure-mold the three-dimensional wads in a very inventive way to perfect the specialized sealing wad in high volume."

The development has taken three years. At this point, Aron has developed the total closure Smart-Seal system and is currently negotiating with sealing wad manufactures for the production and supply of the wads to closure and container manufacturers throughout the world; depending on diameter, each machinewill be able to produce around 300 to 400 million wads yearly.

Aron reports they have many companies who are very interested in being part of this new Smart-Seal Closure technology supply-chain and are starting to talk to customers to implement this for dangerous chemicals and other products. "This 3D sealing technology can be utilized to seal containers in many different industries not only in dangerous chemicals but very high-volume arenas like food, beverages, personal care, pharmaceuticals and is a very flexible sealing system and has a wide span of use," he says.

Containers can now be lightweighted

It also yields a major side benefit: Not only is it a far superior improved sealing method, containers now can be further lightweighted to save cost. 

Made of the same material but now with many more benefits than traditional conventional liners, the Smart-Seal wad carries about a 20 to 30 percent premium over standard liners that cost a few cents; however, the savings in light-weighting containers further reduces the cost of the containers substantially. This results in savings in the overall costs at the same time it assures the customer that the containers will not leak like they have before. 

StarOne filed the patent a few years ago; the patent also has an allowance for an aluminium induction 3-D sealable version which has very high-security child tamperproof that also reduces any chance of any harmful chemicals leaking out if an accident was to occur or through transport or handling for any reason.

He reports that feedback has been "incredible. With this system it really makes no sense to have a two-dimensional seal anymore." Interest is especially high from a number of closure and container manufactures especially for the use of harmful chemicals such as crop control, he adds.

We asked Aron James what he thinks about patents and why they are important.
"The only true test of a patent is whether or not you can develop and commercialize it," he responds. "Does it have a meaning in a cost-effective way? This particular technology does as the only way you can really protect your territory in the marketplace is to invest in intellectual property so other companies cannot compete against you which gives you an advantage for many years without direct competition in your sector." 

What does the future hold for you with this new sealing technology?

"I believe that this old two-dimensional sealing method currently used to seal many types of different containers will be a thing of the past very soon once this news gets around the packaging industry about the Smart-Seal Closure system making the old system redundant," Aron responds. "Companies will move over to a much more reliable and safer way of sealing their containers at the same time as reducing the thickness of their containers through light-waiting them and bringing down the overall cost in packaging. This can save their company many millions of dollars per year with this new superior sealing technology at the same time improving the safety and reject rate they are currently experiencing with leaking containers today."

What type of companies are you looking for to be involved in this new technology?

"We are interested in companies who are proactive in doing the right thing for the customer and for the consumer by putting safety first and reducing the number of accidents through unsafe products leaking. For companies that can see the big picture of all the other benefits that this new closure system has to offer we will be licensing this 3-D closure technology throughout the world. This includes companies that manufacture plastic closures and containers for packaging all types of products in the Beverage, Food, Personal-Care, Pharmaceutical and Chemical."

For more information regarding the Smart-Seal Closure sealing system breakthrough technology contact:


Removable adhesives

Removable adhesives
Removable adhesives

Removable adhesives

The RR19 and RR12 removable adhesives provide good initial tack and lasting adhesion to a wide array of substrates, yet offer excellent long-term removability. Products constructed with these adhesives can be used in a variety of end-uses, including point-of-sale, retail information and logistics applications as well as decorative stickers and variable information labels. 

UPM Raflatac, 800-992-3882



Why we should eliminate the "B word" from sustainability conversations

Why we should eliminate the "B word" from sustainability conversations
SPC logo

At first blush, it certainly sounds like a good word, a warm and fuzzy word. A word that surely belongs hand-in-hand with the many R words we use in sustainability conversations. It's a word that conveys a sense of closing nature's loop and returning materials right back into the bosom of mother earth. But the B word—"biodegradable"—has no place in modern sustainability conversations. It's outdated. Maybe it used to be the holy grail of the quest to make materials more sustainable, but we've gotten smarter. We've learned. It's now time for our lexicon to reflect how much we know, and it's time for us to use our modern understanding of sustainability to have meaningful conversations—conversations that don't include yesterday's buzzwords. So, thanks, B word, we've learned a lot from talking about you, but it's time for us to part ways.

The problem with the B word? Its connotation that it's always a good thing and never a bad thing. Truth be told, it's not necessarily either. Sometimes it can lend positivity to a sustainability profile, while sometimes it can be a detractor. It's like if we were to automatically assume superior sustainability for square packages, or transparent packages, or purple packages. Biodegradability is an arbitrary quality that needs to be expanded and explained, not simply touted. First question when you hear the B word: Where is it likely to biodegrade? In a home composting operation? In an industrial composting operation? On the side of the interstate? In a landfill? It's the same as assessing real estate: location, location, location. Packaging producers can't know where their packaging is going to end up, so if we're going to assess what the B word means for a package's sustainability, we have to assess each and every likely scenario.

No matter what we do, a lot of packaging will end up in a landfill where it's unlikely that biodegradability will do it any good. In the oxygen-deprived enclosure of a landfill, things biodegrade anaerobically, which essentially is a big word meaning they generate a lot of methane as they decompose. Methane, you may have heard, is an extra-potent greenhouse gas. Landfills are the third biggest source of manmade methane emissions to the atmosphere. If trash didn't have that pesky quality of biodegradability, landfills would be a bit more benign.

As litter on the side of the interstate? That's a bit trickier. I doubt anyone can argue that we'd be better off if litter didn't biodegrade, but there's a lot of complexity in judging the answer. Do we want consumers to think that a package is litter-friendly? I would argue that every package needs clear instructions to tell a consumer what they need to do to send a package to its best possible end-of-life scenario. Touting the B word on-package doesn't do that. Then of course there's the issue of time. If something takes 10 years to biodegrade on the side of the interstate (or say, in the ocean), that's a lot of time for damage to be done. Once again, just using the B word doesn't tell us the whole story.

Then there's composting, where biodegradation time can spell the difference between beneficial recovery and more-harm-than-good contamination. A host of other factors (potential plant toxicity of any additives in a package, for instance), matter when it comes to composting. And biodegradability, in its general sense, tells us nothing about whether a package fits in a composting operation.

The concept of compostability is constantly becoming better defined and it's this C word, not the B word, that tells us if a package has the potential for a beneficial end-of-life scenario involving its decomposition. So yes, a package can be biodegradable and not compostable. A biodegradable package can even detract from the success of a composting operation. Once more, the B word really doesn't tell the whole story.

A sub-topic that rightfully deserves its own article is the idea that we should ever put biodegradability additives in petroleum-based plastics. If you've read this far, you probably get it without me going into detail. But suffice it to say that the carbon in petroleum-based plastics was sequestered from the atmosphere millions of years ago and it makes the most sense to keep that carbon bound up in a useful material. If we allow those plastics to biodegrade, we release their carbon content into the atmosphere and we also send the wrong signal to the recyclers who offer the best chance for a sustainable usage of petroleum-based plastics. It's just another example, though perhaps counterintuitive, where a material is much more useful to us and has a greater potential for sustainability when it doesn't biodegrade.

Again, though, this isn't to say that biodegradability is automatically bad. For many materials, it can be good. But if it's good, we should be able to talk about its compostability and use the word that actually carries meaning. If not, you can be hip, be informed, be smart, be modern—and keep the B word out of the sustainability conversation.

Author Adam Gendell is a project manager at GreenBlue's Sustainable Packaging Coalition. For more
information about the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, visit www.sustainablepackaging.org.