Packaging Digest is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Coors packaging touts rewards of recycling

Coors packaging touts rewards of recycling
Coors Recyclebank can

Coors Recyclebank canCoors Brewing Co., inventor of the first 100 percent recyclable aluminum can, today kicked off its latest sustainability initiative by announcing a partnership with Recyclebank, the company that rewards people for taking every day green actions with discounts and deals. The program, Coors Recycles, will support the Recyclebank mission to promote environmentally conscious waste disposal through a monetary contribution and special packaging.

A portion of select Coors Light and Coors Banquet packages sold now through March 31, 2013, helps fund a contribution of up to $250,000 from Coors Recycles to Recyclebank. Recyclebank is using these funds, in part, to build a national online campaign to educate consumers about the benefits of aluminum recycling and reward them for their engagement. Purchasers should look for the Coors Recycles logo and messaging on specially-marked packages to participate.

"We're proud that Coors Brewing Company invented the first 100 percent recyclable all-aluminum can in 1959," said Pete Coors, MillerCoors chairman of the board. "The Coors Recycles program aims to remind legal-drinking-age consumers of the importance of recycling their beer cans, and through Recyclebank, offers them a refreshing way to get involved in a greener lifestyle at varying levels."

Today, 152 million aluminum cans are recycled each day, making them the most recycled item in the United States.

"At Recyclebank, our valued partners join us in the ongoing challenge to generate economic, environmental and social benefits for communities across the country," said Jonathan Hsu, CEO of Recyclebank. "With Coors Recycles, we look forward to increasing community engagement and offering rewards for green actions in the form of valuable savings."

For more information about how Coors Recycles is helping the recycling movement, please visit, or

Source: Coors

Arrowhead video celebrates beauty of bottled water recycling

Arrowhead video celebrates beauty of bottled water recycling
Arrowhead logo

Arrowhead logoArrowhead Brand 100% Mountain Spring Water—the brand that introduced its new 0.5L ReBorn bottle made with 50 percent recycled plastic (rPET) and launched its "Recycling is a Beautiful Thing" campaign in November 2012—is taking another step toward educating consumers about the value of recycling with the unveiling of an innovative, new stop-motion video. The video supports the brand's commitment to getting consumers excited about recycling and increasing recycling rates by featuring visuals that were created out of recycled materials. 

Produced by Bent Image Lab based in Portland, Ore., the one-minute video tells the story of the endless possibilities that can come from recycling. The video informs consumers that most recyclable plastic bottles actually end up in the trash—in California alone, more than 2.8 billion plastic bottles ended up in landfills in 2011[1]—but stresses that the more we recycle today, the more materials that can be reused tomorrow. The animatic eventually portrays a picture of a 3-D landscape, nature's masterpiece, followed by an Arrowhead label from which the 0.5L ReBorn bottle emerges. 

The video was created to emphasize the message behind the brand's "Recycling is a Beautiful Thing" campaign, which was launched in November 2012. "We're excited to demonstrate that recycled materials have significant second life utility," says Gigi Leporati, brand manager, Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water. "If you look closely at the imagery in the video, you'll see it translates some recyclable materials found in landfills into an artistic and environmentally thoughtful statement. Through this video, we hope to motivate consumers to recycle more and think about recycling in a new way."

The interactive campaign is hosted on a dedicated tab on the Arrowhead brand Facebook page. In addition to the video, the page also highlights informative statistics about recycling and showcases still life and found object art pieces crafted from recycled materials. 

The 0.5L ReBorn bottle launch was celebrated in the San Francisco area with a volunteer recycling and beautification event in partnership with Keep California Beautiful (KCB) on America Recycles Day. To further assist local recycling efforts in San Francisco, Arrowhead unveiled four innovative solar-powered BigBelly waste and recycling stations at the event, which the brand is sponsoring for one year. 

To learn more about the Arrowhead ReBorn bottle and experience the beauty of recycling, please visit the brand on Facebook where you can also watch the new video and share it with your friends. To read more about NestleWaters North America's commitment to sustainability, please visit

[1] CalRecycle. Calendar Year 2011 Report of Beverage Container Sales, Returns, Redemption and Recycling Rates.

Source: Nestle Waters North America


New Belgium Brewing joins ranks of EPR supporters

New Belgium Brewing joins ranks of EPR supporters
New Belgium logo

New Belgium logoProving that the concept of business-driven extended producer responsibility (EPR) is gaining favor amongst environmentally conscious brands, Recycling Reinvented announced it has received a pledge of support from New Belgium Brewing Co., a Fort Collins, CO-based brewer of more than 25 varieties of craft beer. 

Amongst the company's core values is "honoring nature at every turn of the business" through environmental stewardship.

"I believe that if the producers were held accountable for the end of life of their packages, more efficient and effective systems would be created to promote landfill diversion," says Jennifer Vervier, director of sustainability for New Belgium. "Recycling Reinvented's vision of a uniquely American style of EPR lays the groundwork for the development of those types of efficiencies."

Through EPR, brand owners and manufacturers will help communities to increase access to curbside recycling and recycling away from home- not just for bottles, but for all product packaging. The efficiencies created by EPR will improve recycling rates and increase the availability of recycled stock materials for remanufacturing.

"We are pleased that New Belgium has joined us in supporting the development of a uniquely
American, business-driven solution for diverting valuable materials from our waste stream and landfills," says Paul Gardner, executive director of Recycling Reinvented. "We commend New Belgium for its long-standing commitment to environmentally safe business practices and we look forward to working together in the development of EPR."

About Recycling Reinvented

Recycling Reinvented promotes increasing recycling rates of waste packaging and printed material in the United States through an extended producer responsibility (EPR) model. With a diverse group of board members from the nonprofit and private sector, Recycling Reinvented builds a coalition of supporters from the public, private and nonprofit sectors in order to make EPR for packaging and printed materials a preferred method of managing valuable waste. hopes to be a place where industry, government, and nonprofit organizations can come to find out how EPR works, how it can increase recycling rates, and what will be required to make it work.

Source: Recycling Reinvented


Novelis launches world's first certified recycled-content aluminum beverage can

Novelis launches world's first certified recycled-content aluminum beverage can
Novelis evercan

Novelis evercan

Novelis, the world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, has announced the commercial availability of the industry's first independently certified, high-recycled content aluminum designed specifically for the beverage can market. With a minimum of 90 percent recycled aluminum, the Novelis evercan aluminum beverage can body sheet will allow beverage companies to deliver soft drinks, beer and other popular beverages in a low-carbon footprint consumer package. 

"We are excited to be able to deliver yet another tangible result of our commitment to sustainable aluminum product innovation," says Phil Martens, Novelis president/CEO. "Our Novelis evercan high-recycled content beverage can body sheet, backed by the industry's first independent certification program, represents tremendous progress in sustainable consumer products packaging. As the world's leading supplier of aluminum beverage can sheet, this is an important step toward delivering on our ultimate vision of an aluminum can with up to 100 percent recycled content."

Novelis evercan aluminum sheet has been certified for high-recycled content by SCS Global Services, a trusted leader in third-party environmental, sustainability and food quality certification, auditing, testing and standards development. Novelis is initially offering aluminum can body sheet guaranteed to contain at least 90 percent recycled content. When combined with the can end made of a different alloy during the can making process, the new Novelis evercan will enable beverage companies to market their beverages in standard 12-oz aluminum cans certified as made from a minimum of 70 percent recycled content. The Novelis evercan aluminum beverage can body sheet is commercially available now in North America and Europe, and will be available worldwide later this year.

The company's efforts to increase the recycling of beverage cans is a key component of its plan to dramatically increase the recycled content of its products across its global operations to 80 percent by 2020. Already the world's largest recycler of aluminum, Novelis has announced capital investments of close to $500 million over the last two years that will double global recycling capacity to 2.1 million metric tons by 2015. Recycling aluminum requires 95 percent less energy, and produces 95 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), than manufacturing primary aluminum. 

"This first phase of the Novelis evercan high-recycled content initiative serves as a critical catalyst for Novelis to work more closely with consumer brand customers, our supply chain partners and other community stakeholders to increase end-of-life recycling of used beverage containers," says John Gardner, Novelis chief sustainability officer. "We encourage wide participation from other aluminum suppliers, beverage and packaging companies, retailers and distributors, recyclers, municipalities, environmental groups and consumers themselves in promoting the use of more sustainable consumer packaging through aluminum recycling."

For more information about Novelis evercan aluminum beverage can sheet, including an infographic and video, visit

Quotes from partners and supporters:
• SCS Global Services managing director Stowe Hartridge-Beam:
"We are pleased to have independently certified the exceptionally high levels of recycled content in Novelis' aluminum can sheet, which represents a new benchmark of performance in an industry that has been long known for its recycling efforts. Novelis' proven performance is evidence of its commitment to preserving natural resources, reducing waste and advancing sustainability." 

• Stuart L. Hart, SJ Johnson chair in sustainable enterprise professor, Cornell University, and author of "Capitalism at the Crossroads":
"Novelis' launch of the evercan is an important part of its larger strategy to de-link the production of aluminum from greenhouse-gas intensive bauxite mining and primary aluminum production. Through their imagination and collaboration across the supply chain, they are reinventing the aluminum industry." 

• Jonathon Porritt, founder/director, Forum for the Future:
"This is a really exciting development. The benefits of using recycled rather than prime-based aluminum are well understood, and for Novelis to be able to guarantee 90 percent recycled content beverage can body sheet represents a real breakthrough."

Source: Novelis


Dairy industry life-cycle analysis results (video)

Dairy industry life-cycle analysis results (video)
Gail Barnes

Gail Barnes

Gail Barnes, partner, Personify, speaks with Lisa McTigue Pierce, executive editor of Packaging Digest, at the 2013 Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit about some surprising results from a dairy industry life-cycle analysis study, which Barnes covered in her presentation on Day 1 at the conference.

Click here to watch the video on Packaging Digest's YouTube site.


Non-alcoholic beverage industry promotes America Recycles Day

Non-alcoholic beverage industry promotes America Recycles Day
American Beverage Association

American Beverage Association

On America Recycles Day, the non-alcoholic beverage industry reaffirms its longstanding commitment to further minimizing its environmental impact, and is making it easier for consumers to do the same.

"From our 100 percent recyclable packaging to our efforts to minimize waste and support recycling programs, our industry is leading the way and doing our part to reduce our environmental impact," says Susan Neely, American Beverage Association president/CEO. "Ours is an industry standing together in pursuit of solutions to environmental challenges in communities throughout America."

The beverage industry supports efficient recycling infrastructure, and it is working throughout the country to help make recycling easier for consumers - both at home and on-the-go.

In Massachusetts, industry is working together with communities through the Massachusetts Recycling Challenge to provide technical assistance to implement a Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) waste system. PAYT provides an immediate and significant incentive to households that reduce trash and increase recycling by charging residents a fee for each unit of waste they discard, instead of a fixed fee per household. The Challenge team also is working with key cities to establish public space recycling systems to capture beverage containers and other recyclables from town squares, public parks and other public locations.

On America Recycles Day in 2012, the American Beverage Association's Public Space Recycling Pilot was launched in Palm Beach County, Florida, with nearly 130 recycling bins placed in key locations - including parks, boardwalks, marinas, sports fields and beaches. One year later, the pilot has already reduced public space litter by 75 percent and significantly reduced trash disposal and increased recycling in all locations.

ABA member companies are also working in their communities on efforts to support and promote recycling, including:

The Coca-Cola Company is committed to advancing recycling programs. Through community recycling initiatives with organizations like Keep America Beautiful, Coca-Cola has placed more than 220,000 recycle bins in North America since 2008. This is in support of Coca-Cola's goal to recover 50 percent of the equivalent bottles and cans it places in market by 2015. In addition, Coca-Cola diverts more than 95 percent of solid waste from landfills in its North American facilities.

After surpassing its original goal, Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS) raised the bar higher with a new target to recycle 90 percent of manufacturing waste by 2015. In 2012, DPS recycled 82 percent of its manufacturing solid waste, diverting more than 32,000 tons of waste from landfills. Also last year, DPS conserved 15 million pounds of plastic in 2012 through PET lightweighting initiatives. In addition to its own recycling practices, the company is taking steps to promote consumer recycling, as well. Earlier this year, DPS partnered with Keep America Beautiful (KAB) to fund the placement of recycling bins that will provide citizens visiting public parks greater access to recycling systems. This investment in consumer recycling will help increase recycling in city, regional and state public parks across the country.

Nestle Waters North America (NWNA) reports bottled water in PET packaging is the most recycled item in nationwide curbside collection programs, recycled at a rate of 39 percent. That said, NWNA is committed to improving plastic beverage bottle recycling rates to 60 percent by 2018. The company works with Recycling Reinvented, a coalition of recycling stakeholders and other businesses aiming to make it easier for people to recycle more consumer packaging of all types, not just beverage bottles. Collecting more plastic for recycling would allow NWNA, already with three brands, Resource®, Arrowhead® and Deer Park® brands packaged in .5 liter water bottles composed of 50 percent recycled plastic (rPET), to use more recycled content in more bottles.

The PepsiCo Recycling initiative, introduced on Earth Day 2010, brings innovative recycling solutions to colleges and universities, K-12 schools, gas stations and popular retail locations across North America with the goal of increasing the U.S. beverage container recycling rate to 50 percent by 2018. Since the program launched, more than 4 million pounds of beverage containers-approximately 75 million plastic bottles and aluminum cans-have been recycled through Dream Machine kiosks and recycling bins. More than 600,000 K-12 students in schools from 34 states have participated in the PepsiCo Recycle Rally and 70 colleges and universities nationwide team with PepsiCo to increase recycling on campus. By increasing availability of recycled PET (rPET), PepsiCo has helped sustain its commitment to using rPET in its beverage bottles, making it one of the largest users of food-grade post-consumer PET. To learn more, please visit

The Sunny Delight Beverages Co. (SDBC) remains committed to sustainability and the company will continue to listen, learn and lead in this arena. All five SDBC manufacturing plants continue to maintain zero waste to landfill--diverting 41 million pounds of waste since setting its zero waste goal in 2007. Externally, SDBC is continuing its partnership with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful (KCB) and this school year the partnership is focused on helping Cincinnati schools implement single stream recycling. SDBC's ongoing partnership with KCB is helping local schools foster a generation of environmental stewards. To learn more about SDBC's sustainability efforts, please visit

Source: American Beverage Association


The many happy returns of the custom preform bins

The many happy returns of the custom preform bins
SEC bin and robotics

SEC bin and roboticsThe toughest test for packaging in the supply chain may be time. That is certainly true of reusable plastic containers (RPCs), where durability is as important as protection-whether what's transported is a packaged product or "prepackaging" in the form of PET preforms. 

It may be more important for the latter: Preform flaws like nicks and scuffs created during transportation and handling can become magnified during blow molding.

Southeastern Container (SEC), a cooperative of 16 independent Coca-Cola bottlers in the eastern U.S. serving about 34 states and six Canadian provinces, sought an alternative to bulk "gaylord" corrugated containers used to distribute preforms internally that would maintain integrity through dozens of reuse cycles. The preforms are used for bottles from 20 oz to 2L in size.
SEC collaborated with RPC supplier Orbis to develop a custom bulk bin that was tested and customized in size, structure and value-added features to hold the most preforms in the lightest weight possible. 

Today, with several years' time as a known variable, SEC can assess the results for a program launched in 2009 with the Orbis HDMX4845-50 bin that's 45 x 48 x 50 inches, vs a standard 40 x 48 x 46 inch bin. 

The RPC volume is 50 cubic feet, 10 cubic feet more than the gaylords or the equivalent of about 20 percent more preforms, yielding for SEC a net savings when calculating total costs.

The bin offers four-way forklift entry in the approximately 4-inch tall injection-molded high-density polypropylene base along with the Coke-red PP sidewalls. A snap-on PP lid seals the bin.

At 140 pounds, SEC's lidded bin weighs 20 to 30 pounds less than the competition's, according to Orbis, and offers several unique features:
• The bottom platform features a plastic sheet with integrated dampening springs to deaden the bounce of the initial preforms dumped into the bin to reduce damage;
• Recessed latched handles fold out to permit the sidewalls to be lifted and completely removed so the bin components can be thoroughly cleaned, rather than using hinged sides;
• Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are affixed to every bin and lid (see sidebar below).

The closed-loop SEC bin project encompasses three preform injection molding production facilities, eight blow-molding operations and approximately 10 in-line bottling operations throughout the eastern U.S. SEC installed RFID readers and robotic cells at the three preform facilities to re-erect bins returned in flat form; in Asheville, NC, SEC also operates a robotic lid application system. 

There are more than 40,000 bins currently in the system, according to Doug Wehrkamp, SEC president, who was the company's director of engineering during much of the bin development and implementation process. 

"The gaylords were not heavy, but someone had to ‘wrestle' it from a knocked-down position into an erect form and place it on a pallet-it was not an ergonomically ideal situation," he says. "We sought the optimum, one-piece collapsible plastic bin that would retain to the degree possible what we liked about a gaylord-including light weight and a good return ratio-and that conveniently knocked down. We wanted a bin that would better cube out in a trailer, that we could extend the life, was repairable and was modular in the sense that a damaged part could be replaced instead of having to dispose of the whole unit. Finally, we wanted it used in a system we could automate."

Some key highlights:

Light weight: When the project started, the bin weight was around 250 pounds. "When it was reduced to around 200 pounds, we still couldn't make the economics work, but when we got to below 150, we could clearly see that there could be an economic payback," Wehrkamp says. "Getting that weight down was crucial." 

The weight reduction resulted from various iterations of cross panel designs for the sidewalls and different types of lids.

Through the design process, "bellying" was controlled to prevent the bin walls from bowing outward due to the weight of the preforms-even when they are filled and stacked four high. Bowing negatively affects the lid application, whether done manually or robotically. "Stacking allowed us to shrink the footprint of our warehouse storage by 15 percent," Wehrkamp adds.

Good return ratio: Wehrkamp estimates they got about 10 use cycles on a gaylord. SEC sent about 5,000 unusable gaylords yearly into the recycling stream. 

Each bin makes about 12 to 15 roundtrips yearly, with SEC's goal a minimum of 100 to 150 turns over a bin's lifetime. "We're about halfway there and we don't see any significant issues or wear with the bins," Wehrkamp reports. "There's nothing to indicate that we're not going to be able to achieve that or perhaps as high as near 200 turns."

Shrinkage has been minimal: "The number of bins lost is staying well below one percent," he adds. "Economically, we've been very happy with the returns-it's met our expectations in all areas."

Efficient knock down: Technically, the bin is made up of several components, including removable sidewalls. But according to Wehrkamp, it's effectively a single-unit bin. After use, the bin is manually collapsed for return. "The latches are pressed and the four side walls collapse," says Wehrkamp of the simple process. It can fold in several ways, but due to the programming on the robotic erecting system, the sequence doesn't matter, he adds. 

A bin has a collapsed height near 13 inches, which at a 4.8:1 ratio is just short of the 5:1 ratio the gaylords had provided. "It's not exactly what we'd originally anticipated, but was extremely close, so we consider that successful," reports Wehrkamp.

Cleaner operations

When it eliminated the gaylords, SEC also eliminated all the corrugated and wood dust associated with those components. It also eliminated a bin liner in the form of a plastic bag, a corrugated cover sheet and two polyester straps that secured each corrugated bin. 

"We were able to clean up our operations from a housekeeping perspective," Wehrkamp points out. "We maintain extremely clean plants, but the amount of dust and contamination that was removed from our plants was a pleasant surprise."

Wehrkamp says the bottling operations receive the same benefits the blow-molding facilities enjoy: "They've got no corrugated or wooden fiber coming into the operation with the bins. With a plastic bin, you've got that consistency and repeatability day in and day out, including the exact same footprint that also handles well on our equipment."

Robotics erect, lid bins

The project also included robotics, which were first implemented at the Asheville, NC, facility in 2009-2010 by ProMATIC Automation, a local automation integrator, followed a year later by automating facilities in Bowling Green, OH, and in 2012, in Winchester, VA. All three facilities share a similar bin erecting setup; Asheville also has an automated bin lidding system. 

"ProMATIC came up with a solution for us that was relatively simple in design and effective," Wehrkamp relates. "We achieved the automation piece that we'd anticipated to eliminate a source of workplace injuries and moved that labor elsewhere in the plant." 

A robotic cell re-erects the collapsed bins. The flats enter the cell on a roller conveyor, which senses the order in which the bin sides have been folded. That data directs an overhead, inverted six-axis Fanuc M16 robot to sequentially open the bin using grippers in the required order. The system confirms using sensors and air cylinders that the bin has been erected with all sides secure. The bin then conveys to a separate mechanical system that inverts it and cleans it with ionized air to remove any remaining preforms (to prevent loads of mixed-size preforms) and any particulates. The bin is reoriented and released from the cell. 

The process, which takes about a minute, was one of the positives from the outset. 

"We were surprised on how well the robotic cell has worked from day one," Wehrkamp relays. "It grabs the jaws of the latches and very reliably and repeatedly assembles the bins."

In Asheville, a filled bin is lidded by a robotic system also supplied turnkey by ProMATIC. Larger than the erecting robot, the Fanuc M710 uses two kinds of end-of-arm tools that mate to the robot. In rake-like fashion, the first tool is used to even the level of the preforms, which tend to pile in the middle above the sidewall and may prevent the lid application. The robot then switches tooling and orients and applies the lid using vacuum grippers. 

That process also takes about a minute.

What's ahead?

"Next for us is to complete the automation on the lid application side," says Wehrkamp, referring to automating that process for the two remaining preform plants. SEC is also looking to automate bag insertion when a vapor-barrier bag is added manually before filling to protect heat-set preforms. He estimates that about 10 percent of the bins need a barrier bag.

While the project has remained locked down for a number of months, Wehrkamp discloses that the financial benefits have become clearer over time. 

"We see a reduction the cost of dunnage on our bottom-line financials," says Wehrkamp. "From where I sit now, it's pretty obvious that's had a dramatic, positive impact."

Fanuc Robotics, 248-377-7000

Orbis Corp., 800-890-7292

ProMATIC Automation, 828-684-1700

Sidebar: RFID tracking

SEC felt that RFID was something that it wanted to have from the outset as the only feasible way to track bin usage.
"RFID was a quick, relatively inexpensive way to capture the number of turns on a bin-by-bin basis at the erecting robot," says Doug Wehrkamp, SEC president. "Otherwise it's very difficult to track that."

He also felt that the most economic time to do that was at the front end during bin manufacturing.
SEC uses a custom tag for bin and lid. The RFID tag, which took some design work according to Wehrkamp, is about 1 inch square and is supplied by Alien Technologies.

SEC supplies the RFID tags to Orbis to affix. Every bin and lid is tagged. 

The three preform facilities use RFID readers-interrogators from Motorola Solutions installed near the automated bin erecting systems.

Wehrkamp says that he'd like to leverage more benefits from RFID; at some point, he'd like to track the movement of the bins in and out of the plants from and into the trucks. 

"As costs for the technology come down, there's a point where using RFID might become more beneficial than just a simple tracking mechanism we use today," he explains. "Hopefully, we'll be able to build a business case to use that technology further in the next few years."

Alien Technologies, 408-782-3900

Motorola Solutions, 847-576-5000


Ice River Springs goes green with PET bottle

Ice River Springs goes green with PET bottle
Ice River Springs

Ice River Springs

Ice River Springs is launching an innovative new 15 liter bottle for water coolers. The bottle is made of 100 percent recycled plastic and is green. 

The new bottles have been launched because of Ice River Springs' pioneering initiatives to reduce energy use and recycle plastics in a closed loop system. Ice River Springs is the only beverage company in North America to operate a bottle recycling operation that takes in bottles from municipal recycling programs, sorts, purifies and then produces certified food-grade plastic ready for reuse.

The bottles are green because it enables Ice River to reclaim plastic from green bottles, that might otherwise go to waste. Consumers are supportive. In a research study of 849 bottled water users 82 percent said a bottle made of 100percent recycled material giving them a green tint would make the brand more appealing.

The product will be available in major retail chains starting in Western Canada under the Arrowhead brand name.

Ice River Springs is committed to all efforts to reduce impact on the environment. "There's enough plastic in the world today, we just need to find ways to reuse it," explains Jamie Gott, CEO of Ice River Springs. "Few companies need the green plastic that we collect from our recycling operation. We have launched Arrowhead water in green bottles to make use of this plastic and take it out of landfills."

Green PET bottles, which are BPA free, are an alternative to returnable polycarbonate bottles. BPA is an ingredient that has been banned in baby feeding bottles.

While the Arrowhead bottle is changing the water itself is unchanged. Its source is near High River, Alberta fed from rivers originating from the glaciers of Kananaskis country and the Rockies.

The launch of Arrowhead Spring Water is being supported by the website that explains the health and environmental benefits of spring water as an alternative to other on-the go beverages. It also provides a list of stores carrying the brand.



Garnier USA wins first-ever sustainable beauty award

Garnier USA wins first-ever sustainable beauty award
Garnier USA

Garnier USA

Garnier USA took home the first-ever Sustainability Pioneer Award presented by Organic Monitor at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit held in Paris, France on October 21 st. The Award was created to recognize exceptional brands making international sustainability strides in five categories including Green Formulations, Sustainable Packaging, Sustainable Ingredient, Sustainability Pioneer and Sustainability Leadership.

Criteria for the Sustainability Pioneer Award includes a demonstration of proven leadership by a cosmetic or ingredient firm in the areas of packaging, waste management, energy management, CSR and corporate philanthropy, and more. Brands considered for the prestigious awards were by invitation only.

Through an exclusive partnership with TerraCycle, a company that specializes in recycling post-consumer waste and a driving force behind environmental action, Garnier provided a comprehensive solution to personal care and beauty packaging waste. Through the Personal Care and Beauty Brigade, individuals and groups are empowered to recycle any kind of hair care, skin care, and cosmetic packaging waste that would otherwise end up in landfills by sending it to TerraCycle for free. For every piece of waste sent in, Garnier will contribute two cents to the school or charity of the collector's choice.

In addition to diverting packaging from landfills, Garnier and TerraCycle are beautifying communities with the waste collected through the Personal Care and Beauty Brigade. In October 2012, Garnier donated 55 trash receptacles made of recycled beauty waste to the city of Newark, NJ to help keep the city's parks clean. Last August, Garnier and TerraCycle renovated a community garden in New York City that was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Beauty waste was recycled into plastic lumber and used to build raised garden beds, picnic tables and trash receptacles.

"We couldn't be more honored to receive the Sustainability Pioneer Award by Organic Monitor," says David Greenberg, president of Maybelline New York-Garnier-essie. "This is a long term commitment to sustainability for the L'Oreal Group and Garnier. We have currently collected over 2.7+ million pieces of beauty waste with more than 12,000 Beauty Brigades established domestically and internationally. The program has literally created great things, such as a Community Green Garden in New York City with plant beds, picnic tables and waste bins made from recycled beauty waste."

Source: Garnier 


'Reduce' gains as cost concerns rise

'Reduce' gains as cost concerns rise
PD 2013 Sutainable Packaging Study Chart 1

PD 2013 Sutainable Packaging Study Chart 1How important is cost in today's sustainable packaging equation? Über important. If we didn't include it as a selection in the survey questions for the Packaging Digest 2013 Sustainable Packaging Study, it often showed up as a write-in for the "Other" category.

This cost pressure is one of the reasons "Reduce" has risen to the top of the list (see chart 3). When asked "If your company has specific sustainability targets, what is their focus?"—the top three answers start with "Reduce:"

1. Reduce waste, 57 percent
2. Reduce amount of packaging materials (source reduction), 41 percent
3. Reduce energy consumption, 40 percent

Focusing on reducing and actually being able to do it are two different things. Many feel they have light-weighted their packaging as much as possible. How successful will companies be in this area, moving forward? "Can't downgauge for source reduction and cost savings in parallel any further," says this one survey respondent. Another one writes, "The challenge [is] to design packaging [that] uses less material while performing at the same levels."

Reducing isn't the only task packaging professionals are faced with. When asked "What new challenges is your company encountering from a sustainable packaging perspective?"—a new survey question this year—many respondents cite the same ones we've seen already: cost and performance.

PD 2013 Sutainable Packaging Study Chart 2

"Pricing is the main issue," this one respondent says. "Customers will not accept cost increases for more expensive sustainable materials."

"Cost vs. benefit," writes someone else.

"Cost, cost, cost. Everyone wants it, but no one will pay for it," says this respondent.

A fourth respondent answers, "The ability to source and replace current packaging materials to sustainable packaging without increased cost."

But there were other—revealing—answers to the question of new challenges. One of the most interesting verbatim replies was, "None right now, other problems taking lead."

And here are reminders that packaging isn't created in a vacuum: "Finding composters and recycling companies that will take sustainable packaging (non-food)." And "It's the chicken and egg concept. Suppliers want orders from customers to make innovative materials and customers want suppliers to make innovative materials that are available for them to order."

PD 2013 Sutainable Packaging Study Chart 3

A few respondents not only identify a problem, they offer solutions: "Get another view on packaging: Allow continuous improvement instead of expecting that an established packaging system wouldn't be changed in the next two decades." And "We are moving from being just a user of packaging, to a manufacturer of it as well by bringing blow moulding of bottles in house."

For this year's survey, we asked a number of new questions and added a few selections to the choices, specifically about sustainable packaging and innovation, extended producer responsibility (EPR) and life-cycle analysis (LCA).

PD 2013 Sutainable Packaging Study Chart 4

When asked "Does sustainability limit packaging innovation in other areas (such as functionality and design)?", 40 percent of participants answered "Sometimes" and 23 percent checked "Yes"—together clearly the majority at 63 percent. But 37 percent said "No" (see chart 1).

Cost, again, showed up in many verbatim comments to our follow-up: "How does sustainability limit packaging innovation in other areas?"

One survey respondent writes, "Not as flexible to required needs. Aka material limitations. Cost is especially a large issue."

Just in case we might miss that critical concern, this respondent reiterates, "Cost, cost, cost."

Another one points out, "Packaging has become so light weight that it is becoming harder to make further reductions without compromising strength and performance."

Performance still shows up as a concern in the verbatim commits. As this survey taker says, "Insufficient property performance for manufacturing efficiencies, impact to shelf life [and] material usage efficiency" limit innovation.

PD 2013 Sutainable Packaging Study Chart 5

Or this one, who writes, "Sustainable materials do not always have the properties needed for specific applications."

Balancing material selection with good design and functionality is not easy, as this respondent explains: "The lack of recyclability of some materials causes designers to stay away from them in their design, such as foils and certain plastics." And this participant says, "Optimized packaging often limits design creativity."

A focus in one area often means something else has to give, as this survey participant points out: "Investment of time and resources into sustainability limits time and resources for functionality and design."

And sometimes circumstances are outside their control: 

• "Consumer expectations for design are at cross purposes with sustainability options." For example, as this other respondent says, "Something which could be an innovation for ease of use or single serve could require more material to package."

• "Due to strict regulations of the nature of the business, it is hard to make changes to processes, and it takes a very long time to implement."

PD 2013 Sutainable Packaging Study Chart 6

In the last year, we've heard rumblings about extended producer responsibility taking on more of a role in the U.S. Some companies have already started to voluntarily implement their own programs, including New Belgium Brewing ( In our 2012 Sustainable Packaging Study, 72 percent of respondents said EPR was going to be a "Very" or "Somewhat" significant issue for packaging in the next five years.

PD 2013 Sutainable Packaging Study Chart 7So this year we asked a new question: "How much does Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) influence packaging design at your company?" Surprisingly, "Not at all" received the highest response at 41 percent (see chart 7 above right). One-third of our 2013 survey respondents said "A lot" or "Somewhat." But more than a quarter, 27 percent, said "Not sure."

Will EPR be a big issue in the U.S. or not? Should it influence packaging design? We'll continue to monitor this issue throughout 2014, including any regulatory activity.

Fewer respondents this year vs last (27 percent vs 39) are using life-cycle analysis to evaluate their packaging for sustainability (see chart 8a). If LCA is used, our study shows that an internal LCA professional performs the studies more than anyone else (47 percent) but a packaging engineer/designer is often tapped for the task (38 percent). (See chart 8b.)

It remains to be seen if packaging people are qualified enough (more on training later) but other factors weigh in, as this participant notes: "There are various tools out there that do some remarkable work but have limited datasets and functionality. It is time these tools come together for the good of the industry. We prefer streamlined tools over [GaBi] and [SimaPro], which require full LCA consultants as opposed to people in packaging to use."

What's interesting, though, is how companies put this LCA data to use-or don't. We asked "To what end are the data applied?" (see table 8c). The top answer, at 63 percent, is "To understand environmental profile of a product and/or package." But this knowledge sanctions action less than half the time. Only 43 percent of respondents say LCA data are applied "To inform design improvement."

PD 2013 Sutainable Packaging Study Chart 8

Other notable results
Our 32-question survey returned many other notable results and/or shifts in packaging sustainability. Among them:

• When asked, "Over the next three (3) years, which of the following business factors will have the greatest impact on the strategic direction of your company?" (see chart 2). "Sustainability" dropped from fourth place in 2012 (at 24 percent) to seventh this year (at 22 percent). It's still important, but companies are feeling the heat from competition, mostly local. "Gaining market share" came in second at 25 percent behind "Managing costs" at 31 percent. And "Globalization" saw the deepest drop in percentage points in the list this year, from 15 percent in 2012 to 10 percent in 2013.

• "Companywide" dropped steeply from 14 percent in 2012 to just 2 percent this year for the question "At what level is participation in sustainable products being driven inside your company?" Both "By departments" and "Individual champions" moved up this year, from 32 percent to 37 percent. Packaging is the department more often than not driving participation in product sustainability at a company, coming in at the top of the list at 56 percent (see chart 6).

• While sustainable technologies are still important, the people putting them to use may be more so, especially moving forward. "More education, training" tied for top position (with "More efficient processes"—a new category for 2013) at 46 percent for the question "To best achieve your company's sustainability goals, what developments are most needed?" (see chart 5). 

Additionally, "Training" showed the sharpest percentage increase—up 5 points from 2012—for the question "What do you think are the biggest challenges to making your current packaging process more sustainable?" (see chart 4). In 2012, "Training" ranked 12th of 14 categories; in 2013, it has moved up to 7th. "Finding qualified staff" also saw an increase, but it still ranks low in the list (13th).

• In this same chart 4 ("What do you think are the biggest challenges to making your current packaging process more sustainable?"), "Lack of standards/reporting/metrics" dropped a whopping 10 percentage points and ranks 9th this year, compared to 5th place last year. So it looks like the industry has made progress in this regard.

• We added two new categories to the question "What criteria does your company use to evaluate sustainable packaging?"—and they both scored well (see chart 9). One, "Minimizing/eliminating product waste" tied for the top category (with "Recycled content") at 47 percent. The other new category, "Sustainably sourced materials," came in third at 36 percent.

"Design for end-of-life (recycling, composting or reuse)" was the only selection in the list that saw an increase this year, at 33 percent, up from 29 percent in 2012. Looks like some in the industry will be ready for EPR if/when it comes after all!

This criteria-for-evaluation list saw a number of "Other" write-ins. Take a guess...yep, "Costs."

PD 2013 Sutainable Packaging Study Chart 9

• While "Reduce waste" topped the list of "If your company has specific sustainability targets, what is their focus?" (see chart 3), one of the ways to do this—"Extend product shelf life"—was near the bottom at just 19 percent. And another solution—"Improve product evacuation"—was even lower at just 6 percent. Perhaps these will become more of a focus in the future.

But a real eye-opener to the question "If your company has specific sustainability targets, what is their focus?" was a succinct write-in answer: "Cost savings only."

And that emphasis on costs brings us full circle—a closed loop!

We've packaged the full results into a 60+-page PDF that is available for $149. Send an e-mail to if you want to order. We will then direct you to a site where you can download your copy. Thank you!

Packaging Digest's 2013 Sustainable Packaging Study was conducted via an online survey in October. Invitations to participate in the survey were e-mailed to a random sample of packaging industry decision-makers selected from the subscriber databases of Packaging Digest and its sister publication Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News. The survey link was also shared via social media to Packaging Digest's Twitter followers and our group on LinkedIn.

Findings are based on information from 889 qualified returns from:

Consumer Packaged Goods companies (33 percent),

Packaging Material Manufacturers (14 percent),

Packaging Services (13 percent),

Packaging Converters (8 percent),

Retailers/Wholesalers (11 percent),

Packaging Machinery Manufacturers (6 percent),

Transport/Logistics (3 percent),

Industrial Manufacturing/B2B (4 percent) and

Other / None (8 percent).

A piece of the larger pie
Earlier this year, Packaging Digest interviewed Jim Hanna, director, environmental impact, Starbucks Coffee Co. ( One of Hanna's main points was that packaging gets a lot of attention from a sustainability point of view because it's most visible to consumers. But packaging is often a small part of a company's total environmental impact compared to other things, such as product manufacturing/processing.

To get some ideas on how to address this, we added this open-ended question to our 2013 survey: "How can companies communicate their broader sustainable strategy to customers without making it seem like they are trying to deceitfully divert attention away from packaging?"

A number of respondents offer good ideas:

"Talk about sustainability holistically, product and packaging together."

"Include packaging as a component of the overall sustainability message. Don't ignore it, it is a vital part of the sustainability equation, but it isn't the only part."

"I disagree with your statement. Product packaging contributes more than ‘only a small percentage...'"
"Carbon footprint seems to be the best way."

"Emphasize that functionality in [for example] reducing food waste by effective packaging is much more important in increasing overall sustainability than minimizing [the] amount of packaging."

"Energy and water is a bigger issue in food/confection processing. We have put in a solar energy system and have never told anyone about it, but will change that after reading this survey."

"Joint industry initiatives may help to educate consumers on facts about sustainability."

"Usually the customer who is concerned with sustainability will turn to the internet for this information. The company's website should contain this info and the company would also do well to get some PR in the more eco-conscious publications."

"Implement the changes no matter."