4 active areas of sustainable packaging

Chandler Slavin-Bond, Chief Marketing Officer

October 5, 2016

8 Min Read
4 active areas of sustainable packaging
Oliver Campbell @Dell talks about matching product life ratio w/source material life to drive decisions (courtesy of @lisajmpierce)

If you missed the premier sustainable packaging event of the year, here’s your chance to gain some insights into the hot topics by reading what ideas attendees at SustPack 2016 thought were immensely sharable—that is, the high points of the conference.

We’ve organized the most popular tweets from #SustPack16 into four key areas:

1. How brands do sustainability

2. Disruptive design

3. Recycling

4. Food waste

1. How brands do sustainability

@lisajmpierce: Lars Peterson, prez US, IKEA: We have the opportunity to influence our customers 2 live #sustainable lives

@Barbararfowler: People, planet, positive: sustainability driven innovation @IKEAUSA

@SustPack: By 2020, IKEA will produce as much renewable energy as they consume as a company

@SustPack: IKEA has 3 billion packages that are sold every year—by August 2020 all plastic packaging will be 100% renewable and/or recycled

@DordanMfg: @IKEA uses 1% of world’s cotton and wood. Bc of this, #sustainability initiatives around these producers. #thatsconsiderate

@DordanMfg: @IKEA wants to be energy and resource independent by 2020

@Barbararfowler: @Keurig CSO Monique Oxender sharing their sustainability journey towards product stewardship

@SustPack: Monique Oxender from @Keurig “We are on a mission to deliver our recyclable K-cup pods in 2016!”

@Barbararfowler: Ubiquity of k-cup @Keurig convenience with end of life challenges.

@TIPACorp: LCA: End of life of a K-Cup is not a driver—but that doesn’t match the consumer perception, which is their reality. Keurig

@DordanMfg: @Keurig props to taking a proactive stance to #kcup #recycling. Check out history of PET thermoform recycling for roadmap.

@SustPack: David Strauss, Head of Packaging at @NestleUSA “Packaging inherently contributes to sustainable development”

@Barbararfowler: Deciding which system has lower impacts is not always straight forward @NestleUSA David Strauss

@DordanMfg: @StraDavi really enjoyed your presentation on @Nestle #sustainable #packaging activities

@StraDavi: Thanks Chandler @DordanMfg—happy to share @Nestle best packaging practices to drive sustainability. Great event @SPCspotlight

@Samanthaveide: Proud to have Rachel Goldstein of @MarsGlobal representing our sustainability efforts at #sustpack16.

@lisajmpierce: 2nd time in 1st hour of #sustpack16 that a brand owner says OPTIMUM PACK DESIGN is critical to prevent product waste = good goal!

@Barbararfowler: Mars sustainable packaging initiatives: recyclable fresh packs and alternative materials

@BrightBeatSteph: Mapping supply chains as a means of reducing impact (e.g. deforestation, CO2 reduction). Great job, @MarsGlobal!

@Samanthaveide: Only 53% of customers believe that companies will do what’s right. @SCJohnson. How do we change this?

@Barbararfowler: Every Ziploc bag can claim recyclable at the curb @SCJohnson

@SustPack: @SCJohnson “Transparency is key, not only with our ingredients but also with our packaging”

@SustPack: Stakeholder engagement is very imporant to CSR—Niki King Senior Manager, CSR @CampbellCSR

@Barbararfowler: Why innovate? 2025: 8 billion people @Dell Oliver Campbell, global growth requires sustainable solutions

@DordanMfg: @Oliver_Campbell talking about #sustainable #packaging #innovation @Dell. First slide foreshadows new innovation, ocean plastic?

@DordanMfg: @Oliver_Campbell says #sustainable #packaging has saved @Dell over 53 million dollars over the last 7 years

@DordanMfg: Whhhhhat?! @Dell undertaking feasibility study of using ocean plastics in #packaging?!  @Oliver_Campbell

@SustPack: What if your packaging could grow back at an inch per hour, or what if you could eat it? @Dell sustainable packaging solutions

NEXT: Disruptive design


@LeylaAcaroglu creating regenerative systems (courtesy of @Barbararfowler)

2. Disruptive design 

@Barbararfowler: We make the world and the world makes us @LeylaAcaroglu

@DordanMfg: Cognitive dissidence is the disconnect btwn belief and action, “I want to save the planet but I don't #recycle@LeylaAcaroglu

@DordanMfg: Innovation vs. Disruption: doing something better vs. Doing something new that makes the status quo obsolete @LeylaAcaroglu

@DordanMfg: #sustainability is about limits > constraints @LeylaAcaroglu

@DordanMfg: Cattle production is responsible for 20% of global climate change @LeylaAcaroglu  #moo

@DordanMfg: #Design is the silent social scripter that influences the world @LeylaAcaroglu

@DordanMfg: To understand the system you must understand the function of the system @LeylaAcaroglu

@DordanMfg: Today’s problems are yesterday’s great solutions @LeylaAcaroglu

@lisajmpierce: We r wired 4 survival; change is constant so why do we resistant change? Dr Leyla Acaroglu challenges us  

@SustPack: @LeylaAcaroglu imagine a future where packaging is regenerative. What would that look like?

@SustPack: @LeylaAcaroglu “We need to develop a culture of ideation, and allow people to build new solutions to sustainability”

@CBDavidsonPhD: “Silos in orgs prevent the effective use of life-cycle thinking” @LeylaAcaroglu Break ’em down!  

NEXT: Recycling


Breakdown of US waste and recycling stream (courtesy of @DordanMfg).

3. Recycling

@SustPack: A 5 year decline of recycling. Why? Chinese economy, low oil prices and strong US dollar—@WasteManagement

@DordanMfg: Did you know that it is required by law to offer waste management AND recycling to all residents in Chicago, including condos?!

@Mark_kostreva: @KeefeHarrison “Recycling is about building the supply chain for manufacturing” not keeping material out of landfills.

@DordanMfg: If glass can’t work at the MRF, municipalities will drop glass from curb side collection.  #thatssad

@DordanMfg: How do you justify #recycling glass if there is no post consumer value to it? How do you compete with sand?

@DordanMfg: If you can’t #recycle glass, should we stop using it? Will beer taste as good? Wine in a box makes me sad.

@DordanMfg: Only about 70% of the US waste stream can actually be #recycled or #composted

@SustPack: According to @recycle_com, many US cities do not perform above the national recycling rate of 34%

@ecologeekca: One thing not discussed enough at #sustpack16 : politics. Cities/States with best recycling rates have strong legal structure forcing action


West Coast leads in #recycling. How can we move the needle on our national recycling rate of under 30%?! (courtesy of @DordanMfg)

@DordanMfg: Municipalities that have the highest recycling rates often have been around the longest #patientinvestment

@SustPack: 70% of households have access to recycling, yet only 35% recycle. The access is out there, how do consumers become engaged?


@WasteManagement shares breakdown of materials received via curbside collection (courtesy of @DordanMfg)

@SustPack: Did you know that the @How2Recycle label is the first label designed with the consumer in mind?

@SustPack: 83% of consumers learn from the @How2Recycle label and are recycling more, and more accurately.

@How2Recycle: 67% of consumers assume packaging is not recyclable if they don’t see a recycling claim on the package

@lisajmpierce: Recycled #packaging rates sad. @How2Recycle Label next-gen focus will be on high value/access materials  

NEXT: Food waste


Design products to optimize food preservation. #uglyfruitandvegetables. Packaging can play a large role! (courtesy of @TIPACorp)

4. Food waste  

@SustPack: @EPAland shares that in 2013 we threw away over 35 million tons of food, which accounted for 21% of the American waste stream

@Barbararfowler: 40% fresh food wasted=$165 Billion each year, in the US only

@Samanthaveide: “How can we better articulate the importance of packaging in the role of mitigating food waste.” -C Coleman @EPA.  #nowastedfood

@MeveChap: @EPA talking about the call to collective action to meet the US 2030 food loss and waste goal. #stopwastingfood  #rethink

@MeveChap: @EPA 2030 food loss and waste target: 218.9 lbs/person (2010 reference) to 109.4 lbs/person.

@SustPack: @EPAland How do we stop the problem of food waste? Increase public awareness, clarify date labels and improve data

@lisajmpierce: US EPA working w/FDA to better clarify date codes on #packaging to cut food waste per Cheryl Coleman  


Chandler Slavin is the sustainability coordinator and marketing manager at custom thermoforming company Dordan Manufacturing. Privately held and family owned and operated since 1962, Dordan is an engineering-based designer and manufacturer of plastic clamshells, blisters, trays and thermoformed components. Follow Slavin on Twitter @DordanMfg.


See a host of new ideas in sustainable packaging at EastPack 2016, June 14-16, in New York City. Register today and use the promo code NY16PD to get free expo admission and 20% off conference passes.

About the Author(s)

Chandler Slavin-Bond

Chief Marketing Officer, Dordan Manufacturing

Chandler Slavin-Bond is the chief marketing officer at Dordan Manufacturing, a custom thermoformer of trays for a variety of markets, including medical, automotive, and electronics. Follow Slavin-Bond on Twitter @DordanMfg.

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