As sustainability advances, packaging steps up

Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

April 17, 2015

10 Min Read
As sustainability advances, packaging steps up

Top sustainable packaging issues—including composting, marine debris and the circular economy—led many of the sessions and conversations at the recent SustPack 2015 conference. Highlights and insights from the most “social” participants reveal today’s progress and tomorrow’s direction.

Tweets from the event—with LOTS of links and pix—are organized into:

• Business Insights

• New Ideas/Processes/Products

• Recycling

• Reuse

• Marine debris

• Composting

• Circular economy

We start with Business Insights:

@SustPack: What is the biggest challenge that we need to solve as an industry? Closing question of Day 1 of #sustpack15

@SustPack: Answers: Consumer perception, policing, at-home manufacturing, logistics, identification, economics, securing feedstocks #sustpack15

@SustPack: More…using design, reuse, supply chain - tell us what you think the biggest challenges are #sustpack15

@lisajmpierce: Ahem...Got a little Trashie at the #SustPack15 conference last week. Oh my!

@ScottCollick: Between #EnergyBag, #MakeItLast, 45 patents and a lengthy resume, it’s no surprise @JeffWoosterRS receives a #Trashie at #sustpack15

@greenblueorg: Check out our blogs from #sustpack15 #sustainability #business

@TomHV: RT @TetraPak_NA_Eco: MT @DordanMfg: 93% of CEOs see #sustainability as a key to success; 73% believe embedding it will facilitate growth #sustpack15

@BSIbio: "@MollysTweets: Millennials would buy more eco friendly products if they knew where to buy them! #sustpack15" yes! @SoapDispensary #buybulk

@DordanMfg: note to self: check out to learn about being a #sustainable business #circulareconomy @pe_experts #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: To read: Andrew Winston's The Big Pivot #sustpack15 @ninagoodrich

@DordanMfg: Have you heard of project MainStream? New initiative is the "global plastic packaging roadmap"; and eco design #sustpack15 #davos2015

@Krighthand: @JNJNews Michael Chung We agree—leverage the community you have to drive #susty in way that is authentic to you. #sustpack15 w/ @pe_experts

@DordanMfg: How do we get better measurement tools in place? @usepagov #sustpack15

@TetraPak_NA_Eco: We don't want our customers to have to choose between their wallet and saving the planet @Walmart #sustpack15 RT @DordanMfg

@DordanMfg: @Walmart has a sustainability leaders store within a store where the top performers in product categories are profiled #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Packaging is a tangible example that the sustainability illiterate understand @Walmart #sustpack15

@lisajmpierce: "Once that spark is lit, there's no stopping you," Daniel Bena, PepsiCo ambassador #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: How do you lite that spark? Let's not underestimate the power of the groundswell from the bottom @PepsiCo #sustpack15

@CBDavidsonPhD: How to move #sustainability forward? "Magic happens when you set external goals" Michael Chung from @JNJCares #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Hearing first from Carla Fantoni @tetrapak on how communications help #sustainability become a part of the company's core #sustpack15

@KimCarswell: It is so great to see so many women CEOs changing the packaging supplier landscape @SustPack #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: "You aren't changing the world, but you are making a difference" @Veritiv #sustpack15 #closeingtheloop

@lisajmpierce: Biggest problem for bioplastics is its sticker shock, Ian DeWeerdt, Full Cycle BioPlastics #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Seeing that a product is environmentally friendly makes consumers think that it is higher quality @NMITweets #sustpack15

@lisajmpierce: Consumption boom opens opportunities for the bio-based economy, Debra Darby, Darby Mktg, which will grow 400% by 2018 #sustpack15

@lisajmpierce: Committing to using 100% recycled content is like only eating leftovers: Bill Frerking at Georgia-Pacific #sustpack15


@DordanMfg: Conclusion from presentation on evaluating #sustainability through an investment lens #sustpack15

@lisajmpierce: Investors need quality data & uniform reporting, says Bekefi. Add #sustainable info to 10Ks? Great idea! #sustpack15

@lisajmpierce: Investors r only interested in #sustainability when it is a threat or opportunity--like ALWAYS: Bekefi at #sustpack25

@lisajmpierce: Environmental issues r also economic ones, Tamara Bekefi, Daedalus Strategic Advising #sustpack15

@lisajmpierce: Nina Goodrich, Sustainable #Packaging Coalition: The folks in this room are the leaders of change #SustPack15

@CBDavidsonPhD: This morning @DavidKiron1 talked about #sustainability "walkers" and sustainability "talkers": which are you? #sustpack15 @mitsmr

@Krighthand: @GeorgiaPacific asks: what R you trying to achieve w #susty, how 2 know you R getting close, who defines it 4 you? w @PE_Experts #sustpack15

@MollysTweets: Consumer education is vital to show why and how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Say what?! Consumers less concerned about global warming than they were 10 years ago @NMITweets #sustpack15

@s_abbe:  Love Cara Cosentino's @WatchMeThink consumer videos at #sustpack15. How often do packages take into account the visual challenges of eldery?

@KimCarswell: Material sustainable programs = superior markets performance @SustPack #SustPack15

@NickMallos: 70% of industry managers say environmental #sustainability is important. Envt priorities: pollution, waste mgmt and energy use. #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: @ninagoodrich, there is a link between #sustainability and corporate #profits: investing in materiality sustainability pays off #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: 93% of CEOs see #sustainability as a key to success; 73% believe embedding it into corporate strategy will facilitate growth #sustpack15

@MollysTweets: Whatever a co does to affect own footprint, it's not enough to affect the global changes we need. Preach! @MITSloanSusty #sustpack15

@DordanMfg:  How do we move #sustainability forward? #Collaboration is key. Just sustainable materials management is not enough #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Resource prices have increased since the turn of the century; we can't assume "business as usual" @ninagoodrich #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Not everything that counts is countable. Every solution needs a trail blazer. What is the next term solution? @pe_experts #sustpack15

Click next for #SustPack 2015 tweets on NEW IDEAS/PROCESSES/PRODUCTS.

#SustPack 2015 tweets on New Ideas/Processes/Products:

@DordanMfg: @MangoMaterials PHA #bioplastic is significantly cheaper than other PHAs because it is easier to make from methane than sugar #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Methane is over 20-30% more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide @MangoMaterials #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Methane to #bioplastic is more economical than methane to electricity @MangoMaterials #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: @MangoMaterials feeds methane to bacteria that produce a biopolymer that breaks down in any environment, including anaerobic #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: @Veritiv explaining how they took OCC going out @Dell back door to #recycle and repurposed as molded pulp cushion for shipping #sustpack15


@DordanMfg: Imagine a sangria in a cherry edible cup! @LOLIWARE #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Why edible? Means @LOLIWARE is truly compostable and go from cup to compost in 60 days #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Biodegredible, a new category of sustainable materials that are biodegradable and edible #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Put more products in the same amount of space—win for retailers with @myReplenish #sustpack15

@lisajmpierce: 1st barrier coating for food #packaging that is recyclable & compostable from Smart Planet Technologies #SustPack15

Click next for #SustPack 2015 tweets on RECYCLING.

#SustPack 2015 tweets on Recycling:

@steverussell: Great news> MT @SPCspotlight: "We are jazzed to announce we are joining the @How2Recycle label" - Ashley C. Hall, Walmart #sustpack15

@KimCarswell: Welcome to @How2Recycle @Walmart!!! @SustPack #SustPack15


@lisajmpierce: 82% of consumers say the #How2Recycle label is somewhat to easy to understand, Kelly, SPC #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Demand exceeds supply. How do we collect more?! @usepagov #sustpack15

@JeffWoosterRS: #sustpack15 Gerald Rebitzer #recycling is good but prevention is better. I agree—consider the big picture and watch out for trade-offs

@SmartPlanetTech: We cannot defend the status quo and at the same time build a sustainable future @DowPackaging #recycle #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Let's shift to measuring recycling not based on weight but in the context of carbon emission savings @WasteManagement #sustpack15

@JeffWoosterRS: #sustpack15 Susan Robinson #recycling is not the goal; it is the means to achieve the goal. We ARE reducing waste

@DordanMfg: Does the fact that something can't be recycled make it bad? @WasteManagement #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Recycling is measured in weight, not volume. Packaging weighs 20% less than it did. Recycling 15-20% more volume because of this #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: More non-recyclable materials coming into MRFs; more low value materials coming into the stream @WasteManagement #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Glass is a drag on the system @WasteManagement #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: PET and aluminum have highest value for recyclers, but very limited volume #sustpack15 @WasteManagement

@DordanMfg: Inbound materials at MRFs is 45-60% paper and 40-55% containers @WasteManagement #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Average 16% contamination at single stream facilities vs. 5% from multiple stream facilities @WasteManagement #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Single stream recycling results in more items available for #recycling @WasteManagement #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: The closed loop fund gives 0% interest loans to municipalities looking to spur recycling @Walmart #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: Calcium carbonate increases the density of #plastic #packaging: how does this impact the sink vs. float phase of #recycling? #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: More confusion over the #sustainability of #plastic and #biodegradable vs #recyclable for consumers #sustpack15

Click next for #SustPack 2015 tweets on REUSE.

#SustPack 2015 tweets on Reuse:

@MollysTweets: @myReplenish Great innovation. I loved your presentation! Any food apps? #sustpack15

@SustPack: Walmart’s CleanPath concentrates advance Replenish refill packaging Great preview of next week #sustpack15's talks


Click next for #SustPack 2015 tweets on MARINE DEBRIS.

#SustPack 2015 tweets on Marine Debris:

@BSIbio: "The marine environment is NOT a disposal pathway" so true! Prof R.Narayan on marine degradable bioplastics @SustPack #sustpack15 @vanaqua

@future500: Conrad MacKerron @AsYouSow says the #sustpack15 panel on #marinedebris is a "Call to arms" to #brands & #CPGs to help solve the problem

@DordanMfg: #marinedebris panel talking about the responsibility of industry to provide capital for infrastructure #sustpack15

@UpstreamPolicy: Nick DeMallos @oceanconservancy delivering a gr8 presentation at #sustpack15. Need systemic solution to plastic pollution #priceonplastic

@DordanMfg: SCARY: Without a global effort, plastic waste discharges to the ocean will continue to grow. This makes me sad. #sustpack15 #marinedebris

@future500:  Brands can solve #plasticpollution by advancing #sharedresponsibility #sustpack15 @OurOcean @NickMallos

@greenblueorg: Hey #sustpack15, Who said "Anything given time is biodegradable; you might as well put a sticker on yourself saying biodegradable"?

@future500: @NickMallos #sustpack15 @OurOcean "Taking too much out + putting too much in = uncertain future for #oceans" #plasticpollution

@SustPack: Marine debris - what should we do?  #sustpack15

Click next for #SustPack 2015 tweets on COMPOSTING.

#SustPack 2015 tweets on Composting:

@MollysTweets: Anaerobic digestion to increase by triple digit %s annually. Find this concerning as a bandaid to food waste problem. #sustpack15

@lisajmpierce: Designer's dilemma: How 2 marry in-use/storage/transit demand w/performance demand of composting environ #sustpack15

@lisajmpierce: Pseudo-compostables & mimics hurt image of certified compostables, BSI's Carson #sustpack15

@lisajmpierce: Compostability issues: infrastructure, policy & consumer awareness, Susanna Carson, prez, BSI #sustpack15

@TIPACorp: MT @SustPack: Will interest in bio-materials boost #compostable #packaging in the US?  @packagingdigest #sustpack15

Click next for #SustPack 2015 tweets on the CIRCULAR ECONOMY.

#SustPack 2015 tweets on the Circular Economy:

@CBDavidsonPhD: #sustpack15 summary: #Materiality matters, #sustainability is linked to financial performance, design for #circulareconomy @ninagoodrich

@DordanMfg: Circular is a means to an end. It is an ideology that gets us to a sustainable society @pe_experts #sustpack15

@DordanMfg: The vision is about a lot more than single attribute goals like carbon #SUSTPACK15 #circulareconomy

Special Thanks: @lisajmpierce: Shout-out to Chandler Slavin @DordanMfg for helping @packagingdigest cover #sustpack15. TU! Great job w/tweets & ?s

Click here to read Slavin’s take-aways from SustPack 2015.


About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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