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5 outstanding sustainable packages, partnerships, persons and processes
The first Trashies Awards were presented during the SustPack 2015 conference.

5 outstanding sustainable packages, partnerships, persons and processes

Last Tuesday night, March 31, Aveda, Ecologic Brands, Jeff Wooster, Dow and the Carton Council made history as recipients of the first annual Trashies Awards. They received their awards during the opening reception of the SustPack 2015 conference (Mar. 31-Apr. 2; Orlando, FL), produced by Smithers Pira in partnership with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and Packaging Digest. [6-19-15: Watch the 7-minute presentation ceremony video here.]

Steve Mahler, design manager and sustainable package development manager at Caraustar Industries, envisioned and created the Trashies competition, meticulously crafted each award by hand and served as one of four judges. I was a judge, too, along with Kim Carswell, senior manager, packaging, Target and Victor Bell, president, Environmental Packaging Intl.

Overall, I was impressed with the quality of the entries, especially for a new competition. We recognized winners in four of the program’s five categories: Package, Partnership, Person, Process/Production Method and Public Message/Service/Ad Campaign. The judges felt that none of the entries in the Public Message/Service/Ad Campaign category were worthy of an award this year. But two entries in the Package category won.

Packaging Digest, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and Smithers Pira congratulate our 2015 Trashies Awards winners:

Winner: Aveda
Category: Package (a combination PCR and bioplastic tube)

Winner: Ecologic Brands
Category: Package (Purina Pro Plan Renew cat litter jug from Nestle)

Winner: Carton Council
Category: Partnership

Winner: Jeff Wooster
Category: Person

Winner: Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics
Category: Process/Production Method (Retain Polymer Modifiers)

Click “Next” for details about the Aveda PCR/bioplastic tube.

Winner: Aveda
Category: Package (a combination PCR and bioplastic tube)
Mike Kennedy (center), vp for Aveda Global Package Development, accepts the Trashies award—from competition organizer Steve Mahler, design manager and sustainable package development manager at Caraustar Industries, and me, Lisa Pierce—bestowed for the company’s achievement in producing the first tube in the prestige beauty market that combines post-consumer recycled material  (high-density polyethylene/HDPE) with bioplastic (linear-low-density polyethylene/LLDP and HDPE). The bioplastic portion is biopolyethylene derived from sugarcane bagasse, the fibrous stalks remaining after sugarcane is crushed for sugar production.

Since introducing this tube to the market in 2014 for its Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Conditioner and Dry Remedy Moisturizing Masque, Aveda has expanded the initiative to use PCR/bioplastic in all of its new tubes and tottles for new product launches for Smooth Infusion, Beautifying, Stress-Fix and all new travel sizes. I am glad to see this program continuing at Aveda, which tackles sustainability on multiple levels.

Click “Next” for details about the Ecologic Brands cat litter jug for Nestle’s Purina Pro Plan Renew.

Winner: Ecologic Brands
Category: Package (Purina Pro Plan Renew cat litter jug from Nestle)

This is a perfect marriage of product and package. The all-fiber outer shell with a no-plastic cap caught my attention, as I think it will with eco-conscious consumers, which this natural product targets. The easy-to-pour package is a rigid container made from recycled, recyclable molded paper pulp, with a closure made from the same material. Both container and cap can be recycled in curbside programs or composted.

Ecologic developed this first single-material package in partnership with Nestlé Purina PetCare to convey the brand’s commitment to natural materials while maintaining a consumer-friendly design.

Elizabeth Shoch (center), assistant director, Sustainable Packaging Coalition, accepts the award on behalf of Ecologic from competition organizer Steve Mahler, design manager and sustainable package development manager at Caraustar Industries, and me, Lisa Pierce.

Click “Next” for details about the Carton Council partnership.

Winner: Carton Council
Category: Partnership

Through carefully orchestrated efforts by the Carton Council—whose members are Elopak, Evergreen Packaging, SIG Combibloc, Tetra Pak and Weyerhaeuser—the number of U.S. households with access to carton recycling increased from 18% in 2009 to 53% by the end of 2014. That means that more than 62 million householdsnow have access to carton recycling in 48 states and 77 of the top 100 U.S. cities.

According to the entry, “The Carton Council has made significant investments to expand the national recycling infrastructure for cartons and successfully facilitated and supported the creation of end markets for the fiber recovered from recycled cartons.”

Not only is the partnership between industry competitors noteworthy, but the Carton Council also worked closely with state recycling organizations and with other organizations and companies that share the common interest in growing recycling, such as Keep Texas Beautiful and several food and beverage brands. The Carton Council joined the Curbside Value Partnership (CVP) board of directors and helps fund CVP’s Recycling Partnership, which works with communities to improve all aspects of their recycling programs through resources and grants.

Derric Brown (center), director sustainability at Evergreen Packaging, accepts the award on behalf of the Carton Council from competition organizer Steve Mahler, design manager and sustainable package development manager at Caraustar Industries, and me, Lisa Pierce.

Click “Next” for details about Jeff Wooster.

Winner: Jeff Wooster
Category: Person

If you’ve attended a sustainable packaging conference or participated on a committee in the last several years, chances are that you’ve met Jeff Wooster, global sustainability director, Dow Chemical Co. I have seen firsthand how he leads to advance important sustainability initiatives.

For example, in 2014, Wooster led the Energy Bag Pilot Program in which approximately 6,000 pounds of typically non-recycled plastic items were diverted from landfills. In this program, Dow partnered with the Flexible Packaging Association, Republic Services, Agilyx, Reynolds Consumer Products and the City of Citrus Heights, CA, to drive this energy recovery project.

Additionally, Wooster chairs the American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Div. Packaging Team and serves as the lead Dow representative on the Flexible Packaging Association’s Sustainability Task Force. He also serves on the Board of Directors and is the current president of AMERIPEN. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors for GreenBlue, the parent for the Sustainable Packaging Coalition.

Wooster accepts his award from competition organizer Steve Mahler, design manager and sustainable package development manager at Caraustar Industries, and me, Lisa Pierce.

Click “Next” for details about Dow’s Retain Polymer Modifiers process.

Winner: Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics
Category: Process/Production Method (Retain Polymer Modifiers)
Currently, many coextruded film manufacturers generate about 8% to 15% of scrap in their barrier film manufacturing operations when using nylon or EVOH as the barrier. They are able to recycle the scrap back into their manufacturing process, but in small amounts: about 5%. If they introduce more than that back into the raw materials, they begin to see a reduction in optics (clarity) or in performance.

With Retain polymer modifiers, manufacturers are able to recycle up to 15% of the post-industrial barrier films without compromising performance or aesthetics.

Here is how the clever chemistry works, as described in the entry: “Based on a reactive ultra-low viscosity, Retain polymer modifiers allow pelletized barrier films, containing materials like ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) or polyamide (PA), to be more evenly dispersed into a polyolefin matrix. Reactive groups ‘coat’ the polar components, encapsulating them into micro-domains to enable excellent dispersion.”

Dow’s marketing manager Ritika Kalia and senior product development scientist Didem Oner-Deliormanli accept the award from competition organizer Steve Mahler, design manager and sustainable package development manager at Caraustar Industries, and me, Lisa Pierce.

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