Archive for February, 2012

Fast Food Leaders in Green Packaging

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

The work of McDonalds and Starbucks to make their packaging more recyclable or reduce the amount of materials they use has led them to be the fast food green packaging leaders according to Dogwood Alliance.

“Greening Fast Food Packaging: A Roadmap to the Best Practices,”  Dogwood Alliance’s latest report, the environmental group lays out eight steps that guide companies’ move to more sustainable packaging, along with actions already being taken by major brands such as Starbucks and McDonalds.

The most prevalent fast food packaging material is paper and the report strongly urges the use of less of it throughout. The guidelines also include innovating new designs to make more-efficient packaging, increasing use of recycled content, to avoid obtaining paper from controversial suppliers or sources, and to partake in  more in-store recycling.

McDonald’s has seen a 21 percent reduction in the paper in its napkins, and in the U.K. it eliminated 84 tons of paper in 2010 by reducing the size of bun tray liners. Pizza Hut is another major leader. Over the last 10 years it has reduced paper in pizza boxes by 15 percent.

Other fast food leader, Starbucks, has taken many different steps towards its goal of providing only reusable or recyclable cups for 2015. In an effort to gather ideas, the company ran a contest, offered discounts for customers who used reusable mugs and containers, and has been testing how its cups handle in various recycling systems.

“Real leadership emerged from companies like McDonald’s and Starbucks who have taken important steps to reduce packaging, increase the use of recycled content, and eliminate controversial sources of paper originating from destructive logging practices,” said Scot Quaranda, Campaign Director at Dogwood Alliance and one of the report’s authors.  “Unfortunately, some companies have chosen to simply paint their paper packaging green by utilizing the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification which actually certified destructive logging practices as sustainable.”

The Dogwood Alliance’s eight step to making packaging more environmentally friendly include:

1. Embrace corporate leadership on sustainability: Adopt an environmental packaging policy and get buy-in from leadership.

2. Use a full life cycle and supply chain approach: Determine the complete scope of impacts from packaging along the entire supply chain.

3. Reduce overall packaging and increase efficiency: Minimize packaging, make it lighter.

4. Increase use of recycled fiber

5. Eliminate paper from controversial forestry practices (with this step, Dogwood Alliance wades into the ongoing debate on sustainable forestry, urging companies should use only paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and avoid paper certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.)

6. Increase in-store recycling and recovery: Provide recycling within restaurants and encourage recycling when customers take packaging away.

7. Eliminate toxic inks and labels.

8 Reduce carbon footprint: Make transportation more efficient through better shipping setups and fuel-efficient vehicles.

Unfortunately, while there are standout leaders in fast food, there are a number of companies, that according to Dogwood Alliance, continue to greenwash instead of taking real action. The report takes time to focus on companies like Yum! Brands, which is the target of Dogwood Alliance Kentucky Fried Forests campaign, who rely on the heavily-criticized SFI certification, which certifies as sustainable the worst forest practices that include logging of endangered forests, conversion of natural forests to plantations, and large-scale clearcutting.

“We hope that by boiling down complex issues into a straightforward, stepwise action plan, companies can make progress on their packaging, creating a win-win for our forests and the corporate bottom-line,” continued Quaranda.  “By following our roadmap and working with experts in key areas associated with the packaging supply chain, more companies can lead rather than lag further behind.”

The full report can be found here:

Source: Dogwood Alliance

Re-use and Recycle – DIY Garden Cloche

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

It’s that time again for another do it yourself project. It seems like the simple DIY projects we can do with our old CD cases is endless! Once again, we will be dusting off our old jewel CD cases to re-use and recycle to create a garden cloche.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term cloche, it refers to a glass or transparent plastic cover that is placed over young plants to protect them during cold weather. Using your old CD cases allows you to re-use and recycle for a cheap solution to use as a garden tool.

A cloche acts like a mini greenhouse by offering climate control to help get new seedlings off to a good start. With a garden cloche made from recycled CD cases, the warm sun rays will shine through the open top of the cloche and the clear sides will warm the surrounding soil. And when you want to protect the fragile, young plants from frost, you just need to simply shut the lid.

For more DIY projects you can do by using your old CD cases check out our past posts:

DIY – Photo Frame Carousel

Upcycling: Turning Old CD Cases into a Photo Cube

Proctor & Gamble Co. One Step Closer to 2020 Sustainability Goals with New Packaging

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Procter & Gamble Co. are giving Gillette Fusion ProGlide’s packaging a “future friendly” redesign by reducing the amount of plastic and replacing it with moldable pulp by partnering with Be Green Packaging LLC, a Santa Barbara, Calif., company that designs and makes compostable packaging.

The new package features 57 percent less plastic than the original clamshell outer packaging and razor tray. The new materials that are incorporated into the package include bamboo, sugar cane, and bulrush. The combined mixture is made into a liquid slurry which is then molded into place. Procter & Gamble Co. stated that the technique is “stretching the boundaries of what moldable pulp can do.”

The overall changes in the packaging redesign include a 20 percent reduction in gross weight, overall reduction of the packaging material, and complete eliminations of low levels of PVC that were previously in the products’ packaging. By withstanding compression and sealing and opening forces, the global communications director, Damon Jones, of P&G’s grooming and shave care operations states that “We were able to reduce the environmental impact of the packaging without compromising safe, effective delivery of the product. Given the packaging is primarily from renewable sources, we saw this as a step forward.”

The redesign of the packaging aligns with P&G’s 2020 sustainability goals to incorporate 100 percent renewable or recycled materials into every product and packaging. Past efforts towards sustainability include reductions of plastic by 49 percent in the packaging for the M3 Power razor in 2004 and Gillette Fusion razor in 2006.

Jones said P&G changed the package without significant added costs to consumers, but he did not detail any cost breakdowns.

“We take a design-led approach to environmental sustainability and are committed to reducing the environmental impact of our products and operations without compromising on the quality,” Jones said.

The new packaging was unveiled in Western Europe in 2011 to positive reactions by consumers. P&G hopes to see these same reactions when the new packaging unveils in North America in the first half of 2012.


Lettuce gets a New Look with New Packaging

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

A new design in lettuce packaging has allowed for Tennessee business Tanimura & Antle to create more efficiency in their pallet loading. The new design allows for increased delivery efficiency by more than 35%. Which means that 35% more products are loaded per pallet for their greenhouse grown Hydroponic Butter Lettuce. The lettuce in the packaging is harvested and packed with its roots removed unlike previous designs which featured room for the root involved. The new packaging is featured in a smaller, more compact clamshell with a tamper-evident label after research provided evidence that shelf life remains the same with or without the root attached to the lettuce.

“Our study evaluating shelf life of lettuce with roots attached versus roots off showed no difference between the two,” says Gurmail Mudahar, VP of food safety and quality assurance. Diana McClean, director of marketing, adds “While both products deliver a 16-day shelf life, consumer and customer preference will determine which product is delivered to retail stores.”

With a new, sleeker clamshell that fits the rootless head of the lettuce, the clamshell packaging is designed specially to fit to and protect the rootless lettuce to in order to ensure quality from the time it is harvested to the time it hits the shelf.

“We wanted to increase our line of greenhouse grown lettuces and offer a value option to our retail customer,” says Rick Antle, CEO, “plus consumers have expressed interest in a cleaner product presentation. Once we discovered the shelf life and product quality were the same for lettuce with or without roots, we realized that we had a fairly easy alternative product offering out of Tennessee.”

DIY – Photo Frame Carousel

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

A few weeks ago our blog post “Upcycling: Turning Old CD Cases into a Photo Cube” showed us how we can upcycle our old jewel CD cases by turning them into photo cube in a DIY project. This week, we found another DIY project via Photojojo using old jewel CD cases, this time, the cases can be used to create a photo frame carousel!

The DIY photo project comes from Tiffany Threadgould’s DIY book, Remake It, and is a great way to use old jewel CD cases you thought you no longer had use for.

Once completed, this frame-holder can hold up to 10 photos and spin around base just like a carousel. And, anytime you feel a picture is getting old and outdates, you can easily swap out an old picture for a new one!

The carousel is easy to create and we’d like to give a BIG thanks to Photojojo for the great ingredients and step-by-step guide on how to craft this DIY project below!

Here’s what they had to say:


  • 5 CD jewel cases
  • 10 5″x7″ photo prints
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Tape (electrical tape works best)
  • 10 old CDs
  • CD spindle
  • Stickers, ribbon, scrap paper, etc. (optional)

1. Take the Insides Out

Carefully remove the black or clear center tray of each CD case.

This is the part of the case where your Spice Girls CD would normally snap onto.

Just lift up one edge with your finger until the whole thing moves freely and remove it.

You can throw it out since you won’t need it anymore.

2. Prep Your Pics

Here’s where you can choose to keep things simple or get crafty.

To fill the entire CD frame, trim your photos to 5⅜ inches x 4⅝ inches.

If you’re going the crafty route, you can glue smaller photos onto 4¾ inches x 4¾ inches pieces of decorative paper. Then decorate photos with stickers, ribbon, scrap paper, whatevs you want.

Insert two photos back to back inside a CD jewel case. The photos will display where the CD liner notes used to be. Close the CD jewel case.

Now repeat for the other 4 jewel cases ’til you have 10 photos displayed, 1 on each side of each case.

3. Tape the Cases Together

Stack two jewel cases on top of each other.

Cut a 5 inch piece of tape and tape the cases together along their spines.

Make sure you don’t tape the side of the case that opens. You’ll need to be able to open the cases for switching out photos.

Add another case to the top of the stack and tape it to the one beneath it. Repeat this step until you have a stack of five jewel cases taped together on their spines.

4. Fan the Cases

Place the CD stack upright so it’s standing on your work surface with the front facing you.

Fan the jewel cases out so they sit carousel style. They should be connected at the center where the tape is.

Insert one more piece of tape at the hinge between the two cases that used to be on the top and the bottom of the stack. This’ll close the loop!

You’ll want to reinforce all the other hinges with tape along the opposite side that you already taped them on.

5. Place Them on the Spindle

Now grab your 10 CDs. Place them shiny side up, in the bottom of the CD spindle.

The CDs will be a slippery surface for the jewel-case photo spinner to spin on. This is a good time to pretend you’re a DJ scratching on your records. (Make sure no one’s around because gawd, that’d be embarrassing.)

Now for the crowning moment: slip your jewel case spinner onto the spindle. It’s best if the spindle is taller than the CD jewel cases, so adjust your stack of CDs accordingly.

If the jewel cases don’t spin easily, try gently tugging on them in opposite directions so the tape stretches slightly.

Now, place the CD jewel-case photo spinner on your desk and admire your work.

This jewel of a project is a super original way to frame your photos. Plus it makes you feel good because you get to recycle, which pretty much saves the planet.

Source: Photojojo