Archive for March, 2012

Nestlé Creates 100 Percent Recyclable Packaging for Easter Eggs

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

As the Easter season nears, many of us can’t help but dig into a bag of Nestlé chocolate Easter eggs. Every year, nearly 25 million (that’s a lot of chocolate eggs!) of the chocolate eggs are produced in the U.K., which accounts for over 10% of Britain’s annual chocolate sales.

This year, Nestlé UK & Ireland has made their egg packaging 100 percent recyclable , making them the first producer of confectionery goods to use 100 percent recyclable packaging across its entire Easter egg range.

Nestlé converted to 100 percent recyclable packaging by replacing the rigid plastic with cardboard. The eco-packaging project removed all plastic packaging from the eggs and took six years to complete. The change of materials is estimated to save roughly 725 tons of plastic waste from entering landfills per year. That number is based on the comparison of the weight of plastic used in 2008 to manufacture the Easter egg boxes.

Throughout the past few years, Nestlé UK & Ireland has made efforts to reduce the weight of the packaging for its Easter eggs and in 2006 succeeded in reducing the weight of the small and medium-sized eggs by 30-50 percent. Then, in 2009, the company hit a milestone by becoming the first major confectioner to replace non-recyclable plastic with recyclable cardboard packaging in 20 million eggs, which equates to 80 percent of the line. Efforts then continued and in 2011, 100 tons of plastic were removed across the entire line.

Easter egg packaging has been known to create lots of packaging waste and it is estimated that in 2009, packaging from the eggs created 3,000 tons of waste in the U.K. alone. In 2011 86 million Easter eggs were sold, a market valued at £280 million ($445 million), Nestlé said.

Nestlé has also been making efforts outside of the Easter egg candy packaging to reduce its global footprint. Other packaging reduction efforts include a redesigned refill packet for Nescafé coffe that now requires 50 percent fewer trucks per ton of coffee to transport the goods to retailers, and packaging reductions to its other seasonal confectioneries, Nestlé said.

Source: Nestlé

Consumers Taking More Notice to Environmental Claims on Packaging

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Environmentally packaging has sure come a long way since conscious efforts were first being made to create packaging that would be more sustainable to the environment. Within the past few years, we have seen a shift in consumers perceptions and willingness to purchase items that were more eco-friendly or came in an eco-friendly package, even if that means paying a few extra dollars. But that is not to say that many consumers are not confused about the messaging that comes with the environmental claims. A recent study highlights that when given the option, consumers will buy a more eco-friendly product, just don’t give confusing messages about its environmental benefits.

The study recently released by Perception Research Services found that 36 percent of shoppers in 2011 said that they would choose to purchase a product with environmentally friendly packaging compared with 28 percent in 2010.

The study results also showed that half of the shoppers said that they were willing to pay more for environmentally safe packaging. Of the respondents, willingness to pay more was more prevalent among those under the age of 40. Roughly 59 percent said that seeing environmental claims on packaging has a positive impacts on their purchasing behavior over other favored brands.

Although there is a positive attitude shift in perception and purchasing behaviors for environmentally sound products and packaging, a significant amount of shoppers said that they are frustrated with the way companies choose to promote their environmental capabilities and claims. Lack of environmental information affected at least 26 percent of the respondents, 20 percent are confused about the different environmental claims and the types, and 22 percent just don’t know which packaging overall is better for the environment.

“We’re seeing a great opportunity for manufacturers to provide truly value-added packaging to their target shoppers by making it more environmentally friendly — primarily in the form of recyclability and recycled content — and clearly communicating these aspects,” Jonathan Asher, executive vice president at Fort Lee-based Perception Research Services, said in a news release. “We have seen that it is vital to get both the message right as well as the delivery [of the message], because one without the other will create a missed opportunity.”

Source: Perception Resource Services

March Madness Begins: Sustainable Sixteen Unveils Top Environmental and Sustainable Colleges and Universities

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

In the midst of March Madness, Enviance, Inc. and Environmental Leader recently unveiled the “Sustainable 16,” a group of sixteen colleges and universities who demonstrate excellence in environmental academics. The “Sustainable 16” are now in the running to become the first-ever March Madness “National Champion” in the tournament that highlights Environmental Studies. To be considered in the running for the Sustainable 16, schools were required to fill out a survey to explain why they should be selected and what they have done in the field to validate their credentials. A panel of experts then evaluated the answers to round out the list.

Rounding out the Sustainable 16 are… (in alphabetical order)

  1. Baylor University
  2. Colby College
  3. Colorado State University
  4. Cornell University
  5. Duke University
  6. Humboldt State University
  7. Montana State University
  8. Ohio State University
  9. Purdue University
  10. Rochester Institute of Technology
  11. Temple University
  12. University of California, Davis
  13. University of Florida
  14. University of Michigan – Dearborn
  15. UNC Asheville
  16. University of Texas at Arlington

The tournament will mirror the format of the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament and will evaluate colleges and universities on the academic and sustainability abilities. Schools across the country were sent out a survey to ensure qualification. The survey response covered topics related to curriculum, graduation rate, facilities and student retention.

After being announced as part of the Sustainable 16, faculty and students are being asked to support their entries with short essays, social media or video submissions. Based on their responses, they will have the potential to advance to the “Environmental Eight” or the “Final Four” to eventual first-ever “National Champion.”  The “Environmental Eight” will be announced on Monday, March 26.

Tournament winners will be awarded $5000 to the environmental and sustainability department of one National Champion. The department chair or member of the faculty will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to San Diego to attend the Enviance User Conference April 16-2 where they will lead a panel titled, “What Tomorrow’s Environmental Leaders Need to Know.”

More information on the March Madness Tournament for environmental studies can be found by emailing Enviance@schwartzmsl.com, or by visiting  http://www.enviance.com/march-madness or http://www.environmentalleader.com . You can also follow @enviance or @ELDaily on Twitter.

 

Using Mushrooms as Packaging

Friday, March 9th, 2012

What started off as a class project in college has turned into big business for two former mechanical engineering and design students, Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre. The college grads found a way to use mushrooms as a key ingredient for pale, soft boxes for packaging. The mushrooms are being used to cushion products such from Dell Inc. servers to furniture by Crate and Barrel; talk about sustainable!

So how exactly does it work? The packaging blocks are made with mycelium, which are the hidden “roots” of the mushroom that are usually found beneath dirt or wood. Bayer and McIntyre figured out how to grow the cottony filaments in a way that they bind together at the seed husks into a preset packaging shape. The mycelium is pasteurized bits of seed husks or plant stalks that are mixed and placed into plastic mold shaped like the desired packaging pieces. After about five days of being covered, the mycelium strands grow around the through the feedstock, is heat dried to kill fungus, and is then ready to go!

Before they became the young entrepreneurs they are, Bayer and McIntyre were once just college students growing fungus under their beds for a class project. Coming a long way from their graduation date, 6 years ago, the company, Evocative Design, is already five years old and has been growing rapidly. Bayer and McIntyre have now begun to expand their line from footwear to car bumpers and have recently announced a deal with Sealed Air Corp, the packaging company best known for Bubble Wrap. The deal will accelerate production, sales, and distribution.

Mushroom packaging has turned into a big business, with about 42 employees, Ecovative has attracted more than $10 million dollars in grant and equity investment with some big-name clients like Dell. Using mushrooms in packaging sits well with many companies because it fits well with their green initiatives and executive as both Dell and Crate and Barrel stressed the product’s environmental value.

Another positive to using mushroom packaging is that the break down only takes about six to nine months and is OK to throw into a compost pile, unlike expanded polystyrene products.

In the future Bayer and McIntyre talk about going into different fields other than packaging such as creating roofing materials that can repair itself and a mycelium alternative to plastic furniture.

Source: Newser