Archive for April, 2012

Driscoll’s Improves Sustainability Efforts with New Packaging

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Continually seeking to improve sustainable efforts has been a goal for many companies over the past few years. As they develop new ways to be more environmentally friendly, they find ways to be more energy efficient, reduce their carbon footprints, and introduce new packaging to the market. One company who has recently sought to improve its sustainability efforts is berry producers, Driscoll’s.

Since its beginning, Driscoll’s has been delighting consumers with the finest berries. In an effort to become more sustainable, they are launching a new raspberry packaging concept. The new sustainable packaging will increase the visibility of the fruit and reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

Through research, it has been shown that consumers prefer to have a more visual package. This is because consumers are visual and like to know at a quick glance whether or not the product will work for them in a matter of seconds. With this research in mind, Driscoll’s will introduce a flat, single layered package which will allow for greater berry visibility.

A study found that 87% of consumers think the new raspberry packaging makes a good to very good first impression, resulting in significantly higher on buying intention.

The new packaging also has effects on retailers and growers. Driscoll’s has been able reduce its transport by improving transport efficiency through increasing the amounts of packages per box. Overall, there can be about 30-40% more berries per pallet per truck. This leads to less cardboard being used (30% less), reduced waste from the new packaging, and a decrease in the amount of pallets needed.

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Hasbro Announces Sustainable Packaging Initiative

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Recently Hasbro announced its plans to reduce materials used in the its product packaging for many of its popular and global brands, which includes My Little Pony, Nerf, and Play-Doh.

According to Hasbro, the new initiative will result in about 15 percent improvement in the product-to-packaging ratio and the brands and products that are included in the initiative.

Over the next two years, Hasbro said that consumers and retailers will begin to see the effect of the broader range of packaging, which includes redesigned disposable boxes and blister packs that use less material than before. Examples of changes to come include the more efficient package design for the 2013 My Little Pony assortment pack which is expected to reduce the overall size of shipping containers by 20 percent, which in turn creates transportation efficiencies. Hasbro did also note that packaging that serves dual purposes such as long-term storage with game boxes, will not be included in the sustainable packaging initiative.

“Improving Hasbro’s product-to-package ratio underscores our long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability,” said Duncan Billing, Hasbro’s Global Chief Development Officer. “This initiative is designed to streamline our manufacturing processes and reduces our use of natural resources, providing consumers with more manageable and environmentally responsible packaging for our products.”

The most recent efforts involve reducing the total packaging size in a series of sustainable packaging initiatives that Hasbro is taking to minimize its environmental impact.

As described by the company, these initiatives include:

  • Phase-out of PVC in packaging: In 2011, Hasbro announced plans to eliminate PVC from all new core toy and game packaging beginning in 2013.
  • Elimination of wire ties: In 2011, Hasbro replaced all wire ties in its packages with ties made from paper rattan or bamboo mix to reduce environmental impact. The effort eliminated approximately 34,000 miles of wire ties – more than enough to wrap around the circumference of the Earth.
  • Increasing recycled content: In 2011, Hasbro achieved its goal to derive at least 75 percent of paper and board packaging from recycled material, or from sources that practice sustainable forest management. By 2015, Hasbro plans to increase that target to 90 percent.
  • Responsible paper sourcing policy: Hasbro implemented an aggressive paper sourcing policy in 2011, providing guidelines for suppliers regarding sustainable paper sourcing to help ensure that paper used in Hasbro products aligns with the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Among the policy’s key requirements is the expectation that suppliers will source paper with as much post-consumer recycled content as practical and financially viable. The company has communicated the policy to its suppliers, and has made it a part of its company-wide quality assurance procedures.




Edible Packaging Hopes to Help Save the Environment

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Could you soon be eating the packaging that your food comes in? Well, it looks like this may son be a reality. So, who exactly came up with this and how does it work? After doing some research I found out that these WikiCells, mimic nature’s “bottles” by creating an edible membrane. Harvard chemistry professor and biochemical engineer David Edwards has come up with the revolutionary idea of edible packaging.

David Edwards invented containers for food and drinks which can be disposed by eating them. “The idea was to try to create a bottle which was based on how nature creates bottles” Edwards explained. These edible containers, made of so called “WikiCells”, are natural food membranes that are held together by electrostatic forces. Picture a fruit like an orange or a banana that is encased by a biodegradable shell. This is where that idea came from. Food packaged by humans is typically packaged in plastic, unlike our nature counterpart. But professor David A. Edwards thought why shouldn’t we mimic nature and create edible/biodegradable packaging for food products?

Harvard describes WikiCells as “thin delicious membranes with significant water diffusional resistance and adjoined shells that allow for stability of the WikiCells over long periods of time”.

Edwards, who is already well-known for his other food invention, inhalable food, like chocolate, believes that these edible containers will first be seen in restaurants. He hopes to get them into homes and offices, for delivery and purchase in stores as soon as possible thereafter. The biodegradable WikiCells can be produced in various sizes and shapes and they can contain solid food as well as liquid.

Edwards hopes that somebody WikiCells will be more commercially available to the broader public somebody. “In the near term, we will be encountering WikiCells in restaurant settings,” he said. The researchers say WikiCells can be used for food and beverages in restaurants, homes, offices and grocery stores as a way to reduce the amount of packaging that goes to landfills. And eventually, with a world view, he has his sights on developing a product platform for WikiCells, which would allow individuals to produce their own edible bottles. “People in a village in Africa could become plastic bottle-free and make things for themselves. It’s really exciting from a humanitarian point of view.”

Britain’s Surfers Pull Together to Combat Sewage

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

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Surfers in Britain spend a lot of time on the beach and have seen their fair share of sewage and garbage piling up along the shore, so they decided to do something about it. A campaign group, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), has organized about 1,000 surfers who will trade in their boards for plastic bags and rubber gloves to take part in their biggest ever clean-sweep of plastic packaging, cups, and other debris that is scattered throughout the beaches.

The surfers will cover 40 beaches over a weekend to help raise awareness of how the public’s insistence of flushing items down the toilet has a negative impact on Britain’s 11,073-mile shoreline. Among the sewage there lies sanitary items and general trash that has polluted the shoreline for more than 22 years.

It is all part of the effort to let the public know the message to “Think Before You Flush.” The message seems to be getting through to some, in its annual Beachwatch survey, Marine Conservation Society records an 11 percent drop in the overall shore litter than has accumulated, and a 33 percent fall from sewage related to sanitary items across the UK last year.

Although the numbers are improving, there is still a historically high amount of litter piling up on Britain’s beaches. Campaigns manager for Surfers Against Sewage, Dom Ferris, said that in the past, the volunteers find that about 70 percent of the garbage was plastic: food packaging, bottles, bags, and sweet wrappers. Most of the blame for these items come from people who are directly littering the beaches and failing to just throw the items away or recycle them.

Surfers Against Sewage, which was founded by a group of surfers in 1990, by surfers who were getting reoccurring ear, nose, throat and gastric infections after because sewage-related bacteria in the sea. The surfers believe that manufacturers should make more prominent recycling and anti-litter messages on labels, reducing the amount of packaging and increase the recyclable content of the packaging that remains.

SAS even has a name for the companies who products are the most often found materials on the beach, the “Dirty Dozen.”  The “Dirty Dozen” is listed below:

Products / Parent company Counts
Coca Cola 331
PepsiCo UK 231
Lucozade/GlaxoSmithKline 167
Kraft 84
Nestle 82
Mars 66
Tesco 65
United Biscuits 47
Unilever 31
Booker Ltd/Euro Shopper 30
Asda 26
Anheuser Busch – InBev 21