Archive for May, 2012

Kraft uses Eco-Calculator to reduce carbon footprint with eco-packaging

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

In an effort to make Kraft’s packaging more efficient and sustainable, Kraft Foods has turned to using a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to help it make the right changes by measuring how to reduce its environmental impacts to get the best results for a range of its global products. For Kraft, LCA measures its global footprint from when what goes into making a product, from the farm to the fork to the Earth.

“Life-cycle assessment is an important part of our sustainability journey,” says Roger Zellner, sustainability director for research, development, and quality. “It gives us a competitive advantage, as we now have more insight into how to reduce our products’ footprints, find efficiencies, and validate and explain those benefits to customers and consumers. Together, we’re focusing and working smarter and communicating better, which is good for the environment, people, and our business.”

The latest work involves using LCA’s eco-calculator to build upon a multiyear footprinting project Kraft Foods is using to map its impact on climate change, land and water use. All over the world, Kraft employees are using the life-cycle style of thinking to help innovate ways to eliminate waste in manufacturing. With new innovations in manufacturing, there can be a reduction on the amount of raw materials, like agricultural commodities. The Eco-Calculator can also measure how product and packaging designs differ and compare to previous designs while providing a system to measure and explain those benefits.

One example of the work of LCA is  the Kraft YES Pack. In the U.S., the Kraft YES Pack salad dressing team employed the use of the LCA to confirm that their current design has a reduced environmental impact, using 60% less plastic packaging than the previous container used. And, in the U.K., the Kenco coffee team turned to LCA to confirm its new Eco-Refill package was delivering better results. They found that it delivered a 70% savings in the packaging’s carbon impact footprint when compared to its glass counterpart.

The main tool being used is the Eco-Calculator™. The tool is based on data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, and packaging industry groups. The calculator helps packaging designers at Kraft create more efficient, sustainable solutions.

For more information visit: Greener Package

Source: Greener Package

Wal-Mart redesigns bottle packaging in continuing efforts to be green

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Throughout the past few years, corporate and environmental responsibility has been an important factor to Wal-Mart, and now, the company is redesigning the packaging of their products. During the process they will be redesigning their own image as a company who in environmentally sustainable.

One of these changes involves one bottle at the Wal-Mart stores around the United States. Although changing only one bottle doesn’t sounds like it will have much impact, the new bottle design will eliminate over 830,000 lbs of resin. The redesign will be done to  Wal-Mart’s store brand, Great Value’s cooking oil. The bottle feature will include a slimmed down design and was presented at the 7th Annual Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club Sustainable Packaging Exposition, where almost 200 different suppliers showed off the latest eco-friendly innovations.

Once again, you might be asking yourself, How much is Wal-Mart’s new slimmed down design really saving? Well, according to the Wal-Mart Green Room website, the total weight of the waste that will be eliminated by simply just changing the shape and design of ONE bottle is equal to the weight of forty one thousand cast iron pans.

Sam’s Club will also see a makeover to its Cheerio’s cereal boxes to eliminate the excess packaging  by combining the food into one large box holding two separate bags instead of having to individual boxes for the bags. Although the efforts may appear to be small, they have a huge environmental impact.

The success of the initiatives is based on Wal-Mart’s measures the success by their impact the lives and habits of their customers.

“The real success of our efforts can be measured by whether we are able to meet our customers’ demand for products in ways that require fewer resources and less energy, promote recycling and foster efficient use of scarce materials,” writes Wal-Mart’s Ron Sasine on the Green Room website.

In 2011 alone, Walmart kept almost 81% of waste out of landfills by recycling cardboard and other excess materials. This just proves to show that making small steps towards going environmentally sustainable can go a long way.

Eco-friendly gift guide for 2012 grads

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Source: Tree Hugger

Its that time of year again. School is out and that means that there is a new batch of high school and college grads ready to enter to working world or head off to college. No matter if it is a high school or college grad, it is possible that they have an accumulated a lot of stuff over the past years. Graduation gives these recent grads a chance to start over from scratch, and why not help them out with eco-friendly, useful, and cute goods?

We found this great green gift guide for grads courtesy of Tree Hugger and thought it was definitely worth sharing with you.

For complete product description and slideshow here:  Green Gift Guide for Grads

1. Current Motor Super Scooter







2. Sateen Sheets







3. Bike Rim Business Card Holder







4. City Skyline Wooden Routing







5. Teardrop Hanging Terrarium







6. Palm Leaf Woven Market Backpack







7. Aqua Teck S iPhone Case







Source: Tree Hugger

A guide for an eco-friendly Mother’s Day gift

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

As Mother’s Day nears, some of us may still be looking for the perfect gift to give. For those of us still searching for a gift, why not consider a present that has less of an impact on the environment? There are many different options for making your present be the perfect eco-friendly gift. Our friends at Carroll Garden’s Patch collaborated with Waste Management and together they have come up with a perfect list of eco-responsible presents for that special woman in your life.

Here’s what they came up with:

• Wrap gifts in recycled or reused wrapping paper. Also remember to save or recycle used wrapping paper.

• Give gifts that don’t require much packaging, such as concert tickets and gift certificates.

• When giving flowers as gifts, consider buying long-lasting silk flowers, potted plants, or live bushes, shrubs or tress that can be planted.

• Bake cookies or other goodies for your mom and package them in reusable and/or recyclable containers as gifts. Homemade goodies show how much you care and help you avoid packaging waste.

So, while thinking of gifts for this Mother’s Day, remember that there are plenty of eco-friendly gifts to give.

We also found this great blog, Health Voyageur, that has even more green ideas for Mother’s Day gifts!

Source: Carroll Garden’s Patch

Why Does Sustainable Packaging Matter?

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Even though its been proven many times that being sustainable business is important, there are still many skeptics and critics to the sustainable practices that some companies use. This leads many people to wonder, does sustainable packaging matter?

To answer that question, we found and posted a wonderful opinion blog by Dennis Salazar. Salazar is the president and co-founder of Salazar Packaging and has written many blogs on the topic of sustainable packaging in his own blog, Inside Sustainable Packaging (we suggest you check it out!).

In the packaging industry we understand that being sustainable is important, but not all consumers understand the significant impacts that being sustainable has on a company.


Image Source: Sustainable is Good

The company that shipped this package to our office will remain unnamed because I have written about them before and after a while it starts looking like I am picking on them. The truth is that this post could probably be written about any number of companies who profess to be green and claim to be tirelessly working to protect the earth.

Words to Green By

As a young packaging professional, one of my favorite mentors had two favorite sayings that he often combined together: “Do What Makes Sense” and “Be Brilliant on the Basics”. His philosophy was fairly straight forward and simple – if you use your head and do the little things right on a daily basis, you usually come out on top. Baseball games and business are typically not won by crowd pleasing, memorable grand slams. More often than not, the difference between winning and losing is decided by singles, and doubles combined with a large dose of hustle.

The “Little” Things Add Up

With all that in mind, I am always critical of all the companies who are always quick to grab the sustainability headlines but continue to do, REALLY dumb green things on a daily basis.

Here is what I see when I look at the packaging shown in the photograph:

  • Most obviously, the box is at least six times larger than necessary for the order and product it contained. Why aren’t they right sizing? End result – WASTE!
  • 3” plastic tape to seal the top of the box – most of the world uses 2” tape. Why are they using 50% more tape than is normally necessary? End result – WASTE!
  • Standard corrugated box with probably 30 to 40% recycled content? Why aren’t they using a box with a higher or ideally100% recycled content? End result – WASTE!
  • Auto Lock bottom on box bottom sealed with tape. (now I am getting really packaging geeky on you) One of the features of an Auto Lock bottom box is that it does not require tape. Yet they feel it necessary to seal it with more 3” tape. There is something definitely wrong with this picture. End result – WASTE!
  • One air pillow for void fill – that single pillow does absolutely no good so you know, end result – WASTE!

What is the cost of NOT doing the little green things well?

It is very difficult to estimate without a complete analysis (which BTW I have offered to do for this company for free) but conservatively, I can guess their packaging cost is probably 20 to 30% higher than it really needs to be. That same percentage probably applies to unnecessary packaging materials used and additional post consumer waste being created. This does not even begin to cover the cost of transportation, space, fuel, energy, and all the other things that factor in.

Not doing the little green things well is VERY expensive to all of us. So next time a package like this arrives, I urge you to complain. It does matter and it is important but it will never be important to the companies doing the shipping until we let them know.  If they are not willing to do it for the bottom line, perhaps they will bother when it impacts their top (sales income) line. That is a good reason to bother.