mercredi 27 juillet 2011

Packaging is the solution not the problem

I share with you some highlights from a very interesting paper entitled: Packaging the Problem of Food Waste, published in Food Processing Technology.

Click here to read the full article.

Packaging the problem of food waste

Industry experts suggest that roughly a third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, amounting to about 1.3 billion tons a year. Food packaging designers and companies could take an important role in reducing the growing food mountain. Through new sizes, designs and the introduction of new packaging materials that prolong the shelf life of perishable foods, an important step towards more sustainable food supply can be made.

Many developed countries still concentrate on the reduction of packaging waste rather than a cutback in the food thrown away. "Packaging protects food," said European Organisation for Packaging and the Environment (EUROPEN) managing director Julian Carroll at the Save Food Congress, which was held as part of Interpack in Düsseldorf in May 2011.

"For decades, packaging was seen as nothing but waste, a nuisance to be avoided. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Packaging is a technological wunderkind that makes abundance for the masses possible," he said. "I often shake my head in despair at the sheer absurdity of the focus on packaging waste and sustainability by policymakers compared with food waste. Packaging waste pales into insignificance compared with the losses caused by food waste."

Smart Packaging

While policymakers should concentrate on the education of consumers, the packaging industry has to tackle the growing food mountain with more practical and hands-on measures. Today's food packaging has to reflect changing consumption habits and other social changes resulting from demographic factors and altered lifestyles. People are becoming more urban, single households are more common and also the aging populations have influenced the shape, size and the design of packaged food. In the future, different products, different amounts and different packaging sizes will be in demand. 

Intelligently designed containers have to ensure their content is entirely consumed and that no residual amount remains in the package, while ensuring product safety, convenience, marketing and sustainability, technological advancements significantly prolong the shelf life of perishable foods.

Trays, wraps and other forms of physical barriers not only protect the food from their environment but also maintain safety and flavour, keep out oxygen and microbes, and make seasonal food available all year. Better transport packaging reduces bruising, crushing and other damage and mitigates the risk of food being thrown away before even arriving at the supermarket.

A step further has been made with the development of active packaging materials, which do more than simply protect, store and transport food. The different plastic films interact with the food, adding to the product's shelf life without reducing its nutrients, adding unwanted tastes and odours, or changing the texture and appearance.

One of the biggest sources of consumer food waste is the mix-up of 'best-before' and 'use-by' dates on packages. Smart technology could be able to detect food germs and to trigger colour changes in the packaging to alert the consumer if the contents have gone bad.

mardi 26 juillet 2011

Danone attaqué en Allemagne pour une histoire de pots en PLA faussement "écolos"

Une association environnementaliste remet en question le bilan écologique des pots de yaourts en PLA de la marque Activia.

Des pots moins bio qu'il n'y paraît. Une association de consommateurs allemande, soucieuse de la protection de l'environnement, la Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), a annoncé mardi 26 juillet qu'elle allait porter plainte contre Danone pour publicité mensongère. Aucune date toutefois n'est encore précisée concernant le dépôt de cette plainte.

Le bilan écologique du pot de yaourt en PLA mis en question

Pomme de la discorde: les pots de yaourt de la marque Activia. La DUH juge que la mention "respectueux de l'environnement" inscrite sur les pots de yaourts Activia constitue une "tromperie éhontée du consommateur", et met en cause le bilan écologique des nouveaux pots de yaourts en PLA, un polymère biodégradable.

Une accusation aussitôt démentie par le patron de la filiale allemande du groupe, Andreas Ostermayr, qui précise que "la mention 'emballage respectueux de l'environnement' sur (les) pots d'Activia est absolument correcte".

L'image verte de Danone égratignée

Danone est pourtant très soucieux de son image "verte". Ces dernières années, le groupe a multiplié les mesures pour réduire l'impact écologique de ses emballages, notamment en rétrécissant la taille des suremballages de lots de yaourts ou en modifiant la composition des bouteilles d'Actimel.

Les pots de yaourts Activia mis en cause ont d'ailleurs été élaborés en collaboration avec le World Wildlife Fund (WWF), une organisation internationale de protection de la nature et de l'environnement de renommée mondiale. Danone a également fait certifier le bilan écologique de ses pots en PLA par un institut de recherche allemand, mais la DUH accuse le groupe de passer sous silence une partie des conclusions de celui-ci dans sa communication, et de n'insister que sur les aspects qui l'arrangent.

De nombreux producteurs allemands privilégient le verre consigné

L'association allemande reproche aussi au groupe d'utiliser du maïs génétiquement modifié comme matière première du PLA, en désaccord avec la publicité faite sur son site et sur les pots eux-mêmes. Des propos réfutés par Danone qui juge le PLA novateur dans le domaine de l'emballage agroalimentaire. "Une initiative tournée vers l'avenir, qui peut faire nettement avancer le secteur de l'emballage (...) au point de vue de l'utilisation des ressources et de l'énergie, des économies d'émissions de gaz à effet de serre et du recyclage, est maintenant menacée", a déploré mardi le groupe.

Cette attaque ne devrait en tout cas pas déplaire aux nombreux concurrents locaux de Danone qui utilisent des emballages en verre consigné pour vendre leur production.

lundi 25 juillet 2011

Biodegradable/Compostable/Biobased : Distinctions are subtle but significant

The misconceptions among consumers of what terms like bio-based and biodegradable mean pose challenges for companies putting labels on their products and their packaging.

“There are two huge misconceptions,” said Steve Mojo, executive director of the Biodegradable Products Institute, at the recent Bioplastek conference in New York.

“Eighty-five percent of consumers think that bio-based/renewable also means biodegradable, and 60 percent think biodegradable products magically disappear when you throw it away,” he said. “So the message has to be clear on the package and/or your website -- wherever you expect the consumer to look.

“The challenge all companies will face will be finding a way on the packaging to convey their message -- especially when people are buying the product, not the packaging,” he said. “It is confusing to consumers and it is going to get more so as many people don’t understand what those words really mean.”

You find here my talk entitled: “Bio-coated Paper-Based Flexible Packaging: Functionality and Sustainability” given at the 2011 TAPPI PLACE Flexible Packaging Symposium, April 5, 2011 in Orlando, Florida USA.  Here are some highlights:
  1. The distinctions are subtle but significant: not all bioplastics are created equal and there are a lot of misleading claims out there
  2. Education is needed to clarify in the minds of consumers and clients, the environmental benefits of these new materials.
  3. Education: has to be a combined effort from resin makers, converters and the companies that will be selling these products to the consumer

dimanche 24 juillet 2011

The Reality of Bioplastics - Do They Help You Live a Greener Life?

Bioplastics are complicated, and largely misunderstood. With all the marketing hype surrounding them, and the information left unsaid, it is no surprise that consumers are confused.

Even those in the manufacturing, plastics and packaging industries have little understanding of how they actually work, or what their limitations are - and what retailers and consumers think (or assume) they are purchasing is often very different than the reality.

Myth vs Reality: Myth #1

Bioplastics are better than plastic. The truth: there are many different types of bioplastics available, but only the most cost effective solutions are in use today - and they aren't necessarily any better than traditional plastic.
Read more…

Myth vs. Reality: Myth #2

Bioplastic means biodegradable plastic. Many people assume bioplastic means biodegradable plastic. The truth is that the term "bioplastic" has nothing to do with biodegradability.

Myth vs. Reality: Myth #3

The newest additive technology guarantees environmentally friendly plastic.

Some of the newest biodegradable plastic solutions attracting global attention leverage the use of advanced additives within the resin mix. They are growing in popularity because they do not require the plastic manufacturing process to be changed in any way, they fit in a normal recycle stream, and some even allow plastic to biodegrade in any landfill environment - aerobic or anaerobic.

mercredi 20 juillet 2011

Packaging as a Solution to Food Waste

A recent study by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) concludes that one-third of food in developing countries is destroyed before it ever reaches the consumer. This milestone study is the first time a top-level global organization has conclusively analyzed the great extent of food waste and its cause.

The study says the main cause is inadequate packaging technology and logistics, and adds that improvements in these areas would be more cost effective than trying to increase food production.

In the food waste debate, European opinion makers appear to have slightly shifted their position on packaging. For decades, packaging has been portrayed as the ultimate symbol of industrial society’s excess consumption. Protests by a majority of packaging professionals, who work on a daily basis to reduce food waste, extend shelf life, and reduce the consumption of materials, have been dismissed as the packaging industry’s desperate attempt to defend the inexcusable.

A new tone has now entered the debate. Suddenly, modern packaging techniques are being depicted as one of the best ways to reduce food shortages in the developing world. Packaging—at least, food packaging—could now move from being the villain to being the hero. Perhaps paradoxically, this shift was not achieved by any arguments from the packaging industry, but because the industry can offer constructive solutions to an urgent problem for mankind.

lundi 18 juillet 2011

L’emballage n’est pas un déchet !

L'emballage n'est pas inutile. Il sert à protéger les aliments et donc à éviter le gaspillage ! Mieux, il doit être vu non comme un déchet mais comme une matière première aux nombreuses vies potentielles…

Tout le monde semble avoir oublié à quoi sert un emballage… Les estimations de la FAO (l’Organisation des Nations unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture, ndlr) montrent que selon les pays entre 20 et 75 % des denrées alimentaires sont perdues. En Europe, par exemple, jusqu’à 30% des aliments sont gâchés, soit près de 71 millions de tonnes par an, près de 300 kg par habitant ! Les chiffres sont cruels car ils ne trompent pas : plus l’emballage est développé dans un pays, moins il y a de pertes ; c’est inversement proportionnel… Dans les pays sous-développés, malgré la faim qui est la première cause de mortalité enfantine, le premier consommateur d’aliments est hélas la poubelle.

La principale fonction de l’emballage est de conserver ce qu’il contient : c’est un contenant qui protège durablement un contenu. Deux éléments méritent d’être rappelés :
  1. Le premier est purement physique : s’il protège ce qu’il contient, l’emballage évite les gaspillages. Qu’est-ce qui est le plus irresponsable : gaspiller des produits alimentaires ou, éventuellement, gaspiller du matériau d’emballage ?... Depuis l’invention de la boîte de conserve au XIXe siècle, le packaging a sauvé des milliards de vie et il est, dans la plupart des cas recyclable ; c’est en cela qu’il est totalement responsable.
  2. Le second est l’utilité du packaging trop souvent oubliée dans les pays occidentaux : le commerce. Sans emballage, pas de commerce… L’emballage a permis et permet encore de développer les échanges Est-Ouest, Nord-Sud, de denrées alimentaires. Se dire qu’il n’existe pas de packaging responsable, c’est une approche de « bobos »… ! Lorsque nous disposons de tout à volonté, il est décidément bien difficile de distinguer le superficiel, de l’essentiel.

Il se trouve que le packaging a un défaut majeur, celui d’être visible, dans le caniveau, dans les champs et lorsqu’il déborde de nos poubelles. C’est une pollution visuelle. Mais le problème ne porte pas sur la responsabilité ou l’irresponsabilité du packaging ; il s’agit juste d’une question « d’éco-responsabilité » des industriels et des consommateurs. On se donne donc bonne conscience quand on « attaque » le packaging pour éviter d’aborder la véritable question : celle de notre façon de surconsommer.

vendredi 15 juillet 2011

7 Sustainable Packaging Predictions

Plastics Today asks Tony Kingsbury, the Dow Chemical executive-in-resident at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, about  the current state of the sustainable packaging market and where it's headed. Kingsbury begins his assessment with a good news/bad news scenario based on a statistic from the United Nations: The earth will have 9 billion human inhabitants by 2050. On the positive side for a company such as Dow that's a lot of people who will require a lot of stuff; on the negative side, however, all that stuff requires resources, which in some cases are becoming scarce.

Prediction #1: Resource efficient packaging will win
"It's not just the bottle, it's how it fits into the overall scheme, from production to shipping," Kingsbury said, explaining that the key drivers will be carbon and water. "We're not just running out of water, we're running out of clean water," Kingsbury said.

Prediction #2 Functionality will be key
As resources become scarce, it will be that much more important to protect product, consider the carbon footprint of cheese, how much goes to waste if it spoils.

Prediction #3 Keeping the molecule in play
Don't landfill, "don't bury or litter plastic." Recycle any content you can. "Once you get a big enough pile of something, someone will figure out how to recycle it," Kingsbury noted.

Prediction #4 Reuse will gain market share
Reuse will keep packages, and the molecules that make them up, in play longer than one use.

Prediction #5 Biobased packaging materials will grow, but not necessarily biodegradable
Kingsbury said this relates to carbon efficiency, but can create conflicts with water usage, and he stressed that biobased materials cannot compete with food. "We don't need the package if it displaces the food it would have packaged," Kingsbury said, forecasting that biobased versions of traditional polymers like PE, PET, and PP will dominate vs. new "upstart" molecules like PLA and PHA, and materials that emphasize compostability will not have a role to play. "Composting is an inefficient way to keep the molecule in play," Kingsbury said. "I think the word biodegradable should be banned. I said it. What does it mean? Compostable yes, biodegradable, no."

Prediction #6 Transparency will drive full life cycle thinking about packaging
At this point in time, most of the discussions are around base materials, but in the future, everything will be assessed, including additives, inks, dyes, glues, coatings, and more. As an early example, Kingsbury cited PVC, where public concern transitioned from the base material and chlorine monomer to today where phthalates get the attention.

Prediction #7 Life cycle data will drive decision making on materials
Reduce what you use and you will save resources and money, states Kingsbury.

Gas Prices Trigger Switch From Plastic To Paper

Goodbye Clamshell: more companies are making the switch from clamshell to paperboard.

mercredi 13 juillet 2011

Packaging Europe: Innovations in paper and board packaging/ Bioplastics: A viable Alternative?

I recommend these two interesting articles published on the latest edition of Packaging Europe.

Innovations in paper and board packaging

Paper-based materials are the focus of some of the most innovative developments in the packaging
industry today. Packaging Europe picks out some of the most notable innovations in the field – from papermaking machinery and coatings to packs and containers.

Bioplastics: A viable Alternative?

As relatively new materials still only in their second generation, bioplastics currently have a
global market share of well under one per cent. But with the development of more sophisticated
plant-based materials an increasing reality, are we going to see a significant growth in their
uptake for packaging over the next few years? Victoria Hattersley talks to some industry experts to find out more.

lundi 11 juillet 2011

Nothing says “Green Supply chain” Like Innovative, Sustainable Packaging

I share with you this great article on sustainable packaging written by Dave Meyer is VP of Sustainable Economic and Environmental Development Solutions (SEEDS) Global Alliance (Northwest Operations).

The pea pod is possibly the greatest sustainable packaging design nature can provide.  It packs a lot in a small space, efficiently uses the minimum amount of resources…and best of all its compostable…well sort of unless I eat it!

And like the simple pea pod, few sustainability attributes in a supply chain come together across the value chain than packaging.  Packaging and repackaging is ubiquitous along every step of the chain, from product design, prototyping, procurement production, distribution, consumer end use and post consumer end-of-life management.  And the more parts that are in use in making of a product, and steps along the way to deliver the parts, the greater the packaging (and hence environmental footprint) involved along that chain.  And for every packaged part that comes from someplace else to make a product, a similar carbon, energy and resource use can be measured.

jeudi 7 juillet 2011

Bioplastic News: Prosperity? Eco-friendly? Magically disappear?

Bioplastics projects set to prosper

The recession has been a wake-up call for chemical producers to push bioplastics development, resulting in a more positive outlook.

With the price of oil and petrochemicals soaring, bioplastics have become an increasingly viable proposition. As a result, the next decade will see a fundamental shift in global polymer production, with a group of new bio-based capacities being brought on stream.

New forecasts from industry association European Bioplastics suggest that global bioplastics output will breach the 1m tonne/year mark this year, with production to more than double from 2010-2015. The study shows that bioplastics will total 1.7m tonnes/year within the next four years, up from around 700,000 tonnes/year in 2010

Compostable cups eco-friendly?

Western purchased 133,000 compostable cups from Eco-Products from September 2010 through June 2011 for $11,280.36, according to transaction record obtained from Paul Cocke, director of University Communications.

When put in landfills, biodegradable products are not necessarily more environmentally friendly according to a study published in “Environmental Science & Technology,” in May 2011. The research found biodegradable products are releasing large amounts of methane as they quickly break down in landfills. The study was designed to provide guidance to manufacturers on environmental performance during landfill disposal that reflects U.S. landfill infrastructure, according to the study. Researchers used a landfill life-cycle model to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from biodegradable materials in landfills.

Biodegradable Products are not Major contributors ro Landfill Methane emissions

Biodegradable products are not major contributors to methane emissions from landfills, as claimed in the Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T) article.

Finally, the BPI shares Dr. Barlaz’s concern for the growing number of “biodegradable” claims, for products that are typically landfilled. Many of these claims are spurred by additive suppliers that would like consumers to think that it is OK to throw products in the trash, as they will somehow magically disappear. The National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau (NAD) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have repeated determined that these types of claims are misleading.

mercredi 6 juillet 2011

Sustainable packaging market at $107.7B in 2011

Sustainable & green packaging is gaining prominence in the global packaging market and is gradually becoming an essential area for industry players, says a new study by UK-based researcher Visiongain.

The sustainable & green packaging market is experiencing a rise in demand from consumers, and this is made possible due to advanced packaging technologies. Although the market was negatively impacted by reduced margins due to pressure from higher production costs involved, the sustainable & green packaging industry still stands firm and is likely to enhance its market share in the global packaging industry. Visiongain calculates that the sustainable & green packaging market will be worth $107.7 billion in 2011. 

Rising concerns over environmental hazards, eco-friendly packaging, carbon emissions, waste reduction targets specified by different countries and the trend towards 'green packaging', are the factors likely to boost the market for sustainable & green packaging solutions. The sustainable & green packaging market is likely to register consistent growth during 2011-2021, mainly influenced by rising environmental concerns, increasing health awareness, high disposable incomes, rapidly growing economies, dearth of natural resources and high-energy consumption. The North American and Western European economies are successfully established markets. However, the growing economies of Asia-Pacific (India and China), Eastern Europe (Germany and Russia) and Latin America (Brazil) offer tremendous potential to explore.

mardi 5 juillet 2011

Puma Shopping Bag Dissolves in 3 Minutes

German shoe and sports apparel company Puma is on a mission to reduce its carbon “paw-print,” starting by making its packaging more environmentally responsible.

vendredi 1 juillet 2011

Dossier : Comment faire un emballage pratique et respectueux de l’environnement?

Un excellent dossier préparé par Preventpack


"Dossier : Comment faire des emballages convenient (pratique) respectueux du développement durable ?"
"Exemple Panasonic : Facilité d'utilisation : ni coûteuse, ni néfaste pour l'environnement"
"Exemple Tetra Pak : Un emballage plus facile d'utilisation pour les consommateurs ayant une moindre dextérité"
"Polyvalence des emballages : Au-delà des rôles classiques de l'emballage"


Cliquez ici pour consulter l’intégralité du dossier.