dimanche 30 octobre 2011

Coffee chains urged to improve takeaway cup recycling

Consumer group says retailers' use of mixed materials recycling is confusing customers and leading to more landfill.

Coffee shops are failing to make it easy for customers to recycle the estimated 2.5bn takeaway cups thrown away each year in the UK, a consumer group warned on Tuesday.

The investigation by Which? found that consumers were confused by retailers' use of "mixed materials", which make recycling a headache, and urged providers to take more environmental responsibility.

More than half of the 2,471 people surveyed who buy takeaway drinks admitted that they dispose of their paper cups in the general waste bin, the research revealed.

While disposable cups are made predominantly of cardboard (about 95% by weight), they also contain about 5% polyethylene in the form of a thin coating inside the cup. David Powlson, an expert in paper recycling and principal at Poyry Management Consulting, said: "This is great for keeping your coffee warm and the cup from going soggy, but not so great when you come to realise that most UK paper mills are unable to process paper mixed with other materials."

Which? said that attempts by retailers to stem the tide of unrecycled cups varied enormously, and called on them to do more. It complained: "While all showed they try to address the recyclability of paper cups, we thought none of them go far enough."

Of the five major brands selling takeaway hot drinks in the UK, Starbucks said it is aiming to increase the number of drinks it serves in reusable cups, and also offers 25p off for customers bringing their own mug.

The bakery chain Greggs insists that disposal of cups once they have been taken out of its stores is the consumer's responsibility. Costa Coffee has slightly reduced the weight of the 140m cups it uses each year, and both Greggs and Costa point to their recycling logos as evidence of environmental responsibility.

But the investigation concludes: "Just putting a logo on the cup does not mean to say you will be able to recycle it once outside the shop … More clarity is needed for consumers on what mixed-material items can be recycled in which recycling bins or facilities. And ideally it should be made possible to recycle paper cups alongside cartons."

Which? has published a new interactive tool for consumers who are not sure about how to recycle a particular product.

lundi 24 octobre 2011

Reinventing paper packaging

Paper is not only the largest global packaging sector but is also behind some of the most pioneering innovations today. Elisabeth Fischer profiles technologies such as paper-based RFID tags, moulded paper and barrier solutions against cardboard oil migration that are leading the way towards a sustainable packaging movement in the years to come.

Paper-based packaging materials are behind some of the most ground-breaking developments in the industry today. Flexible packaging paper such as wraps, bags and pouches offer better barrier protection, higher tear and burst strength, exceptional print surfaces and are ideal for food and industrial packaging.

Also new packaging shapes and structures with paper as the main compound, such as moulded-fibre paper bottles and alternatives to plastic clamshells, are finding more and more users.

High-performance packaging such as active and smart papers with embedded chemicals and sensors, along with other anti-counterfeiting traits, are also opening up new opportunities in medical, pharmaceutical and healthcare packaging.

Paper and paper-based packaging is the largest sector in the worldwide market for packaging, accounting for more than 40% of the worldwide market, valued at $429bn in 2009 according to figures from Pike Research.

With the sustainable and green movement also breaking through in packaging, paper-based materials have shown increasing popularity among processors, retailers and end-customers.

Here, Packaging Gateway rounds up some of the most innovative and sustainable alternatives to synthetic or petroleum-based packaging existing today:

1-     Moulded paper

2-     Smart paper with RFID technology

3-     The green bottle

4-     Barrier solutions against mineral oil migration

5-     Waterproof paper pallets

mercredi 19 octobre 2011

Recyclable coatings for paper foodservice packaging

I’m invited by Global Green USA Coalition for Resource Recovery to talk at their upcoming Fall Resource Recovery Conference scheduled for November 15th, 2011 at Lighthouse International, New York, NY, USA.

My talk entitled: «Recyclable coatings for paper foodservice packaging" will be focused on the improvement of paper-based packaging barriers using functional and sustainable coatings.


1. Packaging Trends: sustainability and convenience

2. Enhancing barrier properties of paper: Why Wax is on the Wane?

3. Extrusion coating:

    1. Conventional resin (Polyethylene): recyclability and sustainability
    2. Renewable and compostable resin (bioplastics): Challenges, Hurdles & Success Factors
4. Water-based coating: A bright future (Recyclable, Repulpable and compostable)

5. Take home…

For more information on other events of CoRR's Fall Resource Recovery Conference on November 14-15, 2011, including sessions on recyclable wholesale packaging and commercial food waste recovery please click here.

I look forward to seeing you in New York!

mercredi 12 octobre 2011

Flexible Packaging: US demand to exceed $18 billion in 2015

Demand for converted flexible packaging in the US is expected to exceed $18 billion in 2015. Gains will reflect a rebound in the US economy and will be supported by cost, performance and source reduction advantages over most rigid packaging formats. Rising demand for convenience-oriented and other further processed food items, which often use more costly higher barrier packaging materials for extended shelf life, will also propel growth. Converted flexible packaging’s source reduction capabilities will be increasingly advantageous in light of initiatives by major retailers and packaged goods firms to evaluate the packaging used by their suppliers in terms of eco-friendliness and cost reduction.

Pouches to exhibit above average annual gains

Above-average gains for pouches will be driven by continued conversions to standup pouches and healthy gains for flat pouches in a number of markets. Demand will also benefit from the presence of convenience features (e.g., zippers,spouts) and the emergence of new applications and product types, such as flat-bottomed, side-gusseted pouches and hybrid pouch/folding carton products. In addition, stick pouches will experience rapid growth in single-portion packaging uses based on advantages of product differentiation and portability. Growth for bags will increase at a faster pace than in the 2005-2010 period based on an expected recovery in the US economy from the 2007-2009 recession.

However, gains will lag the overall converted flexible packaging average due to the maturity of many applications along with competition from pouches and rigid packaging. While demand for paper bags and sacks will be constrained by performance limitations relative to plastic bags and sacks, growing efforts by packaged goods firms to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability will lead to some degree of renewed interest in paper, which possesses such qualities as renewability, recyclability and compostability.

Demographic, eating trends to benefit food applications

Above-average growth in food applications will be driven by the need for more costly films for extended shelf life along with demographic trends such as increased numbers of single-person and empty nest households and households where all adults work. These trends will boost demand for food in smaller package sizes and more convenient foods designed to reduce food preparation time. Trends toward healthier eating and increased “on-the-run” eating will spurfood manufacturers to expand their offerings of products, especially snacks,baked goods and beverages, in singleserving packages. Such products require more packaging than standard packages of similar items. The fastest growing food packaging markets for converted flexible packaging will be beverage, meat and related products, and snack food uses. In nonfood applications, advances will be led by above-average gains in the pharmaceutical and medical product markets based on heightened barrier requirements, cost and convenience advantages, and adaptability to gowing unit-of-use requirements. Moreover,benefits including product visibility,pilferage protection and good barrier properties will support continued demand in a broad range of uses. 

mardi 11 octobre 2011

Cisco's Packaging Diet: Just How Sustainable is It?

Packaging is too often a manifestation of excess and waste. All that extra cushioning. All of those individually wrapped parts. Not to mention packaging that is not easily recycled. Product manuals and accessories that are often just thrown away.

Eighteen months ago, I reported on the packaging problem and encouraged vendors to go on a "packaging diet." My two-part series focused on best practices for packaging reduction. One of my case studies in the series, Cisco's promising pilot program, was highlighted in the Esty / Simmons sequel The Green To Gold Business Playbook.

But since, as with many diets, the easy part is often the early stages, I wanted to learn how Cisco was doing over the long-term. Glenn Nomi, Cisco's program manager of green technologies and Oleg Kolosov, manager of Cisco's packaging team, met with me and provided an update.

The top-line takeaway: The packaging diet is working. Cisco continues to expand its program to more products while refining its packaging practices. The program applies to both shipments to Cisco's customers as well as Cisco's internal shipments to its manufacturing partner sites.

Cisco's green packaging program uses three strategies:

  1. Remove items that are not wanted from a shipment,
  2. Reduce packaging, and
  3. Replace with more environmentally friendly packaging

lundi 10 octobre 2011

Une Conférence complètement flexo: Papier recyclé et sécurité Alimentaire: une barrière fonctionnelle à la rescousse

L’Institut des communications graphiques du Québec (ICGQ) organise le jeudi 17 Novembre 2011, une Conférence complètement flexo : Grande conférence de Flexographie. Cette conférence est destinée aux fabricants d’emballages, aux papetiers, aux imprimeurs, aux designers, ainsi qu’aux diverses associations et aux organismes et ministères provinciaux.

Lors de cette journée je donne une conférence intitulée: Papier recyclé et sécurité Alimentaire: une barrière fonctionnelle à la rescousse

Résumé :

Une récente étude suisse vient de révéler que le carton recyclé utilisé pour fabriquer les boîtes de céréales pouvait représenter un risque pour la santé des consommateurs. Nous présenterons les diverses barrières fonctionnelles proposées par Cascades afin de stopper/ralentir la migration de ces huiles minérales. Une telle barrière présente le double avantage de garantir la sécurité alimentaire et d’offrir un emballage éco-responsable.

Pour les détails et le programme complet, cliquez ici

dimanche 9 octobre 2011

Sustainable Packaging Innovation: Eco-Friendly Chinese Take-Out

Focusing on sustainability, this packaging attempts to eliminate the need for a plastic bag. For multiple orders, hook carrying strings into the diecut design of the one on top of it. Holds up to three entrees.

vendredi 7 octobre 2011

Can PLA Take The Next Big Step?

NatureWorks LLC and its Ingeo polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastic have reached a tipping point, according to company president and CEO Marc Verbruggen, finally winning the over enough big brandowners, OEMs and retailers to take the next step in the development of the bioplastics market, although some large hurdles do remain. "We've been in business 15 years," Verbruggen said, "and we've probably spent 13 of those trying to get these." The "these" Verbruggen referred to was a list of Ingeo's biggest customers, all household names, which had their logos displayed on the presentation screen.

Verbruggen's discussion of where NatureWorks and the broader bioplastics market were, are and will be kicked off IntertechPira's 2011 Biopolymers Symposium (Sept. 27-29; Brown Palace Hotel, Denver). Verbruggen noted that some 5 billion products would be "biopackaged" by end of 2011, with names like Coke, Pepsi, and Danone on board.

"Our next fight, our next big battle, is not on resin, it's downstream," Verbruggen said, noting the disadvantage bioplastics often face against more established fossil-fuel based materials which have built up capacity and capabilities at every stop along the supply chain.

"There are applications where we could give Ingeo away for free, and you're still going to pay a premium," Verbruggen said, explaining that his company and other market players now need  economies of scale with converters and brandowners. "We want to be a high volume player, and we will be a high-volume player."

Remaining hurdles

Verbruggen said the top three issues for bioplastics in the near term are:

  1. feedstock
  2. economics
  3. end of life

In response to the first two items, Verbruggen said that NatureWorks, which is seeing 25%/yr demand growth for Ingeo, will likely be doubling its capacity over the next five years after it already doubled production at its existing facility in Nebraska over 2008 and 2009.

In addition to new capacity, with already announced plans for a second plant to be built and running in Southeast Asia in 2015, the company is looking to transition its feedstock sources. That region was chosen for the new plant over Europe and South America, which rely on sugar beats and sugar cane, respectively, for the ethanol used to make Ingeo, for its access to sugar cane and cassava.

Today for feedstock, Verbruggen said Ingeo utilizes dextrose from corn starch, but soon it will source dextrose from cane and cassava. The future will be dextrose from biomass in the form of agricultural residue like corn stover, switch grass, and rice straw. Verbruggen said NatureWorks' hope is that future plants beyond the pending Asian site are based on cellulosic feedstocks, but for that to happen, the industry will need to see significant investments in biofuel refineries.

Biofuels will fuel bioplastics growth

Just as fossil-fuel based plastics grew in market size and influence with the scale that came out of large refineries built up for gasoline production, bioplastics will need to piggy back on the growing biofuel market, particularly as it shifts to non-food sources for fuel. Verbruggen noted that currently, if oil is at $80-$90/bbl and corn is at $5-$6/bushel, PLA roughly achieves parity with its fossil-fuel based counterparts.

"We always talk about food vs. fuel, but we never talk about food vs. plastics," Verbruggen said, noting that the industry's silence while corn-based ethanol became a target when food prices rose in recent years was a "huge mistake". As it stands, fuel ethanol uses up anywhere from 25-40% of available feed corn, while Ingeo consumes .11%. Just based on annual gains in crop yield, Verbruggen said NatureWorks could build 20 plants in Nebraska and not see the impact that fuel ethanol has. If it were to replace every pound of polystyrene in North America, it would need 15 plants and would still only use 1.65% of today's sugar production.

End-of-life solution to end-of-life problem


Of the three issues facing bioplastics, Verbruggen said end of life is "probably the most frustrating." Bioplastics originally started as an end-of-life solution, but are now seen as a problem, with recyclers and composters alike largely shunning the materials. Verbruggen said that NatureWorks is "agnostic" as to what means are chosen to deal with its material once its service is done, but he noted that feedstock recovery is appealing, since little energy is needed to polymerize and hydrolyze lactides back into PLA. "Long term, we expect a significant portion of our PLA to come from reclaim," Verbruggen said.



jeudi 6 octobre 2011

Thierry Varlet: «Il n'y a pas que les emballages»

Thierry Varlet gère Breiz Pack, un réseau d'industriels bretons de l'emballage. Il prend acte des études pointant les risques de dangerosité du bisphénol A.

Pourquoi les emballages alimentaires contiennent-ils du bisphénol A, des phtalates et autres huiles minérales? 

Le bisphénol A est présent dans de nombreux plastiques alimentaires. Tout comme les phtalates. Ces substances augmentent la souplesse et la fluidité d'un matériau qui serait sinon plus cassant. Les huiles minérales, elles, sont intégrées aux encres utilisées en impression sur les emballages. On sait aujourd'hui que ces huiles traversent les plastiques alimentaires et que la plupart des cartons issus du recyclage en contiennent. De même, on sait que le bisphénolA et les phtalates migrent du plastique aux aliments. Mais il ne faut pas prendre les industriels pour des irresponsables. Ces différentes substances sont utilisées dans les emballages en respect de la réglementation en vigueur actuellement. 

Justement, ça pourrait changer. Qu'y a-t-il de nouveau dans le rapport de l'Anses(*) publié la semaine dernière? 

Ce qui est nouveau, c'est que l'Anses affirme aujourd'hui la dangerosité du bisphénol A chez les femmes enceintes et les enfants avant trois ans et à la puberté. Le bisphénol A est un perturbateur hormonal qui peut notamment provoquer des cancers et modifier le développement des foetus. Jusqu'à présent, on faisait un lien entre la quantité et la nocivité. Donc, on utilisait de très faibles doses. Désormais, on sait grâce aux études de l'Inra (Institut national de la recherche agronomique) que, même à faible dose, il y a des risques et que la période de la vie pendant laquelle on ingère la substance a beaucoup d'importance. 

Quelles conséquences aurait une interdiction du bisphénol Apour les fabricants d'emballages? 

Il semble que certains industriels de la pétrochimie aient déjà des produits de substitution. En tout cas, je remarque que l'industrie de l'emballage est le seul secteur où on va chercher ce genre de détail. Car les substances remises en cause, vous en avez dans les meubles, les sacs, les textiles, les lunettes, les téléphones portables, etc. Et dans la plupart des jouets que l'on importe massivement de Chine. 

Peut-on imaginer demain un emballage respectueux de l'homme et de l'environnement?

D'ici à cinq, dix ou quinze ans, on aura avancé vers des composants issus de ressources renouvelables dont l'impact sera minimisé au maximum. On devrait être en capacité de fabriquer localement avec des ressources locales, comme les fibres végétales, des emballages pour des produits qui seront vendus localement dans des sortes de «circuits courts». On trouvera un bon compromis entre le tout pétrole et le tout bio. On n'aura pas besoin que la durée de vie des aliments soit de quinze jours. Les performances demandées seront moindres. 


mercredi 5 octobre 2011

Steve jobs: Master of Innovation

I share with you my selection of 3 Inspiring Steve Jobs Quotes.

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." 
 "Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations. "  
"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they've had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people."

RIP Steve Jobs! He was a true visionary! He changed the world by following his vision and staying true!

lundi 3 octobre 2011

ZIPBOX®: Innovative Resealable Carton to Maximize Shelf-Impact

Zipbox®, a joint venture between Zip-Pak and T.H.E.M., announces that Plantation® brand natural "raw" sugar will be the first product to go to market in the new Zipbox® resealable carton format.

Zipbox is a poly-coated paperboard carton incorporating an attached flexible film header containing a ZIP-PAK® Press-to-Close™ solution. Zipbox is designed to facilitate direct-filling of products without the need for an inner liner. By removing the liner, the package can hold up to 40 percent more product, maximizing the product-to-package ratio and cube utilization to reduce transportation costs.