lundi 30 mars 2009

LCA study puts bag-in-box in good light

Via Food Production Daily

A life cycle assessment (LCA) of the bag-in-box packaging format underlines its strong environmental credentials and endorses it as an alternative to conventional packaging formats for wine and liquid foods, claims a European supplier of this type of packaging

Rapak said that it recently commissioned sustainability consultants PIRA to compile an independent report with the specific aim of assessing and comparing the potential life cycle environmental impacts of bag-in-box technology with alternative liquid packaging formats.

Material weight

The study, claims the company, compared 30 different packaging formats over the range of market categories and considered the weight of packaging raw materials as key in terms of impact on distribution.

“As a responsible packaging producer, we need to be aware of and reduce the environmental impact of our products,” said Jean Paul Roosendaal, sales and marketing director for the company.

The LCA technique incorporates the different stages of a product’s life cycle to assess how ‘green’ a product or packaging material is, including raw material extraction, manufacture, transport and usage through to waste processing and disposal.

An inventory is made of each stage in terms of energy and material consumption as well as emissions released into the environment, to determine a packaging material or product’s carbon footprint.
Informed decisions

“The PIRA report’s conclusion that bag-in-box systems were ‘environmentally competitive’ and in many cases superior to alternative packaging formats in the categories considered has qualified what has long been felt about this packaging medium,” added Roosendaal.

However, he stressed that the purpose of the LCA was not to prove that one packaging format was better than another - “there are too many variable factors for any pack realistically to be able to take that position,” conceded Roosendaal.

But he said that such a study allows its customers to make informed decisions in the selection of packaging for their particular products, adding environmental considerations alongside factors such as packaging performance and consumer requirements.

According to Rapak, the bag-in-box format generates up to five times less waste than rigid containers, thanks to the fact that empty packs collapse fully to reduce space during disposal and, in addition, the cardboard outer is fully recyclable.


Rapak added that it was continuing to look at developing bag-in-box materials to offer to food and beverage companies for use across the retail and service industry, with water an increasingly important area.

In this continued push for use of the format with waters, the group said it is targeting specific markets such as Northern European, where it says such products are already widely available in five and ten litre sizes.

vendredi 27 mars 2009

Réduire les emballages, une priorité pour une consommation durable

Une majorité de français (60%) considèrent que les enseignes de la distribution ont un rôle très important à jouer dans la protection de l'environnement et que la réduction des emballages est une priorité, selon un sondage publié jeudi.
Parmi les actions prioritaires pour développer une consommation durable, ils citent la réduction des emballages (79%), les produits recyclables (78%), la suppression des sacs plastiques aux caisses (51%), l'étiquetage énergétique (50%) ou encore les produits régionaux (41%), selon ce sondage réalisé pour la Fédération des entreprises du commerce et de la distribution (FCD) à l'occasion de la Semaine du développement durable dont la 7è édition se tient du 1er au 7 avril.

Pour 94% des personnes interrogées, avoir une consommation durable est "très important" (45%) ou "plutôt important" (49%).

Sondage Opinon Way réalisé du 20 au 23 mars auprès d'un échantillon de 1.061 personnes représentatif de la population française âgée de 18 ans et plus (interrogation en ligne).

(AFP / 26 mars 2009 15h56)

Télécharger les documents joints :

jeudi 26 mars 2009

US demand for green packaging to approach $45 billion in 2013

According to a new study from The Freedonia Group, U.S. demand for green packaging—comprised of recycled content, and biodegradable and reusable packaging—is projected to increase 3.4% annually to $43.9 billion in 2013, using 59 billion lb of material.

Advances for green packaging will be driven by the increased prominence of environmental issues as a result of elevated raw material and fuel costs in the past several years. This has resulted in heightened activity among product manufacturers to make their products and related packaging more environmentally

Much of the increased activity in green packaging has been driven by Wal-Mart, which unveiled its Packaging Scorecard in November 2006. The scorecard was implemented in February 2008 and is used by Wal-Mart to evaluate the packaging used by suppliers in terms of its eco-friendliness, including factors that reduce waste as well as packaging and transportation costs.

Fastest gains anticipated for biodegradable plastic, recycled content packaging

The fastest gains are anticipated for biodegradable plastic packaging and plastic recycled content packaging. Growth for biodegradable plastic packaging will be driven by price competitiveness with conventional resins, rapidly expanding capacity and lower pricing volatility than petroleum-based plastic packaging materials. Preventing faster advances will be performance drawbacks, capacity limitations and the lack of consumer composting networks in most areas of the US. The fastest growing biodegradable packaging segments will be cups, plates and bowls; and containers.

Robust growth for plastic recycled content packaging will be aided by more concerted efforts to boost collection volume, an increased focus on the development of food-contact approved resin grades, and further sustainability initiatives by plastic processors and brand owners.

Glass recycled content packaging demand will increase at an above-average pace, reflecting industry efforts to boost recycling rates and incorporate higher levels of recycled content in glass containers.

Reusable packaging is forecast to expand more slowly, resulting from marginal growth for drums based on competition from larger formats such as intermediate bulk containers.

Foodservice, shipping to be fastest growing markets

The largest markets for green packaging are food, consumer products and beverages, which together represented twothirds of total green packaging demand in 2008. However, the fastest growing markets through 2013 will be the foodservice and shipping markets.


mercredi 25 mars 2009

Eco-Fina Bottle™: the Lightest Weight Bottle in the Market

Half-Liter Package Uses 50 Percent Less Plastic, Saving an Estimated 75 million Pounds of Plastic Annually

At a weight of just 10.9 grams, the Eco-Fina Bottle is made with 50 percent less plastic than the half-liter Aquafina bottles produced in 2002, eliminating an estimated 75 million pounds of plastic annually. In addition to light weighting the half-liter bottle, Aquafina is driving additional environmental benefits by producing the Eco-Fina Bottle right at Aquafina purification centers where filling occurs and by eliminating cardboard base pads from Eco-Fina Bottle 24-packs, which will contribute to saving 20 million pounds of corrugate by 2010.

Press Release

mardi 24 mars 2009

Oxo-Biodegradability and Biodegradability

Deux documents récents à partager avec vous…

Le premier publié dans Bioplastics Magazine (01-09, Vol.4). Il s’agit d’une revue sur les plastiques biodégradables : Sorting Through Facts and Claims.
Biodegradability is an end-of-life option for single use disposable, packaging, and consumer plastics that harnesses microbes to completely utilize the carbon substrate and remove it from the environmental compartment – entering into the microbial food chain.
Le second, publié par le Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). Il s’agit d’un condensé des commentaires du BPI concernant les additifs biodégradables utilisés pour accélérer la « biodégradation » des plastiques pétrochimiques : Background on Biodegradable Additives.
Testing has shown that in arid climates with sunlight and high heat, oxo-biodegradable additives will accelerate the fragmentation of traditional polymers. Data has shown that fragmentation can be achieved in 2 to 3 months. However, fragmentation is not a sign of Biodegradation and there is no data to show how long these plastic fragments will persist in the soils or marine environments. Further, data has shown that moisture will retard this fragmentation process for months or longer.

lundi 23 mars 2009

Recyclable Barrier Coatings Offer Alternative

The environmentally-friendly coatings can be used to replace wax boxes.

A number of factors have combined to create renewed interest in recyclable barrier coatings as an alternative to waxed boxes and for other applications of paperboard packaging.

OCC is in tight supply and increasing in price due to export demand for new mills in China and Vietnam. Walmart’s “Packaging Scorecard” is providing incentives to develop recyclable packaging materials. Tipping fees for non-recyclable waste going to landfill or incinerators is increasing. As much as 10 percent of a supermarket company’s profits can be spent separating non-recyclable waxed boxes and other non-recyclable packaging materials.

Read full article

vendredi 20 mars 2009

ConAgra Foods first company in the world to use recycled PLA shrink film

ConAgra Foods announced today that it is the first company to utilize a new shrink film that contains more than 50 percent post-industrial recycled material, reducing landfill waste, greenhouse gases, and energy consumption. The new technology is a recycled Polylactic Acid (PLA). The new shrink film will be used for tamper evident seals on ConAgra Foods’ table spreads – Fleischmann’s®, Blue Bonnet® and Parkay® - and for printed shrink labels for multi-packs of the company’s Reddi-Wip® whipped topping and PAM® cooking spray.

The new material has several advantages over traditional shrink films:
  • It is manufactured using corn, a renewable resource. Traditional shrink films are petroleum-based.
  • It contains more than 50 percent post-industrial recycled content, meaning that more than half the material that would traditionally be sent to landfills is now being diverted into a value-added end product.
  • It produces less greenhouse gases than traditional shrink films; this means ConAgra Foods is reducing greenhouse gas production by approximately 592,000 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents, the same as taking about 48 cars off the road per year.
  • It requires less energy at ConAgra Foods’ manufacturing facilities, reducing the temperature necessary to shrink the material by approximately 20 percent.
  • It provides a higher-quality finished product due to an improved shrink performance.
“This conversion to a new shrink material is one of many steps ConAgra Foods is taking in our continued commitment to innovation and sustainable business,” said Gail Tavill, vice president of Sustainability at ConAgra Foods. “We’re positively impacting the environment, reducing waste and eliminating the need for more than 400,000 pounds of petroleum-based material by replacing it with a material made from a renewable –resource—corn.”

The new technology was developed in partnership with Plastic Suppliers, Bluepack, and NatureWorks LLC. The company’s conversion to the new material will divert more than 350,000 pounds of non-renewable Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and more than 50,000 pounds of Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG) from the company’s raw material stream annually.


jeudi 19 mars 2009

Nano sensors for rapid detection of Salmonella in food

Nanoscale sensors have been emerging as a feature of recent nanotechnology applications for food safety and quality measurement. Scientists are using nanotechnology for a rapid detection of Salmonella in foods. Here are two recent scientific findings:

  • Dutch Bionanotechnology Centre for Food and Health Innovations used nanoparticles to build devices that sense the DNA of microbes such as Salmonella or Listeria (CBC, March 2009). Read more…
  • US Department of Agriculture’s Research Service (ARS) and University of Georgia developed a nanorod-based biosensor that enables rapid detection of the Salmonella pathogen with high sensitivity. The sensor include fluorescent organic dye particles attached to Salmonella antibodies; the antibodies latch onto Salmonella bacteria and the dye lights up like a beacon, making the bacteria easier to see. (Food Production Daily, January 2009). Read more…


mercredi 18 mars 2009

Une bouteille de vin écolo en plastique

Via Le Monde

A première vue, rien ne distingue cette bouteille de vin d'une autre. La Maison Joseph Mellot, installée à Sancerre depuis François Ier, a adopté le plastique (PET) au lieu du verre pour le conditionnement de sa cuvée Destinéa (cépage sauvignon) à destination de l'Europe du Nord, où l'on est attentif à la protection de l'environnement. Le PET ou polyéthylène téréphtalate permet d'obtenir une bouteille qui pèse dix fois moins qu'une bouteille classique : 54 grammes, contre 500 grammes minimum. Ses atouts : 68 % d'économie de CO2 (bilan carbone) avant l'embouteillage en raison d'un moindre besoin d'énergie pour la fabrication, réduction de la consommation de carburant pour le transport, aucune casse possible, qualité environnementale (100 % recyclable) et, bien entendu, aucune incidence sur le goût et l'évolution du vin, car la bouteille protège le breuvage des UV et est en plus hermétique à l'oxygène.

mardi 17 mars 2009

Emballage: les sachets remplacent les boîtes de conserve

Les pochettes d'aliments se multiplient à l'épicerie. Pesto, sauces, soupes et maintenant légumineuses, des aliments que l'on trouve traditionnellement dans des boîtes de conserve changent de format.

Comme la nécessité est mère de l'invention, il y a derrière cette nouvelle tendance une question de gros sous. Le prix de l'acier a commencé à grimper l'année dernière, entraînant avec lui celui de la boîte de conserve, qui coûte maintenant plusieurs cents de plus. «Le prix de la boîte de conserve a augmenté d'au moins 40% partout dans le monde», explique Jean-François Pratt, chef de produits chez Lassonde. Difficile de refiler la note aux consommateurs, en période de récession.

Lorsque le coût du transport a aussi augmenté, les industriels de l'alimentation se sont dit qu'il était peut-être temps de penser à mettre au rancart la conserve, lourde et peu pratique.

Lassonde vient de lancer une nouvelle gamme de produits en pochettes, dont cette étonnante gamme de légumineuses qui, placées dans des sacs, ne cachent plus leur texture en sauce. Au toucher, cela s'apparente à la consistance d'un lit d'eau en manque de matière première et peut certainement surprendre le consommateur. Vrai, concède le représentant de Lassonde. Mais les consommateurs québécois, tout comme les Européens, note Jean-François Pratt, apprivoiseront vite le «baluchon», surtout lorsqu'ils auront compris le principe écolo qui le sous-tend.

La Maison Le Grand, entreprise québécoise spécialiste des condiments haut de gamme, a fait le même raisonnement. Le jour où ses pots de verre importés de Chine ne sont pas arrivés à destination, les spécialistes ont revu l'emballage pour finalement opter pour le sachet recyclable, 17 fois plus léger que le bocal original. L'économie de CO2 pendant l'expédition est considérable, note Bernard Le Grand, de la maison du même nom. «C'est un peu choquant de penser que le plastique est une option écolo, car le plastique a très mauvaise presse», dit-il.

Il est vrai que l'on recycle beaucoup les conserves et le verre sont très recyclés au Québec, mais non la pochette multicouche, même si elle est théoriquement recyclable. En attendant, Bernard Le Grand suggère de la réutiliser pour apporter des vinaigrettes ou des soupes en camping. Il reste aussi à maîtriser la manipulation du nouveau format, ce qui demande un peu de technique et d'entraînement.

lundi 16 mars 2009

60BAG : Reusable, Recyclable and Biodegradable

60BAGs are biodegradable carrier bags made out of flax-viscose non-woven fabric. It is a Polish made, scientifically developed and patented material. The flax-viscose fabric is produced with flax fiber industrial waste, which means it doesn’t exploit any natural resources and minimizes the production energy use. This highly innovative technology makes the bags naturally decompose in about 60 days after being discarded by the user. The bags can be composted or safely burnt, which means they don’t require expensive recycling processes. They are the perfect natural answer to the environment’s needs.


samedi 14 mars 2009

Fruits & Passion : Emballage chic et écologique

Il y’a quelques mois, dans un post intitulé : Emballage de luxe : à quand le tournant vert?, nous nous demandions si l’industrie des cosmétiques et de la parfumerie allait être, elle aussi, submergée par la vague verte qui touche tous les produits de consommation emballés. Il semble qu’elle ne soit pas épargnée.

Lulu Castagnette, avait fait preuve d’imagination et de culot pour l’emballage de son parfum en utilisant un matériau servant principalement à emballer les œufs…

En octobre dernier, Yves Rocher lançait une gamme de soins bio, baptisée Culture Bio, conçue suivant une démarche complète d’éco-conception.

Récemment, Fruits & Passion, une compagnie canadienne dont le siège social est situé à Montréal, vient de mettre sur le marché une nouvelle gamme de parfumerie fine naturelle, écologique et fantaisiste.

Naturellement écologique, la gamme de parfumerie fine IMAGINE est déclinée en 6 produits de qualité supérieure qui ont été développés par souci du respect de l’environnement. En effet, toutes les formulations sont biodégradables (selon le test 301D de l’OCDE), sans sulfate et sans colorant, et elles contiennent de 86 % à 95 % d’ingrédients naturels et d’origine végétale.

Les emballages ont été choisis selon des critères environnementaux et sont conçus afin de favoriser la réduction du suremballage. Par exemple, l’eau de toilette est offerte dans un emballage protecteur qui se transforme en un sac réutilisable pliable; les contenants sont fabriqués localement, soit près de l’usine de fabrication Fruits & Passion à Candiac, et faits de plastique recyclable; le carton utilisé pour habiller les produits de la gamme est certifié FSC (groupe de produits issus de forêts bien gérées, de sources contrôlées et de bois ou fibres recyclés).

vendredi 13 mars 2009

Innovative stickers: Laser labels

“The initial set-up cost – the price of the machine itself – is substantial but after that it operates on the same energy as a 100 watt light-bulb and is capable of labelling up to 14 pieces of fruit a second. It’s environmentally friendly and considerably less time consuming than stickers”.


jeudi 12 mars 2009

Packaging of the week: PortaBottle, Reusable and Recyclable Wine Carrier

PortaBottle® is the first truly reusable and recyclable bottle carrier made from sustainable unbleached kraft paperboard sourced from managed forests.

PortaBottle® is nine times stronger than recycled corrugated. It has outstanding tear and wet-strength properties which ensure the safe and secure transit of most bottle sizes from store to home many times over. Most corrugated bottle carriers can only be used once or twice safely, so PortaBottle® represents a significant step forward with minimal environmental impact. It is also consumer-friendly thanks to its simple ‘pop-up’ in-store assembly from flat-pack, comfortable carry handle and clink-free patented design.

mardi 10 mars 2009

Use of carbon monoxide in packaging ground beef would extend shelf life

Hamburger with a much longer shelf life using carbon monoxide-based technology may some day be coming to your local supermarket.

Although the packaging is available in U.S. grocery stores, it has not yet been approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, says Sven Anders, principal investigator of a study on consumer acceptance of the technology conducted at the University of Alberta.

"The use of carbon monoxide in this type of modified atmosphere packaging has been used in a variety of food applications, but it has not in meat packaging," Anders, a professor of rural economy at the university, said in an interview.

The process seals a small amount of carbon monoxide gas inside the hamburger package, stabilizing the fresh cherry-red colour that he says consumers consistently prefer over light-red or brownish-coloured meat.

This gives the meat an extended shelf life of up to 14 days, exceeding the current three-day window.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless gas that when inhaled can be fatal, says the University of Guelph-based Food Safety Network. However, it says when the gas is used in packaging it is not harmful to health.

In the U.S., much media attention was given to the proposal of a complete ban on the use of carbon monoxide in foods by consumer groups and companies prior to its acceptance by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006.

For his research, Anders did a small study of Alberta consumers to see if there would be acceptance. He found that 60 per cent of the 205 people polled would be willing to pay more for the cherry-red colour and extended shelf life when they learned it was artificially obtained through the CO-modified atmosphere packaging process.

But he adds that prominent labelling and public information would be crucial factors in getting all shoppers to buy into the new packaging.

"The product looks better, but people would have to pay close attention to the expiry date."

In 2001, the European Commission carried out a review of the safety of carbon monoxide in foods and determined the application to be safe. It has been used in Norway for 20 years without incident.

However, the commission decided that most consumers were not ready to accept the technology and the use of carbon monoxide was prohibited.

Anders says he would like to see the carbon monoxide technology used in Canada for the savings an extended shelf life would bring to meat processors and retail distributors and ultimately to consumers.

Anders' findings, which he and a research team in the U.S. and Germany have presented at several conferences, were endorsed by the Canadian Meat Council and funded by the Alberta Livestock Industry Development Fund and the Canadian Beef Information Centre.

Alastair Sinclair, a spokesman for Health Canada, says that the use of carbon monoxide to improve the appearance and extend the shelf life of ground beef is not currently allowed in Canada.

"Should an applicant wish to use this technology on product to be sold in Canada, they would first have to make a submission to Health Canada to allow the use of the technology," he said in a statement.

"This submission would have to contain scientific information demonstrating the effectiveness and safety of the process," he says. "Health Canada scientists would review this data, along with any other information published in the scientific literature."

"Only once Health Canada scientists are satisfied that the process is safe and effective would it be allowed for use in Canada."

Pros and cons of modified atmosphere packaging

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), the technique used for prolonging the shelf life of fresh or minimally processed foods:

  • Longer shelf life allows wider distribution of food
  • Fresh foods available year-round
  • Attractive see-through packaging
  • Requires less storage space time and labour for retailer
  • Expensive equipment and materials (gases and packaging)
  • Increased cost of transportation
  • Potential safety risk as people may not keep the foods under the necessary storage conditions (refrigeration)

lundi 9 mars 2009

Coca-Cola UK Details Carbon Footprint

Coca-Cola today released details of the carbon footprint of some of its most popular drinks: ‘Coca-Cola', ‘diet Coke' and ‘Coke Zero'. It is the first time that the carbon footprint of any brand of sparkling drinks has been certified by the Carbon Trust.

The results reveal that a 330ml can of ‘Coca-Cola' sold in Great Britain has a carbon footprint of 170 grams and the same sized can of ‘diet Coke' or ‘Coke Zero' has a footprint of 150 grams. A 330ml glass bottle of ‘Coca-Cola' has a footprint of 360 grams.

The research also revealed how packaging accounts for the largest portion of the drink's carbon footprint, between 30 - 70%, depending on the type of container used. However, the research went on to highlight the importance of both using recycled content and of encouraging recycling post use. A combination of these two factors can decrease the overall carbon footprint of a product by up to 60%.

Plastiques oxo-biodégradables : dithiocarbamate, écotoxicité et biodégradabilité

Pour l’intérêt de tous, je vais répondre aux questions soulevées par Anonyme dans le post intitulé : Sacs oxo-biodégradables : la fausse promesse ?

Un petit rappel, ce billet a été rédigé à partir d’articles récemment publiés dans des magazines et journaux sérieux. Je ne fais pas le procès contre les oxo. Je ne fais que relater des faits et aux consommateurs/utilisateurs de faire leurs choix. Par ailleurs, je ne prends pas position. Comme tout produit il y a forcément du positif et du négatif en fonction de son utilisation et sa fin de vie. Cependant, il importe de faire la lumière sur les confusions et les ambigüités que contribuent à forger certains produits.

Ce n’est sans doute pas un hasard si à l’heure actuelle diverses sources, qui n’ont a priori pas d’intérêt particuliers à se positionner contre les oxo-biodégradables, remettent en question certains arguments avancés par les vendeurs des produits oxo-biodégradables. Tout ne peut pas être que cabale, mauvais procès d’intention ou pire attaque sournoise de produits concurrents.
Concernant les dithiocarbamates, en dépit des secrets de fabrication toujours très bien gardés, plusieurs publications scientifiques parlent d’additifs tels que les dithiocarbamates de fer, de nickel, de manganèse ou les stéarates utilisés pour favoriser la dégradation.

Dans la fameuse étude de l’ADEME (voir commentaire ici) il est donné une définition des oxo-dégradables (et non oxo-biodégradable!!!) qui se lit comme suit: potentiel d’un polymère à se dégrader grâce à l’ajout d’additifs (dithiocarbamate de fer, nickel, manganèse, stéarate de nickel…) qui permettra un fractionnement du polymère par les rayons du soleil (rayons UV), la chaleur et/ou une action.

Concernant l’écotoxicité des additifs, je ne mets pas en doute les tests OECD 208 réalisés par les certificateurs américains, canadiens, européens; je ne fais qu’évoquer un autre son de cloche : la position de l’European Bioplastics.

Product Safety and Ecotoxicity. The so called "oxo-biodegradable" additives pose several concerns regarding safety and ecotoxicity. These additives are based on ionic metals that trigger PE fragmentation. Some metal compounds used in these products are classified and labelled under the EU Directive 67/548/EEC on Dangerous Substances as causing adverse effects on humans and theenvironment. For instance, cobalt Co(II), has been found in concentrations higher than 4,000 mg/kg in "oxo-biodegradable" additives. At such high concentrations these materials are considered harmful if released into the environment, and are regulated at the workplace of plastic manufacturers and converters, since metal fumes might be released through dust or under heating. During the fragmentation process however, regulated metals may be liberated into the environment with the consequence of adding (eco)toxic persistent and bio accumulative CMR substances(Carcinogenic, Mutagenic, toxic to Reproduction).

Concernant la biodégradation des polymères additivés, rien ne semble clair. Sont-ils biodégradables ou seulement dégradables?

Le National Advertising Division (NAD), un organisme chargé d’évaluer la véracité de la publicité aux États-Unis vient de recommander à GP Plastics Corp, le producteur de sacs oxo-biodégradables, de modifier ou de cesser de diffuser certaines fausses affirmations concernant leurs produits.

The National Advertising Division in the United States ruled that plastic bags that were oxo-biodegradable could not be marketed as being biodegradable according to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines for the use of environmental marketing claims.

Différentes publications font état d’une biodégradation très lente et faible du polyéthylène additivé (sur cent à deux cents ans).

Finalement, ces organismes aussi sérieux soient-ils peuvent se tromper et corriger leur position. Ce ne serait pas une première, le Bisphénol A (BPA) en est un exemple récent.
Vous pouvez consulter ici le dossier sur les plastiques oxo-biodégradables

vendredi 6 mars 2009

Point of view: LCA is as valuable as a mindset as it is as a tool

Since sustainability, at its heart, embodies the cradle-to-cradle concept, it makes sense to look across that sweep in determining how much can be standardized. Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool that can assist because it has been standardized by such entities as the International Standards Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency. Even so, that standardization relates to structure; it’s the skeleton upon which the user attaches the muscle.

LCA is as valuable as a mindset as it is as a tool because trying to enact it to the letter can entangle the packaging professional and the sustainability executive in data overload. The two should work cooperatively to devise a standardized version of an LCA that offers simplicity, but not at the expense of reliability and relevance.
An LCA can be useful as a means of comparison—bioplastics vs. petroplastics, for instance—but only to a point. It does not relieve the packaging professional or the sustainability executive from the need to rank the importance of the inputs of energy and resources and the outputs of emissions and wastes. Sustainability is often described in terms of the three P’s: Profits, Planet, People. However, under a given scenario, one of them might be deemed “more equal” than the others.

jeudi 5 mars 2009

Bisphénol A : À quand l’interdiction du BPA dans les matériaux alimentaires?

Le fameux Bisphénol A (ici et ) fait encore parler de lui.

En France, le Réseau Environnement Santé (RES), qui regroupe des organisations non gouvernementales, des scientifiques et des professionnels de santé, vient de lancer une campagne visant à interdire le bisphénol A (BPA) dans les plastiques alimentaires, en application du principe de précaution.

Au Canada, Le Globe & Mail rapporte aujourd'hui que des tests menés par Santé Canada montrent que la grande majorité des cannettes de boissons gazeuses ou de boissons énergisantes vendues au pays contiennent du bisphénol A (Cliquez ici pour voir la vidéo).

Après les biberons, les bouteilles en plastique et les conserves, et donc désormais les canettes, quel sera le prochain sur la liste?

Sur cette question, le principe de précaution devrait être préconisé. Il faut interdire le BPA de tous les matériaux utilisés dans l'alimentaire. Quand on sait qu’un composé toxique n’est pas indispensable, pourquoi faire courir des risques à la population surtout quand des alternatives pas forcément plus onéreuses existent ?

mercredi 4 mars 2009

Compostable vs. Biodegradable vs. Recyclable

A couple of years ago, Michael Oshman found a full line of foodservice packaging that claimed to biodegrade in landfills more quickly than any other plastic on the market.

“It was like, ‘This is the product that we've been waiting for,’” says Oshman, who has been executive director of the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) since he founded the organization 19 years ago. “It was so convincing.”

But then he sent it to his team for analysis and found its claims were false.

If carefully worded assertions can fool someone who has been entrenched in the green restaurant movement for almost two decades, how can the rest of the industry hope to understand the complexities of terms such as “compostable”, “biodegradable”, and “recyclable”?

With that question in mind, QSR talked with several experts to decipher the implications of each term—and the impact that sustainable packaging will have on your bottom line.



mardi 3 mars 2009

Packaging ink migration ruling challenged

Tetra Pak said it is appealing a ruling by an Italian judge who sentenced both the global packaging equipment supplier and food giant Nestle to pay compensation to a party based on the presence of a packaging chemical in baby milk.

According to the ANSA news agency, the Sicilian court ruled that Nestle Italia and Tetra Pak International were responsible for the ‘psychological prejudice’ suffered by the parents of two girls when they became aware that the infant formula their daughters had consumed was contaminated by IsopropilThioXantone (ITX).

Product recall

Italy’s food safety regulators detected ITX in some batches of Nestle baby milk in 2005, sparking a massive recall at the time. The packaging had been produced by Tetra Pak, and the ink curing agent was found to have migrated from the carton into the milk.

Linda Bernier, director of corporate PR for Tetra Pak, told that the company was restricted in the comments it could make as the appeal case is pending but she stressed that seven other similar cases brought by plaintiffs in the intervening years were dismissed as groundless by the judges in question.

She said that Tetra Pak no longer uses the chemical ITX for its food packaging, and has switched to printing methods that do not use photo initiators, even thought the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) concluded at the time that ITX posed no danger to human health at the levels found in the products.

Tainted cereal

Meanwhile, migration of a chemical from cardboard packaging into the food prompted the European Commission last week to request a risk assessment on the substance from EFSA.

A German customer of a Belgian cereal manufacturer discovered the presence of 4-methylbenzophenone in a chocolate crunch muesli product at levels amounting to 798 μg/kilogram parts per billion (ppb) and notified the relevant authorities.

EFSA has been asked to evaluate the risk of the presence of the ink component in food, and also whether the existing tolerable daily intake (TDI) for similar substances benzophenone and hydroxybenzophenone could also be applied to 4-methylbenzophenone; the chemicals are all used as photo-initiators in the area of printing inks.

Regulation on inks

Inks, according to the Commission, are not covered by specific European legislation on food contact materials. However the use of printing inks has to comply with the general rules of Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 and with good manufacturing practice (GMP) as laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 2023/2006.

In relation to components of packaging such as inks, Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 states that under normal or foreseeable conditions of use they should not transfer their constituents to food in quantities which could endanger human health.

lundi 2 mars 2009

Every tonne of Plantic® sheet will save up to 2.5 tonnes of CO2

Plantic Technologies Limited, manufacturer of starch-based polymers for packaging and other applications, commissioned RMIT University, Melbourne, to undertake a streamlined update of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Plantic® biodegradable plastic packaging system compared with alternative polymers. The updated LCA reveals that every tonne of Plantic® sheet purchased in place of petrochemical polymers will save up to 2.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide (the average annual emissions of a compact car) and enough energy to power 2.5 average Australian homes.

Plantic Press releases

Australia: National retailer presented DUMP Award for bad packaging

Environment Victoria’s National DUMP Awards (Damaging and Useless Materials in Packaging) shine a spotlight on the environmental consequences of excessive and irresponsible packaging. Ever since they were first held in 2004, the awards have been keenly watched by industry and government, with many past winners compelled to change their practices following adverse publicity

Well-known national retailer Coles received the Golden DUMP Award for their 5 Pack of Lemons wrapped in unrecyclable and unnecessary plastic packaging.

The full assessment report for Environment Victoria’s National DUMP and KEEP Awards is available at Environment Victoria.
A framework for reducing the impacts of packaging in Australia

Environment Victoria recently released a discussion paper that examined the role of the National Packaging Covenant (NPC). The report proposed the following framework for a more sustainable approach to packaging design and life cycle management which could be adopted by the industry.

1. The greenhouse gas emissions of packaging should be reduced. Greenhouse gas emissions should be used as a guide to the environmental impacts of packaging.

2. Product distribution and display systems should be overhauled to reduce the need for packaging. Brand owners and supermarkets should rethink the way a product is transported, displayed and sold in order to reduce its environmental impact.

3. Non recyclable materials should be banned from use in packaging by 2010. A national standard should be developed setting out which materials are recyclable and therefore permitted.

4. Recyclable packaging should be banned from landfill. State governments should use the available legislative arrangements to stop materials such as cardboard and paper, glass, aluminium, steel and plastics from going to landfill.

5. Facilities for recycling should be provided at supermarkets for flexible plastics (plastic bags, shrink wrap etc).

6. Reusable packaging should be introduced into a much wider area, including freight packaging, home delivery and by redesigning product packaging.

7. Consumers should take action by lobbying brand owners to take more action to cut the environmental impacts of packaging.

8. Away from home recycling should be increased by introducing a fund to support public place recycling and a national container deposit system should be introduced.