lundi 29 juin 2009

Plastique «compostable»: mettre fin à l’ambigüité du «biodégradable»

Au Québec, on assiste à un véritable engouement pour les plastiques biodégradables. Toutefois, on n’échappe pas à la confusion et à l’amalgame entre le biodégradable, le compostable, le dégradable voire l’oxo-biodégradable; des termes largement utilisés comme argument de promotion de matériaux éco-responsables.

Généralement, le terme biodégradable est perçu de façon positive par le consommateur, qui trop souvent considère que ce qui est biodégradable peut magiquement disparaître. Promouvoir la biodégradabilité des plastiques auprès des consommateurs peut aussi comporter le risque d’augmenter les cas d’abandon sauvage alors que les comportements à encourager doivent rester la réduction à la source, la réutilisation et le recyclage. Les bioplastiques n’ont vraiment de valeur ajoutée environnementale que lorsqu’il n’est pas possible d’envisager les 3R.

La conception de nouveaux matériaux devrait toujours être guidée par le concept de «Cradle to Cradle» (du berceau au berceau). La biodégradabilité peut trop souvent être suspectée de «Greenwashing». Au lieu d’insister sur l’aspect biodégradable, il serait préférable de promouvoir le compostable. Rappelons que si un plastique est compostable, il est forcément biodégradable, mais la réciproque n’est pas vraie. De plus en utilisant le terme compostable, cela ne laisse plus la place à l’ambigüité : le consommateur est d’emblée informé de ce qu’il devra en faire à la fin de son cycle de vie, c'est-à-dire le destiner au compostage.
Par conséquent, la promotion des plastiques composatbles doit impérativement s’accompagner du développement et de la généralisation d’infrastructures adéquates permettant le compostage.
Finalement, il s’avère impératif de mieux informer les consommateurs pour qu’ils comprennent quelle est la véritable valeur ajoutée environnementale de ces produits. Il ne faudrait pas qu’ils leur attribuent des vertus miraculeuses qui les déresponsabiliseraient d’une gestion plus éco-responsable des matières résiduelles commençant par une réduction à la source.

jeudi 25 juin 2009

Evlon compostable, biodegradable film

Environmentally aware consumers are demanding an earth-friendly approach motivated by knowledge that plastic litter is leaching known carcinogens and hormone disruptors into the earth's soil and water. Government legislation isn't far behind, with municipalities across North America demanding that retail stores and corporations pick up more of the tab for recycling mountains of plastic and other waste.

“We fully understand the strain on the earth due to petroleum-based plastics,” says BI-AX CEO David Inglis. “So we devoted ourselves to becoming part of the solution with an R&D program resulting in a completely compostable, biodegradable film called Evlon. Evlon is available in a wide range of thicknesses that can be used in all manner of consumer packaging.”

Evlon is certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) as a packaging material that can disintegrate and biodegrade quickly and safely when composted in a professionally managed facility. When composted all that remains is water and carbon dioxide.

One of those products is the Nviroware bio-plastic line of tableware products which include forks and knives that is packaged in a rigid, printed Evlon container.

mercredi 24 juin 2009

Sacs et bacs d'épicerie réutilisables et contamination croisée

Santé Canada rappelle aux Canadiens de prendre des précautions pour prévenir la contamination croisée d'aliments lorsqu'ils utilisent des sacs ou des bacs réutilisables pour faire l'épicerie.

Par souci pour l'environnement, de nombreux Canadiens utilisent des bacs réutilisables, des sacs de plastique réutilisables ou des sacs en tissu pour réduire la quantité de plastique qu'ils utilisent. Santé Canada appuie l'utilisation de ces produits, mais il est important de les utiliser de façon sécuritaire afin de prévenir la contamination croisée des aliments par des bactéries pouvant causer des maladies d'origine alimentaire.

Parce que ces sacs et ces bacs en plastique sont réutilisés fréquemment, ils peuvent retenir des bactéries provenant des aliments transportés ou du milieu (du sol, de l'arrière de la voiture ou des bactéries présentes sur les articles qui y sont déposés entre les visites à l'épicerie).

Voir ici quelques conseils pour réduire le risque de contamination croisée.

Bioplastic market expands despite recession

Very interesting post summarising bioplastic market and development.

Development and marketing are surging as bioplastics categories expand to meet a worldwide demand that is growing exponentially.

Germany-based Helmut Kaiser Consultancy estimates that the global bioplastics market is growing at 20-30%/year, and will jump from 400m lb (203,000 tonnes) in 2006, to 10bn lb by 2015. A 2007 report from US-based BCC Research forecast the global bioplastics growth rate at 17%/year from 541m lb in 2007 to 1.2bn lb by 2012.

The meaning of bioplastics

The word "bioplastics" is no longer limited to biodegradable or compostable plastics made from natural materials such as corn or starch.

Bioplastics could also include petroleum-based plastics that are degradable; natural-based plastics that are not necessarily biodegradable; and plastics that contain both petroleum-based and plant-based materials, which could be biodegradable or not.

"The term bioplastics includes both biodegradability as a product property and the use of renewable raw materials. A bioplastic can be both, or one or the other," says Keith Edwards, biodegradable plastics business manager for BASF.

BASF sees biodegradability in the context of organics recycling (compostability) and diversion from landfills as a major market trend. The company estimates global bioplastic growth rates at more than 20% for several years.

"We expect new legislation for bioplastics around organics recycling in Canada and the US in the coming years," says Edwards. "These products are favorable in the packaging as well as in agriculture markets, offering physical properties similar to current materials with the added functionality of biodegradability."

The current generation of bioplastics predominantly lack heat resistance, impact resistance and barrier properties, says Dartee.

Read more....

mardi 23 juin 2009

Debunk eco/packaging myths

In these days of environmental focus, nothing seems to arouse the passions like food and medical packaging. Unfortunately, much of the "bad news" that circulates on the topic is based on myth and hearsay. Maybe some of the following thoughts will help to correct some of the commonly quoted inaccuracies for your packaging-material customers and their consumers.
Myth 1: Food Packaging is filling our landfill sites

Publicly available information suggests that the total volume of waste produced from all sources in the UK per year is about 300 million tons. Only some 10% of this is accounted for by household waste - about 27 million tons. Building sites, as one good point of comparison, produce about four times as much rubbish as households. Packaging of all types represents some 4.5 million tons of household waste, and the amount actually due to food packaging is likely to be no more than 1 million tons. The weight of food packaging per person is less then 44 lbs per year.

Compare that 44 lbs of packaging with the 220 lbs per person per year of food waste that is put straight into the wastebin, and you begin to see that packaging is actually the least of our worries. The environmental impact of the food waste is compounded by the fact that the vast majority of this is also dumped into landfills. Food going to landfills will gradually rot and produce methane - a gas of significantly greater concern regarding global warming than CO2.

Myth 2: Everything is over-packaged
While there may be some mileage in this statement in certain sectors, food is unlikely to be one of them. The protection offered to food products by packaging provides a significant benefit, as illustrated by statistics from the World Health Organisation, which suggest that food waste in the Third World can be as high as 50%, while in developed economies as low as 3%. Much of this difference is due to good quality packaging. Under-packaging is 10 times worse for the environment that the same amount of over-packaging, as 10 times more energy and material resources go into the production of goods and food than into their packaging.

Additional fuel in favor of sensible packaging is provided by the Cucumber Growers' Associated, which showed that unwrapped cucumbers are unsaleable after three days. Plastic wrapping keeps them fresh for 14 days and untouched by dirty hands.

Cleaner and fresher produce and foodstuffs less likely to be damaged during transportation equals product less likely to be thrown straight into the wastebin. Smarter shopping and cooking, and more focus on producing less food waste is far more likely to provide the answer to environmental issues than simply reducing packaging.

Myth 3: Cardboard packaging destroys trees
An unfortunate perception of the print and packaging world is that it "eats trees." In fact, of the world consumption of wood only 12% is actually used for the manufacture of paper and board, and of this, just one tenth is used for cartons. Over half the cartons used in Europe are manufactured using recovered fiber from waste paper.

In Europe, over 90% of the wood needed by the paper and board industry comes from European forests, and responsible packaging producers ensure that their purchases are made from FSC- and PEFC-certified suppliers, which means that any new wood used has come from responsibly managed forests. Overall there are more trees planted than felled in Europe, and as forests absorb CO2 they combat greenhouse gases, and therefore have a positive effect with regard to climate change.

Myth 4: Burying plastic is harmful to the environment
OK, time for a bit of a controversial thought now. Anything that is taken to landfill and rots will give off methane - fact! Methane, as already mentioned, is a significantly harmful gas in environmental terms, and is the probably the weakness of the argument for so called "degradable packaging." While no one likes the idea of burying plastic, it will not rot, and therefore represents less of a climate-change issue than burying food waste or even paperboard and paper (which will also rot, but should, of course, be recycled instead). This text is not advocating burying plastics - just pointing out that actually in some ways it's not as bad for the environment as burying other things.

Myth 5: Not enough packaging is being recycled
This might appear to be another controversial comment to describe as a myth, but the statement does require further analysis to extract the real truth. Some packaging materials are more difficult to recycle than others, and some are particularly expensive or energy-inefficient to recycle. Generally speaking, cartonboard is easy to recycle, and an ever increasing percentage of the population is doing so on a daily basis. Boxes and cartons are easy to disassemble and place into the recycling bin for collection, as is probably typical across much of the country. Paperboard that is not recycled will at least compost easily. More cartonboard/paper is recycled than any other packaging material. Once recent claim suggested that recycled waste paper represented around 63% of the fiber used to produce paper and board in the UK.

  • Food packaging represents a small fraction of UK waste
  • Food waste is significantly higher in terms of volume
  • Food waste is also significantly more damaging to the environment
  • Good packaging helps to prevent more waste
  • Paperboard packaging is produced from sustainable resources
  • Paperboard packaging is easy to recycle, and is being recycled

lundi 22 juin 2009

Bioplastic News: Nestle and Metabolix

Nestle is going to team up with diverse industrial partners to sponsor research in bioplastics at the Ecole des Mines in Paris. Nestle is reportedly going to sponsor E60000 per year for 5 years in this research.

Nestle said packaging materials derived from renewable resources like bioplastics is one way of reducing the environmental impact of its products.

Anne Roulin, head of global packaging of Nestle, said: “We consider that this is the beginning of a new era of Bioplastics. Today we are just at the start of a long journey in research and development, and a lot more scientific and technical work is required before we have materials that are truly adapted to food packaging needs and can be used on a large scale.”

Metabolix and Telles Announce Availability of Color Concentrates for Mirel(TM) Bioplastics

Metabolix, Inc. today announced that Telles, its joint venture with Archer Daniels Midland Company that produces Mirel(TM) bioplastics, has collaborated with Teknor Color Company to develop a range of color concentrates for use with Mirel resin. The newly developed color concentrates are formulated using Mirel base resins and meet ASTM D6400 and EN 13432 standards for compostability and biodegradability.

"Teknor developed this series of color concentrates for use with Mirel PHA in direct response to customer demands for a wider range of bioplastic colorants," said John Wood, Technical Manager with Teknor Color.

The new Mirel colorants are designed to be useful for a wide range of injection molding, sheet, film, and thermoforming applications. Colors are currently being used in the Mirel injection molding grade for laboratory material handling trays, and several colors have been developed for use in consumer retail products. In addition, a black concentrate is currently being used in the Mirel film grade for agricultural mulch film field trials.

Metabolix Announces Next Generation Injection Molding Grade of Mirel(TM) Bioplastics - Mirel P1003

Metabolix announced today that Telles, the joint venture between Metabolix, Inc. (NASDAQ: MBLX) and Archer Daniels Midland Company that produces Mirel(TM) bioplastics, has developed its next generation of injection molding bioplastic, Mirel P1003, in a collaborative effort with Nypro, a leading global precision plastics molder.

Mirel P1003 is the second generation of Mirel for injection molding, replacing both P1001 and P1002 with a single grade suitable for a wider range of applications. This high performance biobased semi-crystalline polyester is tough, durable, and has excellent resistance to heat, making it a suitable replacement for high performance materials including ABS and polycarbonate. Advanced attributes of Mirel P1003 are overall improved processability, improved flow, faster overall cycle times compared to other biopolymers, and an overall cycle time similar to traditional thermoplastics. Product information including a data sheet and a comprehensive injection molding processing guide can be found on Mirel Plastics.

samedi 20 juin 2009

L'épuisement prévu du pétrole pousse les industriels à accélérer la recherche sur les bioplastiques

Après les agrocarburants, le plastique sera-t-il bientôt produit lui aussi à partir de plantes ? L'inauguration, jeudi 18 juin, d'une chaire consacrée à la recherche sur les bioplastiques à l'Ecole des mines, en partenariat avec Nestlé, Schneider Electric, PSA Peugeot Citroën, L'Oréal et le chimiquier Arkema témoigne de l'intérêt des industriels. Et ce, même si la fabrication du plastique absorbe moins de 5 % du pétrole mondial.

"Nous savons que le pétrole s'épuise et sera de plus en plus cher, nous devons trouver d'autres solutions", dit Anne Roulin, directrice du packaging chez Nestlé. "On l'a vu aux élections, la prise de conscience des enjeux environnementaux est importante et aura un impact sur la consommation, ajoute Michel Fontaine, son homologue chez L'Oréal. Nous devons réagir vite."

Les plastiques issus de matières premières végétales (maïs, pomme de terre) sont déjà présents depuis quelques années sous la forme de sacs ou de films alimentaires, souvent dans les magasins bio. Selon leurs fabricants, ils permettent d'économiser entre 30 % et 80 % de gaz à effet de serre, en fonction de la proportion de matières premières renouvelables utilisée.

Pourtant, malgré une demande importante, ils représentent moins de 1 % du marché mondial. Leur prix, deux à quatre fois supérieur au plastique classique, est un premier frein. Leurs caractéristiques techniques (résistance à l'humidité, à la chaleur, aux chocs) ne sont pas équivalentes. Leur fin de vie est aussi problématique. Certains bioplastiques sont biodégradables, à condition d'être compostés dans des sites spécifiques. Leur développement augmenterait donc la complexité et le coût des filières de récupération et de recyclage.
Cette limite, peu connue du grand public, inquiète les écologistes. "Nous avons fait de grands progrès en éliminant 80 % des sacs de caisse, note Bruno Genty, vice-président de France Nature Environnement. Les gens ont adopté les sacs réutilisables. L'arrivée des bioplastiques ne doit pas être l'occasion de revenir en arrière." "Ces plastiques ne se dégradent pas seuls, et ne doivent pas plus être jetés dans la nature que les autres", affirme Françoise Gerardi, déléguée générale d'Elipso, le syndicat des industries de l'emballage plastique.
La concurrence avec l'usage alimentaire des plantes constitue un autre écueil. La part des terres agricoles mobilisées est aujourd'hui minime (moins de 0,1 % de la surface agricole en Europe), mais elle pourrait grimper si les bioplastiques atteignent de 5 % à 10 % du marché total, comme l'anticipent les experts. Autre obstacle : certains sont produits à partir de plantes génétiquement modifiées, ce qui pourrait nuire à leur image en Europe.
L'objectif de la chaire de l'Ecole des mines est de produire des bioplastiques performants pour tous les usages, tout en dépassant ces handicaps. "Nous ne travaillerons pas sur des matières premières agricoles, ni sur des OGM, mais sur le bois, les déchets agricoles, ou les algues, explique Tatiana Budtova, titulaire de la chaire. Le potentiel des bioplastiques est très important."


Biopolymers Symposium 2009: September 28-30

Biopolymers Symposium 2009 will encapsulate the entire life cycle of biopolymers in industrial and packaging applications. Through real life case studies and revealing presentations from key industry leaders; you'll appreciate the bigger picture, from production through to the waste stream. This valuable conference will provide you with the tools to evaluate how to capitalize on the future market in biopolymers and make it work for your business. The Biopolymers symposium is now the event where new technologies, market trends, developments in applications, new guidelines and waste strategies are presented each year.

vendredi 19 juin 2009

Nestlé rappelle les biscuits aux grains de chocolat TOLL HOUSE

Un cas de rappel de produits fait de nouveau les manchettes. Néstlé rappelle les biscuits aux grains de chocolat TOLL HOUSE. La présence d'E. coli serait en cause.

Nestlé USA’s Baking Division is initiating a voluntary recall of Nestlé® TOLL HOUSE® refrigerated cookie dough products. Nestlé is taking this action out of an abundance of caution after being notified that the Food and Drug Administration, together with the Centers for Disease Control, are conducting an investigation into reported E. coli 0157:H7 illnesses that may be related to consumption of raw cookie dough.

Quand l’industrie agro-alimentaire se penchera t-elle sérieusement sur les possibilités offertes par les nouveaux emballages dits intelligents intégrant de nouveaux systèmes d'étiquetage ?

En proposant des dispositifs d’information qui « parlent » directement au consommateur, les emballages intelligents devraient permettre de garantir la traçabilité, la qualité et la sécurité des produits jusqu’au consommateur.

Certes, l’investissement nécessaire pour le développement et la généralisation de ce type d’emballage est loin d’être négligeable, mais c’est finalement peut être plus rentable qu’il n’y parait. En effet, ces nouvelles étiquettes, en plus de sauver des vies, prémuniraient les industriels de l’agro-alimentaire des pertes considérables occasionnées par le rappel massif de leurs produits, tout en évitant l’impact négatif que cela peut causer à leur image de marque. En somme, mettez de l’intelligence dans votre étiquette !

Vous pouvez consulter ici le dossier sur les emballages intelligents.

jeudi 18 juin 2009

Biodegradable plastic bags carry more ecological harm than good

Decomposing bags sound environmentally friendly but they require a lot of energy to make, won't degrade in landfills and may leave toxic leftovers

Biodegradable plastic bags – as handed out by Tesco, the Co-op and even the Soil Association – must be good, surely? They have a magic ingredient that means they self-destruct after a few months, breaking up into tiny pieces made of simple molecules that bugs and fungi can happily munch up. Dozens of major corporations use them, including Pizza Hut, KFC, News international, Walmart and Marriott hotels.

But last week, the European Plastics Recyclers Association warned that they "have the potential to do more harm to the environment than good."

Technically what we are talking about here is "oxo-degradable" plastics. These are plastics made to degrade in the presence of oxygen and sunlight, thanks to the addition of tiny amounts of metals like cobalt, iron or manganese.

British manufacturers – headed by Symphony Technologies of Borehamwood – are at the sharp end of a revolution that could banish bag-strewn beauty spots and back alleys alike.

But the criticisms are twofold. First, some research suggests that the bags don't degrade as well as claimed. And second, priming plastic bags for destruction is itself an ecological crime.

So, do they really biodegrade away to nothing? Symphony, which supplies the Co-op and Tesco, says its bags are "able to degrade completely within about three years, compared to standard bags which take 100 years or longer". Tesco reckons they all decompose within 18 months "without leaving anything that could harm the environment".

But whether it actually happens seems to depend a lot on where the "biodegradable" plastic ends up. If it gets buried in a landfill it probably won't degrade at all because there is no light or oxygen. But what about elsewhere?

Studies of one brand in the US, commissioned by the Biodegradable Products Institute, found that breakdown is very dependent on temperature and humidity. It goes slow in cold weather. And high humidity virtually stops the process, making long, wet winters sound like bad news.

You might think a compost heap full of biodegrading bugs would be ideal. But a recent Swedish study found that polyethylene containing manganese additive stops breaking down when put in compost, probably due to the influence of ammonia or other gases generated by microorganisms in the compost.

And, while most manufacturers say that to put only tiny amounts of metals into the plastic, the US study found that one brand contained "very high levels of lead and cobalt", raising questions about the toxicity of the leftovers. Neither of these studies relates specifically to Symphony's products. But they raise questions.

The European Plastics Recyclers Association last week argued that biodegradable bags are not the right environmental option anyway. Plastic bags take a lot of energy and oil to make so why waste them by creating bags that self-destruct? "It is an economic and environmental nonsense to destroy this value," the recyclers' trade association concluded.

Of course, we consumers can reuse or recycle biodegradable bags as easily as any other kind. Symphony and other manufacturers stress making bags biodegradable is just an insurance policy for those that don't get recycled or reused. But surely we are less likely to bother if we are told the bags are eco-bags that biodegrade.

This European backlash against oxo-biodegradable plastics follows similar rumblings in the US. In March, the New York Times announced it would not be wrapping its paper in bags made of the stuff because claims that the plastic was "100% biodegradable" did not stand up. This followed a ruling last December by an advertising industry watchdog, part of the US Council of Better Business Bureaus, that makers should stop calling the bags "eco-friendly".

(In marked contrast, the UK Periodical Publishers Association two years ago recommended that all its members use oxo-biodegradable film to wrap their magazines)

Industry websites, including Symphony's, do proudly proclaim one green endorsement – that the organic trade body the Soil Association buys their bags. But Clio Turton at the Soil Association told me: "We've had problems with people making these claims. We have asked for them to be removed. It's very frustrating."

Plastic bags are not the biggest environmental issue on the planet, as George Monbiot explained in a blog here recently.

But most of us probably make "bag choices" several times a day. Brits get through 8bn plastic bags a year. For that reason, they are one of the choices that tend to show if we care about the environment or not. And we should be clear. Re-using bags is best. Recycling is second best. Throwing them away in the hope that a magic formula will guarantee their rapid disappearance is laziness, not environmental care. And anybody who tries to persuade us otherwise is guilty of Greenwash.

mercredi 17 juin 2009

Packaging of the week: Spiezia Organics

Spiezia Organics, a 100% organic skincare range approved by the Soil Association, has revamped the packaging of its five product ranges to draw on the company's Cornish cultural heritage and sustainable approach.

The redesign, by agency JKR, features a new logo based on the firm's organic philosophy. Recycled glass bottles with aluminium screw top lids have replaced plastic containers and a new paper sleeve features images of the Cornish landscape based on work by Cornish artists.

In addition, the company has introduced new bottle colours for its five ranges, including pink for its women's range, ocean blue for its body range and amber for the men's range. Spiezia managing director Amanda Barlow said the company had reduced secondary packaging by 12% and that it is using digital printing to minimise waste.

mardi 16 juin 2009

Pack news of the week: biodegradable marketing, package redesign and nanoscience benefits

From cups and plates to dog-waste bags, plenty of products these days claim to be biodegradable. But the Federal Trade Commission appears poised to make such claims all but impossible for most marketers.

On Tuesday, the F.T.C. charged Kmart and two other companies — Tender Corp., and Dyna-E International — with making “false and unsubstantiated claims” that their products were biodegradable.

This is not the first controversy to arise recently over the use of the term “biodegradable.” A maker of plastic bags for newspapers recently scaled back its eco-friendly claims after being challenged over the bags’ biodegradability. The situation was handled through the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, a self-regulatory body.

Managing Risk in a Package Redesign: What Can We Learn from Tropicana?

Earlier this year, we witnessed one of the most publicized packaging missteps in recent memory. Indeed, Tropicana’s misguided redesign has already become infamous as, perhaps, the most notable marketing debacle since the introduction of New Coke nearly 25 years ago.

A recap. On January 8th Tropicana North America introduced a revolutionary new look for its flagship Tropicana Pure Premium brand, the market leader with over $700 million in North American sales. This design change was driven by and linked to a new $35 million advertising campaign that prominently featured the new packaging.

Food safety rules and costs threaten nano science benefits

Over restrictive federal regulation of nano science should not be allowed to strangle the benefits the technology could bring to food safety, quality and availability, warns William Norwood, president nanoAgri Systems.

Speaking at the IFT International Nanoscience conference at Anaheim, California, Norwood told that: “The benefits of nano technology across a wide range of industries could be more important than nuclear energy. But restrictive rules could kill it…Nano is now a fear word.”

Environmental groups are lobbying the Environmental Protection Agency in a bid to persuade it to close the US nano industry, he said.

Also the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act is placing big barriers to the development of nanotechnology.

lundi 15 juin 2009

L’EFSA met à jour son avis scientifique sur la 4-méthylbenzophénone dans les céréales pour petit-déjeuner

Le groupe scientifique de l’EFSA sur les matériaux en contact avec les aliments (groupe CEF) considère que la consommation sur une courte période de céréales pour petit-déjeuner contaminées par la 4-méthylbenzophénone aux niveaux rapportés en début d’année ne présente pas de risque pour la santé. Le groupe est arrivé à ces conclusions après avoir réévalué les données toxicologiques relatives à une substance similaire – la benzophénone. Le groupe scientifique a toutefois confirmé que, si l’on continuait à utiliser la 4-méthylbenzophénone, de nouvelles données seraient nécessaires pour pouvoir évaluer les risques de façon approfondie.
La benzophénone et la 4-méthylbenzophénone sont des substances chimiques utilisées dans les encres d’impression pour emballages alimentaires. En février 2009, la Commission européenne avait demandé à l’EFSA d’émettre d’urgence un avis sur les risques potentiels pour la santé humaine de la 4-méthylbenzophénone, dont on avait découvert la présence dans certaines céréales pour petit-déjeuner. La Commission avait aussi demandé à l’EFSA de déterminer si les doses journalières tolérables (DJT) définies pour la benzophénone et l’hydroxybenzophénone pouvaient également être appliquées à la 4-méthylbenzophénone et de réévaluer la DJT pour la benzophénone et l’hydroxybenzophénone avant la fin du mois de mai 2009.
Le groupe scientifique a jugé que le seuil de sécurité appliqué à la benzophénone, sur lequel l’EFSA s’était basée en mars pour émettre l’avis urgent réclamé par la Commission, était très prudent car il se fondait sur des changements adaptatifs (c.à.d. réversibles) observés chez des animaux de laboratoire exposés à la benzophénone et non sur des effets indésirables en tant que tels. Le groupe CEF a estimé que cette approche avait été raisonnable compte tenu du manque de données disponibles et de la brièveté des délais imposés à l’époque pour l’évaluation[1].
Sur la base d’un seuil plus élevé jugé plus représentatif de l’apport au-delà duquel la benzophénone est susceptible d’avoir des effets indésirables sur la santé, le groupe a fixé pour la benzophénone une nouvelle DJT de 0,03 mg par kilo de poids corporel[2]. Le groupe a approuvé la précédente déclaration de l’EFSA selon laquelle cette DJT ne peut pas être appliquée à la 4-méthylbenzophénone et a ajouté qu’en l’absence de données solides, l’hydroxybenzophénone ne pouvait pas être sujette à la même DJT que la benzophénone.

Voir: Toxicological evaluation of benzophenone

[1] Les conclusions du groupe scientifique CEF et la précédente déclaration de l’EFSA ont été en grande partie fondées sur les connaissances scientifiques sur le benzophénone en raison du nombre très limité de données disponibles sur le 4-méthylbenzophénone et des similitudes chimiques entre les deux substances. La déclaration urgente de l’EFSA publiée en mars indiquait qu’un risque pour la santé ne pouvait pas être exclu chez certains enfants consommant régulièrement des céréales pour petit-déjeuner contaminées par la 4-méthylbenzophénone aux niveaux les plus élevés ayant été signalés.
[2] La précédente DJT, définie en 1992 par l’ancien Comité scientifique de l’alimentation humaine de l’UE, s’élevait à 0,01 mg/kg de pc.

Vous pouvez consulter ici le dossier sur la migration des composants des encres vers les aliments.

dimanche 14 juin 2009

In with Green Packaging, Out with Convenience, Consumers Say

Via Greenbiz

A new Ipsos Marketing study suggests consumers may be more willing to ditch convenient packaging for greener packaging, while the food itself should include fresh ingredients and deliver health benefits.

samedi 13 juin 2009

Symphony blasts EuPR oxo-degradable claims

Symphony Environmental has criticised European Plastics Recyclers (EuPR) for a fundamental misunderstanding of oxo-biodegradable additives.

EuPR issued a statement calling on industry to be careful not to destroy recent gains in plastics recycling by "using unsustainable technologies".
The trade body said that oxo-degradable additives were giving an unclear message on how to reduce waste as they polluted recycling streams and there was no proof that greenhouse gases were saved by using the additives."
They destroy the materials' value, will not reduce littering and jeopardise the benefits of mechanical recycling," EuPR said.
Symphony Environmental hit back at EuPR's statement that showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the technology and urged the body to sit down with the industry to address its concerns.
Deputy chairman Michael Stephen told Packaging News: "If they have concerns about oxo-degradable additives they should work with people who understand it before publishing wild statements."
Stephen recognised it was important to generate quality recyclate and questioned the fact the statement did not refer to compostable and crop-based plastics that could compromise an oil-based process.
He said that oxo-degradable plastics can be recycled and the goal was to ensure the material that was not collected did not disfigure the landscape.
"It will self-destruct in a much shorter time than non-degradable plastic if it gets into the open environment, and it is made from a by-product of oil refining that used to be wasted," said Stephen.
Symphony said there was not a shred of evidence that any degradable plastic had encouraged littering.

vendredi 12 juin 2009

Recyclers warn against oxo-degradable additives

After The National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) call

The European Plastics Recyclers Association (EuPR) is urging manufacturers to exercise caution if using oxo-degradable additives, warning that they have the potential to do more harm to the environment than good.

EuPR says it has seen no proof that oxo-degradable additives help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, public misconception about the recyclability of these materials means that a large number of additives will end up in general litter.

“The public attention will be diverted from recycling by thinking ‘it will degrade by itself’,” says the trade body. “This thinking will damage the recycling rates achieved after decades of efforts from industry, authorities and the population.”

EuPR also compares plastics to an ‘energy bank’, as energy stored in the plastic by polymerisation can be reused through recycling. However, the presence of oxo-degradable additives in the plastic puts this at risk, claims the group.

“It is an economic and environmental nonsense to destroy this value,” says the group. “Moreover, it is the most unsustainable – together with landfill – way to use the valuable oil transformed in plastic.”

Plastics manufacturers should therefore “be watchful” when considering the use of oxo degradable additives, says EuPR.

mercredi 10 juin 2009

Making the most of our packaging

Making the Most of Packaging, the new strategy published by Defra, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Devolved Administrations sets a clear direction for packaging policy for the next ten years.

The overall aim of the Packaging Strategy is to minimise the environmental impact of packaging, without compromising its ability to protect the product.

To make this happen, government will work with a range of delivery bodies and industry so that in 10 years’ time, packaging is designed to use as little material as will do the job, and with re-usability, recyclability or recovery in mind – as standard.

The Strategy also sets out plans to improve the recycling of packaging waste, particularly glass, plastics and aluminium, with a focus on the household waste stream and on quality. The intention is ensure that over time the UK achieves a recycling rate similar to the best EU performers.


Bioplastics News: composting and sustainability

Bioplastic packaging from two major producers have been tested in home composting systems by a U.K. consumer group, showing that they all compost in relatively short amounts of time.

As more companies explore bioplastic packaging and materials, some concerns have been raised about the end of life of bioplastic. Some types of bioplastic can only be composted in industrial composting facilities, and in most places there is little composting infrastructure. Making materials that can also be handled in home compost settings raises the ability for those materials to be composted and receive the end of life the manufacturer intended, instead of being throw in the trash.

Sustainable coffee cup gains ground

Various companies (including KLM and Peeze Koffie) and government institutes are already pouring tea and coffee into Moonen Natural cups. This 100% environmentally-friendly coffee cup is made from natural, renewable materials. The coffee cup is quick and easy to implement and therefore provides an immediate contribution to a company’s environmental policy.

KLM is the first airline in the world to use these coffee and tea cups on all its intercontinental and European flights. “This environmentally-friendly cup fits in perfectly with our policy on sustainability. Our on-board staff are also enthusiastic. The cup is light-weight, easy to handle and takes up less space than our old plastic cups,” says Bart Vos, Executive Vice President of Inflight Services at KLM. “And the cups also look attractive.”

Biodegradable film used for mobile phones and MP3 players

Clarifoil, makers of biodegradable films for packaging and labelling, have issued updated guidance on uses of their films for point of sale packaging of small electronics products such as mobile phones and MP3 players. Clarifoil finds application in this industry in three ways: as a laminated surface finish to the carton, as a high transparency window aperture, and as a tamper evident label on the packaging.

Widely used in high volume box manufacturing to enhance pack appearance and provide crystal clear windows, Clarifoil has also gained EN13432 and ASTM D 6400 the European and US biodegradability accreditations which reassure consumers as to the pack’s environmental credentials.

mardi 9 juin 2009

Symphony responds to criticism of Bimbo oxo-biodegradable metalized packaging

Michael F. Stephens, technical director of Symphony, responds to criticism of Bimbo oxo-biodegradable metalized polypropylene snack packaging.
Pakbec : I'm wondering: PR message? Greenwashing or Real environmental benefits?
Michael F. Stephens: Definitely real environmental benefits—it reduces the potential for long-lasting pollution by plastic litter.
Pakbec: How this product is profitable in environmental terms?

Michael F. Stephens: Policymakers have concentrated on waste, which can be collected, and have encouraged people to reduce, reuse, and recycle. But in no country will all the waste be collected, and some will remain to disfigure the landscape. This is particularly true of plastic, which can accumulate in the environment, polluting the land and the oceans for decades, and perhaps for hundreds of years. However, oxo-biodegradable plastic made with Symphony’s d2w formulation will self-destruct in a much shorter time than ordinary nondegradable plastic if it gets into the open environment. Oxo-bio plastic is made from a byproduct of oil refining, which used to be wasted, so nobody is extracting or importing extra oil to make it. See

Pakbec: How does this product help to produce less waste in the environment?

Michael F. Stephens: It will remove itself from the landscape in a much shorter time scale than ordinary plastic.

Pakbec: The polypropylene degrades, what about the metallized coating?

Michael F. Stephens: The aluminium coating is very fine, and when the polypropylene has degraded, the aluminium will be absorbed back into the soil where it came from. Aluminium is one of the most abundant metals and makes up 8% or thereabouts of the earth's crust.

Colloque Emballages Alimentaires: Tendances et Innovations

Plus que jamais l’emballage joue un rôle critique dans l’industrie agro-alimentaire. Face aux défis de la mondialisation et du développement durable, l’industrie de l’emballage n’a d’autres choix que celui de s’adapter en développant de nouveaux produits plus à même de répondre aux attentes d’une clientèle plus soucieuse de la qualité et de la sécurité des aliments ainsi que de

L’Institut des Communications Graphiques du Québec (ICGQ) et Initia organisent le 8 octobre 2009 un colloque sur les emballages alimentaires : «Tendances et Innovations». Le colloque est destiné aux acteurs de l’industrie agro-alimentaire du Québec, aux fabricants d’emballage, aux imprimeurs, aux designers, aux diverses associations et aux organismes et ministères provinciaux ainsi qu’aux étudiants. Huit intervenants prendront la parole lors de cette journée unique.

Cliquez ici pour visualiser le programme détaillé

lundi 8 juin 2009

Antimicrobial packaging: Antioxidants and Nanoscience

Polyphenol-rich extracts from olive oil pomace may reduce the formation of off-flavours in meats by as much as 80 per cent, suggests new research.

The olive extract, obtained from the waste waters of olive oil pomace, performed better than a commercial antioxidant sourced from wine, according to findings published in the journal Food Chemistry.

“The polyphenol extract from the waste water of olive oil’s pomace significantly inhibited lipid oxidation in pre-cooked ground beef and pork. The antioxidant effect increased with the dose and was higher in beef than in pork,” wrote Sharon DeJong from Food Science Australia and Maria Cecilia Lanari from Argentina’s National Council for Scientific and Technical Investigation (CONICET).

Nanotechnology promises big benefits for food safety, quality, and shelf life provided the challenges it brings can be overcome, delegates were told at the Institute of Food Technology's annual conference at Anaheim, California.

"There's great potential for nanoscience in food industry applications," said Bernadene Magnuson, senior scientific and regulatory consultant in food toxicology with Cantox Health Sciences International, Ontario, Canada. The technology, which harnesses the use of particles between one and 100 nanometers in length, could be used to provide anti-microbial coatings for food contact surfaces or packaging.

Other applications include using nanoscience to engineer sensors to detect pathogens and toxins in food or to register environmental changes. For example, nanochips in smart inks used for food packaging could register warnings if the temperature of the package rose above certain programmed limits.

dimanche 7 juin 2009

Pack news of the week: eco-friendly packaging

New DVD Boxes Help Environment and the Bottom Line

Warner Home Video, by far the world’s largest distributor of television and movies on DVDs, has started releasing all of its new and library titles in cases that have 20 percent less plastic, a spokeswoman said. In some instances, the cases feature a thin layer of plastic; others have cutouts in the walls.

Lightening the load on the environment was the primary motivator, says Warner, which said the effort will reduce its home entertainment division’s carbon emissions by 31 percent.

But flimsier is also less expensive, and at a time when DVD sales are down sharply — 20 to 30 percent for some categories — every little cost saving helps. The changess save money on raw materials and shipping, although Warner would not estimate how much

Closed Loop opens new M&S route for recycling

For the first time, Marks & Spencer will this week sell food packaged with plastic recycled in Britain.

The salad boxes are the final step in a project to create a “closed loop” for plastic food packaging in the UK, in which used bottles are recycled into new food containers.

Britain uses an estimated 2.5 million tonnes of plastic packaging every year and is required by the European Union to recycle at least 22.5 per cent of it. Finding local uses for tonnes of recycled plastic waste is the key factor in cutting down the amount of plastic that goes into landfill.

mercredi 3 juin 2009

Analyse du cycle de vie des emballages de produits alimentaires

Une étude européenne sur le cycle de vie des emballages de type conserves en métal, bocaux, briques et poches plastiques destinés à conditionner les aliments à longue durée de vie confirme pour la toute première fois que la brique carton permet d’économiser jusqu’à 60% en termes d’émissions de CO2 et de consommation de ressources fossiles.

Cette récente étude conduite par l’Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU), considère le poids global de l’emballage ainsi que le matériau qui le compose comme étant les principaux facteurs explicatifs de l’impact environnemental d’une solution d’emballage pour aliment ambiant (tels que les soupes ou les produits à base de tomate).

Lire la suite…

mardi 2 juin 2009

Les tendances de la conception d’emballages

Dans une enquête récente auprès des détenteurs de marques, EskoArtwork, Adobe et l’International Packaging Institute (IPI), ont mis en évidence plusieurs tendances de la conception des emballages, dont la plupart sont guidées par les évolutions de matériaux, les technologies informatiques et les attentes des consommateurs.

L’enquête a été réalisée dans toute l’Europe, 62% des répondants appartiennent à des sociétés employant au moins 500 personnes dans le monde, et conduite par EskoArtwork, Adobe et l’International Packaging Institute (IPI) dans le but de mieux comprendre les demandes émergentes du marché.

« Alors que la plupart des répondants représentent des sociétés mondiales, la moitié travaillent dans de petits groupes de travail marketing et sont des dirigeants ou professionnels seniors. Nous pensons que leurs réponses fournissent un portrait juste de l’état d’esprit actuel de la plupart des détenteurs de marques, » indique Dieter Janout, Global Director Brand Owners chez EskoArtwork.

L’enquête a confirmé la popularité croissante des marques de distributeurs, dont 54% des personnes interrogées mentionnent que cette activité représente jusqu’à 25% de leurs revenus.

Parmi les autres éléments clefs mis en évidence par l’étude :
  • Les personnes interrogées pensent fortement que la capacité des emballages à permettre à un produit de se démarquer sur l’étagère est considérable. La conviction que le rôle de l’emballage va augmenter en importance dans le marketing mix est tout aussi fortement ancrée.
  • 56% des personnes interrogées s’attendent à une utilisation croissante « certaine » (12%) ou « probable » (44%) de l’informatique pour la réalisation des prototypes.
  • En revanche, seulement 15% des interviewés indiquent que la fourniture de solutions d’emballages durables est indispensable ou déjà traitée dans leur activité aujourd’hui. Selon les répondants, les motivations clefs pour le développement d’emballages durables sont : la demande des consommateurs (70%), les réglementations et la législation (64%) et les exigences des distributeurs. 84% pensent que les « contraintes environnementales et sociologiques entraîneront des « changements significatives » (63%) ou « de nouvelles orientations incontournables » (21%).
  • 50% pensent aussi que la conception d’emballage devra également s’adapter aux évolutions liés à l’augmentation de l’achat en ligne.
  • Enfin, les personnes interrogées ont accordée une note de 7,8 sur 10 à l’affirmation que « les tailles d’emballages correctement calibrées et optimisées » auront une importance croissante dans les prochaines années.



lundi 1 juin 2009

Industry concern as EU confirms authorisation scheme for active and intelligent packaging

The European Commission has adopted a regulation on active and intelligent packaging that confirms it is to introduce an authorisation scheme for substances used in food packing.
The body said that any material used for active and intelligent functions in food contact materials will require a safety evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The announcement follows the completion of a consultation exercise from the EU food safety watchdog earlier in the year.

Packaging Awards Honor Sustainable Solutions

DuPont Announces Winners of the 21st DuPont Awards for Sustainable Packaging

Contenants, emballages et imprimés plus verts : une réalité, des opportunités!

Les contenants, emballages et imprimés plus verts seront mis à l’honneur dans le cadre de l’activité de reconnaissance organisée par Éco Entreprises Québec (ÉEQ). Pour ce nouveau projet, ÉEQ est à la recherche des nombreuses entreprises qui ont déjà pris le virage vert à l’égard de leurs contenants, emballages et imprimés.

Une réalité

Un nombre grandissant d’entreprises développent des contenants, emballages et imprimés écoresponsables. ÉEQ s’est donné pour mission de les découvrir et de faire connaître les meilleures pratiques. ÉEQ invite ainsi les petites, moyennes et grandes entreprises ainsi que les organisations qui génèrent des contenants, emballages ou imprimés au Québec, et qui contribuent à ÉEQ, à nous faire part de leurs projets exemplaires. Ainsi, les entreprises qui génèrent des contenants, emballages ou imprimés qui se démarquent sur le plan environnemental, qui ont été améliorés pour optimiser leur performance environnementale ou qui ont été développés en prenant en compte leur cycle de vie peuvent dès maintenant s’inscrire en remplissant le formulaire de mise en candidature disponible sur le site Internet de ÉEQ.