dimanche 29 août 2010

Frito Lay et Naya : les limites de l’éco-conception

Explosion façon geyser à l’ouverture des nouvelles d’eau Naya composée de 100% de plastique recyclé post-consommation; bruissement insoutenable du paquet 100% compostable de chips Frito Lay…les emballages éco-conçus n’auraient-ils pas certaines limites que les industriels ne devraient pas sous-estimés ?

L’éco-conception présente, certes des vertus incontestables. Il s’agit d’une démarche novatrice et préventive, qui vise à minimiser l’impact de ces derniers sur l’environnement tout au long de leur cycle de vie: 1) Privilégier la réduction à la source, 2) Encourager la réutilisation et le recyclage, 3) Promouvoir la mise au point de matériaux renouvelables. Cette démarche est fréquemment profitable pour l'entreprise. Elle contribue à augmenter ses profits soit par une augmentation des ventes, soit par une réduction des coûts de production.

Cependant, l’éco-conception ne doit pas faire oublier les fonctionnalités et attentes de tout emballage : Conservation, protection transport et…Praticité. Cette dernière semble justement avoir été sous-estimée par les nouveaux convertis à l’éco-conception.

Par praticité, on entend la facilité d’ouverture et le confort d’utilisation. Deux éléments qui semblent avoir été négligés par Naya et Frito Lay. Ils ont péché par excès de marketing vert.

Frito Lay et Naya promettent de remédier à ces deux désagréments. De nos jours, trouver le compromis entre suremballage, sous-emballage, durabilité et praticité est un objectif ambitieux mais incontournable pour tout industriel.

Vous pouvez consulter ici le dossier consacré à l’éco-conception des emballages

Optimum Packaging: The Innventia AB model shows that the environmental consequences of product losses caused by excessive packaging reduction are far greater than guaranteeing adequate protection through an incremental excess of packaging

mercredi 25 août 2010

Biodegradable and compostable food packaging overview

Shifting opinions on sustainability means that biodegradable and compostable plastics are no longer seen as destined to replace all traditional packaging – but are now viewed as one option among many, according to a new report by industry experts.

The review by Campden BRI said the sustainability rethink among sector players meant the materials were currently seen as one eco-alternative among many rather than an all encompassing solution to cutting packaging’s carbon footprint.

“There is little doubt that biodegradable and compostable plastics have become a reality, and their use seriously considered when selecting and designing packaging,” said the report. “However the way they are perceived has changed. A few years ago, it was perceived that biodegradable plastics were the only sustainable option and they would replace all conventional packaging.”

Sustainability is currently perceived in a different way, with biodegradable plastics viewed as one of many alternatives to achieve green goals, added authors D Cava and A Campbell in their study Biodegradable and compostable packaging material for foodstuffs.


The report said that concerns over the “sustainability, performance and viability of commercial biodegradable grades of polymer are disappearing”.

For some types of packaging they are used because of their degradability, when recycling is not feasible. They are also employed for their breathable characteristics for such products fruit and bakery products. The report added that most materials currently on the market are used in niche applications – such as in ranges of organic fruit and vegetables.

Material types

The study provides a detailed overview and analysis of the current biodegradable material types on offer. Biobased polymers are spearheaded by starch-based materials, with proteins, such as whey, collagen, gluten and zein also highlighted. A second type of materials is polyesters produced by natural or genetically modified organisms – such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). Biodegradable polymers obtained by synthesis – such as polylactic acid (PLA) – are also significant in the sector.

The report also outlines synthetic bio-options not obtained from renewable sources – such as polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH). Such polymers are produced from petrochemical feedstock and have been used in the medical sector for sometime. Recent demand for sustainable packaging has highlighted their potential for the food industry. While the report views these as a “not wholly sustainable alternative in the long term” they could be seen as a “compromise solution” while dependence on oil-based plastics remains.


The study noted that bioplastics were currently more expensive than petroleum-based counterparts and that substitution would lead to a rise in the cost of packaging. It added, however, many materials were at early-stage development and prices would likely fall as the technology was developed, making them more competitive.

Quoting figures from the European Bioplastics Association showing that production had leapt from 20,00 tons per annum (t/a) in 1995 to a predicted 1.5m t/a by the end of next year, the report said it could be concluded that “a momentum has been generated and that biodegradable and compostable materials are becoming more competitive”.

“It is now possible to source carbon neutral, biodegradable materials that are suitable for a wide range of applications at a competitive price,” said the report. It cited “several small businesses” that that are developing new materials. Should these be successfully scaled up, the availability of biodegradable materials and the range of applications they could be used for would both be increased.


In 2008, global output of biodegradable plastics reached around 300,000 tons. The report added that most of the industrial production of biodegradable packaging material is currently carried out by agriculture or biotechnology companies rather than those firms traditionally involved in the sector. This is because of the production processes applied, raw material used and final applications.

Development of new materials is generally a collaborative process between these companies and chemical of food packing firms – with the creation of a joint venture a “common feature”. The signing of distribution agreements between smaller outfits and larger companies is a further market characteristic.

Leading players include Natureworks - with a potential PLA capacity of 140,000 t/a - cited as the world’s largest biodegradable plastics producer. BASF – with its Ecoflex resin output targeted at 46,000 t/a by the end of this year, along with Cereplast, Novamont and Metabolix are also highlighted.

vendredi 20 août 2010

'Compostable' plastics pose problem for recyclers, composters

Composting at home can be a messy business. To help keep the process clean, or just to have the convenience of a plastic bag without its environmental impact, many people use compostable or biodegradable bags.

“Anything in a landfill, whether it’s biodegradable, or compostable, certified or not, won’t break down,”. “It’s not a controlled environment. So even something like an apple can take decades to decompose.” Marika Smith, executive director of the Compost Education Centre.

A key element of compost is heat, and home composting methods don’t get hot enough to break down bags meant for a commercial composting facility, Smith says. Consumers should read the package to see if they are buying an item meant for a home or a commercial compost, she says.

Even in a commercial composting facility, not everything will break down. Consumers who use a such a service should look for products made with the ASTM D6400, BPI or EN13432 standard, says Jason Adams, owner of reFUSE, a composting collection and recycling company. These bags break down well at its commercial composting facility. Other products without such certifications may not live up to the hype.

Biodegradable and compostable plastics are causing a problem for recyclers. If mixed with traditional soft-plastic recycling, these plastics may contaminate the lot, which means bags that typically would be recycled are being thrown out.

“A lot people go out and buy these products, thinking that they’re doing good, but if all of this stuff is going into the garbage — or if you haven’t checked if the bag can be used in a home compost — it’s not doing much good, and it’s possibly costing you more,”

Read full Vancouver Sun article

mercredi 18 août 2010

Le sac SunChips de Frito Lay: Un emballage bruyant et non compostable…

Le gros buzz "croustillant" s’avère finalement bruyant et non compostable

Bouteilles de plastique : l'enfouissement parfois une meilleure solution que le recyclage ?

Via le blog Echo-Responsable

Selon une récente étude d’une firme californienne, SRI Consulting, envoyer les bouteilles de plastiques en PET (polyethylene terephthalate) dans les sites d’enfouissement serait, dans certains pays, une solution générant moins de dioxyde de carbone que le recyclage.

Cela serait plus particulièrement vrai des pays où l’enfouissement connaît peu de contraintes en termes d’espaces et où les infrastructures de recyclage sont limitées, ce qui se trouve être notamment le cas pour le Canada et certaines régions des États-Unis.

Dans ce rapport décidément polémique intitulé "PET’s Carbon Footprint: To Recycle or Not To Recycle", une autre conclusion interpelle. On y lit que le transport des bouteilles de plastique par voie maritime vers la Chine ou d’autres destinations lointaines ne ferait pas augmenter de façon très importante l’ensemble de leur empreinte carbone en comparaison avec d’autres étapes de leur cycle de vie. Cela signifierait que contrairement à ce que l’on pense communément ces transports sur longue distance ne seraient pas source d’une aussi grande pollution que cela.

Le rapport souligne enfin que l’incinération serait la pire des options en termes de GES dans la mesure où le carbone que contient les bouteilles est directement rejeté dans l’atmosphère.

Que dire des conclusions de cette étude ? Peut-on véritablement se satisfaire de l’enfouissement comme solution en se fondant sur l’émission de carbone comme critère? Détourner du recyclage et expédier à l’enfouissement les bouteilles en PET ne consiste t-il pas à encourager une perte de matière alors qu’on peut et qu’on sait la valoriser?

En tout état de cause, il faudrait rappeler que la meilleure des options demeure de respecter, chaque fois que cela est possible, le 1er R du fameux triptyque : Réduire, Réutiliser et Recycler. En l’occurrence, cela signifie réduire notamment sa consommation d’eau embouteillée et privilégier l’eau du robinet, au besoin se munir d’une carafe filtrante et investir dans une gourde… Vous me direz à ce moment-là, il vaut mieux éviter celles qui pourraient contenir Bisphénol A ;) Mais cela peut se faire sans pour autant tomber dans la paranoïa et le dogmatisme écolo, car c’est tout simplement une habitude simple et facile à prendre…

lundi 16 août 2010

Bisphénol A: la substance est présente chez 9 Canadiens sur 10

Neuf Canadiens sur dix ont dans leur organisme du bisphénol A (BPA), un produit chimique industriel utilisé dans les emballages alimentaires et pouvant agir comme un perturbateur hormonal, selon un rapport du ministère de la Santé rendu public lundi.

La présence du BPA dans l'urine est la plus forte chez les adolescents âgés de 12 à 19 ans et la plus faible chez les personnes de plus de 60 ans, selon les résultats d'une enquête de Statistique Canada ayant porté sur 5.600 volontaires entre 2007 et 2009 et destinée à mesurer la présence de plus de 80 contaminants dans leur corps.

"Santé Canada, rappelle le rapport, a fait une évaluation scientifique préalable de l'impact de l'exposition des humains et de l'environnement au BPA et a conclu que cette substance est nuisible pour la santé humaine et l'environnement" selon les critères édictés dans une loi de 1999 sur la protection de l'environnement.

Les catégories à risque à protéger en priorité sont les nouveau-nés et les bébés et c'est ainsi que le Canada a interdit en mars dernier la vente des biberons en polycarbonate contenant du bisphénol A.

Cependant, indique le rapport, "Santé Canada a conclu que l'exposition actuelle au BPA provenant des matériaux d'emballage des aliments ne pose pas de risque pour la santé de la population en général, y compris pour la santé des nouveau-nés et des nourrissons".

La dose journalière admissible au Canada est de 25 microgrammes par kilogramme de poids corporel.

Or, la moyenne de concentration de bisphénol A chez les Canadiens s'est établie à 1,16 microgramme par litre d'urine.

Le bisphénol A se comportant comme un oestrogène et donc risquant d'affecter le système hormonal, il est soupçonné d'augmenter les risques de puberté précoce chez les femmes, de cancer de la prostate ou du sein et d'anomalies de reproduction. De tels effets ont été observés chez des rongeurs de laboratoire.

Mais de nombreuses études commandées par les industriels qui l'utilisent massivement comme additif dans le plastique de type polycarbonate pour bouteilles d'eau et revêtement de canettes, tendent à démontrer que ces craintes ne sont pas scientifiquement fondées chez l'homme.

jeudi 12 août 2010

Bioplastics News: bio-feedstocks, compostable and biodegradable

While materials like polylactic acid currently get most of the attention, bioplastics experts believe that eventually the majority of bio-based resins will be conventional resins -- such as polyethylene and polypropylene -- made from renewable resources rather than from petroleum.

“The next generation of bio-plastic resins is already coming,” said Jim Lunt of Jim Lunt & Associates LLC in Wayzata, Minn. “There is increasing interest and development in making both existing and new monomers from renewable resources. We are transitioning from oil-based to renewable feedstocks.”

After Frito Lay's and Coca-Cola's move to use bioplastic, this news from Procter & Gamble (P&G) is another big boost to the bioplastic industry.

P&G said today that it will use sugarcane-based high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic made by Braskem into some of its packaging on its Pantene Pro-V, Covergirl and Max Factor brands. Pilot products will be rolled out globally over the next two years with first commercial products expected on the shelf in 2011.

Some ten years ago the packaging industry started to attract consumer’s attention for biodegradable plastics, and, although still in its infancy, biodegradable plastics continue to enjoy a growing interest with the public at large.

Compostability is not synonymous with biodegradability, a distinction that regulations make clear. But who knows?

While the industry is greenwashing its image in regard to the consumer, the same consumer is left with the fictional idea that he is helping to save the environment by buying products in so-called biodegradable, compostable, packages.

And in the meantime? Why use and promote biodegradable and compostable packaging material when it all ends up in landfills or incinerators. Increasing usage of biodegradable films is in conflict with ‘separation-at-source’ initiatives. Consumers are confused when it comes to separating biodegradable, compostable and recyclable plastics.

mardi 10 août 2010

Spot-Pak: A smart balance between sustainability and cost savings

By replacing corrugated shippers with corrugated pads plus shrink film, the firm behind the popular Smart Balance brand makes measurable gains on at least two fronts.

Spot-Pak will achieve dramatic sustainability gains vs. traditional corrugated shippers. For starters, it reduces the weight of the secondary packaging for a 12-count multipack from .046 to .024 lb. Other advantages include these: 
  • 975 tons less packaging material to landfill or recycle

  • 723 tons less greenhouse gas emissions

  • 24.6 million megajoules less total energy consumption

  • Because the Spot-Pak shipper cubes out better (15 multipacks per pallet layer instead of 13 corrugated cases), 64 fewer truckloads per year will be required to transport the same amount of product
Cost savings are significant, too. Because the Spot-Pak system replaces a manual case packing operation, there are labor savings to be had. And on the materials side, the Spot-Pak format requires considerably less corrugated. Newly added to the cost-of-materials picture, of course, is the shrink film that is applied over each Spot-Pak. But even so, the amount of money paid for packaging materials is significantly less than it used to be. Though GFA prefers not to quantify precisely what that savings is, Delkor in its promotional materials and on its Web site routinely speaks of a 50% savings being more or less typical.

Beverage Packaging News: Recycling, Vitaminwater and sustainability

For countries with adequate space and little recycling infrastructure, disposing of bottles in landfill generates a lower carbon footprint than recycling or incineration. SRI Consulting (SRIC) has introduced “PET’s Carbon Footprint: To Recycle or Not To Recycle,” an independent evaluation of the carbon footprint of PET bottles with an analysis of secondary packaging from cradle to grave and from production of raw materials through to disposal.

Now here's something you wouldn't expect. Coca-Cola is being sued by a non-profit public interest group, on the grounds that the company's vitaminwater products make unwarranted health claims. No surprise there. But how do you think the company is defending itself?

In a staggering feat of twisted logic, lawyers for Coca-Cola are defending the lawsuit by asserting that "no consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage."

A recent BeveragePulse.com report found that 94% of Americans are concerned about the long-term effects that their packaged beverage purchases and consumption have on the environment.

The free study, by Concept Catalysts and iModerate Research Technologies, also shows that recycling was cited frequently (45%) as the most important environmental concern for packaged beverages. Health concerns and economic issues also contribute to recent category declines in packaged beverage purchases.

dimanche 8 août 2010

The use of wax-alternative boxes increased 105%

From 2003 to 2009, the use of wax-alternative boxes increased 105%, according to the Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based Corrugated Packaging Alliance.

Dwight Schmidt, executive director of the alliance, said July 9 that he expects the percentage to keep climbing.

“We have more documented conversions and more retailers specifying wax-free recyclable packaging than ever before,” Schmidt said.

“Several notable retailers are specifying that they want wax-alternative boxes so they can recycle it,” Schmidt said. “It has an effect on their sustainability efforts and their carbon footprint, but it also has a tremendous effect on their bottom line.”

Most waxed boxes can’t be recycled, and Schmidt said retailers pay $70 to $150 per ton tipping fees to dispose of them.

Wax-alternative boxes, however, typically can be recycled and contribute to the money retailers receive for recycling the massive amount of corrugated containers that come through their doors.

Schmidt said July 9 that the going rate for old corrugated containers was $115 a ton, and it has been as high as $200 a ton.

“That’s a significant revenue stream for a retailer,” he said, “and we get the boxes back to recycle.”

Schmidt said there still is plenty of waxed packaging in the supply chain. Part of the problem, he said, is that restaurants — which handle lower volumes of product and packaging at individual locations than retail stores — have less incentive to change.

“When a grower-shipper changes their retail packaging to wax alternatives, we encourage them to change all their packaging,” Schmidt said.

mercredi 4 août 2010

FDA to kick off poisons to preserve our children

According to the article on website Eye On FDA, members of congress Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) have proposed The Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (H.R.5786). This sweeping proposal would give the FDA new authority to regulate everything from lotions and lipsticks to deodorants and fragrances. The $50 billion cosmetics industry, one of the least regulated markets, uses roughly 12,500 unique chemical ingredients in personal care products—the vast majority of which have never been assessed for safety by any publicly accountable body, says Eye on FDA. Read More...

After what happened to my 3 year old son this week after taking his shower with Pampers Kandoo BrightFoam Body Wash, Magic Melon Scent, full of poisons: Paraben, phenoxyethanol and DMDM hydantoin, a formaldehyde donor in aqueous media, I’m really happy with this news. It is time to kick off poisons from cosmetics and personal care.

The Story of Cosmetics, released on July 21st, 2010, examines the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from lipstick to baby shampoo. Produced with Free Range Studios and hosted by Annie Leonard, the seven-minute film by The Story of Stuff Project reveals the implications for consumer and worker health and the environment, and outlines ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer alternatives. The film concludes with a call for viewers to support legislation aimed at ensuring the safety of cosmetics and personal care products.

Derrière le bel emballage, un poison pour nos enfants

Il y’a quelques semaines, une étude publiée dans le journal Pediatrics soulignait l'influence des héros imaginaires apostés sur les emballages comme « déclencheur » d’achat sur les enfants.

Notre petite famille en a récemment fait l’expérience et voilà le résultat.

Une seule application, et dans une zone très localisée, en moins de 12h a causé cette réaction allergique chez mon fils de 3 ans. Ce matin c'est encore pire.

Le présumé coupable, ces 2 beaux flacons.

Il s’agit d’un shampoing et d’un savon pour le bain de Kandoo, une gamme de la marque pampers, dont la mascotte est une grenouille.

Je regarde la liste des ingrédients, et la belle surprise, un véritable cocktail de produits chimiques : Paraben, phenoxyethanol, et le fameux DMDM hydantoin, un libérateur de formaldéhyde.

En 2009, une association de consommateurs américains avait déjà tiré la sonnette d'alarme sur des dizaines de marques de produits de toilette pour bébés contenant des produits cancérigènes. Le savon moussant pour les mains Pampers Kandoo figure sur cette liste, qui, selon les tests, contient suffisamment de Formaldéhyde pour provoquer une réaction allergique cutanée.

Qu’attend Pampers pour se débarrasser de ces poisons?

Le rôle des autorités sanitaires n’est-il pas en priorité de protéger la santé de nos enfants?

lundi 2 août 2010

Ottawa débloque 100 millions pour l'industrie forestière

L'industrie forestière reçoit un autre coup de pouce d'Ottawa: 100 millions$ sur quatre ans pour aider les entreprises canadiennes à investir dans de nouvelles technologies de production.

Cet argent vise ultimement à soutenir les entreprises à développer des biocarburants et des produits forestiers non traditionnels comme des bioplastiques, des produits biochimiques ainsi que de nouveaux matériaux de construction comme les panneaux composites.

Bonne nouvelle pour une industrie qui en arrache. Toutefois, même si les produits dits non traditionnels comme les bioplastiques sont des niches intéressantes, les volumes concernés pour l’instant ne sont certainement pas assez conséquent pour sortir l’industrie de l’ornière. De plus, produire des bioplastiques 2ème génération à partir de la cellulose ou des résidus lignocellulosiques, demandera beaucoup de temps avant de devenir une réalité industrielle rentable.

En revanche, les emballages à base de papier présentent un créneau porteur. Éco-responsables et polyvalents, ces emballages peuvent rivaliser avec ceux faits en pétro-plastiques. On voit de plus en plus d’emballages en plastique qui ont l’allure du papier. Pourquoi ne pas oser la transition et ajouter des fonctionnalités au papier. C’est un grand marché à conquérir…

dimanche 1 août 2010

Food Packaging: U.S. regulators lack data on health risks of most chemicals

Federal regulators, who are charged with ensuring the safety of food and consumer products, are in the dark about the suspected chemical, 2-methylnaphthalene. The Food and Drug Administration has no scientific data on its impact on human health. The Environmental Protection Agency also lacks basic health and safety data for 2-methylnaphthalene -- even though the EPA has been seeking that information from the chemical industry for 16 years.

Because the FDA does not know anything about the toxicity of 2-methylnaphthalene, the agency set its limit based on what it knows about the toxic effects of similar chemicals, Cheeseman said.

He added that the FDA does not know what caused the Kellogg contamination, how much 2-methylnaphthalene might have migrated into the cereals or if it was the only contaminant. The agency did not perform its own tests on the cereals.

Roberta Wagner of the FDA's office of regulatory affairs said Kellogg destroyed most of the tainted liners before it contacted the agency and announced a recall.

"Basically, Kellogg's investigated the situation before they made the decision to do the recall," Wagner said. "They did their own testing." She said the agency continues to investigate.

The company submitted a copy of its health risk assessment to the FDA, but neither Kellogg nor the agency would release it.

Cheeseman said it is unusual for contaminants to migrate from packaging into foods.

Read full paper: Washington Post

Paper-based Packaging: Sustainability and Functionality

I have just created a LinkedIn group entitled: PAPER-BASED PACKAGINGa group dedicated to all professionals within the Packaging and Pulp & Paper Industries.
Sustainability and food safety and are the driving forces behind innovation in food packaging. Increases in functionality, improvements in food safety, economics and meeting environmental and legislative measures are pushing packaging actors to “Think outside the box”. Paper-based packaging provides smart, versatile and responsible packaging solutions for product manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.
A bright future may be anticipated for sustainable, high-performance barrier and smart paper-based packaging:

  1. Innovative paper-based packaging offers environmental, convenience, food safety and preservation and economics benefits for both customers and packaging actors.
  2. Coating and lamination: adds functionality to sustainable paper-based packaging.
  3. Biodegradable, smart and active barrier : Developments of speciality paper and paperboard through innovation
Join the discussion to share and brainstorm latest news, trends and innovation in Paper-based packaging