mercredi 30 mars 2011

Colloque sur l’éco-responsabilité de l'industrie graphique

L’Institut des communications graphiques du Québec (ICGQ) organise le jeudi 26 mai 2011, la deuxième édition du colloque sur l’éco-responsabilité dans l’Industrie graphique. Ce colloque est destiné aux acheteurs d’imprimés, aux papetiers, aux imprimeurs, aux designers, aux fabricants, ainsi qu’aux diverses associations et aux organismes et ministères provinciaux.

Lors de ce colloque je donne une présentation intitulée : Emballage papier : flexible, pratique et éco-responsable


Le papier est un matériau d’emballage qui jouit d’une excellente image : il est renouvelable, biodégradable et recyclable. Toutefois, la contrainte majeure du papier réside dans ses faibles propriétés barrières qui limitent ses applications et menacent sa viabilité. Nous présenterons les diverses solutions proposées par Cascades pour compenser les défaillances du papier et faire de l’emballage papier une véritable alternative viable et durable.

Pour les détails et le programme complet, cliquez ici

mardi 29 mars 2011

Biodegradable Packaging Still Bad for the Planet

Companies that say their packaging will biodegrade in landfills as if that feature is a benefit are actually touting that they're contributing to a system that hurts the environment.

As more companies are marketing the fact that their wrappers, boxes and other packaging materials will break down in landfills, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) looked into if that really is a positive when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions.

The coalition, a project of non-profit GreenBlue, found that waste biodegrading in landfills has an overall negative impact on greenhouse gas emissions, and it's not going to get much better in the foreseeable future.

Many landfill sites have installed gas-capturing systems to keep some gases generated by waste out of the atmosphere. The systems don't capture 100 percent of emissions, but can redirect a large chunk of them after a few years in operation.

Landfill gas is made up of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane, which is 25 times more potent than CO2 in contributing to global warming. At sites where gas is captured, the methane is combusted to create energy.

The SPC found that its takes seven units of methane being turned into energy to offset one unit of greenhouse gas emissions (when the different gases' impacts are normalized). As of 2009, 30 percent of the methane made at landfills in the U.S. was being turned into energy, and 40 percent was being emitted, making emissions from landfill biodegradation overall harmful.

Positive impact would come from a scenario where more than 70 percent of methane is turned into energy, but that comes with other caveats, like needing microorganisms to do a better job of weakening more methane.

"It is theoretically possible that biodegradation in landfills could someday incur a net beneficial greenhouse gas impact, but it is not probable that all landfills in the U.S. will be outfitted with optimal energy recovery systems," the report says. "In the foreseeable future, biodegradation in landfills may be expected to continue resulting in a harmful greenhouse gas impact."

vendredi 25 mars 2011

Polystyrene Foam Cups and Plates Use Less Energy, Water Than Paper or Corn-Based Alternatives

A new peer reviewed study finds that commonly used cups, plates and sandwich containers made of polystyrene foam use significantly less energy and water than comparable paper-based or corn-based (polylactic: PLA) alternatives, primarily due to polystyrene foam's much lower weight.
The polystyrene foam products create less, similar or more solid waste by volume than alternatives depending on the product and its weight, according to the study, and greenhouse gas emission comparisons vary widely, based on uncertainties over whether paper-based products degrade after disposal.
Some key findings:
  • Energy use: Polystyrene foam products consume significantly less energy than the alternatives – half as much as wax-coated paperboard cups and one-third as much as PLA clamshells.
  • Water use: Polystyrene foam products use significantly less water than the alternatives – up to four times less than PLA clamshells.
  • Solid waste: Polystyrene foam products create significantly less solid waste by weight than the alternatives – up to five times less than paperboard and PLA products. Comparisons by volume vary widely:
  • Polystyrene foam cups for hot drinks create less waste by volume than the alternatives – significantly less than paperboard cups with corrugated sleeves used for insulation.
  • Polystyrene foam cups for cold drinks create similar waste by volume as plastic coated paperboard cups and significantly less than wax coated paperboard and PLA cups.
  • Heavy duty polystyrene foam plates produce more solid waste by volume than the alternatives, while lighter duty polystyrene foam plates create similar waste by volume as the paperboard counterparts.
  • Polystyrene foam clamshells create slightly more waste by volume than paperboard clamshells and half the waste by volume of PLA clamshells.
  • Greenhouse gases: Polystyrene foam products generate slightly more greenhouse gas emissions than PLA products, expressed as net CO2 equivalents (see note below). If paperboard products do not degrade after disposal, they store carbon and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions than polystyrene foam products; however, if paperboard products degrade to the maximum extent, they generate more greenhouse gas emissions than polystyrene foam products, so comparisons of greenhouse gas emissions vary widely depending on assumptions about the degradation of paperboard products.
Full study is available here
My comments:
  1. Are Styrofoam trays and cups sustainable packaging? The majority of LCA on Styrofoam trays showed a better footprint than paperboard trays?
  2. I’m very skeptical regarding LCA studies: data may not be accurate or complete and system boundaries are not easily defined
  3. LCA does not provide clear “winners or losers”. Furthermore, LCA will not determine which product or process is the most cost effective or works the best.
  4. LCA must be used as an internal process evaluation and improvement tool, and not a marketing tool

dimanche 20 mars 2011

Bio-coated Paper-Based Flexible Packaging: Functionality and Sustainability

I will be presenting at the upcoming 2011 TAPPI PLACE Flexible Packaging Symposium scheduled for April 5, 2011 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida USA. This symposium will take place one day prior to the start of the ICE Show.

My talk entitled: "Bio-coated Paper-Based Flexible Packaging: Functionality and Sustainability" will be focused on the application of bioresin on paper-based flexible packaging.


Bioplastic materials are defined as materials that are either biodegradable and compostable and derived from both renewable and non-renewable sources, or materials that are non-biodegradable and derived from renewable resources.

Combine paper with bio-resin to create biobased/compostable packaging – making it a significant advance in the field of sustainable packaging. However, as with any innovation, these new materials present their own challenges and hurdles.


1. Packaging: Trends & Drivers
2. Bioplastic: Sustainable and Functional
3. Bio-coated Paper-based Flexible Packaging

                      I. Bio-resin Extrusion Coating
                     II. Water-based Lamination
                    III. Biobased Content

4. Challenges, Hurdles & Success Factors
5. Take Home: Flexible and Durable Future

I look forward to seeing you in Orlando!

jeudi 17 mars 2011

Canadian Tire says green initiatives to cut $6M in costs

Canadian Tire on Thursday released it’s “green” balance sheet, saying it completed 389 projects last year aimed at improving the environmental impact of its businesses that will also trim some $6 million off costs.

The company said the projects are forecast to save 610 tonnes of waste and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7,800 tonnes, the equivalent to the energy use required to power 1,000 Canadian homes.

Canadian Tire, which has pledged to report results from its sustainable initiatives quarterly, said its focus in 2010 was in three key areas - products, product transport and buildings - and included reduced packaging, fuel efficiency enhancements to fleet vehicles, new energy efficient store lighting, heating and cooling systems and central energy management.

A growing number of companies worldwide are now reporting their environmental initiatives in much the same way they report their financial results. Although it’s hard to put a dollar figure on how much greening the balance sheet can boost profit, London-based environmental consultancy SustainAbility said the initiatives have a positive impact on business.

“If you improve energy efficiency you save resources and any logical investor should like to see money isn’t just being thrown out of the window,” said Jean-Philippe Renaut, manager at SustainAbility. “They will also definitely build brand equity and encourage shoppers to switch loyalties.”

Renaut said he would like to see the Canadian home improvement giant now adopt measures to encourage shoppers to choose the most eco-friendly brands in the store, even if they are more expensive than other choices.

Canadian Tire said it also contributed $17.9 million to government-mandated community blue box and industry product stewardship and recycling programs in 2010.

"Continuing innovation is key to developing new products, improving packaging and streamlining processes that generate environmental benefits, profit and shareholder value," said Tyler Elm, vice-president of business sustainability.

"This can be seen in the work we completed in 2010 across the enterprise. The continued integration of sustainability into our corporate culture will help us achieve our goals."

mardi 15 mars 2011

PepsiCo Unveils 100% Bio-Based Rival to Coke’s PlantBottle

PepsiCo says it has developed the world’s first polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottle made entirely from plants.

PepsiCo said its bottle, made of switch grass, pine bar, corn husks and other biological materials, “far surpasses existing industry technologies”. It is 100 percent recyclable.

The company said it has created a bottle that looks and feels identical to traditional petroleum-based PET, and offers the same product protection. PepsiCo will pilot production of the new bottle in 2012. If the pilot is successful, the company will then begin full-scale commercialization.

dimanche 13 mars 2011

GFSI and food packaging

For those who aren’t steeped in GFSI Certification, it stands for Global Food Safety Initiative. It is a nonprofit organization established as part of Belgian law and is being adopted globally as a benchmark for food safety and quality.

It is also part of ISO 22000 standards. One of the objectives is to align food safety and quality standards to reduce food recalls and improve food safety and protection through the global supply chain. This standard has been around for about 10 years but is becoming more common in the last couple of years in the United States.

mercredi 9 mars 2011

Le carton recyclé des paquets de céréales dangereux pour la santé?

Une étude suisse a révélé que le carton recyclé utilisé pour fabriquer les paquets de céréales pouvait représenter un risque pour la santé des consommateurs.

Les fabricants de céréales auraient déjà commencé à modifier l'emballage de leurs produits. En effet, des chercheurs suisses du Food safety laboratory de Zurich ont découvert que le carton recyclé utilisé pour fabriquer les paquets contenait des huiles minérales, capables de traverser l'emballage et de se diffuser dans la nourriture. Mais les céréales du petit-déjeuner ne seraient pas les seuls produits concernés. Selon l'étude publiée en ligne dans la revue Packaging and Technology Science, pâtes et riz pourraient présenter le même risque.

Les huiles minérales proviendraient en fait de l'encre des journaux et autres matériaux imprimés qui sont utilisés dans le recyclage. Sur les 119 produits testés en 2010 et vendus dans les supermarchés allemands, seulement 30 se sont avérés ne pas contenir les substances mises en cause. Tous les autres présentaient des taux au moins 10 fois supérieurs à la limite recommandée. "Nous avons calculé qu'avant que les paquets soient terminés, les taux excèderaient en moyenne 50 fois la limite et que la majorité serait même plusieurs centaines de fois supérieures", a indiqué à la BBC le Dr Koni Grob qui a conduit les recherches.

En testant les substances sur des rats, les chercheurs suisses ont ensuite évalué les dangers potentiels sur la santé. "Les toxicologues ont parlé de deux effets. Le premier est l'inflammation chronique de différents organes internes et le second, l'apparition de cancers", a expliqué le Dr Koni Grob. Pourtant, les scientifiques ont tenu à rassurer les consommateurs. Un seul repas tel que le petit-déjeuner ne suffit pas à présenter de réels risques pour la santé, tout est une question d'exposition à long-terme. Les individus ayant une alimentation équilibrée et variée ne devraient alors pas s'inquiéter de ces résultats.

Moins d'huiles dans les nouveaux emballages

Au vu de ces recherches, les fabricants de céréales ont rapidement réagi. Mais si la compagnie Jordans a décidé de supprimer tout carton recyclé de ses emballages, tous n'ont pas opté pour une solution aussi radicale. Comparé à sa version "fraîche", le carton recyclé est beaucoup plus économique et écologique. Ainsi, les entreprises Kellogg's et Weetabix tentent plutôt de limiter les taux d'huiles minérales en fabricant le carton à partir d'autres matériaux. Selon les chercheurs, une autre solution serait envisageable : renforcer l'emballage intérieur pour limiter la diffusion des huiles dans la nourriture.

mardi 8 mars 2011

Food companies changing packaging on mineral oil migration risk

Major food manufacturers are revamping their packaging amid concerns over the long term health hazards posed by mineral oils leaching from recycled cardboard into foods.

Weetabix, Kellogg and Jordans have all taken steps to change to packaging that does not contain mineral oils, according a report from the BBC.

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) said steps were already being taken to address the issue and that the industry regarded it seriously. The paper and board sectors were investigating ways to phase out materials containing mineral oils, CEPI managing director Teresa Presas told

An opinion from the European Food Safety Authority on the matter is also due out later this year.


The possible health threat from mineral oils - that come from inks and chemicals used in newspaper production - surfaced last year in the wake of the publication of a Swiss study.

The research by Dr Koni Grob at a government-run food safety laboratory in Zurich found that three quarters of 119 food products from a German supermarket contained mineral oils. Of these, most exceeded the European Union safe limit of 0.6mg per kilogram by more than 10 times. But products left on the shelves for longer periods could eventually exceed the limits by up to 100 times, he estimated. Mineral oils were also found to penetrate inner some inner linings.

Long term exposure to mineral oils has been linked to the chronic inflammation of various internal organs and cancer but consumers who eat balanced diets are not believed to be at risk, said Grob.

Newspaper-free cardboard and Kellogg's liners

The food and packaging sectors are both taking steps to address the issue, with giants Kellogg's and Weetabix altering their packaging.

“We are working with our suppliers on new packaging which allows us to meet our environmental commitments but will also contain significantly lower levels of mineral oil,” Kellogg's told BBC radio. “We are also looking at alternative inner liners for our packets.”

Weetabix said it uses 100 per cent recycled cardboard for environmental reasons but added it was “actively engaged with it packaging suppliers to consider alternative recycled packaging that does not contain recycled newspaper”.

The company stressed: "Our data... does indicate that none of our products pose a risk to consumer health".

Cereal company Jordans denied it had changed its packaging as result of Grob’s research but acknowledged that, like Weetabix, it was seeking to source newspaper-free recycled board.

“The latest research emerging from Switzerland on the content of recycled board is relatively new and Jordans did not change to use accredited board specifically in response to this issue,” a spokesman told“However, we will be discussing improved supply of recycled board that avoids content from newspapers with the industry and our suppliers.”

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it was “not aware of any firm evidence to suggest that there are food safety risks related to mineral oils in recycled food packaging”. It said the research was interesting but incomplete.

“Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the food they produce is safe, and some have chosen to review their use of recycled packaging,” added the FSA spokesman. “The agency continues to review evidence in this area and will act to protect consumers if the evidence shows it is necessary to do so.”

jeudi 3 mars 2011

Bio-coated Paper-Based Flexible Packaging: Functionality and sustainability

I will be presenting at the upcoming 2011 TAPPI PLACE Flexible Packaging Symposium scheduled for April 5, 2011 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida USA. This symposium will take place one day prior to the start of the ICE Show.

My talk entitled: Bio-coated Paper-Based Flexible Packaging: Functionality and Sustainability will be focused on the application of bioresin on paper-based flexible packaging.

To register for the Symposium and attend my presentation, please visit the 2011 TAPPI PLACE Flexible Packaging Symposium website. The early bird registration deadline is March 7, 2011.

I look forward to seeing you in Orlando!

mardi 1 mars 2011

Emballer ou ne pas emballer la banane, telle est la question....pour Del Monte

Dans le DailyMail, on apprend que Del Monte vient de lancer un nouvel emballage (depuis 2009!!!, voir ici) qui permet de prolonger la durée de vie des bananes. Le nouvel emballage permet de doubler la "shelf life of bananas" à l’air libre, du coup il permet de diminuer le nombre de livraisons et de réduire les déchets.

Encore une fois, on fait face à dilemme : Emballer pour prolonger la durée de conservation et donc réduire la quantité de pertes ou réduire pour ne pas dire éliminer l’emballage et se retrouver avec plus de déchets. Diminuer le nombre de livraisons et réduire les déchets, est à l'évidence un progrès pour améliorer la rentabilité du secteur, mais les bananes ont-elles véritablement besoin d’être emballées ?

Mais une autre question doit tarauder le consommateur et l'amateur de banane : à tenter de prolonger la durée de vie (et donc ralentir le mûrissement de la banane), ne risque t-on pas de dénaturer le goût de la banane?

Assess risk from nano-pollution and antimicrobials in packaging

The Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) has called for greater appraisal of the potential risks from the release into the environment of nanomaterials used in food packaging.

The possibility that wider exposure to anti-microbial agents in food contact materials (FCMs) may contribute to heightened bacterial resistance was highlighted as an area of concern for the UK-based body. It also said the accumulation of nanosilver in the environment should be scrutinised and the development of bespoke recycling procedures considered.

The IFST made its comments in its response to the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) guidelines on the potential risks of nano-applications in food and feed published in January 2011.

The independent group said it was important that the EFSA document suggest the need for full toxicity data on engineered nanomaterials (ENM) used as composites in FCMs even where there is no evidence for migration of these particles into food, or where levels of migration are low, it said.

The body added: “IFST considers that this is important because, although the direct use of these materials may not lead to significant ingestion of the particles, knowledge of the level of toxicity, or lack of toxicity, may be needed in order to assess the acceptable levels of migration.”