Consumer Interest in Green Products Rises

The annual Global Green Brands Study revealed that interest in green products has increased significantly in the past year. The research polled over 9,000 people in 8 countries.

Personal care, grocery, and household products still have the greatest presence among companies in the Top Ten Green Brands List which was produced from the survey (See the list below). This is due to the increased intelligence consumers are getting on green products. Interestingly, the study also found that consumers are ready to take their green purchases to the next level by spending money on big ticket items such as cars and technology.

1. Seventh Generation
2. Whole Foods
3. Tom’s of Maine
4. Burt’s Bees
5. Trader Joe’s
6. The Walt Disney Company
7. S.C. Johnson
8. Dove
9. Apple
10. Starbucks, Microsoft (tied)

Just like last year’s study, more than 60% of the consumers polled said they wanted to buy products from environmentally responsible companies even if that meant paying more for them. In fact, consumers in developing countries were willing to pay up to 33% more for green products.

Another interesting finding from the poll was the concern over packaging, especially among US consumers. 71% believe companies use too much material in packaging while about 50% feel that packaging that can be recycled is more important than packaging made from recycled or biodegradable materials. Only 34% of US consumers polled said they consciously purchase products that use less packaging.

Packaging was also critical as a communication tool. Communicating product benefits to US consumers was vital. Packaging helps explain why a product is green and how green a product is. 40% polled say that packaging is their PRIMARY source for information on environmental issues regarding products.

Green Consumerism

Consumerism is a movement that seeks to protect and inform consumers by requiring practices like packaging, advertising, product guarantees, and safety standards. In theory it is also the outcome of producing greater consumption of goods for the benefit of the economy. Since we have become a society that is concerned with the state of our environment, consumerism has become eco-friendly. Green consumerism is a new movement that is concerned about products and services that are considered ethically made. This means with minimal harm to or exploitation of humans, animals, and/or the natural environment.

Green consumerism is interesting in that it focuses on us buying green products. Well how beneficial are green products to the environment if we don’t use them properly. An article written by Jacquie Ottman titled “The Next Frontier in Green Marketing is Responsible Consumption” pinpoints this issue spot on.  The article provides an example: how is an eco-friendly light bulb eco-friendly if the light remains on after everyone leaves the room? They contradict each other. We may feel good about doing our part if we buy green products, but we need to focus more on the behaviors we conduct when we use them. It defeats the purpose of buying green if we are not using the products in an eco-friendly manner.

Going green is based on behavior. If we want to be buy eco-friendly products we must learn green behaviors. If we look at this issue from a business perspective, marketers of green products should focus on adding value for consumers and providing them with the needed knowledge of how to use the product. Buying green products and using them properly is how we will help save our planet. Green consumerism is on the rise and more consumers feel they have a personal responsibility to do their part to help the earth.

New Study: 95% of Consumer Products are Greenwashing

A new study that was recently released by TerraChoice states that 95% of consumer products claiming to be eco-friendly are committing at least one sin of greenwashing. The report highlighted the 7 sins of greenwashing– described as the act of misleading consumers about the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service. The sin of “No proof” was the most persistent of all greenwashing sins in 2010.

TerraChoice examined 5,296 products for the study while visiting 19 retail stores in Canada and 15 in the US.

The news is not all bad though. Considering that 98% of consumer products were guilty of greenwashing in 2009, the number has decreased in 2010. Further, the number of green products on the market was up 73% this year from 2009.

It’s going to be very interesting to keep an eye on this study. With government regulations and consumers being more privy to the ‘green scene’, one would assume that the percentage will continue to decrease into the future!

Upcycled Packaging

Have you heard the term Upcycling? Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value. It is the opposite of downcycling, which involves converting materials and products into new materials of lesser quality. Most recycling involves converting or extracting useful materials from a product and creating a different product or material.

Upcycling, in reference to packaging, has a slighly different definition. It’s the creative use of the shape and characteristics of existing packaging to create new products or packaging. Here are some great examples of upcycled packaging:

The pioneers of Upcycling: Terracycle

Universal Love of Soccer + Need for Energy = sOccket!

Four young women met in a Harvard engineering class in 2008. Having all spent time in Africa as well as other developing countries, they saw the need for energy. In fact, 95% of the population in most African countries is living with no access to electricity. Further, breathing the fumes created from burning kerosene indoors equals the harmful effects of smoking two packs of cigarettes per day (According to World Bank Millennium Goals Report, 2006). The women’s travels also revealed the deep love of soccer around the globe. They decided to fuse the need for energy with the universal love of soccer to create….sOccket.

sOccket is a soccer ball that captures the energy during game play to charge LEDs and batteries. After playing with the ball, the child can return home and use the ball to connect a LED lamp to read, study, or illuminate the home. The ball uses an inductive coil mechanism to generate energy.

sOccket is still in prototyping stage, where 15 minutes of play can light 3 hours of LED light. The ladies will continue beta testing throughout Africa this summer- home of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

More info:
Visit sOccket

e-Readers: The greener way to read

An easy solution for a greener lifestyle is available with new e-Readers, which allow consumers to view, purchase, and read e-books and other digital media through a handheld platform. e-Readers feature long battery life, WiFi, and large screens for easy browsing and compatibility.

The Amazon Kindle has three hardware devices, the Kindle, Kindle 2, and Kindle DX. The Kindle devices use electronic paper displays and are able to download content from Amazon using the WiFi service. The Kindle devices can hold up to 1,500 books from a large selection including over 360,000 books, U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs. Furthermore, the Kindle is expanding with lower market prices and international expansion.

Competing with the Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook e-Reader will be available in November. The Nook has a 10 day battery life with a replaceable battery, WiFi and AT&T 3G, PDF support, and competitive prices. The Nook can store up to 1,500 books, newspapers, and magazines along with an extended memory card that holds up to 17,500 downloads. A bonus feature of the Nook is the lending feature, which allows customers to loan books to friends for 14 days.

While both e-Readers are an exciting new development for book lovers everywhere, an added bonus is the option to go green with your reading material. Who can say no to that?

Eight Tips to Travel “Green” and Save Money

Both Jackie and I are taking vacations soon, so Jackie found a list of ways to travel Green.

Want to reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment while you travel, but think it is much too expensive to pay carbon offset fees or buy expensive, recycled suitcases: Think again. Sarah Schlichter provided “Eight ways green travel can save you money“.

  1. environmentally-friendly luggage tags and bag tagsPack light.The more bags you pack and the heavier that they are, will increase the amount of fuel needed, whether you are driving or flying. By packing less, you will reduce the amount of carbon emissions and save money on gas if you are driving. The fewer bags you pack while flying will reduce your baggage fees. Don’t forget to use eco-friendly bag tags.
  2. Borrow guidebooks.Not only will borrowing guidebooks/maps from a friend or the library save you money on purchasing them, but you are reducing waste and reusing resources.
  3. Buy reusable travel-size bottles.Instead of buying new travel-sized bottles of all your toiletries each time you go on a trip, buy one set of travel-sized bottles that you can reuse and refill with your own shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, etc. Not only are you saving money by buying your items in bulk, but you are reducing the amount of travel-sized bottles that will be thrown in a landfill.
  4. Don’t rent a car. Not only are they expensive to rent, but they release carbon emissions. Try walking, biking, or using public transportation instead. It’s cheaper, healthier, and better for the environment.
  5. If you must, rent a small car or a hybrid. Smaller cars are more fuel-efficient, which means less money spent on gas and less carbon emissions released.
  6. check your tires before roadtripsPrepare your car. If you are taking a road trip, make sure that your car is prepared, so that you are as fuel-efficient as you can be. Take all the extra things you don’t need out of your trunk, check your tires, and make sure your engine is tuned up.
  7. Buy local. Wherever you are, buy local food and goods. Visit farmer’s markets and buy souvenirs from local artisans. By not having to be shipped in, they could be cheaper and have a smaller carbon footprint.
  8. eco-friendly reusable water bottleBring your own reusable water bottle. According to the Sierra Club, billions of plastic water bottles end up in the landfills every year. From there, they take up to 1,000 years to decompose. You can reduce waste tremendously by using a water bottle that you can simply just wash and reuse. Plus, it’s free to fill your bottle with water! If you are in an area with bad water, buy a large jug of purified water to keep in your room. It is cheaper to buy in bulk, and it uses less packaging.

Whether you are going on a business trip or a vacation like Jackie and me, these are some helpful tips to save money and be environmentally-friendly at the same time. For business trips, give your company an added touch with matching

Mother’s Day CD Case Card

May is Green Packaging Month at Sunrise. In May, we focus on communicating ways to create packaging that is unique, helps you stand out from the crowd, and is also environmentally responsible… yes, you can have all three. Check out our Green Packaging Pages for more information.

reusable creative mothers day cd jewel case cardTo get us started, since Mother’s day is next weekend, we found a web site that will help you turn an unused CD case into a beautiful card for Mom!

Here’s a picture of the completed project. check out the craftylife blog for complete instructions.

Be sure to let us know how your card turned out. In fact, send us a picture and we’ll highlight it in a post! (We’ll wait until after Mother’s Day to keep the surprise)

The next time you need a binder, CD/DVD/USB case, box or sales kit, give your favorite Account Manager a call and we’ll help you create a work of art that will be environmentally friendly too.

Going Green: Just a Fad or Here to Stay?

Since today is Earth Day, we thought we would focus on the growing “green” trend.  Sunrise Packaging, like many companies and individuals, has been talking a lot about this ambiguous, yet wildly popular, phenomenon dubbed “green”. Sunpack and others have new “green” products and everyone is asking how they can make small everyday changes to become more “green”. Is this new environmentally-friendly mindset simply the result of high gas prices or is it a permanent societal change?

environmentally-friendly economy costsExperts will give you mixed answers because it is difficult to predict. Threats to our environment are real and it is possible that people are making lifestyle changes that will be permanent. On the other hand, we have seen this kind of trend before, again coinciding with high gas prices. When the prices went down, the environmentally friendly fad passed and Americans went back to driving their gas-guzzlers as much as they ever did.

Back in the 1970’s the prices for oil and gas rose and so did concern for the environment. These concerns lead to the development of Earth Day and government subsidies for alternative energy. By the 1980’s gas prices were down, Ronald Reagan cut the subsidies and concerns for the environment took a nose-dive. Is it possible that we are experiencing the same cycle today?reduce reuse recycle replenish restore earth day

Biologists and experts can provide endless evidence to attest to the fact that the planet is in trouble. For some, this is enough to convince them that the “green” wave is not just a fad, but rather a lasting change. Others will say that the planet has been in danger for a long time and there are still a lot of people who could not care less because they cannot SEE the damage. They are only changing their ways because of the economy or the gas prices.

Whether they change their ways for the environment or for their wallets, people are changing their everyday choices and actions to reflect a more environmentally friendly stance. Many people are making seemingly permanent lifestyle changes – changing their driving habits, the brands and products that they are loyal to, where they buy their food, etc. Such lifestyle changes, if maintained could indicate that this “green” mentality is not just a fad.

Even if “green” is a fad or a trend, many permanent changes may result from its existence. Interest in the environment faded in the 1980’s but we still recognize and celebrate Earth Day. The changes that will last into the next generations will be those that are implemented in ours. While the notion of “green” may be just a passing trend, it is likely that the government will make political and economical changes that will stick. This will likely come in the form of legislation.

“Going green” is motivating people to help the environment. Many experts believe that this trend will only gain momentum and grow, providing a brilliant opportunity for marketers to connect with their consumers and for consumers to positively affect their environment. Only time will tell if the eco-friendly movement will be a passing fad or a lasting change.

Eco-Binders: Tested and Approved

Sure biodegradable Eco-Binders sound like a great idea for the environment, but I bet you’re wondering if they will actually last or if they will simply just fall apart on you. You should not have to give up durability in order to be environmentally-friendly, so we decided to put our Eco-Binders to the test.

eco-binders environmentally-friendlyOne of our Client Relations Representatives, Kelly Jo, took one of each of our paperboard Eco-Binders home for her kids to use for the school. Day after day, all semester long, these binders were thrown around and squished in backpacks–we all know how kids treat their homework.

With this kind of handling, would our Eco-Binders be able to compare to plastic binders and last the semester?

So how did they turn out? As you can see, the Eco-Binders, with some added artwork, went through plenty of wear and tear. Some of the edges were starting to tear after so much use, but they were able to last strong through the whole semester.

cardboard eco-bindersWe were happy to hear that our Eco-Binders lasted through the handling of Kelly Jo’s middle school kids, but we wondered how they could be even stronger.

A new idea was to make binders from heavy-duty corrugated cardboard. These would be even harder to destroy, while still being good to the environment.

It just goes to show that you don’t have to give up durability in order to be environmentally friendly.