Recycling Made Easier


The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) is an industry working group that is committed to creating and implementing an environmental vision for packaging. Their mission is to advocate and communicate a robust vision for making packaging more environmentally friendly. They also support innovative and functional packaging materials that promote economic and environmental health. SPC has been working on a new project and they are preparing to launch a voluntary labeling pilot program for packaging this fall that intends to increase recycling and make it easier to understand. The hope is to eliminate confusion that is caused by some labels. SPC will allow members to use this new labeling program on their products, and plan on opening the program to others. The overall goal of this program is for it to become a universal label.

Eco labeling has taken some heat recently because it can be confusing and misleading. Some companies that participate in greenwashing use eco labels to make their products appear to be eco-friendly. This has led to consumer confusion and frustration. Consumers want instruction and direction on what is actually recyclable. This pilot labeling program will help give consumers the right information on what to recycle, with the goal of keeping everyone on the same page.

The labels have three classifications: widely recycled, not recyclable, and limited recycling. A black diagonal line will classify the not recyclable label. Limited recycling will have the phrase check locally above the icon and it will identify the material. Plastic bags and films will be classified by store drop off or recycle if clean and dry.

Top 3 Green Companies

The act of going green is defined as the process of changing one’s lifestyle for the safety and benefit of the environment. People who decide to go green and take on an eco-friendly lifestyle consider the outcomes their decisions have on global warming, pollution, and other environmental concerns. Sounds simple right? Well if you are a business it may be harder than you think. Those who do decide to make their business practices green have the potential to make a big impact in helping save the environment. They also set a positive attitude for their company, differentiate themselves from competitors, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. Going green is an big process to tackle, but the end results are great.

One problem that arises when businesses decide to go green is green washing. Green washing is the practice of companies making unsubstantiated or misleading claims of the environmental benefits of a product or service. Those who rise above this maintain a good company name and brand, while also promoting eco-friendliness.

Here are the top 3 green companies that have made commitments to become sustainable companies:


1. Dell: Dell has made a commitment to transform their packaging by making it safe for the environment. They started by trying out different materials for their packaging. Dell worked with bamboo because it replenishes itself quickly. They also just recently turned to mushrooms as part of their cushioning for their server packaging. Mushrooms are grown, not manufactured, using less energy to produce the packaging. Dell has made many goals in becoming a sustainable company. They plan on reducing waste and making their packaging recyclable. They are constantly looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

2. Wal-Mart: The CEO of Wal-Mart decided a few years ago to make a commitment to becoming more sustainable. They decided to make goals of running their stores on 100% renewable energy, implementing a zero waste system, and redesigning products so they are more eco-friendly. Wal-Mart has been successful in meeting their goals and becoming a more sustainable company. They have drastically reduced its waste, cut down on packaging for the goods they sell, improved fuel efficiency, and monitored their suppliers carbon footprint. Wal-Mart has saved millions of dollars by going green, which has helped their business as well as the environment.

3. Waste Management: When you think of this company, eco-friendly probably is the first words that come to mind. But they are taking initiative to change that. Waste Management is no longer just a garbage company, but an environmental answer resource. They are taking charge and finding advances in technology to reduce waste, increase recycling and reuse, creating safer disposal options, and developing sources of renewable energy. They have also found a way to capture methane from landfills, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and has generated enough renewable energy to power 1 million homes. They are more than just a garbage company to 20 million customers and are continuing to find ways to protect the environment.

 

If these 3 companies can take the imitative to go green, so can others. These companies have done a great job at setting examples for other companies to hopefully follow.

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!

The Future of Packaging, Part 2.

In 2010, 27% of products at major US retailers are estimated to have sustainable packaging. By 2015, this figure is projected to reach 37%.

Despite a global recession, escalating environmental pressures from consumers, the media, and legislators have put pressure on manufacturers to emphasize innovation in design, choice of materials, processing, and life cycle logistics. In fact, green packaging is the only sector of packaging that has continued to show growth. This evidence tells us that the future of packaging is in sustainability.

Environmentally conscious decisions now must revolutionize packaging design and drive the bottom-line of companies. Consumers are becoming increasingly educated on what sustainability is to the extent that they can, and will, call out companies for greenwashing (deceptive use of green marketing in order to promote a misleading perception that a company’s policies or products are environmentally friendly).

Walmart continues to be on the forefront of sustainable packaging in the retail arena.  Although the retail giant has achieved many of its environmental goals such as plastic bag reduction, it continues to be unable to eliminate PVC from private-label packaging. As sustainable packaging evolves, Walmart will continue to strive in achieving its PVC elimination goals.

Many other large companies are following suit including Proctor & Gamble. Very recently, they announced plans to use sugarcane-derived plastic on selected packaging for its Pantene Pro-V, Covergirl and Max Factor brands to increase its sustainability credentials. The strategy by P&G is completely consumer-driven. Their research shows that women around the world want to make themselves more beautiful without making their environment less beautiful.

Amazon and Mattel team up to implement their own green packaging innovation. Dubbing it Frustration Free Packaging (FFP), its intention is to stray away from plastic packaging that is difficult to open. Especially in regards to toy packaging, Mattel found that consumers were livid about the complexity of opening up toys from their plastic and twist-tie inundated mess. Frustration Free Packaging is recyclable and is designed to be opened without the use of a box cutter or knife and will protect your product just as well as traditional packaging.

The key to all of this is that consumer feedback from companies like these has been extremely positive. If customer’s are pleased and recognizing sustainable packaging efforts, the demand will continue to increase just as experts suspect that it will.