The Eco-Division of Staples

We all know Staples in the world’s largest office products company, but did you know they also have a business to business division called Staples Advantage? Staples Advantage works with companies to develop customized programs in areas such as specialized pricing and account management. Within Staples Advantage is something called Sustainable Earth. This is a division that offers eco-friendly products that provide safer alternatives for companies and the planet.

Recently, Sustainable Earth has expanded their line with eco-friendly kitchen, break room, paper, and janitorial products. The kitchen line offers compostable products like cutlery, bowls, plates, cups and lids. These products are certified by the Biodegradable Product Institute because the cups and lids, for example are made from corn-based materials and the cutlery is made from sugarcane. The new paper product line features items such as facial tissues and toilet paper that are made from 100% recovered paper fiber and contain a minimum of 40% post consumer content.

Staples Advantage hopes to provide eco-friendly solutions for businesses to help then achieve their sustainability goals. Apart from the eco-friendly products, they also provide recycling services and energy efficient technologies to help companies make a difference and become more eco-friendly.

Odwalla is Planting Eco-Friendliness

Odwalla, maker of natural juices, smoothies, protein drinks, and food bars will be hitting shelves this March, but in a greener fashion. Odwalla will be transitioning from their traditional packaging to the PlantBottle. This new bottle is made of 100% plant-based materials and is 100% recyclable. It also consists of materials derived from molasses and sugarcane juice. The goal with this new Odwalla packaging is to reduce dependence on nonrenewable resources. Coca-Cola, along with many others have replaced their traditional packaging with the PlantBottle, in an effort to make their packaging more eco-friendly.

The PlantBottle is just another step Odwalla has taken to become a more sustainable company. They have created an organization called Plant a Tree Program, which has planted more than 300,000 trees in the last 3 years. They also developed Bloom Energy Fuel Cell technology which reduces Odwalla’s carbon footprint of its plant by 35%. The PlantBottle, along with their other green innovations are helping to reduce their dependence on nonrenewable resources.

Going Green is Going Healthy

Many companies are taking unique and innovative approaches to reducing the usage of plastics in their packaging. As strange as it may sound these companies have found ways to use potatoes, milk,  mushrooms, and sugar cane to make their packaging more environmentally friendly.

PepsiCo’s UK brand of potato chips, Walkers, is innovating their packaging by looking for ways to use starch from unused potato peels. Starch is very sticky and when made into a large mass can become stabilized into layers. These bags will be naturally compostable and plan to hit store shelves in the U.K. in the next 18 to 24 months.

Ecovative Design has created a new packaging material that is made out of mushrooms. This new design is called Mycobond, and is heat and fire resistant. It has the ability to absorb energy and can biodegrade even in conditions that are lacking oxygen. The hope is for this material to replace petroleum based foam that is currently being used.

Got milk? Well just ask clay. Milk and clay have partnered together to be used as an alternative to Styrofoam. Scientists at Case Western Reserve University have designed a way to use clay and milk protein and make an eco-friendly packaging material. This process started by taking the cow milk protein called casein and strengthening it with some clay. The material is said to be strong enough for commercial use and a third of it biodegrades over time.

Proctor and Gamble have taken a “sweeter” approach to sustainable packaging by using sugarcane in their packaging of select Covergirl, Pantene Pro-V, and Max Factor products. The Polyethylene from sugarcane will be used in the plastic of those select products, making them easily recyclable.

Naked Juice’s reNEWabottle

Naked Juice is a premium juice maker known for using only the best bare-naked fruits and vegetables and never adding sugars or preservatives. In an effort to transform their packaging to a more eco-friendly option, they recently launched a new bottle made out of 100% post-consumer recycled materials for its 10oz, 15.2oz, and 64oz bottles. The new bottle is also plastic coded #1, which is easily recyclable. This process started in July of 2009 when they started converting all of its 32oz bottles and now has planned to transition its entire line. This is expected to be complete by January 1, 2011.

Naked Juice is the first national company in the U.S. to basically make a bottle made from other bottles. Naked Juice’s philosophy is to provide eco-friendly solutions from sustainable sourcing to sustainable manufacturing processes and reducing its carbon footprint. The 32oz bottle that was introduced last year reduces plastic consumption by 1 million pounds per year and oil use by 8,192 barrels every year. After Naked Juice finishes modifying the rest of their line, plastic consumption will be reduced by 8.1 million pounds per year, saving 57,000 barrels of oil every year. More than 12,000 cubic meters of space in landfills will be saved along with 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Samsung is Going Green, And its Not the Color

On November 7th, Samsung will be introducing the Evergreen, a new eco phone. This phone may look like your average cell phone to the plain eye, but don’t let that fool you. This phone is actually eco-friendly. How can a phone be eco-friendly you ask? Here is a list of how the Samsung Evergreen is an eco phone:

  • The phone is built from 70% recycled post-consumer materials
  • The packaging is made from 80% recycled post-consumer paper
  • The manual is a CD, instead of the usual paper manual
  • The charger for the phone uses 75% less energy
  • Eco ringtones and wallpaper accompany the eco phone theme

In addition to being eco-friendly, this phone is also budget friendly. It will sell for $29.99 after a $50 mail in rebate. Samsung also promises to donate $1 for every Evergreen device sold to the non profit organization Cell Phones for Soldiers, up to $100,000.

The Evergreen is the third phone introduced by Samsung that is eco-friendly. Samsung debuted the Reclaim in 2009. This phone has an outer casing of bio-plastic material (corn). Samsung then introduced the Restore, which sports an outer casing made with 27% post consumer recycled plastic. The phone itself is 84% recyclable and is powered by an Energy Star qualified energy efficient charger.

Samsung believes it is their responsibility to do business in a way that enriches the planet. This is why they are the leader in delivering innovative eco-friendly products to consumers.

eBay Promotes Green Packaging with Eco Boxes

eBay just launched a new set of eco-friendly reusable boxes as part of a pilot program to make packaging a little greener. Starting in October, the company is giving away 100,000 shipping boxes to eBay sellers, and encouraging reuse. According to eBay, if each box gets used five times, the program could protect nearly 4,000 trees, save 2.4 million gallons of water, and conserve enough electricity to power 49 homes for a year.

The boxes engage sellers by emphasizing potential benefits to the planet with friendly illustrations and copy. Tips for greener packing include finding “a new calling for old phone books.” A happy little bird asks, “Where to next?” And to track each box’s journey, there’s space to write a note so the next person to receive it can see just how far its come.

Each eBay Box is made with 100 percent recycled content certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), printed with water-based inks, and designed to require minimal tape. And once it reaches the end of its useful shipping life, it’s fully recyclable. From the box’s fine print: “Don’t worry, it will come back as something nice, like a birthday card or movie theater popcorn bag.”

The company will also set-up a special web page for the recipients of the boxes, on which they can register their box and give updates on its condition. The company will use the information to track the boxes and plan future replacements when a box gets too damaged.

More info on the eBay Boxes at www.ebaygreenteam.com

Packaging Successes

Successful packaging can lead to increased sales, monetary savings and a more positive public image. The following are some examples of packaging successes and their outcomes. Now would be a good time to take notes.

Successful-Packaging-Wal-mart-EnviroShellWal-Mart – a company that is known for attracting negative publicity but has been working toward sustainability – received positive attention recently for choosing Winterborne as their packaging provider. Winterborne was awarded a Converting 2007 Innovator Award for its EnviroShell package. EnviroShell is a 90 percent recyclable and recycled clamshell and the use of this packaging product reflected positively on Wal-Mart in the news media. The take-away? Sustainable packaging has benefits for the environment and for your business image.

Successful-Packaging-VaselineVaseline recently redesigned its brand through a packaging change. Prior to the change, the brand’s identity had been lost as it expanded. Different products in the Vaseline line had different logos and package designs and there was a lack of consistency. Blue Marlin stepped in and created a consistent, attractive, brand-cohesive logo that would stand for all Vaseline products. Blue Marlin made sure that each Vaseline product included classic blue plastic lids and they put a great deal of effort into matching the color of the logo to the blue plastic lids. Vaseline is now the fastest-growing personal care brand for its parent company, Unilever. What’s the take-away here? A strong, consistent brand combined with refreshing packaging can lead to an increase in sales for your business.

Successful-Packaging-Mrs-Fields-CookiesMrs. Fields revamped its retail packaging to reflect a design similar to the redesigned Mrs. Fields stores nationwide and to play on the nostalgia associated with the brand. Tempting shots of cookies adorn the new packaging, which is now more consistent with the Mrs. Fields brand. This new packaging has earned positive reactions from media sources, especially within the packaging industry, appearing in such magazines as Packaging World. The take-away? Refreshing your packaging can strengthen your brand image and generate recognition for your company!

Get to know the message behind your brand and whether your packaging reflects that. Not every product needs repackaging, but, as in these cases, refreshing your packaging may lead to positive consequences for your company and brand.

Zero Waste Week 2009

I recently came across a site for Zero Waste Week, which started on Monday and concludes this Sunday. All week long, people across the world have been making small changes in their lives to eliminate or reduce their amount of waste. By coming together and taking these small steps, we can reduce the amount of waste thrown into the landfills and become more environmentally-responsible.Going-Green-Zero-Waste-Week-Environmentally-Friendly

Last year, they offered prizes and incentives for people who participated, but this year, they wanted to try something different. There are no incentives, because they want people to want to help the environment by reducing the amount of waste generated and sent to the landfills. This way, they hope for people to continue in their efforts long after Zero Waste Week is over, rather than just doing it now for a prize.

You can reduce waste by using durable, reusable packaging or by making sure that it is recyclable and made from recycled materials. We can all work on doing our part to reduce waste and help the environment. Have any ideas to reduce waste even more? Let us know!

Seasonal Packaging Goes Green

Christmas is still months away, but Nestle is already thinking about their seasonal packaging and going green for the holidays. In the past, chocolate makers have often been known for wasteful and unnecessary packaging, especially for special seasonal promotions. This is the new target to work on, and Nestle is going at it.

Custom-Packaging-Boxes-Nestle-Seasonal-Green-Eco-FriendlyAccording to Food Production Daily, Nestle will be making all of its Christmas selection custom boxes fully recyclable. One change they made was removing the plastic inserts that held the chocolate bars in place and replacing them with a card presentation tray. This way, the chocolate can still be nicely displayed in the custom box and be easily recycled when you are finished with it. This is one step for Nestle to be more environmentally-friendly in their packaging to reduce waste and address the concerns of their environmentally-conscious customers.