What it Means to go Green

We are encompassed by the words green, eco-friendly, and sustainable, but do we really know what it fully means to be eco-friendly and go green? Going green are steps we can take to replace environmentally harmful behaviors with behaviors that are friendly. These new behaviors can be simple or complex based on small or large scale atmospheres. Smaller scale behaviors can be done at home by an individual or a few others, while large scale operations can be done by corporations trying to become more sustainable overall.

Going green is centered around three words: reduce, reuse, and recycle. There are many ways to put these words into action and become more eco-friendly. One person can make a difference by following those three words in their everyday lives. One can reduce the amount of plastic bag usage by bringing their own bags when shopping. Reusable bottles can be used for water, juice, ect instead of drinking bottled beverages. And a person can take part in a recycling program at home so items can have the chance to be made into something else instead of going to the landfill.

Corporations can take their part in helping the environment by reducing, reusing, and recycling. Companies can find ways to make their packaging more eco-friendly by reducing ink and print content or the use of plastics. Amazon did this with their “frustration free” packaging by reducing content on their boxes and just having words on their packaging. They can also take their waste products from production and find ways to reuse them in other aspects of their business. PepsiCo’s UK Walkers brand potato chips did this by using the starch from their unused potato peels. Companies can also sprinkle eco-friendliness in their offices by initializing a recycling program and getting employees involved.

Every little bit of time we take to do things to be more eco-friendly helps our planet. So what does it mean to go green? Anything that will help the earth is an act of going green. Whether its done by an individual or a corporation, we can all take out part in protecting our planet.

 

Eco-friendliness is Making a Touchdown

Although the Philadelphia Eagles lost their chance of making it to the Super Bowl, they are making touchdowns in creating eco-friendliness in their stadium. Owner Jeffery Lurie, is fitting Lincoln Financial Field with wind turbines, solar panels, and a biodiesel-reliant power plant. This will be the first major U.S. sports facility to be self-sufficient on renewable fuel. The goal is to have the eco-friendly additions ready by next season.

The stadium will be equipped with 80 wind turbines that will be placed on the upper rim of the stadium. 2500 solar panels will be hung on an overhang and facade. The power plant will be in the parking lot and will consist of 7.6-megawatts. The operations at the Lincoln Financial Field are also environmentally friendly. Almost everything that can be recycled is recycled, and everything else is composted. The new “green” stadium will save the team about $60 million in energy costs as well as reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions. Lurie also hopes that this project will prove to be a good example for others and encourage businesses to do even better.

Going Green in 2011

The new trend in this day and age is going green and being eco-friendly. Every day new concepts and technology is created to help the environment and reduce waste. This trend is becoming stronger for 2011, as the population becomes more concerned about the environment. The new year is bringing innovative ways to go green.

Here are 15 ways to make the new year more eco-friendly:

1. Become educated about how to become more environmentally friendly. Read blogs, research issues, and contribute your thoughts to the matter.
2. Consider new lifestyle habits instead of sticking with old ones. Try to break free from chronic global clutter and excessive consumerism.
3. Find do it yourself ways to make things instead of buying them.
4. Avoid fast food restaurants and try to cook at home. They may be cheap and quick outlets, but the industry is responsible for contributing billions of tons of waste annually to our planet.
5. Stop wasting food. Buy less if you can’t consume it, freeze leftovers, or give excess to someone who needs it.
6. Try working vegetarian food into your diet and help reduce the overall demand for factory farmed protein. Try to commit to a plant based lifestyle for a day or a week, or a full year if your feeling veggie.
7. Household items may collect dust, but avoid throwing them away. Instead, donate them, sell them, or ask a friend or relative if they might want your unwanted items.
8. Recycle old and outdated clothing by refashioning them. Create unique pieces of clothing or accessories out of your old clothing and accessories. What could have been thrown away could now be a new fashion statement.
9. Think carefully before you throw something into the garbage. Ask yourself “Is there a way that I can turn this into a valuable resource?”
10. Try to bike and walk or run more instead of relying on gas.
11. Clean with simple and pure ingredients and steer away from air fresheners that release vast amounts of volatile organic compounds. Plants are a great way to filter your air.
12. Buy a water filter and drink real water. Avoid buying bottled water, instead use a real glass from a real faucet.
13. RECYCLE
14. Become apart of consumer conscious programs such as TerraCycle, RecycleBank, NuRide, MyEex, and Neighborhood Fruit. These are just a few groups that help the planet.
15. Finally, share your eco-friendly efforts with others. There may be something you do that others may benefit from, and vise versa. Spread the word to help the environment.

Sustainable Packaging Flourishes Despite A Weak Economy

Most sectors of packaging have been taking a hit during these tough economic times, but not sustainable packaging. Sustainable packaging has experienced positive growth over the past two years and it’s not expected to slow down. According to “Sustainable (Green) Packaging: A Global Strategic Business Report”, the green packaging market should to be worth $142 billion by 2015.

What sectors of packaging are the key developers of sustainable packaging? Cosmetics and personal care, food and beverage, shipping, and healthcare packaging have all embraced green packaging to a large degree.

There are key driving forces that account for the growth of sustainable packaging. Growing concerns of the environment around the globe is number one. Also, stricter government regulations are making it mandatory for companies to adhere to sustainable practices and production. Other drivers include increased awareness about recycling of packaging wastes and companies cutting costs by using recycled and reusable materials in manufacturing.

The United States and Europe currently cover more than 70 percent of the global green packaging market. Recycled material is the most important packaging category in the US, accounting for 90 percent of the total demand.

The fastest growing region for green packaging is expected to be Asia-Pacific with 10 percent annual growth over the next 5 years. The fastest growing segment of the packaging industry are biodegradables with the highest demand coming from bioplastics.

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

Packaging is Stealing the Show

Packaging has long played a supporting role in advertising but in today’s world, it’s starting to steal the show. Brand marketers are increasingly bringing their product’s packaging to the forefront of brand communication both visually and by incorporating advertising strategies on the packaging itself.

So what’s with packaging’s growing significance as a branding tool? The increasing aesthetic sophistication that applies to packaging is too hard to ignore. There is one huge challenge for packaging however: the environment. Pressure has been placed on manufacturers to cut down on packaging and reduce waste to help sustain the environment. Packaging companies are trying to find creative ways to develop green packaging solutions as the need for marketers to communicate eco-friendliness to consumers is growing rampantly.

Finding a happy marriage between creative packaging and sustainability is not exactly easy- there are limitations.  But it’s an ambition manufacturers and marketers are relentlessly pursuing.

So lets check out the “Recyclage de Luxe” campaign rolled out by Stella Artois last year. While taking various measures to lessen their environmental impact, Stella Artois launched the campaign in the UK. They’re earning their eco-cred by making greener packaging and engaging consumers in recycling initiatives.

Since the start of the campaign, all Stella Artois’ cans have been made from at least 50% recycled aluminum, its bottles are above the industry standard of 75% recycled glass, and its corrugated Stella Artois boxes are made from 100% recyclable paper.

When it went live in July, Recyclage de Luxe comprised three executions across media, including TV and the press. Each focused on a different aspect of packaging – the corrugated packs, recycled bottles and recycled cans.

At the end of the month, the brewer launched its Hedge Fund on-pack promotion, a bid to boost sales with eco-incentives for consumers. Consumers buying some of the larger packs would be investing in an actual hedge, which would be grown to three times the size of the pack itself.

The campaign would help “replenish Britain’s depleted hedgerows, which are critical to the existence of many plants and animals”.The Hedge Fund promotion enables Stella Artois to help consumers take those small steps and together reduce the rate of climate change.

Stella Artois says that the campaign has so far “been very successful”, but is unable at this stage to divulge internal data proving this. It says that its marketing has been “very motivating for consumers”.

More info:
Stella Artois Hedge Fund

Clamshells


What is clamshell packaging? If you don’t know it by name, it is almost certain that you’ve seen it. It’s the clear plastic packaging that showcases an array of products from retail, food, medical, etc. The word clamshell indicates that the formed plastic package has one or more hinges. A single hinged clamshell usually includes a hanger tab so the product can hang from store pegs. Multi-hinged clamshells allow for the packaging to have a flat base so the product stand upright.

There are many benefits of clamshell packaging. It’s a wonderful way to showcase a product while being very cost effective. The clear plastic packaging provides great visibility for the consumer to see the product as it sits protected inside the clamshell. The header card can be printed and placed inside the clamshell to provide more information for the consumer to make a purchasing decision. Clamshells also allow for great display versatility. They can be hung from pegs or sat upright on a store shelf giving great flexibility for retailers to position the products to sell.

Clamshells are plastic and cause some concern about the environment. Manufacturers are using different types of plastics to overcome this. PETG is a type of PET plastic that is fully recyclable after its use. RPET is previously recycled PET plastic. Both types can work together to promote the global recycling effort.

More info:
Ask Sunrise about clamshell packaging

The Newest Functional Beverage


Introducing Rescue Water. The newest functional beverage that serves additional purposes other than simply quenching your thirst. Produced by AriZona Beverage Company, Rescue Water is a flavored water intended to help increase the rate of fluid replacement and balance nutrient absorption in the body. The beverage is marketed to active people and comes in four different flavors that feature AriZona’s classic green tea extract for an antioxidant boost. The water is made with no preservatives and no artificial colors and is sweetened with a natural sweetener derived from Stevia Plants.

For packaging, Rescue Water required a bottle that can withstand the high temperatures and pressures of processing. The 20.5 ounce PET bottles feature Constar’s X4™ technology, in which the panel-free design imparts a robust, in-hand feel similar to glass. The breakthrough technology also optimizes manufacturing during the hot fill labeling processes. The high-tech geometry of the bottles with the X4™ technology allows the vacuum hot-filling process to take place in the base of the bottle leaving the sides rigid and smooth giving the bottle a similar feel to glass.

The bottles also contain Constar’s DiamondClear technology which is blended throughout the PET giving a crystal clarity to the bottle while aiming to protect the freshness, flavor, and color of the beverage inside.

The Rescue Water bottle is also a sustainable packaging solution. PET bottles with X4™ technology are recyclable using the 1-PETE code and are BPA free. Accepted by curbside recycling programs, used PET containers can be recycled into a host of new products such as packaging, sleeping bags, clothing, and tires.

More info:
AriZona Beverage Company
Constar X4™ Technology

Schools Recycle 48,000 Pounds of Aluminum Cans


When researching the relationship between packaging and sustainability, beverage packaging is the trigger for lots of debate. Plastic or aluminum? Which one is more eco-friendly? The debate goes on…

All the while, schools took part in sustaining our environment by competing last fall in the 2009 Aluminum Can Counsil’s (ACC) America Recycles Day (ARD) National School Challenge. The contest lasted 12 weeks and involved 133 schools which represented over 70,000 students. Collectively, over $53,000 was raised during the competition while more than 48,000 pounds of used aluminum beverage cans were recycled.

Congratulations to all of the schools who participated! Here were the top 3 winners for further recognition:

1st Place– Twin Lakes High School, Monticello, Indiana. Teaming up with Ball Corporation’s metal beverage packaging facility, they recycled 7,092 pounds of aluminum cans (9.8 pounds per student). The school fund the band’s new uniforms with the $3,556 that they raised.

2nd Place– Collins Intermediate School, Conroe, Texas. They also teamed up with Ball Corporation’s metal beverage packaging plant in Conroe to recycle 3,845 pounds of aluminum (7.44 pounds per student). The school contributed their earnings of $2,832 to the school’s Parent Teacher Organization.

3rd Place– Academy of St. Rose Phillipine Duchesne, St. Louis, Missouri. They teamed up with Metal Container Corporation in St. Louis to recycle 6.7 pounds of aluminum cans per student.

While packaging companies look for eco-friendly packaging options to provide to consumers and businesses, we must also look beyond that and focus on what else we can do to make an environmental impact. We commend the schools who participated in the recycling challenge. They brought their “Can-do” attitudes forward and made a great statement in enviromental sustainability.

More info:
Aluminum Can Counsil
Packaging Digest

Green Up Your Business And Save Money

I was recently inspired by an article I read about how much money Ford saved just by implementing a power management strategy in their offices. The headline read:

“Ford Saves $1.2 Million and Reduces CO2 Emissions by Around 20,000 Tons by Turning Computers Off”

The cost savings and reduced carbon footprint are obtained by developing “Power Profiles” for each PC in the company. When the power profiles are enabled, each PC monitors its usage patterns and determines when the unit can be turned off. Additionally, the PC can detect when a Microsoft Office product is active and is able to save open documents before shutting down.

Why don’t more companies do this? I’m not sure. Everybody wins. The company saves money on their electric bill and less pollution is produced by power plants.

Here’s a few other simple ways to green your business:

1. Recycle: A great place to start. I know it might sound unbelievable but there are companies out there who still do not recycle. Please, find it in your budgets to do so.

2. Reduce Paper: The average office worker uses approximately 10,000 sheets of copy paper per year. Go electronic. Route faxes, memos, and newsletters via email. Set your printer to print double-sided. Make double-sided copies when possible. Preview documents before printing. Only print the pages you need. For more paper reduction tips click here.

3. Carpool: Start a carpooling program or encourage employees to take public transportation when possible.

4. Buy Plants: Plants not only make your office look nicer but as they absorb airborne pollutants and negative ions from computers, whilst emitting oxygen. Plant waste like bark and leaves can also be recycled and used as garden mulch.

5. Lights: Besides turning off lights around the office that are not being used, buy the efficient ones. Use Energy Star-rated lightbulbs and fixtures, which use at least two-thirds less energy than regular lighting.

More on Ford via Treehugger