London’s Promise for “Green” Games

When winning the bid for the 2012 Olympics, London declared the Games could become a “cutting edge example of sustainability.” This far the city has done very well succeeding in what they have proposed for the Olympics and has set a new sustainability standard for future Games.

Unlike other proposal, Londonincluded food in the sustainability strategy of the Games. A big problem for the Olympics is waste. There are 14,700 athletes, over 10 million spectators, 21,000 journalists, and 200,000 staff present at the Olympic games. With this high number of people coming into the City, a lot of waste is produced.

During the building stage leading up to the Olympic Games, London proposed that 90% of reused and recycled materials would be used. 70% was the reused and recycled goal during the Games. What was really shocking is the target they set for zero waste directly to landfill.

These goals for a greener Olympics is done by partnering with suppliers, commercial partners, and the public. Coco-cola also works with the city ofLondon. There are a large number of recycling bins around the grounds for recycling to be collected. Other garbage is to be collected separately to be sent to energy-from-waste facilities. Plant based packaging is also a major part of the London Olympics. McDonalds will even be using cups, cutlery, straws, lids and containers that meet the EN13432 standard and are made of Mater-Bi. Standard EN13432 is the agreed European Standard for compostability. Mater-bi is the bioplastics that are biodegradable and compostable.

By following their plans to achieve their projected goals, London 2012 aims to achieve the award for the biggest zero waste event in history.  


Kraft Foods Announces Carbon Footprint after Multi-year Study

On December 14th, Kraft Foods shared their results of a multi-year study of the company’s total footprint on climate change, land, and water use. Kraft Foods, in partnership with Quantis Inc, was reviewed and analyzed by World Wildlife Fund and the University of Minnesota’s Institute of the Environment. The results, although not surprising, validated that Kraft Foods needs to  focus on working towards sustainable agriculture.

The results found that over 90 percent of Kraft’s carbon footprint comes from outside of their plants and offices – nearly 60 percent is from farm commodities, more than 80 percent of its land impact is from agriculture, and 70 percent of its water footprint comes from growing raw materials.

“Having the ‘big picture’ of our total footprint—from farm to fork—validates the focus of our sustainability efforts, particularly advancing sustainable agriculture,” says Roger Zellner, Kraft’s sustainability director for Research, Development & Quality. “Experts say climate change, land and water use may be among the biggest challenges in feeding a world of 9 billion people in 2050. As we continue our sustainability journey, we now have more insight into where we can make the greatest difference.”

“This study shows that to make meaningful change and conserve nature’s valuable resources, companies need to work with their suppliers to reduce the impact of producing raw materials,” says Dave McLaughlin, VP of Agriculture at World Wildlife Fund. “This means forging long term partnerships based on shared objectives, creating a transformational supply chain, a key strategy of WWF’s market transformation initiative.”

Kraft, which is the largest packaged food company in the country, said, “while the company does not own farms, the survey supports the work of its sustainable agriculture efforts on key commodities to improve crop yields, reduce environmental impacts and improve the lives of many of the farm workers and their families.”

The press release states that based on 2010 figures, Kraft Foods has set the following goals for 2015:

  • Increase sustainable sourcing of agricultural commodities by 25 percent
  • Reduce energy use in manufacturing plants by 15 percent
  • Reduce energy-related CO2 emissions in manufacturing plants by 15 percent
  • Reduce water consumption in manufacturing plants by 15 percent
  • Reduce waste at manufacturing plants by 15 percent
  • Eliminate 50,000 metric tons (100 million lbs.) of packaging material
  • Reduce 80 million km (50 million miles) from its transportation network

Although Kraft has a lot of work to do towards becoming more sustainable these next few years, they have already made significant progress  towards reducing energy, CO2 emissions, water, waste, packaging and transportation across its global operations.

  • Energy use is down 16 percent
  • CO2 emissions are down 18 percent
  • Incoming water is down 30 percent
  • Net waste is down 42 percent
  • Packaging is down 100,000 metric tons (200 million lbs)
  • 96 million km (60 million road miles) have been removed from its transportation/distribution network

Schools Made Out Of Plastic Bottles

Bottle schools are schools built from “waste” plastic soda bottles & other inorganic trash. Entire communities work together, young & old, to make the dream of education reality.

A non-profit organization called Hug It Forward is the catalyst uniting these communities in Guatemala where  kids are being taught environmental education and adults learn different types of skilled labor. The result is a wonderful facility, which is a symbol of unity, to educate present and future generations. So far, 10 bottle schools have been built around Guatemala.


The first project in Granados, Guatemala, over 5,000 plastic bottles were used to build two classrooms, containing 2053lbs of trash and using 9720lbs of cement. 297 children and youth currently attend the school, which serves a municipality of 13,860 people throughout 95.75 square miles.

By building with “waste” materials, leveraging the volunteer labor of the community, and by ensuring that 100% of donations are spent on projects (no money is taken for overhead or salaries), Hug It Forward can build a two-classroom school for around $12,000.

Happy Earth Day 2011

Today is the day we honor our home planet and bring awareness to environmental causes, hoping to inspire and educate people to act eco-friendly. The first Earth day was in 1970 and since then over 175 countries celebrate our planet and promote environmentalism. This year Earth Day has been centered around a campaign called A Billion Acts Of Green. This is personal, organizational, and corporate pledges to live and act in an eco-friendly and sustainable manner. This campaign is the largest environmental service campaign in the world and is constantly gaining individuals, companies, and governments committed to taking their part in helping the environment. Whether an individual decides to take an initiative and create a change or a corporation decides to create sustainability in their company, A Billion Acts of Green welcomes an sort of help in reducing carbon emissions and helping the Earth.

This campaign shows how people can take their part in protecting our planet. Every bit of help counts. When individuals and organizations make commitments to better our environment, possibilities for success are endless. Cooperation and dedication are portrayed when millions come together to support a cause.

Other elements of Earth Day 2011 include:

-Athletes for the Earth: Voices of Olympic and professional athletes speak out to help the environment
-The Canopy Project: Deals with the restocking of existing forests and woodlands which have been depleted from the effect of deforestation
-Green Schools: Helping schools become eco-friendly
-Women and Green Economy (WAGE): Encouraging women leaders to develop ways to green our economy
-Creating Climate Wealth: Finding ways to solve the concern about climate change
-Arts for the Earth: Honor environmental artists who have made art that has brought sustainability to our world

Happy Earth Day!

Sustainable Packaging Forms an Organization

Sustainable packaging is now getting a voice on issues related to green packaging. Big companies have joined forces to help make the packaging industry more eco-friendly. ConAgra, Colgate-Palmolive, DuPont, Kellogg, and Proctor & Gamble are among the companies that have formed AMERIPEN, The American Institute for Packaging and the Environment. This organization plans to lobby for science-driven packaging policies and reach out to others to find ways to work together. The key issues are to find ways to improve sustainability of packaging and how to reduce waste.

AMERIPEN is trying to enhance sustainability initiatives and help save the environment by producing eco-friendly packaging. The efforts in finding ways to reduce waste and minimizing the impact on the environment are the two of the main reasons this organization was formed. They also hope to play the role of influencing opinion leaders to further improve the packaging industry’s value chain. The packaging value chain is rapidly changing as eco-friendly and sustainable trends are among us. As we become a society trying to find ways to save our environment, AMERIPEN is here to do their part, within the packaging industry.

“Future Proof” Your Packaging

The future of packaging is greatly expanding and changing, simultaneously with the world. New trends and innovations are springing up everywhere we look. The packaging industry needs to keep updated to ensure that they are following the right paths and ensuring what is right for the immediate and long term future.

Here are 8 ways to “future proof” packaging:

1. Serve: When we think of packaging we think of a product. But it must be recognized and acknowledged that packaging actually performs a service to a customer. It is a technology that delivers value.

2. Be humble: As eco-friendliness and sustainability has grown into a new way of life, packaging should be as environmentally friendly as possible. Avoid making claims about being green if it is not genuinely true.

3. Tell a story: Questions such as “what is it?”, “who made it?”, and “what can this package do for me?” should be asked or thought of when looking at packaging. Graphic and label design are essential ingredients to the equation. This helps in telling a story and giving life to your packaging.

4. Be ready for change: Every day, hour, minute, and even second we experience change. It is all around us and there is no escaping it. Change can be good if you are prepared for it. The ability to be adaptable and accepting to changes such as economic turbulence or changing regulations, allows the process to go smoother.

5. Anticipate where the customers are going: The consumer market is a complex place. Packaging should fit the changing structure and values of the consumer marketplace. By anticipating where consumers are headed, there will be a window open to fit those new needs and produce packaging that fits consumer tastes.

6. Know the whole system: Packaging goes through a value chain. This chain includes how packaging will be used and misused, proper and improper disposal methods, and recyclability. The idea is to understand the whole value chain and not just parts of it.

7. Design for disposal and recycling: We have emerged into a eco-friendly society and we should take our part in helping the planet. Time should be spent to make sure that packaging is taking its part as well. This can be done by incorporating environmentally safe materials and integrating sustainability into production and operations.

8. Avoid “wrap rage”: Wrap rage is what consumers experience when they are dealing with hard to open packaging. It can cause frustration which turns into rage. Keep a focus on what is being produced for the consumer. The idea is to put the consumer first and help to eliminate the struggle.

World Cup’s Green Stadiums

Ok, so the world’s gearing up for the World Cup kickoff today. Awesome! All eyes focusing on the host country South Africa who prepared a set of state-of-the-art “green” stadiums to hold the games. Five of the ten total venues showcase sustainability designs and features. Take a look at a few:

Moses Mabhid Stadium- Located in the sea side city of Durban. The architects took great care to lower the structure’s energy profile by using natural cooling techniques, great protected daylighting , and rainwater catchment. This 70,000 seat facility was designed with the future in mind for ongoing sporting events, concerts and as a seed for a future Olympics bid.

Green Point Stadium– The skin is a translucent silvery-white membrane that takes on the color of its surroundings while producing a soft glow at night. A truss and cable system supports a semitransparent roof that lets light in but limits solar heat. The stadium has capacity for 68,000 fans, and its design was specifically developed to reduce the venue’s overall profile.

Soccer City Complex– Located in Johannesburg. Home to the World Cup 2010 finals, this world-class facility is actually an extraordinary remodel. The renovated venue is based on the iconic African pot known as the calabash. The stadium achieves a transformative effect on the landscape through its form, color, and light. At day its earthen patterned color evokes the copper-rich land which has supported the local economy for generations. A night transparent panels in the façade create a unique and memorizing pattern. The façade’s transparent roof streams daylight into the concourse. Capacity 90,000.

The tournament opener will feature a match between South Africa and Mexico. Let the games begin!

Are You Prepared For the Green Consumer?

Yes, we’re somewhere in the midst of the worst economic downturn in history. For obvious reasons, consumers have taken more interest in searching for value in the products that they purchase. Because of this, price is playing a major role in the buying decisions for more consumers than in a stable economic environment.

Despite the weakness in the economy, sustainable packaging is growing and the green consumer is not going away! Recent statistics show that only 11% of consumers have heard the phrase sustainable packaging. Of those 11%, half of them thought sustainable packaging meant durable packaging. However, when we analyze consumer trends,  we find that these statistics will not hold true for very long. In fact, they were probably outdated as soon as they were published.

Consumers are becoming more educated on sustainability and its role in packaging. While still looking at price, consumers are increasingly interested in their personal impact on the environment and are demanding more from manufacturers. Many consumers believe that products have too much packaging. Because of this manufacturers are downsizing and lightening the protective covering that goes around their products. Those manufacturers are seeing benefits from these efforts by realizing material savings and increased demand from green consumers.

Most observers don’t expect any changes in the growth of sustainable packaging, no matter what the state of the economy is. If we’re seeing growth through these difficult times, the importance of sustainability to the consumer is fairly obvious. What might change is the demand for more clarity around the messaging. As consumers are becoming more educated, they’re going to be looking closely at what is really sustainable. We might expect to see more discussion about codes, standards, and oversights. Consumers are going to hold manufacturers more accountable for making sure that they’re staying true to their message.

More info:
Packaging Digest

Rethink Garbage: It doesn’t have to be wasteful

A plastic bag lasts forever – or at least it seems like it – a normal plastic bag is estimated to take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade, if ever at all. Who has time for that? Without an alternative, people throw away nearly 100 billion plastic bags, or 3 billion pounds of plastic each year. That is a lot of unnecessary waste; so what’s the solution?

Green Genius, a new biodegradable trash bag is as strong as regular trash bags, but it’s also environmentally friendly. Green Genius LLC was founded in 2009 to develop innovative green solutions to promote a cleaner environment, with less plastic. The Green Genius trash bag uses EcoPure, an organic additive that causes plastic to biodegrade.

The Green Genius offers an eco-friendly option for people everywhere.

Green-Minded Consumers

Environmentally-conscious Consumers AppleMore and more we are hearing about companies “going green” and offering eco-friendly products.  There is a growing concern being shown for the environment, but is that one of the main factors shoppers are looking for Environmentally-conscious Consumers Statisticswhen making purchasing decisions?

GreenBiz pointed out that consumers are becoming very eco-conscious.  According to a study by Ipsos Marketing, consumers are tending to choose healthier food products with fresh ingredients and green packaging over products with more convenient packaging and food preparation.  They even scored higher than improving the taste of the food.  But taste should not be taken out of consideration.  Taste is key to food choice and to many, taste and fresh ingredients go hand in hand.

Deloitte, along with the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), also conducted a study of over 6,000 customers on how sustainability affects purchasing decisions.  They determined that a substantial amount of consumers take social and environmental benefits into serious consideration when choosing a product.

What does this mean for you?  Clearly green packaging is deciding factor in purchasing decisions, and environmental concerns are not going away.  So if you want to stay on top of the market by paying attention to consumers’ concerns and help the environment, try using green packaging.