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Thinking of going green? Switching to eco-packaging can be tricky. These steps will make the process a little smoother.

More likely than not, your packaging supplier has never tried eco-packaging techniques before. Because it's unfamiliar, they may not be as enthusiastic as you are about such a radical change. If you're passionate about green packaging and committed to your supplier, apply a little pressure. Explain the environmental and potential economic benefits that follow a green transition, and encourage your supplier to take the leap with you. If they still won't budge, move on to greener pastures.

If you're shopping for a new packaging manufacturer, don't settle. Choosing the wrong manufacturer could cost you considerable time and money, and might even postpone the assembly of your product. Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions about a supplier's experience with your materials and their manufacturing techniques. If you're still not sure of their capabilities, ask for a few samples before committing to a full order.

'Environmentally friendly' is a blanket term that encompasses many different qualities from the way packaging is made to the way it's disposed of. When dealing with new options, knowing a material's true composition can be especially tricky. Before deciding which materials to use, ask yourself some key questions. Are they recyclable? Made from renewable sources? Biodegradable? Ideally, your product should be all three. Realistically, these three elements should at least be factored into your decision. To ensure a fully green process, research the methods used to manufacture and ship your packaging back to you as well.

Switching to green packaging doesn't automatically make you an environmental expert. If going green is a goal but not your forte, reach out to an organization or individual who does specialize in sustainability to help you make the tough decisions. For example, the nonprofit Sustainable Packaging Coalition licenses software that analyzes a package's environmental footprint. Ecology or environmental science professors at many universities will also study specifics such as greenhouse gas emissions or toxicity. Keep in mind that even the expects don't have all the answers. They can only help point you in the right direction.

Because it takes more time and effort, environmental packaging is often more expensive than traditional packaging options. Before you leap into green manufacturing, consider how this change will affect your company financially. If your company can afford at least a temporary drop in revenue or if you predict green packaging might eventually boost sales, charge full steam ahead. If money is tight, reconsider starting with more modest environmental options that won't break the bank.

Green or not green, you need customers willing to buy your product. Before boosting prices to account for more expensive environmental packaging, make sure your customer base is supportive of the change. Survey your consumers to see how many are willing to pay more for your product and how much more they'd be willing to spend. If your market research results are only borderline encouraging, consider marketing campaigns or other efforts to encourage more consumers to stomach the extra expense for the sake of Mother Earth.

Green materials are gaining momentum, but they still are not considered mainstream in manufacturing. This means that products such as recycled plastic made from water bottles and other consumer products might be more difficult to find in mass quantities than other plastics. Check the availability of your intended materials before you design your packaging around it. Also, research your material's other potential uses to determine how high its demand will be in the future.

When using recycled materials such as plastics, you most likely will not know exactly what products were melted down and reformed into your new green packaging. Low-quality industrial plastics can sometimes make their way into recycled materials and have the ability to taint what it touches. Especially when working with food or children's products, invest in a consultant or expert who can make sure your products are safe. A little time and money up front could avoid a major disaster down the road.

One way to cut costs and still stay green is to reduce the amount of packaging used. Work with your manufacturer to see what options you have to thin plastics or limit your materials to what is absolutely needed to ensure your product is secure. Extra packaging is a hindrance to your business as well as to the environment. Also, examine ways to condense your own product. For example experimenting with more concentrated versions of liquids like detergent could save you packaging costs without compromising your product's integrity.

Considering the switch to green packaging puts you on the cutting edge of a new movement. If you're ready now to take the plunge, go for it. But continue to keep your eyes out for advances in green packaging in the future. As more and more companies catch on to the trend, manufacturers will introduce cheaper, easier options that might be even more environmentally friendly than what you're already using.

History, packaging probably experienced three stages: initial stage - the basic concepts without too much packaging, this time completely instinctive packaging requirements. Is a crude simple packaging; intermediate stage - people's awareness of germination of packaging, that packaging be obtained through the higher value of the goods, so strongly the revitalization of the packaging industry; advanced stage - packed red Gu ¦ Exhibition consciousness is closely related to the extent of packaging can represent the basic level of development of productive forces in modern society, due to the high development of science and technology, packaging industry as a kind of tremendous growth of new industries; but people get rid of material embarrassment into modern comfortable life that we conical cap and survival of the earth has been a huge pollution.

Most of them are highly material into society of people for the pursuit of a high sensuality and the excessive packaging on packaging waste by over-packaging refers to the economic interests of the enterprise is too driven by the over-investment in product packaging, resulting in excessive product packaging. Its manifestations, such as F: too many levels, excessive material, structural design, excessive,Oakley Briller, over the surface decoration, packaging features a surplus of high-end packaging with the high cost of packaging and other daily necessities of life 3. Ying Bao causes undue harm to the environment rise buildings as the world economy,gorras ed hardy, rapid development, integration into the global economy and the trend towards diversification, economic development, the quality of competition, from the simple, developed to the full life cycle The T (canthus), Q (Quality),ed hardy lippis, C (Cost), S (s ...)

Multiple competition. as special packaging, that has value and use value of goods also is built to achieve an important value and use value means; it more and more attention to the modern enterprise and service packaging, all goods are packed with excessive packaging or even, even the life of H products are no exception; it is not only in the amount of waste packaging on the surge, but also in the texture become more complex, but the ability to deal with these packaging waste is close to the limit: It is reported that in 1990 the United States generates about 200 million tons of municipal solid waste, of which 1 / 3 of the product packaging.

These packaging materials after use and discarded disposal to the environment posed a great burden. In particular, some chemical products, plastics and composites, most of it is difficult to recycle and reuse. can only be incinerated or buried treatment cycle up to some hundreds of years the provision of solutions to the environment with great harm to upset the harmonious relationship between man and nature = the amount of color package Mino concept, implementation methods and significance of a green packaging products, packaging of almost exhausted should abandon the novelty, difference of consumption concept. strong simplicity of the implementation package. This will reduce the waste of resources. and reduce environmental pollution and waste disposal costs. in the protection and survival depends on our only home - to 2 green Ying Bao methods and significance of the implementation of the Green packaging The key factor is the premise and use of green materials, so-called green material is a general function to meet the requirements of the premise. has a good environmental compatibility of materials. green materials in the preparation,ed hardy bikinit, use and disposal after use in all stages of life cycle , has the largest resource utilization and minimal environmental impact. green materials, also known as eco-materials (Eco-materia1) or environmental awareness materials fironmentallyconsciousmateria1) a green packaging materials should be selected on the following principles: priority to the use of renewable materials.

Try to use recycled materials. Improve resource utilization to achieve sustainable development have tried to use low energy consumption, less pollution of the material; try to choose a good environmental compatibility of materials and accessories to avoid using toxic, hazardous and radioactive properties of materials used in the materials should be easy to reuse, recycling, re-packaging or easily degraded. Green packaging materials can reduce the large amounts of waste, cleaning the environment; reduce energy, waste of resources,Abercrombie Deutschland, making the harmonious development between man and nature as possible, and to promote sustainable development strategy.

From the perspective of social development, along with the development of science and technology, to bring people to the ball in the environment are growing louder at the same time, the world race to research and implement green industry; on the packaging industry, is how the application of green materials green packaging products. The so-called green packaging, refers to recycling, the provision of recycled or natural solutions, and base the product life cycle of humans and the environment will not cause harm to the appropriate packaging. Developed countries a high degree of green packaging of material to make four when there will be some discordant sound. We can not blindly pursue the enjoyment of beautiful packaging effect has been the neglect of environmental pollution and resource consumption of the problem, but can not return to the primitive era of non-packaging the key is to rely on science and technology, the implementation of green packaging industry, and his own to create a more Lou beautiful living space.

New consumer research released today demonstrates the market potential in North America for biobased and "green" household products with environmental benefits. The Genencor Household Sustainability Index found that four in ten American consumers and about a third of Canadian consumers already have heard of the term "biobased" to describe products or product ingredients used in cleaning and personal care products, clothing, and fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.

Most consumers also readily accept that biobased products offer sustainability benefits. According to the survey, more than two thirds of Americans and Canadians said biobased ethanol for vehicles, laundry and dish detergents, and clothing made with biobased enzymes are definitely or likely green. About eight in ten consumers in both countries said they would definitely or likely purchase biobased household products instead of non-biobased products if comparable on cost and effectiveness.

"The findings indicate that consumers are prepared to actively choose biobased products, especially those consumers who are familiar with green products and are generally confident about their environmental claims," said Tjerk de Ruiter, CEO of Genencor, a biotechnology company that makes enzymes used in nearly 400 consumer and commercial products, including many green household materials. "Biotechnology has both a valuable legacy and an important role ahead in creating a more sustainable world."

With skyrocketing gas prices and growing enthusiasm for products that are better for the environment, biobased products can provide an affordable and beneficial alternative to petroleum-based chemicals used in packaging and a range of household products. Today, there are thousands of consumer products made with bio-ingredients. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that there are 20,000 biobased products currently being manufactured in North America. As part of a new program launched in March, the USDA already has certified dozens of consumer products with its "BioPreferred" label, which designates a product is made with a high percentage of agricultural ingredients.

Snapshot of "Green" Product Purchases and Attitudes

Beyond the biobased product findings, the Genencor Household Sustainability Index also provides a snapshot of recent consumer purchases and attitudes on products perceived to be green. Overall, nearly three quarters of consumers in Canada (71 percent) and more than half of American consumers (53 percent) purchased a household product considered to be green in the last 60 days in categories such as: cleaning supplies, personal care, detergents and soaps, recycled paper and energy efficient light bulbs. The survey also found that in the U.S. women are twice as likely as men to purchase green cleaning products, while men are twice as likely as women to purchase energy efficiency bulbs.

Green Products Purchased in Past 60 Days (April 2011)

                                                                         U.S.    Canada

Any mention of green product                          53%    71%

Household cleaning products                           27%    50%

Detergents/soaps/dryer sheets                       10%    4%

Paper products/recycled paper                         8%      9%

Energy efficient light bulbs/CFLs                       8%      7%

Personal care products (soap, shampoo)         2%       11%

However, while three-quarters of consumers in the U.S. and Canada consider themselves familiar with household green products (those considered better for the environment than comparable products), one-third are not confident these products are really better for the environment than other products. Confidence in green products does increase somewhat with level of familiarity. In the U.S., consumers who are very familiar with green products are almost twice as likely as consumers overall to say they are very confident that such products are better for the environment (22 percent versus 12 percent). This relationship is not as strong in Canada.

"Our research shows that while consumers in North America are interested in purchasing green household products, they also want to be assured that the environmental claims are sound," said de Ruiter. "As an industry, we have an important responsibility to take into account these results and work to better inform consumers about the environmental benefits of these products."

Consumers also ranked what environmental characteristics definitely make a product green:

                                                                         U.S.    Canada

Made from renewable materials                       40%    50%

Uses less energy to produce                            38%    37%

Contains little or no harmful materials              37%   48%

Requires less energy when product is used     33%    38%

Uses less energy to produce                            27%   29%

Uses less water when product is used             25%   33%

For additional information on the survey, visit www.genencor.com/hsi.

About the Index

The research is based on telephone interviews conducted by Environics Research with representative samples of 2,000 Americans and 2,000 Canadians (ages 18 and older), between April 5 and 17, 2011. For each country, a sample of this size will produce results accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points in 19 out of 20 samples.

About Genencor

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6714061&lang=en


Contacts
Environics for Genencor
Jessica Gillman, 202-296-2002
jdg@ecius.net
or
Genencor
Chris Nguyen, 650-276-9189?
chris.nguyen@danisco.com

Everyone at interpack, the trade fair for the international packaging industry that is taking place in Düsseldorf from 12. to 18. May 2011, is talking about bioplastics Even though they account for less than one per cent of total plastics production at present. The future is definitely "green" where packaging in particular is concerned, however. Austrian scientists predict that 70 per cent of plastic packaging could consist of bioplastics in future Bioplastics. The social trend is positive: higher priority is being given to sustainability not only in power generation but also in plastics production, i.e. to renewable raw materials and closed-loop recycling systems – via the composting of waste. A report about trends and visions, with an answer to the key question: how environmentally sound are bioplastics really?

When bioplastic of agricultural origin is composted, it disintegrates into its original, non-toxic components, i.e. fungi, bacteria and enzymes convert it into water, carbon dioxide and biomass. The concept is based on nature's recycling system: when the life cycle of the product ends, the raw materials used for bioplastic production are returned to the production process; alternatively, they are used to generate energy or to obtain biogas.

The word "bioplastic" does not, however, always meet consumers' expectations, because it is not a protected concept. Products given the name do not by any means always consist of 100 per cent bioplastic; they can instead contain substantial proportions of petrochemical plastic. Coca Cola, for example, recently launched a "plant bottle" on the market that only contains just under one third bio-based material. A bio logo for compostable plastic in the form of a seedling helps to make the necessary distinctions.

Although bioplastics represent a new trend, they are not really new. On the contrary: historically speaking, they were the very first mass-produced plastics, which were manufactured via the chemical transformation of natural materials. The brothers John Wesley and Isaiah Hyatt opened their first factory for the production of celluloid, a plastic made from cellulose (a component of wood) and camphor, in Albany/New York in 1896. Billiard balls, table tennis balls, dolls, spectacle frames and combs are some of the products that were made from it. Celluloid is highly flammable and was replaced by modern thermoplastics long ago.

Galalith, a material produced from casein (milk protein), was invented in 1897. It is very similar to animal horn or ivory and was processed into such products as buttons, umbrella handles and radio housings. Mass production of a plastic also made from cellulose that is generally known by its brand name Cellophane began in 1923. It is used to this day, primarily for packaging and as window material in envelopes. Since it is sensitive to water, cellulose film does, however, have to be coated with polyvinyl chloride for such purposes, after which it is no longer biologically degradable.

Between 1930 and 1950, such products as acrylic glass ("Plexiglas"), nylon, Perlon, polystyrene and polytetrafluoroethylene ("Teflon") were then manufactured from the fossil raw materials mineral oil and natural gas. Mass production of what are now the standard plastics polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) finally began successfully as of 1956. Bioplastics lost ground and were basically forgotten as a result. This development was only questioned again for the first time after the oil crisis in the 1970s: it seemed to be economically sensible to reduce dependence on mineral oil due to the increase in the price of the latter; what is a no less important motive is the desire to reduce the consumption of finite, non-renewable fossil resources.

Although there are plenty of arguments in favour of bioplastics, they still hold a very small percentage of the market at the moment. About 250 million tonnes of plastic are consumed around the world every year; only 250,000 tonnes of them are biogenic ((see Bioplastics). The nova-Institut in Hürth near Cologne has calculated that the total consumption of biologically degradable plastics amounted to 60,000 to 70,000 tonnes in Western Europe in 2007. Figures that hide the fact that the growth rates have been immense in recent years. A market survey carried out by Ceresana Resarch, Konstanz, reveals that the consumption of bioplastics based on starch, sugar and cellulose has increased by 600 per cent in the last eight years.

Europe is the leading producer of bioplastics; the industrial association European Bioplastics reports that the manufacturers are concentrated mainly in Germany, Italy, Great Britain, the Netherlands and France. Industry experts are expecting production to increase considerably in the USA too soon and are already claiming that bioplastics are about to move from niche applications to the mass market.

Bioplastics are considered to have the greatest potential in the packaging field, where plastics hold a strong position in general: three grams of film to package one kilo of meat – this ratio is unbeatable. Cheese, bread, fruit, vegetables, eggs, dairy products and beverages are being sold in "green" packaging too in the meantime. The advantage of this for the trade itself is that spoiled food no longer has to be disposed of separately from the packaging. Another obvious solution is to manufacture bags for the collection of compostable waste from bioplastic – or carrier bags for supermarkets, which are used first of all to take shopping home and then, later on when they are no longer needed, to dispose of biowaste by composting them together.

Compostable transport packaging, e.g. bubble wrap, is gaining ground as well. Loose fill used to take up space in parcels, e.g. to protect glass or porcelain from breakage during transport, consists of foamed duroplasts made of starch, which represent the most important basic material for bioplastics: with a market share of about 40 per cent. What is involved here is mostly thermoplastic starch (TPS), frequently with additives (starch blends) - because TPS in its pure form absorbs moisture (it is "hydrophilic"), a property that is of course unwelcome in packaging material. Starch blends repel water, on the other hand.

Although bioplastics are considered to be short-lived products, this is not by any means true of all of them. Depending on the use to which they are put, they can be given a longer useful life, e.g. by reinforcement with natural fibres; the conversion of thermoplastics into duroplasts is possible too. Bioplastics are also used in the production of furniture, electrical equipment and cars as a result. Polylactic acid (PLA) is very versatile, for example. It is produced via polymerisation of lactic acid, which is in turn produced via the fermentation of sugar and starch by lactic acid bacteria. PLA is a transparent material, from which not only packaging films, yoghurt tubs or bottles can be manufactured. It is also suitable, for example, for medical / pharmaceutical applications, which were in fact among the earliest uses for the material. Particular mention should be made here of screws, nails and plates for stabilising broken bones that can be reabsorbed by the body. Thread material and active substance depots made from PLA are in use too. The reabsorption times can be varied specifically in the production process, with the result that the material can be adapted as required, so that it is biologically degradable quickly or continues to function for years. Other advantages are high strength and thermoplasticity; the material does, however, start to soften at only about 60°C. Additives or copolymerisation guarantee temperature stability, e.g. when PLA is processed into cups for hot drinks. At interpack in Düsseldorf, Danone is presenting a yoghurt tub made from polyactic acid I and polylactic acid II. 45 per cent by weight of the BASF plastic Ecovio is accounted for by PLA and this plastic is used, for example, in shopping bags.

Cellulose acetate is another major bioplastic. Cellulose is a natural biopolymer consisting of sugar molecules that occurs in plants as one of the main structural materials. Cellulose accounts for almost 95 per cent of cotton. The figure is up to 75 per cent in the case of hardwood and up to 50 per cent in the case of softwood. Purified cellulose is generally esterified to obtain cellulose acetate, the most important cellulose-based plastic. Cellulose acetate modified with plasticisers was patented as the first injection moulding material as long ago as 1919; it was used to make such products as umbrella handles, steering wheels and ball-point pens.

Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), a biologically degradable polyester with properties similar to those of the petrochemically manufactured plastic polypropylene, is a bioplastic that is considered to have great untapped potential. PHB can be manufactured via fermentation based on sugar and starch. Problems are, however, encountered in production of the bioplastic, because the bacteria cells need to be broken down by chloroform or enzymes. Another problem is that three kilos of sugar are needed to obtain one kilo of PHB. PHB blends with special material properties are produced by adding, for example, cellulose acetate or starch; the product portfolio then ranges from adhesives to hard rubber.

In the recent past, companies have been adopting the strategy of replacing the fossil raw material basis of established standard thermoplastics by a carefully chosen renewable raw material basis. Biopolyethylene (PE) and biopolypropylene (PP) have, for example, been produced successfully from sugar cane.

Although much of the above may still sound like wishful thinking and the market may still be reluctant to respond – the positive image that bioplastics enjoy with consumers is being reflected in buying patterns to an increasing extent, so that bioplastics promise to become an attractive economic proposition. Plastics made from renewable raw materials still cost two to four times as much as standard plastics at the present time, however, which is suppressing demand for the time being. Raw material suppliers, at least, are aware of the potential: farmland for growing renewable raw materials is expected to be a key feature of the agricultural mix in future.

Bioplastics do not just have supporters, however – although they do not even need to be recycled, reservations are expressed about their environmental performance, not least of all by the German environmental protection agency. The critical points: growing renewable raw materials leads to agricultural monocultures with high water and fertiliser consumption. The carbon footprint data vary: when they disintegrate, bioplastics do not release more carbon dioxide than their original vegetable materials removed from the atmosphere during the growth phase, i.e. they are climate-neutral. The carbon footprint is, however, less impressive when the transport and process energy is taken into consideration that has to be consumed to produce and market bioplastics. In addition to this, methane is to some extent released during the rotting process and methane is a substance that is even worse for the climate than carbon dioxide itself. And last but not least: as has already been mentioned, many bioplastics are blends containing proportions of conventional plastics that do not rot by themselves but need instead to be heated, which impairs the environmental performance even more.

Conclusion: bioplastics can already be used to replace conventional, mineral oil-based plastics in many different applications. Apart from packaging, mention can, for example, be made in this context of catering products like disposable tableware and cutlery, hygiene articles and containers for cosmetic articles as well as housings for electrical equipment and mobile phones. Bioplastics are essential nowadays in medical applications – particularly for such operation materials as thread and implants that break down inside the body – and have practically no competition there. A great deal of optimisation and thus research still need to be completed, however, before bioplastics become the material of choice in future and no longer remain limited to everyday articles with a short life or technical niches.

With over one billion new mobile handsets being produced every year and only 10%, the industry is beginning to take its toll on the environment. The average mobile customer replaces their phone once every 18 months, and the manufacture of a new 90 gram phone produces 36 kg of carbon dioxide. Gert-Jan van Breugel's entry to the 2008 Greener Gadgets Design Competition addresses the problem in a creative and functional fashion.

Business Wire -- Paying attention to the environment pays dividends, says Rita Schenck, Executive Director, Institute for Environmental Research and Education. A greener approach to food and beverage packaging may require some initial investment, but that is the case when improving any process. A speaker at the marcus evans Food & Beverage Packaging & Design Summit 2011, taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 23-25, Schenck discusses the costs and benefits of going green, and what the industry can do to prepare.

What are the costs vs. benefits of green packaging?
Rita Schenck: "Executives are under pressure to improve the environmental impacts of the packaging of their products. But what may initially appear to be a burden could actually benefit their bottom line. In product design there are many business advantages to taking the green approach. The cost of packaging and shipping goes down when the package gets smaller. That makes sense, but there are less direct benefits as well. For instance, the cost of shipping can be reduced as a decrease in package size means you can ship more products than before. There is also a marketing opportunity for corporations who make these types of changes to improve their environmental profile, to say they are green and that they care about the environment with proof of their actions.

Being green can pay off in other not so obvious ways. Using only as much material as needed not only makes sense, it conserves limited resources. But there are actually big opportunities that are important for food and beverage producers like the opportunity not to waste the contents of their products. When we look at the life cycle impact of a package versus its contents, the packaging is often only 10 per cent of the total environmental impact of the product. Smart packaging can preserve the product and extend its life cycle, thereby decreasing its environmental impact while increasing its shelf life." What else should packaging and design executives consider?

Rita Schenck: "People are reducing packaging by using less material but also by thinking about packaging as a whole. For example, by making sure the case fills up the pallet or designing milk packaging which utilizes the space in the container and case. It is all about efficiency in the use of space and materials. There are always little things that can be done to improve packaging."

How will the global drive for greener packaging affect food and beverage manufacturers? How could the industry prepare for the changes ahead?
Rita Schenck: "One of the most interesting trends right now is the global drive towards environmental declarations — think of this like a nutrition label for the environment; they are based on a product's life cycle assessment and carbon, landing and water footprint. France is requiring all consumer goods to have this label. This will have a massive impact across the economy because the EU and US Federal Government are looking very closely at the French experiment and gearing up to do the same.

Executives need to be thinking about this from two points of views. Firstly, they need to know the environmental impact of their packaging in order to disclose the right information. Secondly they need to redesign the packaging of their products in order to present that information.
The French are working with parties around the world to ensure that these requirements do not create trade barriers. The industry needs to play a role in making sure that these initiatives can be met and that labelling requirements are harmonized across the world."

The demand for sustainability in packaging has affected every aspect of packaging. We all know that sustainable packaging practices benefit the environment by reducing waste, recycling materials into new packaging and controlling the energy costs of production. Many of us also recognize that sustainability benefits us with smaller package sizes, lighter-gauge flexible films and other measures that reduce material costs. Finding new ways to package goods with these new materials can be costly, but the long-term benefits are there. We also need to recognize that those new costs are an investment that will have future returns.

The demand for sustainability in packaging has affected every aspect of packaging, from inspiring the development of new primary package materials, inks and adhesives to inspiring studies of our energy use and the creation of forums where we can discuss new ideas and techniques. We see our customers actively seeking out sustainable packaging, often as a way to market themselves better to environmentally conscious consumers. We can learn a lesson from them.

Sometimes we tend to think of this new emphasis as a burden imposed on us by outsiders, forcing us to change how we work and creating additional (and perhaps unnecessary) costs. It is easy to see those requirements for change as intrusive, but not see the advantages of sustainable packaging to us as packagers as well as to the environment and our customers.

Just as a new piece of equipment can give you a competitive advantage over your rival contract packager, an increased focus on sustainability and "green" packaging can also give you a competitive advantage. In both areas, he who takes the risk and leads the way by investing in new technology will usually be the winner.

The contract packagers who adopt sustainability as a primary company focus and promote their capability to produce sustainable packaging will gain a powerful marketing advantage. Just as being able to teach our customers about the latest packaging techniques, equipment and materials reflects on us as knowledgeable specialists and sets us above the competition, so, too, will being able to do the same with sustainable packaging practices. It will be another way to strengthen our bond with customers as their partners.

It is also important to recognize that these environmental issues––and the changes they are making in the packaging industry––are here to stay. The government can no longer ignore the monumental task of cutting waste and conserving resources. That means that in the future it is likely that more incentives will be provided for manufacturers that do master eco-friendly measures such as sustainable packaging.

Contract packagers have always been the commandos of the packaging industry: tough, resourceful, adaptable and able to move quickly to adopt innovative technologies to let them gain new customers. Given the increasing emphasis on environmental protection, embracing sustainability fully and becoming proficient in new environmentally sound packaging techniques may become our strongest marketing tool for the future and create even further differentiation for us from larger, more traditional competitors.

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"Greener" products don't have to be more expensive for consumers, according to industrial designer Yves Béhar.

At a meeting this week with Wired.co.uk, he explained that there is a big misconception that it costs more to create products with a lower carbon footprint. He says: "We have been told that doing things in a green way will cost more. This doesn't work. People don't want to pay more for something just because it's green."

Béhar set out to test the hypothesis that a lower carbon footprint equals less materials which equals less expensive in a project with office furniture designer Herman Miller. The results was the "SAYL" chair that maintained the ergonomic deisgn but uses less material, with structural components hollowed out to reduce weight and volume. Further more the back support, arm structure and tilt mechanism have been fused into a single part. The results is a lightweight, affordable (compared with other Herman Miller chairs) chair that is 93 percent recyclable.

He adds: "I think people aren't doing it because they don't know they can. Consumers are being told it's more expensive and manufacturers aren't really exploring in depth what sustainable design means. It's more than shifting material, you really need to go deep into development to create efficiencies in the manufacturing process, logistics, distribution and the end product. We really need to believe and to push and to practice the notion that a lower carbon footprint means more affordable and attainable."

He cited Puma's Clever Little Bag shoebox replacement as another good example of his design process in action. He transformed the thick cardboard shoebox into a lighter cardboard frame surrounded by a reusable bag. In reassessing the entire production process, Puma could lower the amount of materials used in their 80m shoeboxes by 65 percent and the amount of energy consumed by 60 percent.

He was keen to point out that companies need to act to become more sustainable now. "You can't just say 'when there are new materials available, we're going to do better. There's so much that can be done now in terms of packaging and processing. Five, ten or twenty percent progress if applied on a large scale is a huge first step."

Yves Béhar was in London to collect the "Designer of the Year" award at Conde Nast Traveller's fifth annual Innovation & Design Awards.

Most CEOs believe sustainability will be critical to the future success of their companies, in spite of poor economic conditions.

A survey of 766 CEOs worldwide by the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture found that the global economic downturn has actually raised their commitment to sustainability.

But the study found while 88 per cent of CEOs believe they should be integrating sustainability through their supply chain, only 54 per cent say this is being achieved in their company.

According to the report, A New Era of Sustainability, 80 per cent of CEOs say the downturn has raised the importance of sustainability within their organisations. The study, which also involved extensive interviews with 50 leading CEOs, found the move towards sustainability was driven by consumer opinion.

"CEOs told us they have, by necessity, been on the defensive during the downturn, but that they feel now is the time to get on the front foot in aligning sustainability with core business strategy and execution," said Mark Foster, Accenture's group chief executive, management consulting and global markets.

Peter Lacy, managing director, sustainability services at Accenture for Europe, Africa, Middle East and Latin America, and the leader of the study, added: "It is clear from the survey results that global business has its work cut out in order to build sustainability programmes that become key components of a company's core business."

The UN Global Compact is to launch practical guidance for buyers, developed with the help of private sector companies, on how to manage supply chain sustainability at its 2010 Leaders Summit held over the next two days.

Nearly half of L'Oréal's suppliers (48 per cent) must make substantial sustainability improvements and a further 35 per cent require some changes to come up to scratch.

According to the cosmetic company's 2009 Sustainable Development Report, out this week, audits found just 12 per cent of suppliers were considered satisfactory.

The remaining 5 per cent account for audits that were denied (4 per cent) and 1 per cent of checks that L'Oréal describes only as "tolerance zero".

In other figures, the company said 21 per cent of vendors failed to conform to health and safety standards, 28 per cent did not meet working hour standards and 9 per cent involved some child labour.

Between 2008 and 2009, 1,124 social responsibility audits were carried out on suppliers.

Auditing will continue this year with the company aiming to carry out 400 social responsibility supplier checks globally. The ultimate goal is to complete assessments of most suppliers by end of 2010.

L'Oréal's Buy & Care Programme aims to favour sustainable relationships over "one-shot" purchasing from low-cost providers. It also sets out to support suppliers facing a critical business situation, continuously develop relationships with minority and women-owned businesses and select suppliers that share common goals which promote an environmentally focused supply chain.

The company said: "L'Oréal is committed to long-term relationships with suppliers from all origins and cultures, based on mutual trust and transparency. To support this policy, L'Oréal has: reinforced formal business reviews with its top 50 suppliers worldwide; redesigned contents and formats to include L'Oréal sustainable development objectives all along the value chain, with the aim of raising supplier awareness; communicated key performance indicators to suppliers; and established ongoing dialogue to understand how its suppliers are addressing sustainable development within their own organisation."

Siemens increased the volume of centrally purchased products at its Munich HQ in 2009.

Sustainability now forms part of all supplier risk and procurement decisions at global engineering firm Siemens. The company's 2009 Sustainability Report said it has integrated sustainability criteria into risk evaluations of suppliers.

Mandatory online corporate responsibility self-assessments, completed by vendors, are now part of the company's qualification process. And Siemens is now using a defined set of criteria worldwide to monitor the sustainability-based development of providers.

In an interview with SM last month, Barbara Kux, head of supply chain management and chief sustainability officer, spoke of the board-level role given to CSR. "As a member of the managing board, I'm responsible not only for supply chain management but also for green technologies and sustainability. In this capacity, it's my responsibility to help our customers to protect the environment while promoting growth."

The report also revealed that Siemens' external spend was reduced by £2.4 billion in 2009 as a result of savings and falling revenue. It sourced goods and services worth £30.6 billion in 2009, down from £33 billion in 2008. Supply management activities, strict inventory management and a reduction in sales, administration and general costs also helped to reduce spending.In addition the firm increased the volume of centrally purchased products at its Munich HQ, which improved economies of scale.

The report said: "Sustainability in our supply chain can be further developed and implemented throughout Siemens only with even more intensive cross-functional cooperation within the company. To this end, we are working closely with other company functions to specify the requirements for supply chain management and our suppliers and then implementing those requirements across functions."

Consumer goods giant Unilever intends to source 75 per cent of its paper and board packaging from sustainably managed forests or recycled material by 2015.

At the moment 62 per cent of paper and board packaging comes from sustainable sources. By 2020, this figure will rise to 100 per cent, the company said.

Unilever said the policy makes it the first global company with forest management certification through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to commit to sustainably sourcing all its paper and board packaging within a set timeframe. Currently 42 per cent of its total packaging is made up of paper or board - which equates to 1 million tonnes a year.

To meet the firm's requirement for paper, preference will be given to supplies delivered through the FSC certification scheme. Unilever will also accept other national schemes provided they comply with the policy's implementation guidelines. Suppliers will be encouraged to sign up to these schemes.

Marc Engel, Unilever's chief procurement officer, said: "We are committed to working in partnership with all of our suppliers to progressively increase the proportion of paper and board packaging which comes from recycled materials or sustainably managed forests in order to achieve this ambitious target."

Forest management certification scheme logos will begin to appear on the packaging of Unilever's brands to increase consumer awareness and promote the expansion of certified forests.

The remainder of its total packaging is made up of plastic, glass, metal, mixed or other materials. The company said it also has a target of removing PVC from all packaging by 2012.

"King Cotton" - For generations that slogan personified the Southeastern United States reliance on cotton as the predominant cash producing crop. Well, the "King is Dead; Long Live the King" - Bamboo.

Actually, before the coronation, a few things need to be put into place to ensure bamboo's ascendancy to cotton's throne. Rest assured, King Cotton was deposed years ago by inexpensive cotton imported from Africa and Asia . These cheap imports drove most cotton farmers out of the business. Even mega farms find it hard to compete with cotton brought into America from abroad.

Unless American cotton can be genetically engineered to plant and pick itself, the cotton industry in America faces a dismal future. That was why a consortium of botanists, growers and Southern politicians have begun to investigate the possibilities of replacing cotton with bamboo as the crop of the Southern Mississippi Delta states.

In many aspects it may seem that the bamboo industry in America is just in its infancy; however, the United States Department of Agriculture began introducing and researching bamboo as a new farm crop around 1919. American farmers and the general public remained unaware of bamboo's potential as a profitable farm crop. In 1979 Richard Haubrich formed the American Bamboo Society in Southern California to begin promoting bamboo as a cash crop (1).

In the Northwestern United States bamboo was and is grown successfully. Bamboo growing began here as a hobby for people who had received the plant or purchased bamboo for decorative purposes. Folks took a chance and planted bamboo in yards, woods, wherever their fancies led them. With over thirteen hundreds species of bamboo, many types of bamboo did more then survive - they thrived.

Currently Washington State University , under Dr. Craig Cogger, is conducting research on various strains of bamboo. WSU studies include water usage and impact. These studies could have significant impact on bamboo's viability (can it live) in the South. According to Gib Cooper of Tradewinds Bamboo Nursery, growers and would be growers have met and will continue to meet with Dr. Cogger and others to determine the viability of different bamboos in differing climates (2).

The Eco friendly aspect shouldn't eclipse bamboo's value as a product. From soup, to table, to homes, bamboo is ripe for the picking.

One type of bamboo that growers and scientists see as a candidate for the South is the moso bamboo. This plant can be used in buildings; it's as strong as steel. Imagine how homes can be built to withstand severe weather. But Moso cuttings don't survive at a profitable level. Jackie Heinricher, owner of Boo-Shoot garden, has devised a method to clone mature culms of Moso grass (3).

Heinricher envisions bamboo forests reviving the Delta's agricultural economy, which once relied on cotton crops, but has generally fallen on hard times. Dr. Brian Baldwin, associate professor of plant and soil sciences at Mississippi State University , says mild, wet winters have helped bamboo species closely related to Moso do "exceedingly well here." He considers the region viable for large-scale production.

"King Cotton is Dead": "Long Live Bamboo."

1) Sawyers, Harry.  Can American Farms Make Bamboo the Next Big Cash Crop? 2) Cooper, Gib. Tradewinds Bamboo Nursery
3) Popular Mechanics: June 29, 2009.


Dell announced today it is shipping its Dell Inspiron Mini 10 and 10v netbooks in packaging made from bamboo, a highly renewable material that serves as a great alternative to molded paper pulp, foams and corrugate often used in packaging.Dell is using the material for the product cushions cradling the Mini inside an outer box made from 25 percent post-consumer materials. The company plans to expand its use of bamboo packaging to more products in early 2010.

In December 2008, Dell announced a plan to revolutionize computer packaging. By 2012, Dell aims to reduce packaging volume by 10 percent; increase the amount of recycled content in packaging by 40 percent; and increase the amount of materials in packaging that's curbside recyclable to 75 percent. To achieve these goals, the company is implementing a strategy based on the three C's:

-- Cube: How big is the box? Could it be smaller?

-- Content: What is the packaging made of? Could it be made of something better?

-- Curb: Is it easily recycled?

Quote:

-- "The use of bamboo for electronics packaging is pretty new, but its viability as a great packaging material can't be ignored," said Oliver Campbell, Dell's senior manager of packaging worldwide. "We're introducing it with mobile products, as it's proven a strong, sustainable and cost-effective solution for packaging those. We're actively working to integrate this and other innovative, agricultural materials into packaging for products across our portfolio."

This innovation is the latest expression of Dell's commitment to minimizing its impact on the planet and making it easy for customers to do the same. Dell eyes new green move with bamboo packaging

SEATTLE (AP) - Bamboo has sprouted all over. It's being used everywhere from floorboards to tableware to inline skates and T-shirts, as consumers increasingly seek out products considered gentler on the Earth. Now computer maker Dell Inc. is using the fast-growing member of the grass family as a replacement for paper, plastic and foam packaging materials.Starting Tuesday, the molded cushions that protect two of Dell's computer models from damage during shipping will be made of crushed bamboo. Making the cushions from bamboo instead of paper pulp takes a little longer, but Dell says it costs less. Dell says it is evaluating other sustainable materials as well.

With over one billion new mobile handsets being produced every year and only 10%, the industry is beginning to take its toll on the environment. The average mobile customer replaces their phone once every 18 months, and the manufacture of a new 90 gram phone produces 36 kg of carbon dioxide. Gert-Jan van Breugel's entry to the 2008 Greener Gadgets Design Competition addresses the problem in a creative and functional fashion.

Bamboo Biodegradable mobile phone

Called the Bamboo, van Breugel's mobile phone is made from bio-plastic derived from renewable materials such as corn and bamboo. Bamboo is is endlessly renewable since, once harvested, new shoots will grow from the root system, unlike hardwood trees. It also grows very quickly, up to two feet per day. The phone is filled with bamboo seeds as well. This allows the user to simply throw the case onto a compost heap (after removing the battery, antenna and printboard) when it is time for a new phone. Within weeks the case will decompose and the seeds will sprout and feed off it. Soon there will be a flourishing bamboo thicket to offset the impact of the manufacturing process.

The Bamboo is energy efficient as well. It is equipped with a handcrank that allows the user to manually power it. Van Breugel claims that three minutes of cranking will provide enough energy for one phone call, though he doesn't say how long of a call. It also has a monochrome display for maximum energy efficiency.

The Bamboo's ability to be muscle-powered and its use of renewable materials give it a low carbon footprint and qualify it as a "green gadget."