100 posts categorized "packaging"

Innovative On the Go Sandwich Packaging

Sandwich Packaging South African retailer Woolworths recently introduced a new form of packaging for its on the go sandwiches.

The previous version was made from plastic the new version is made from FSC certified cardboard with a corn-based plastic window. 

The packaging design is also innovative.  The cleverly designed box ‘unzips' into a handy, self-contained and disposal tray.

The retailer initially launched the new packs in the Western Cape and began rolling them out nationally from mid September 2008.

The new sandwich packs carry the stamp of approval of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an internationally recognized body backed by a large number of leading conservation groups including WWF-SA.

Julian Novak, Woolworth head of foods explains, “Plastic made from oil is a non-renewable resource. Our new packaging is based on renewable and sustainable resources. The cardboard is certified as coming from well-managed forests, which means we're supporting responsible forest management. We are particularly proud of this packaging because it is the first time that certified sustainable cardboard is being used in South African food packaging.”

Even better, Novak assures customers that the introduction of the new packaging has had no impact on Woolworths sandwich prices.

New HP Notebook with No Packaging

HP PC with No Packaging HP has developed a new notebook PC which is sold directly in a messenger bag virtually eliminating all consumer packaging.

As part of a design challenge by super retailer Wal-Mart, HP developed the concept of selling a laptop computer directly in a stylish messenger bag. 

The result of the new retail concept reduces consumer packaging by 97% for each laptop sold.  Each new laptop is shipped in a master box of three to retailers like Wal-Mart.  Factoring over box and master carton the total reduction of overall packaging waste is 65%.

The HP Pavilion dv6929wm Entertainment Notebook PC is sold in the unique HP Protect Messenger Bag, which guards the notebook during shipping and is put directly on a Walmart shelf. Customers leave Walmart with just their new notebook, accessories and a convenient, reusable messenger bag— and avoid the hassle and waste of boxes and excess packaging.

The HP Protect Messenger Bag is made from 100% recycled materials.

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Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Complete Transition to PLA Packaging

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Complete PLA Packaging TransitionGreen Mountain Coffee, the coffee division of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) unveiled new packaging for its 10-ounce and 12-ounce coffee lines including Signature, Fair Trade Organic, Flavored and Seasonal coffees.

Sustainable is Good reported extensively on the initial roll out of the new packaging. 

This latest step completes the packaging makeover that began with roll-outs of the Newman's Own(R) Organics and Single Origin lines of coffee.

The redesign includes a vibrant palette of line-specific colors and illustrations that clearly differentiate one line of coffee from the other. The crisp, contemporary look also features improved communication that identifies the roast level, grind type, Fair Trade and organic certifications, and decaf options.

Along with an updated logo, these features help consumers easily find their favorite Green Mountain coffee.

As with Green Mountain Coffee's other recent packaging modifications, these bags also offer an environmental benefit. The film contains 19.4% PLA (polylactic acid), a polymer made from plant-based renewable resources.  The company claims the use of PLA helps reduce the environmental impact of the packaging.

The packaging is made by fres-co.

Susan Cote, Director of Brand Marketing at Green Mountain Coffee, said, "We used a collaborative approach to design the new packaging lines, listening to the needs of our consumers, our wholesale customers, our sales team and our manufacturing group. Consumers will be really pleased with the strong visual shelf presence and clear product identification the new packaging provides."

The redesigned packaging is already appearing on store shelves.

Sonoco Produces More Sustainable Packaging for Heinz Baby Formula

Sonoco More Sustainable Packaging for Heinz Sonoco (SON), a North Carolina-based packaging company, makers of Target's new innovative cereal packaging have produced similar improved packaging for a Heinz product.

Sonoco's new rigid paperboard packaging was used for Heinz's Nurture Growing Baby Follow-on Milk product, available in the UK. The rigid paperboard can Heinz recently used to re-launch the product makes portion control and preparation easy and protects the product inside.

Made from two layers of recycled paperboard that are spiral wound and a high-barrier liner, the cans lock out moisture and oxygen that could compromise the nutritional integrity of the powdered infant formula. They also keep the powdered product from clumping so that it quickly dissolves when it's time to prepare a bottle.

The rigid paperboard can has other parent-friendly features, including a Sonoco-supplied Sealed Safe peelable membrane closure with a metal rim seamed onto the can's end and an easy-grip ring pull that opens the can easily.

That connection with parents was very important in the selection of the new package, says Christina Bouzala, H.J. Heinz Company. "Heinz Nurture Follow-on Milk powdered infant formula is a new brand, with a new formulation, and replaces Farley's Follow-on Milk product. With this important launch, we wanted a premium package that would make preparing baby's milk easier for our customers. The new Sealed-Safe opening system is much easier to open, while the custom overcap and scoop help ensure parents use the right amount of formula and provide their babies with proper nutrition."

Alan Kirby, U.K. sales director for Sonoco, says the company welcomed the challenge from Heinz to deliver a package that meets so many needs. "We're pleased to supply Heinz with a premium package that meets its requirements--easy to use, adds value through performance
and has shelf appeal."

"More and more companies around the world are choosing to package powdered infant formula in rigid paperboard cans as a cost-effective and more sustainable alternative," says Srinivas Nomula, Sonoco market segment manager."

Treepac Sustainable Packaging for Shipping

Treepac Sustainable Shipping Container Treepac is a new design concept for solving the problem of single use shipping/mailing packages.  The concept was devised by Boston-based design firm Essential Design.

As anyone in business or who is a consumer that buys products online knows shipping packages generates a tremendous amount of waste.  Some of this paper-based packaging, corrugated and other types of mailers can be reused but often times cannot or simply isn't.

Treepac is a reusable shipping container intended to replace cardboard boxes. The structure is made entirely of the sustainable wood-based polymer cellulose acetate,

Treepac is used like cardboard packaging but is designed to enable and encourage people and companies to improve their environmental footprint. The more times each pack is used, the greater its positive effect on the environment.

“When we examined our everyday use of cardboard, we became aware of the quantity of packaging materials we should recycle, appalled at the amount of material we couldn’t, and frustrated by an inability to reuse most of it,” said Design Researcher Dave Siedzik. “We were disheartened that recycling cardboard is a completely inefficient process.”

The Treepac concept mirrors the good features of cardboard boxes while adding new attributes that lower the overall environmental impact of packaging.

Essential researchers, designers and engineers estimate that a recycled cardboard box can have up to eight uses but must be reconstituted in an energy-draining production facility each time.

The Treepac, on the other hand, can be reused again and again thanks to its more durable construction and design. 

Essential Design won a Silver IDEA (International Design Excellence Award) Award in the Ecodesign category for their design of Treepac.

Speedo Launches Sustainable Product Packaging

Speedo New Eco-friendly Product Packaging The Beijing Olympic Games are in full swing and popular swimwear maker Speedo has launched a new range of eco-friendly packaging for its goggles and headwear collection.

Speedo makes swimwear and related products for the worlds best swimmers as well as consumers worldwide.  Top swimmers like Michael Phelps have been prominently featured wearing Speedo products during the Olympic Games all last week.

With all the attention on swimming over the last few months, the timing is great for Speedo introduction of newly designed more eco-friendly packaging.  The company first announced the new packaging last month and it is now just beginning to become available.

Speedo's new packaging, which also includes improved product explanation and visibility and better product segmentation, uses recyclable cardboard sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified well-managed forests.

The environmentally-friendly advances in Speedo packaging continue on to the goggles and headwear themselves; all products are 100% PVC free.

All goggle packaging is made from recyclable materials, with reusable goggle pouches partially constructed from swimsuit fabric cut offs.

According to Speedo, they have cut 118 tons of PVC and 316 tons of plastic from the creation of  their equipment packaging.

Speedo is the only swim product manufacturer to cease use of plastic in its packaging construction.

Adding to the eco-credibility of the products and packaging, visibility, product access and retailer merchandising flexibility was integral in Speedo’s redesign process.

All products were broken down into color-coded segments for easy retailer display and the new packaging includes a hi-resolution product image on front of pack. This ensures the packaging remains neat and tidy in-store, should the customer remove the goggle to try it on.

London-based branding and packaging design firm R Design created Speedo's new eco-friendly packaging.

The new packaging is available exclusively at John Lewis stores in the UK beginning this month and by 2009 should be available at other retailers.

GreenBottle Milk Packaging Debuts in UK

GreenBottle Milk Bottle The latest in the ongoing innovations for eco-friendly milk packaging bring us to the UK and a product called GreenBottle.

GreenBottle is a new type of packaging designed for liquids and is made from 91% recycled material, primarily from waste office paper and is 99% recyclable.

Major UK retailer ASDA (owned by Wal-Mart) announced it is offering the new packaging in one of its stores with plans to expand to fourteen more stores in the near future and possibly nationwide.

Martin Myerscough, GreenBottle's designer created the product to replace plastic bottles.

The packaging consists of a pulped recycled cardboard outer similar to what is used to make egg cartons and a corn-based bioplastic bag liner.

The inner liner takes up less than .5% of the space of a plastic bottle if disposed of in a landfill and will biodegrade in about six weeks.

After the milk is gone, the bioplastic bag can be removed and composted/disposed of, and the outer shell can be recycled or composted.

Myerscough told Lets Recycle, "The plastic part could be composted, but it is a very thin bag.  The cardboard could go in a paper or green waste collection and then people who don't recycle can put it all into the general waste as it will biodegrade."

Chris Brown, Head of Ethical and Sustainable Sourcing at ASDA, said, “Milk is one of our highest selling products, and as such, we have a responsibility to develop alternative packaging making it easier for our customers to go green and to help them recycle at home."

Brown also addressed another positive of GreenBottle, no spillage.  “Also, unlike products that are being trialled by other retailers such as the pouch, this milk bottle is robust, practical and fit for purpose, meaning there is no danger of spilled milk at breakfast time.”

Consumer reaction GreenBottle in initial milk packaging trials at ASDA last year was highly positive.  It will be interesting to see how this latest product launch will go and it will surely have an impact on GreenBottle's future use and application.

Additional Packaging Uses for GreenBottle beyond Milk

We may see GreenBottles used for other types of packaging including; juices, smoothies, yogurt drinks, water, shampoos, hand creams, liquid detergents, engine oils and more. 

The 11th Hour Eco Friendly DVD Packaging Differs Between USA and Europe

Leonardo DiCaprio's The 11th Hour DVD European Packaging Packaging for Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary The 11th Hour needed to be in line with the film's strong eco-message.  The films producer Warner Bros was sensitive to not having the packaging conflict with the ethical message of the film whether it was sold in the US or European market.

As is not uncommon in the entertainment industry, packaging for the 11th Hour DVD was handled by different companies for the US and European markets. 

11th Hour EUROPE

St Ives Music & Multimedia in the UK created eco-friendly packaging for European market. The company is a leading supplier of print, packaging and promotional materials to the European home entertainment industry from its manufacturing sites in the UK and Holland.

St Ives chose chipboard made from 100% post-consumer waste supplied by Smurfit Kappa to give the outer casing a natural look.

Dutch firm PaperFoam provided the biodegradable DVD tray made from paper, cornstarch and potato.

St Ives Music & Multimedia special projects manager Martin Still said: "It was critical that the packaging for this documentary reflected the gravity of the subject matter, so making the DVD tray and case 100% biodegradable was the most significant way of achieving this.  As this approach had never been used for such a high-profile film, we were really excited to be involved in designing and printing such an innovative product."

As the tray was lighter than its plastic equivalent, the outer casing was upgraded to double thickness to give the box a more solid structure.

The whole project was developed, trialled and tested in-house at St Ives' Crayford design studio, where the team also created an envelope lock closure on the back of the DVD box that simply folds into the body of the packaging. All components are recyclable apart from the disc.

St Ives printed The 11th Hour pack using 6-color presses and eco-friendly, vegetable-based inks.

11th Hour USA

Leonardo DiCaprio's The 11th Hour DVD USA Packaging Interestingly much less is known about the packaging of the US market version of 11th Hour, despite the fact it has been available since April. 

The US release of the DVD was back in April before Earth Day.  Sustainable is Good can confirm Univenture produced the "wrapper" for the DVD packaging in the US market. 

A Univenture spokeswoman told Sustainable is Good, "Univenture was involved in the 11th Hour packaging for Warner Bros.  Univenture provided the “wrapper” to enclose the package for retail purposes.  Univenture’s EnvyPak technology was used for converting EarthFirst PLA film, a sustainable and renewable bio based film, to make the wrapper."

Sustainable is Good has not been able to confirm who produced the paperboard tray for the US release of the DVD. 

The two main players in the US eco-friendly DVD packaging market are IP's Shorewood Packaging who make REPAK in the US (read our recent profile) and Napco (past coverage).  We know the DVD tray was made from some type of recyclable "biodegradable" material. 

Sustainable is Good has repeatedly contacted Warner Bros. for information on the packaging but has not received a response from the company.

Method Switches Lines to 100% Post Consumer Recycled Packaging

Methodrpet San Francisco based Method has converted three of its U.S. product lines covering nine SKUs to 100% post consumer recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) bottles from Amcor PET Packaging. 

The conversions, which affect 28, 25 and 12 ounce bottles, are thought to represent the first 100% post consumer recycled (PCR) applications in the United States for household cleaning products. The company had previously been using 100% virgin PET resin for these bottles.

By converting to 100% PCR on the 28-ounce bottle the carbon footprint was reduced by a significant 60 percent or 63.14 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per thousand containers produced.  When the same bottle was produced in virgin PET, emissions were 104.67 kg CO2e per thousand.

Method Products was founded in 1999 on a strong environmental platform which includes the use of biodegradable ingredients in its formulations and “most readily” recyclable packaging for its containers.  The introduction of Method’s 100% PCR bottles, once again, redefines the cleaning products category with an even stronger sustainability position.

The product lines affected are method’s 28-ounce All Purpose Cleaners (lavender, pink grapefruit and cucumber) and daily shower spray (ylang ylang); 25-ounce floor cleaners (lemon ginger and wood for good), and 12-ounce surface cleaners (daily granite, stainless steel and wood for good polishes).

Method's rPET Packaging Success in the UK lead to similar development in US

“Because we had been successful with 100% PCR bottles in the U.K., we wanted to explore what could be done in the U.S.,” explains Jason Crouch, director of procurement, method.

However, unlike the European supply infrastructure which is more vertically integrated, obtaining a consistent supply of PCR flake suitable for blow molding PET bottles has not been established in the United States. 

“When method came to us last year on this project, we were hoping to get to 50% PCR content.  In our trials, we tested 10, 25, 50, 75 and 100%.  That’s when we discovered that 100% PCR content was not out of the question, but we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us before we could be confident that the bottles meeting all of the criteria could be produced at commercial rates,” says Greg Rosati, business director, personal care, Amcor.

The first challenge was finding a suitable supply source.  This meant identifying a company that could source a supply stream with the right characteristics and be able to repelletize the flake so that it could be used to produce bottles.

“Ideally, you want the original PET bottles not to have been commingled with any other plastic type.  The best source from a material purity standpoint is PET carbonated soft drink bottles that have been collected from a deposit-based program.  Second best are bottles that have been curbside collected,” Rosati says. 

“Additionally, we needed to tap into a company that could provide the desired material quality on a consistent basis and who also has the technology to create pellets from the flake that results when these bottles are ground up.”

On the processing side of things, multiple obstacles needed to be overcome.  For example, PCR has a much lower intrinsic viscosity (IV) than virgin resin.  Since the resulting PET molecular chains are shorter, Amcor had to relearn how to process the material.  Additionally, the gray and blue scale color readings had to be at a certain level or the material would not be able to produce a clear bottle.  (Five of the SKUs using 100% PCR are in clear PET bottles; colorants are used for the rest.)

“Method and Amcor engineers worked cooperatively with each other to overcome each of the material, production and performance challenges that presented themselves throughout the project,” Crouch says.

The project started last June with trials taking place between August and November.  Full scale production took place in December.  (Bottles are stretch blow molded at Amcor’s state-of-the-art Nicholasville, KY plant.) Product starting making its way onto retail shelves in February.

“Not only has this been a learning experience for both Amcor and method, but resin suppliers have also benefited. The end result is a bottle that is having a positive impact to the environment,” Crouch says.

More rPET Packaging Coming this fall from method?

Method's Katie Molinari told Sustainable is Good the company is actively working to, "increase our assortment of products made from 100% recycled plastic by this fall."  We may expect to see more method products packaged in recycled plastic coming shortly. 

Globe Guard Recycled Inflatable Air Pillows

Globe Guard Air Pillows Salazar Packaging, a distributor of packaging materials and equipment with a focus on sustainable packaging, expanded its Globe Guard line of sustainable packaging boxes by adding a new exclusive line of air pillow cushioning made from 100% recycled plastic material. 

Shippers now have an inflatable option that combines price, performance, and environmental responsibility that fits perfectly with their Globe Guard recycled boxes introduced earlier this year.

Inflatable air pillows are a proven void fill winner in terms of cost, efficiency, cleanliness, and quality. Until now, however, there has been one major drawback -- they are traditionally made with a high percentage of virgin polyethylene plastic resin.

"Since introducing our Globe Guard 100% recycled content (PCW) boxes, we have been inundated with requests for an environmentally friendly inflatable product," said company president and Sustainable is Good contributor, Dennis Salazar.

"We worked hard and long with our partner, Automated Packaging Systems (APS), to develop a 100% recycled material that would meet every performance expectation and run perfectly through their equipment."

APS is the packaging industry's leading manufacturer of packaging, bagging, and pouching systems, and is known worldwide as the inventor of Autobag bagging machines and pre-opened bags. The firm's inflatable systems are highly regarded for their simplicity, reliability, and stout construction. 

Globe Guard Air Pillows Salazar Packaging will sell Globe Guard air pillows in conjunction with the complete line of APS void fill systems.

Each air pillow is light green and imprinted with the Globe Guard logo and the words, "100% recycled" as well as the #4 plastic symbol to easily facilitate recycling.

"The environmental message is quite important," said Salazar. "Today it is critical that your eco message is clear, obvious and consistent to your customer receiving and opening your box. Our Globe Guard void fill and our Globe Guard boxes make it easy for our customers to accomplish those goals."

Inflatable air pillows offer dramatic functional advantages over other void fill materials. Besides having an extremely low unit cost, they reduce inbound and outbound transportation cost and require very little floor storage space, unlike bulky loose fill "peanuts", bubble material, and packaging foams.

Salazar observed, "When you add eco-friendly to the mix, Globe Guard just might be the perfect void fill."

Shure Greens Product Packaging

Shure Shure, makers of high audio equipment for musicians and consumers recently announced they have redesigned the packaging for all their Microflex Installed Sound Microphones, ULX Wireless Microphone Systems, three of their wired and wireless Personal Monitor Systems (PSM), and two of their SE Sound Isolating Earphone models. 

The packaging changes the company has rolled out do not change the size or shape of current packaging or reduce the strength, durability, and product protection it provides.

The more sustainable packaging includes the elimination of the Mylar coating and full-color graphic printing on the cartons increases the recycle-ability of the packaging.

“We currently produce a wide variety of full-color packaging across all product lines, but recently made the decision to move toward a more environmentally friendly design for several products,” said Terri Hartman, Director of Brand Communications for Shure. 

“These changes allow us to gain some efficiencies and act as a more socially responsible company.” 

All models will ship in brown “kraft” packaging with the Shure brand logo and “Microflex Installed Sound Microphones” for Microflex models, “ULX Wireless Systems” for ULX models, and “Personal Monitor Systems” for the PSM Systems printed on the cartons.  Weber labels will continue to provide specific product model information of package contents.

“We felt like this redesign further underlines our commitment to environmentally friendly standards,” added Hartman.

Shure has also recently introduced new outer packaging for the SE210 and SE310 Sound Isolating earphone models, which is made of a 100 percent recyclable carton. The new packaging provides a uniform look for the SE110, SE210, and SE310 earphone models.

“We’re confident that the new packaging will provide consumers, at a quick glance, product differentiation between these models on the retail floor,” said Hartman.  “We’re always willing to explore new options for our existing products, and we’ll consider more eco-friendly packaging designs when we introduce new products in the future.”

Larry's Beans Biodegradable Coffee Bag

Maverick Green Film Larry's Beans Coffee Bag Larry's Beans, a Raleigh North Carolina coffee company announced it is using a new 100% biodegradable coffee bag. 

The bag is made by another North Carolina-based company, Maverick Enterprises from a proprietary plastic product called Green Film.

Green Film is made by combining "proprietary pellets" with the plastic during the production process which forms a material that according to Maverick biodegrades and composts in normal landfill conditions. 

Larry's Beans notes their entire bag is made from the Green Film material as opposed to just certain layers of the bag like other companies have recently produced.

The bags are certified landfill degradable or compostable (ASTM 5511 and ASTM 5338.98). Unlike regular plastics, Maverick says its Green Film will completely break down into humus in nine months to five years.

The company also notes unlike some other biodegradable films on the market, their Green Film is certified by the EPA to leave no dangerous heavy metals in the soil or water.

Sam's Club Square Case-less Milk Jug Packaging

Square Case-less milk jug packaging While Europeans are experimenting with milk in pouch style packaging, Walmart's discount club store Sam's Club is switching its gallon milk packaging to a square case-less jug. 

Its the packaging story everyone is talking about. 

The packaging style is not a new concept, but could represent a new direction in milk container packaging in the US. 

The new style packaging began appearing at Sam's Club stores in November for their store brand Member's Mark milk (pictured) and is now sold in 189 stores the company said.

The square jug packaging will help retailers significantly reduce resources and materials used to package and transport milk.  The square container jug reduces waste compared to the current standard #2 HDPE gallon milk jug which can only be stacked in layers if it’s inside another plastic returnable case or a corrugated box.

The square or case-less milk jugs do not require crates or racks for shipping and storage. Instead, the newly designed milk gallon is self stacking because the spout is flatter and each gallon can rest on another during transport, as well as while on display.

Square case-less milk packaging isn't a new idea.  The owners of Ohio-based Superior Dairy invented and began using this type of milk packaging back in 1998.  The packaging was well received by consumers of the Canton, OH dairy which added several additional sizes of the square jugs to their product line up.  The design never took off nationally in the US until being picked up by Sam's Club.

Webextra Creative Edge, a sister company of Superior Dairy is managing the design and license of the milk packaging.  Packaging Digest ran a full profile of the company last year its well worth a look.

In a statement Sam's Club said, "It’s estimated trucks used for shipping from the processor to club can accommodate 9% more milk -- 4,704 gallons per truck or approximately 384 more jugs -- without any metal racks." 

Sam's Club estimates the new case-less jug will offer consumers a cost savings of 10 to 20 cents.

“This is an exciting change for Sam’s Club Members and the dairy industry,” said Heather Mayo, vice president, Merchandising, Sam’s Club. “There are many efficiencies and benefits to case-less milk jugs and one of the best advantages is that we can pass on the lower cost to our members and they benefit from the extended shelf life and added freshness.”

Sam’s Club is offering case-less milk gallons in 189 clubs. The milk is available in most Sam’s Club locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee.

There are a handful of milk producers across the U.S. currently set up to offer the new case-less gallons and as more adopt the design, Sam’s Club hopes to expand distribution.   We would also expect to begin to see the packaging appearing at Walmart stores.

Sam's Club is going so far as to offer customers classes in how to pour milk from the new containers.  This seems a bit much but they are trying to be sensitive to consumers reaction to the change.

JUGIT Container for Milk Pouch Packaging

Jugit

RPC Containers Market Rasen’s expertise in the injection molding of unusually shaped containers has been instrumental in the launch of an exciting new concept in milk packaging, the JUGIT.

RPC Containers Market Rasen has launched JUGIT, a product designed to make bagged milk more acceptable to consumers. 

Developed by Dairy Crest in association with the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain, JUGIT offers consumers a pouch-based format that uses substantially less packaging material than conventional plastic milk containers, allied to the convenience of an easy-to-pour, reusable jug manufactured by RPC Market Rasen.

“Consumers are increasingly conscious about the environmental impact of packaging, and material reduction is a key means of improving this,” explains Richard Pryor, Innovation Controller at Dairy Crest.

“A huge amount of plastic is used annually in the manufacture of milk containers, but pouches require only 25% of the plastic found in the equivalent size of container, making them extremely attractive from the viewpoint of sustainability.”
RPC Market Rasen Enables Sainsbury's to 'JUGIT"

Dairy Crest trialled pouches in Sainsbury’s in 2001 but, while successful, the format was not deemed ready for the mainstream marketplace. Today, Pryor believes that consumers are now prepared to make the change.

“The example of countries such as Canada, where consumers have successfully switched to this ‘greener’ way of buying milk, suggests the same can be achieved in the UK.”

To encourage reusability of the JUGIT, the only part that needs to be cleaned between pouches is the spike attachment. JUGIT is sold with two of these, so that consumers do not have to wash the attachment before fitting each new pouch. A detachment handle is also supplied to enable greater flexibility in pouring.

Dairy Crest asked RPC Market Rasen to turn the JUGIT concept into a workable pack because of its proven track record in creating complex packaging formats. The fact that the site is UK based was also a factor, reducing the freight miles involved in delivery of the jug.

RPC Market Rasen worked closely with Dairy Crest, Vibrandt 1hq and pouch manufacturer Glopak to ensure seamless integration of the four parts of the JUGIT – jug, lid, spike and handle – as well as the necessary durability for long-term reuse.

The lid, spike and handle are injection molded in white # 5 PP, while clear material is used for the two pint jug. This enables the Sainsbury’s branded pouch to be seen throughout its product life, while Dairy Crest has also taken advantage of the clarity by placing the cardboard sleeve used to brand JUGIT inside the jug.

RPC Market Rasen is currently manufacturing JUGIT using a pilot mold to coincide with the trial launch of the format in selected Sainsbury’s stores. If the trial proves successful, full tooling will be commissioned to enable a full national launch in 2009.

Bacheldre Watermill Flour Packaging

Bacheldre Watermill Flour Packaging Organic flour producer, Bacheldre Watermill has developed an environmentally friendly package design for its new flour packaging.

The company had developed a sustainable package for its flour.  The only component of the packaging that wasn't sustainable was the label. 

Bacheldre Watermill found a solution using a NatureFlex NM film from Innovia and a completely biodegradable BioTak adhesive.  The combination of the previous packaging with the new label have transformed their packaging into one that is highly sustainable.

“With the introduction of these new compostable labels, our packaging is now fully sustainable and is able to achieve biodegradation within just a couple of months," said Matt Scott, co-owner and founder of Bacheldre Watermill.

The company's flour packaging is stylish thanks to some simple graphic design and creative use of the metallised  NatureFlex NM labels.

According to Innovia, NatureFlex NM is a unique cellulose-based film, manufactured from renewable wood pulp and metallised in-house. 

It is the only metallised biodegradable film suitable for home composting because the level of metal is so small - less than 0.02% - which slows the film's degradation by a matter of days but does not interfere with its biodegradability in any other way.

"It certainly stands out as something special in the flour category, and it is!!," said Scott referring to his company's new packaging.

Bissell Little Green Packaging

Bissell Little Green Packaging Bissell has recently launched a rather dramatic environmentally-friendly redesign of its popular compact spot cleaner vacuum. 

The new Little Green Multipurpose Deep Cleaner - is virtually PVC free and made from recycled and recyclable plastic.

The packaging for the new cleaner is equally impressive. 

No Styrofoam or plastic is used in the packaging except for a small thin plastic bag used to hold the directions and warranty information.

The packaging is made from corrugated paperboard stock. 

The carton and inner packaging are made from a minimum of 75 percent recycled corrugated materials.

For more information on the Little Green visit our sister site Sustainable is Good Products.

Fox's Confectionery Switches from PVC to PET Packaging

Fox's Confectionery UK candy manufacturer Fox's Confectionery recently changed its candy jar packaging from PVC to PET. The change helped them increase the visibility of their candy – which is critical to the success of the brand.

Switching from PVC to the highly recyclable PET plastic also helped Fox's improve the environmental impact of its packaging.

The new PET packaging is produced by RPC Blackburn. A large segment of Fox's business comes from the cash & carry market and visibility on store shelves is critical – the company's candy needed to stand out.

“Brand image is extremely important and the RPC Blackburn jar shows the individually-wrapped sweets at their best,” said Tracey Mattlock, Marketing Manager at Fox's Confectionery.

The company choose lids whose color matches the color of the candy in the jar.

Fox's packaging change is a smart, simple and low cost example of how a company can make a packaging change to accomplish several key goals including sustainability.

Method Uses Packaging to Unify New Personal Care Collection

Methodbody San Francisco-based Method's new natural personal care collection features packaging that gives the line its own unique identity. 

The collection consists of three products: body wash, creamy hand wash and a body bar.

The collection's hand and body wash are packaged in #2 HDPE plastic bottles which feature a quilted pattern design. The square quilted pattern is also present in the body bar.

The quilted design holds the line together visually making it easily identifiable on store shelves and in consumers minds. 

The packaging was designed in-house by Method's own design team.

“The quilted look for the natural moisturizing personal care line is designed to connote the soft moisturizing formula within the bottles,” said Method's Rachel Goldberg.

“The designer also considered the existing décor of bathrooms, which are usually tiled. They were designed to be decorative but in a subtle, sophisticated way.”

The hand wash packaging is square and features an easily removable label allowing consumers to have the packaging blend in with their own home environment

Method's Director of Marketing, Katie Molinari told Sustainable is Good the removable label was purposely incorporated into the creamy hand wash packaging. “We don't believe that a logo needs to, or should be, a prominent feature in a home care product,” said Molinari.

“We design our products for the home and treat them as accessories to compliment someone's personal style. We hope people will recognize Method products by their unique design rather than a logo or label.”

When the label is removed the packaging is only distinguishable as a Method product by an embossed “m” on the side of the bottle.

Molinari added the body wash packaging is made from 25% recycled HDPE plastic.

Sustainable is Good was unable to obtain information from Method on who is producing the packaging.  A previous incarnation of Method's body wash was produced by Amcor. 

Sainsbury's Launching Milk in Bag Packaging

Sainsbury's Milk Packaging One of the leading UK supermarket chains Sainbury's is launching milk sold in a recyclable plastic bag pouch in thirty five of its stores beginning tomorrow.

The chain expects to have the bagged milk available in as many as 500 stores within the next year.

According to published reports the alternative milk packaging is expected to reduce milk packaging waste by up to 75 percent.

Environmental advocates believe replacing all milk packaging in the UK with the bagged milk could keep 100,000 tons of plastic waste from landfills.

The milk bags are made of recyclable LDPE plastic and are designed to fit inside a reusable jug which is sold separately. Consumers open the bags with a spike that pierces the bag and forms a no-leak seal. The used milk bags can be returned to Sainbury's stores or recycled with other household plastics.

The big question is how will consumers on the whole react to the packaging?  Various forms of milk packaging are in use in Europe. 

In fact the use of bags for milk isn't entirely new they've been in use in Canada and the EU for nearly a decade.  Despite this fact they have yet to take off in terms of becoming the preferred method of milk packaging.  So this latest push from Sainbury's will be interesting to follow.

International Paper's Shorewood REPAK CD/DVD Packaging

Origin_2 Shorewood Packaging, a division of International Paper (IP) is making some exciting new strides in the area of sustainable packaging for CD and DVD consumer media products. 

Thanks to some high profile associations with Wal-Mart, Universal Music (UMe) and Funimation the company's REPAK packaging is becoming an increasingly popular option for companies looking to green their CD/DVD packaging.

The New York-based company debuted REPAK late last year adding to its green packaging portfolio which already contained Flip-Pak. 

Both types of packaging can be used for either CD or DVDs and are made from third-party certified, renewable, virgin or recycled paperboard and printed with eco-friendly inks and coatings. 

Shorewood says unlike other packaging made with plastic trays or hubs, the containers they produce are completely renewable, recyclable and sustainable.

In 2006 Shorewood developed an environmental solutions program called greenchoice.  Greenchoice focuses on providing customers with educational information and solutions to help them meet sustainable packaging goals.  Fueled by influences like Wal-Mart's Sustainable Packaging Initiative, Shorewood's Greenchoice program has been a success for the company. 

"Since late 2006, when we initiated our greenchoice program, we have provided several packaging choices for the Home Entertainment market," said Shorewood's Director of Marketing Linda Lombri.

"In November 2006, Universal Music debuted their "Millennium Collection" in a Shorewood-produced package that utilized recycled paperboard and PaperFoam CD trays -- renewable, recyclable, compostable packaging.  Universal Music recently began using our REPAK, which is an all paperboard solution that uses both recycled and virgin paperboard, all 3rd-party certified board."

Lombri told Sustainable is Good, "We introduced the REPAK last fall to our Home Entertainment customers.  UMe and Funimation are the first two customers who have chosen to use the package for their releases."

Ume_repak Universal Music has been using Shorewood packaging for its Millennium Collection for several years.   According to UMe they were the first company in the music industry to use a completely recyclable (sleeve and tray) CD package. 

Now the company is using Shorewood's REPAK for its Millennium Collection.  The music company teamed up with Wal-Mart for the retailer's Earth Month special promotion in April - where the Millennium Collection CD's were debuted in REPAK packaging containing a special seeded paper insert allowing customers three free music downloads from UMe. 

The seeded paper insert was an exclusive to Wal-Mart for Earth Month and procured and printed by Shorewood Lombri told Sustainable is Good.

Funimation, a company that specializes in Japanese anime movies, has created a “Funimation Green Initiative” to show consumers they are serious about reducing the environmental footprint of their products.  Funimation is considered a leader among the movie studios when it comes to sustainability, and they are examining plastic packaging alternatives to make all of their products “green”.

Funimation's "Origin: Spirits of the Past" DVD's is produced in Shorewood's Hendersonville (East Flat Rock, NC) facility using 4 panel-2 tray REPAK with O-card REPAK printed 4-color on ArctiKoat stock; green flood coated trays.  Greenchoice footprint: ArctiKoat is chlorine-free and contains 40% recycled fiber (37% post-consumer, 3% post-industrial); Printed with renewable vegetable-based offset inks.

The Funimation DVD's using the REPAK packaging are available across the US at major retailers like Best Buy.

REPAK is a registered trademark of Ichikudo Printing Co., Ltd. ofJapan.  Shorewood Packaging has exclusive license to produce this packaging

Hefty Space Saver Packaging

Hefty_2 The popular Hefty brand of consumer trash bags has recently launched new “Space Saver” packaging that is both smaller and makes more efficient use of resources.

Pactiv Corporation, makers of Hefty created the new packaging which is 40 percent smaller and more compact than the existing packaging for the same number of bags.

The packaging is made from 100 percent recycled paperboard.

The new design makes storage (both consumer and retail/warehouse), transportation and retail displays more efficient.

“We are excited about the new Hefty Space Saver packaging because it is better for consumers and our retailer partners, and it is also better for the environment,” said John N. Schwab, senior vice president and general manager, Pactiv Corporation.

“We can also better serve our retailer partners because Hefty drawstring waste bag products will now have a smaller footprint which means the product can be shipped warehoused and stocked on the shelf more efficiently.

According to the company the transition to Hefty Space Saver packaging has already begun. They expect their full line of products to be converted to the new packaging over the next ninth months.

Apple's New Gift Card Packaging

Apple Gift Card Carrier Design We reported last week Apple has introduced a new plant-based gift card made from Ingeo bio-plastic for its popular iTunes music service.  The company has also patented a new design for gift card packaging. 

The design is referred to simply as gift card "carrier" under patent application number 20080116088.  According to Apple's patent application their vision for the new packaging covers three areas.

The first aspect pertains to a gift card carrier that also operates as a greeting card. In a first folded configuration, the gift card carrier presents the gift card for purchase.

In a second folded configuration, the gift card carrier acts like a greeting card that encloses the gift card, and possibly supplies a greeting or message.

A second aspect pertains to a gift card carrier with a depression for receiving a gift card therein.  The depression may make the gift card appear as if its flush mounted within a panel of the gift card carrier.

A third aspect pertains to a gift card carrier with an image of hardware device that includes a display, and a gift card that includes an image associated with the hardware device.  The gift card is positioned over the display region of the hardware device image making it appear as if the gift card is the display, and the image thereon is being displayed.   In one particular embodiment, content that can be purchased and played on the hardware device as for example media items such as audio and video is disposed on the gift card.

The patent application is worth a look - like most its complex and extremely detailed.  Clearly Apple hopes to develop its gift card "carrier" into a key aspect of their integrated marketing.

Sonoco Linearpak Cereal Packaging

Target Archer Farms Cereal Linearpak Hartsville South Carolina-based Sonoco (SON) is the producer of the new Archer Farms cereal packaging we reported on last month.  The packaging is part of their Linearpak line and Target's Archer Farms brand is the first to use a specially designed newly created version of the packaging for cereal.

South Carolina's WBTW News 13 broke the news on Sonoco's production of the packaging.  Until the report aired earlier this week it was not publicly known who was producing the packaging though reports were circulating the producer was Sonoco.

Linearpak has been around for a while and used for a variety of packaging applications before the company's designers worked on adapting it for cereal packaging.  Whole Foods Market is using Linearpak for its own brand of dog biscuits.

“Changing out of the bag-n-box is something people have talked about for years, but people haven’t been successful in making a conversion,”  Derek Trader, Sonoco Market Segment Manager told WBTW News 13

Sonoco told WBTW the market is buzzing since the launch of the Linearpak.  “Dealing with this bag is what everybody hates, it’s either really hard to get open or you pull it open and cereal goes flying everywhere. You can never get it resealed,” said Trader.

The Linearpak eliminates the bag, comes with a built in barrier, a peel away membrane to keep it sealed and then a plastic flip top lid.

Sonoco said the new packing is also environmentally friendly.  “It’s something that was built into our business model,” said Trader. “Feeding in recycled content at the front end of the process, making the recycled board out of it and then converting it into the consumer packaging.”

It is not known whether the Linearpak cereal packaging is recyclable at the end of use.  Several readers  have contacted us with that question. 

Sonoco's new Archer Farms cereal packaging is without question generating significant interest from consumers.  It will be interesting to see how consumers react to the new cereal box design over time and if other brands follow Target's lead and use the packaging. 

photo © Target

Ecolean Packaging

Ecolean Packaging Heres an interesting new packaging concept from the Swedish company Ecolean. The packaging is based on a patented material they call Calymer.

Made from 40% calcium carbonate (natural chalk) the material is similar to that of an eggshell.  It is then combined with polymers which serve as the binding agent and yield the final product.

The flexible packaging is approved for food use in Europe and the company released a study available on its web site indicating their packaging is more efficient than other dairy packaging as it reduces food waste and materials required.

Ecolean is designed primarily for the food industry.  Its competitors include traditional plastic dairy packaging and some of the Tetra Pak line of products.

Ecolean says its packaging can be recycled at end of life like a traditional plastic (PP or PE) or incinerated for disposal.

Ball Corporation Recognized for Painted Turtle PET Wine Bottle

Painted Turtle PET Bottle Ball Corporation (BLL) received two Sustainable Packaging Leadership Awards for its 750mL PET wine bottles for Painted Turtle wines from Artisan Wine Company of British Columbia.  Ball received the Canadian Packaging Magazine Best-of-Show Eco-Choice Award, as well as the bronze award in the international branded package category. 

The awards were presented by the Packaging Association of Canada in conjunction with Wal-Mart Canada and Canadian Packaging Magazine to recognize companies that have demonstrated sustainable packaging leadership.

"The objective of the Sustainable Packaging Leadership Awards is to accelerate the progress of the packaging industry to environmental, social and economic sustainability," said Jim Downham, president, Packaging Association of Canada.  "These awards recognize and honor packaging industry leaders that compete with the best-in-class on a global scale daily."

According to the judges, Ball's PET wine bottle was selected for the Eco-Choice award because "it has the potential to launch a whole new trend and change the way that wine is packaged.  The decrease in greenhouse gases related to the transportation of this lightweight container -- compared to glass -- is a huge plus for sustainability, while the colorful, well-designed label is certain to attract consumers to the product, ultimately drawing attention to the environmental merits of this highly functional package."

Ball's 100% recyclable, 750ml PET wine bottles offer consumer convenience and weigh only 54 grams, providing savings through the supply chain. Ball is the only PET bottle manufacturer in North America to offer SIG PLASMAX, an ultra-thin, commercially proven, transparent, internal silicon oxide barrier coating technology that protects the wine inside the bottle and is easily removed during the PET recycling process.

Pepsi Redesigns Packaging

Lipton New Packaging PepsiCo. (PEP) announced the release of its lightest 16.9 fl oz bottle to date. The PET bottle will be used for flavored non-carbonated beverages like its Lipton Ice Tea, Tropicana juice drinks, Aquafina FlavorSplash and Aquafina Alive.

The new bottle features a twenty percent reduction in PET plastic which the company estimates will save twenty million pounds of waste.

In addition to the reduction in plastic the new bottles will also feature a ten percent reduction in label size and a five percent reduction in the shrink wrap filmed used to wrap 12-pack multi-packs of the products.

“The challenge was to deliver significantly lighter packaging that would provide the same shelf life as the heavier bottle, withstand the manufacturing and distribution process yet not compromise aesthetics,” said Robert Lewis, vice president of worldwide beverage packaging and equipment development, PepsiCo.

Pepsi's new bottle design was chosen from over thirty proposed designs in consumer testing conducted by the company. After the final design was established a team worked on making it the lightweight package soon to be available to consumers.

The new bottles are expected on store shelves this month.

Earthcycle Unveils New Sustainable Packaging Options

Earthcycle Palm Fiber Packaging Vancouver-based Earthcycle unveiled a new line of fresh produce packaging at the United Fresh Produce Show currently running in Las Vegas.

The new packaging is the result of feedback from clients looking for additional sizes of Earthcycle packaging.

Earthcycle makes certified compostable packaging from palm fiber. The packaging composts in less than 90 days according to the company.

Helped by acceptance from major U.S companies including Wal-Mart, Earthcycle packaging has made a major reduction in waste.  Earthcycle's palm fiber trays have replaced packaging that previously was exclusively dominated by plastics.

The latest Earthcycle packaging accommodates a wide range or fresh produce including apples, strawberries, eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes. Other sizes in the line can be used for bakery applications.

“We greatly value the feedback our loyal clients provide us,” says Shannon Boase, President and Founder of Earthcycle. “It allows Earthcycle to further progress and develop its popular line of sustainable packaging options with a variety of applications.”

Earthcycle Palm Fiber Packaging The raw fiber used in the production of Earthcycle is sourced from palm plantations in West Malaysia. The plantations the company sources from have been reviewed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). RSPO found Earthcycle's sources of raw materials have not replaced any primary forest nor converted any Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) for the purpose of palm oil production.

Expect to see the new Earthcycle packaging at major retailers, including Whole Foods, Safeway, Wal-Mart, Wegmans, Publix and Trader Joe's any time now.

Globe Guard Post Consumer Recycled Boxes

Globe Guard 100% Post-consumer recycled boxes

Salazar Packaging, a distributor of packaging materials and equipment with a focus on sustainable packaging, recently launched its own brand of corrugated boxes made from 100% post-consumer recycled content.  The new boxes are available in standard and custom sizes offering a cost effective option for businesses looking for 100% post consumer recycled corrugated boxes. 

"We are confident we will be able to make 100% recycled content boxes readily available at a reasonable price to any company that wants their packaging to be consistent with their green message and product," said Dennis Salazar, president of Salazar Packaging Inc. and a Sustainable is Good contributor.

"We have all seen a great, eco minded product wrapped in un-eco packaging, and inserted in an improperly sized un-eco box and filled with a very un-eco void fill," Salazar said.

Salzar Packaging is working with Cano Container Corporation to produce the Globe Guard line of boxes.  The recycled materials used in their production are primarily from local municipal waste Salazar said.

"We are incredibly excited about Globe Guard and see it as an important contribution to the sustainable packaging movement," said Salazar.

"Contrary to popular perception, corrugated boxes usually contain only 25-35% recycled material - or less. Now, high and low volume operations can use 100% PCW boxes and dramatically reduce their impact on the environment."

Besides contributing to a greener environment, Globe Guard boxes offer buyers another important benefit - affordability.  Unlike some packaging products engineered for sustainability, Globe Guard corrugated boxes do not sell at a premium.

Globe Guard 100% Post-consumer recycled boxes Purchasers of the new boxes will be able to notice and let their customers notice the sustainable difference.

The Globe Guard logo is printed on the bottom flap of each box, and Salazar Packaging is offering customers a variety of marketing materials and support to help them express their environmental message by showcasing Globe Guard on their web sites, newsletters, and brochures.

Salazar said, "Our customer's customers are the people driving the Green movement.  Shippers need to let customers know about their sustainable efforts.  Otherwise sellers will see more and more customers drift away to what they perceive as 'Greener pastures'.  We think it's vitally important to help our customers keep their customers informed."

We Love Jam: Small Company Finds Sustainable Packaging Solution

We Love Jam Biscotti A small San Francisco-based company, We Love Jam is using some creative sustainable packaging for a new series of products it has just added to its lineup.  We Love Jam makes a variety of high quality jams and pickled goods and has recently expanded its line to include biscotti.

The company was looking for a sustainable solution to offer single biscotti for sale in coffee shops and also for a box of nine biscotti customers could purchase.

Concerned about the environmental impact of their packaging, co-founder and president Eric Haeberli was looking for a biodegradable alternative to plastic. Running a two person company means hands on involvement in all aspects of packaging design. 

He found an ideal solution from a supplier making bags from a biodegradable Innovia film.  The compostable bags turned out to be the perfect solution to keep their products safe and fresh.  Made from sustainability harvested wood pulp the packaging can then be composted by the consumer where it will decompose

Haeberli also handled the design of the paperboard box the biscotti are sold in.  He licensed an image from an area artist and worked with a company in the area to design the box itself. 

The box is a custom box made by Tharco. It is made from 30-40% post consumer recycled material and took around six months to produce said Haeberli.

We Love Jam's biscotti packaging is a great example of how a small company can create sustainable packaging.

We Love Jam Biscotti We are often asked by small business owners for help in navigating the packaging industry. Too often they find resistance every step of the way from manufacturers due to low order volumes and often find themselves having to compromise on sustainability in order to get their packaging produced on time and within their budget.

Examples like We Love Jam show small businesses can succeed and produce high quality well designed packaging that meets their needs and satisfies their customers.

Primo Water Ingeo PLA Bottle

Primo Water North Carolina-based Primo Water launched earlier this month and becomes the only US bottled water company to use bio-based material for its singe serve 16.9 fl.oz bottles.

Now defunct, Colorado-based Biota used to be the only company in the US selling bottled water in PLA packaging.

Primo's water bottle is made from Ingeo PLA (formerly NatureWorks) from NatureWorks LLC. Ingeo is a corn-based bio-plastic. The single serve bottles are sold nationally in 18-count multi packs.

“We're proud to bring consumers a more environmentally-friendly bottled water,” said Billy Prim, CEO of Primo Water Corporation. “Not only does Primo give consumers the great taste, convenience, everyday price value and availability that they've been looking for in a bottled water, it also helps them to leave a better world for their children.”

Primo Water attracted attention earlier this year when it was featured in the green room of the first “green” Grammy awards in Los Angeles

Kraft Salad Dressing Packaging

Kraftsalad

Kraft Foods has revamped the packaging for its bottled salad dressings as part of an effort to revitalize the product line.  The new packaging has received a number of accolades from both industry and consumers.  Most recently winning an award at the DuPont sustainable packaging awards

Kraft's redesign allowed the company to spruce up the image of their salad dressings enhancing graphics and the overall design of the bottle.  The design changed from their triangular style bottle to a newer more sleek bottle that would appeal to consumers.  The new bottle is more ergonomically designed and sports clean fresh graphics adding a sense of excitement back into the line.

The new PET bottle weighs nearly 19 percent less than the previous version.  This reduction in weight increases shipping efficiency by nearly 20 percent and saves Kraft an estimated three millions pounds of PET a year.

The Chicago Tribune reported the new bottle required Kraft to significantly rework manufacturing lines at its salad dressing plants in Champaign and Garland, Texas.

Along with the redesign Kraft also reformulated all 50 existing flavors and introduced five new vinaigrette dressings.

PJ's Coffee Packaging

PJ's Coffee Late last year we reported on several well known US coffee brands switching to new packaging made by fres-co that contained a layer of PLA replacing some of the petroleum-based lining.

New Orleans-based PJ's Coffee now joins the list of companies using new packaging with a sustainable component to it. 

PJ's has a new bag from Sonoco that uses less materials than other bags on the market and offers great flexibility in terms of graphics and design.

PJ's is using the packaging for 26 SKUs of its whole bean coffee. The new bags feature a three layer structure composed of polyester, foil and a sealant.

The bags require 10 percent less material, use 15 percent less energy to produce and have 10 percent less carbon emissions compared to a standard four-ply bag structure.

“As a company, we are focused on sustaining the 'triple bottom line' demands of our customers: social responsibility, environmental stewardship and economics. The three-ply foil bag for the coffee segment is one example,” said Angela Adams, Sonoco Flexible Packaging segment manger.

The bags main sustainability claims are its efficient use of less resources according to the manufacturer.

Australian Scent Packaging

Australian Scent Australian Scent is a small natural skin care company based in Houston.  The company's all natural products are of high quality and appeal to a growing market of consumers interested in natural and organic skin care products. 

Australian Scent uses stock packaging for the majority of their product packaging.  The company is an excellent example of how careful creative use of stock packaging can come together to give a product line the look and feel of custom packaging. 

Company co-founder Megan Enriquez told Sustainable is Good she spends about 15-20% of her time on packaging both sourcing and researching.

“We use multiple companies, including some from California, Ohio, Idaho, Connecticut, Texas and New York, often getting the jar from one area and the lids from another,” said Enriquez. 

The majority of the packaging the company uses is glass and through careful work they have been able to develop a consistent feel to their products through the packaging. 

Sustainable is Good had the opportunity to examine a number of Australian Scent's products and packaging.  The products in the line work well together and the combination of frosted, clear and brown glass jars and bottles signify different types of products within the line.  The products are all drawn together by the consistency of the lid design

Australian Scent Always looking for new more efficient packaging options, Enriquez is confident as her company grows she'll be able to move into more sustainable packaging options eliminating the small amount of plastic they currently use.

Enriquez dislikes waste and the company encourages customers to return the glass packaging where it will be sterilized and reused.

Webextra LEARN  more about Australian Scent, read our story on their products on Sustainable is Good Products

Target Releases Statement on Archer Farms Cereal Packaging

Archer Farms CerealTarget is now ready to talk, several days after Sustainable is Good reported on Target's Archer Farms brand new cereal packaging the company has released a statement. 

When Sustainable is Good contacted Target through its NYC-based PR firm Kaplow last week they refused comment on the new packaging. 

The statement from Target was released late Wednesday afternoon and introduces the new packaging.  Offering few specific details, the statement highlights the consumer benefits of the new packaging design.  It does not address the materials used in the packaging or whether its recyclable.

The media strategy on this product launch quite frankly makes no sense especially considering the fact Kaplow, when asked repeatedly about the packaging last week refused comment.

Kaplow's reluctance to comment contradicts a statement on its own web site highlighting the fact they pride themselves in working with new media sources like bloggers. 

Kaplow says, ""We get directly to consumers when we blog for our clients and talk to bloggers. Our savvy discourse with these powerful new influencers inserts our clients into the most impactful conversations on the Web."

Based on this core principle of Kaplow's PR methods it remains unknown why Target or Kaplow couldn't provide comment on this packaging when asked just four business days ago. 

Prior reporting from other sources it would indicate that Target is responsible for the lack of comment.

How could a company so "with it" in so many ways refuse to acknowledge or speak with new media sources on exciting new packaging or products they themselves created? 

Does Target really think its customer base gets all their information from the 6pm news or the Sunday circulars?  There is a tremendous disconnect between Target's design and product development (which is very progressive and forward thinking) and its media/PR strategy - am I the only one that sees this? 

Come on guys your largest growing customer base of "guests" is the 35 and under age group - who get the majority of their information from non-traditional sources like the internet.  Your "guests," like your designs and product development are "with it" they shop at Target because the store provides cool unique well designed products are discount prices. 

Newsflash:  Target "guests" are some of the most frequent visitors to the Sustainable is Good sites.  Target products and new developments are the two things I am most frequently asked about by people. Your PR strategy is completely missing the boat - and its very frustrating.  Sites like Sustainable is Good are actually trying to help you but you won't talk. 

The release from Target reads as follows:

Target debuts its latest design innovation, the new Archer Farms® cereal canister packaging, which merges design, function, value and convenience all together for a refreshing approach to breakfast. A first for the breakfast cereal category, the new reclosable spout and lid design provides a facelift to traditional bag-in-box packaging.

Available exclusively at Target and SuperTarget, the affordably priced Archer Farms cereal canister features a reclosable easy-flow spout and snap-shut lid that allow for simple pouring and snacking. This innovative packaging ensures that cereal stays fresher longer, while eliminating stale or unused cereal. Oblong shaped and partially constructed from recycled paperboard, the cereal canister offers a slim design—10 inches tall by two and one and a half inches deep—that requires minimal kitchen cabinet space.

"At Target, we strive to bring great design to our guests, and the food category is no exception," says Greg Duppler, senior vice president, merchandising, Target. "With the new Archer Farms cereal canister, we offer an innovative, yet convenient, design that reinvents the way our guests experience breakfast."

The Archer Farms cereal canisters are available in 18 flavor combinations such as Triple Berry Clusters, Vanilla Spice Squares, Banana Walnut Bliss, Pecan Sticky Bun and Blueberry Flax, ranging in price from $3.49 - $3.99. Several flavor combinations contain organic and all natural products to offer delicious, yet better-for-you food options. The new Archer Farms cereal canisters will be available in April.

Created with the finest ingredients, Archer Farms is a premium and innovative food brand, providing guests with everything from elegant hors d’oeurves and gourmet spreads, to European-style baked goods and meals on-the-go. Delivering on its “Everyday Incredible” promise, Archer Farms combines the highest quality foods with affordable prices.

Sustainable Rotisserie Chicken Packaging

Hotnhandy

Robbie Manufacturing's Hot N Handy Rotisserie pouch packaging provides a much more sustainable solution to grocery store rotisserie packaging.  Most grocery stores, even Whole Foods Market offer rotisserie chicken in plastic rigid two-piece dome packaging.  The packaging is designed to be disposable generating a significant amount of waste for a one time use package.

The Hot N Handy packaging is a pouch style design and has many benefits like a handle for easy carrying, anti-fog window to showcase the chicken, resealable zipper for saving leftovers, microwave ability and the slim profile stores easily in the consumers refrigerator and behind the counter or in the storage room at retail and now sustainability.

Late last month the packaging was awarded the 2008 Gold Award in Environmental and Sustainability Achievement from the Flexible Packaging Association.   

The award recognizes how Robbie’s Hot N Handy Rotisserie Pouch provides the most advanced sustainable solution for rotisserie chicken packaging in the market today.  The manufacturing of the pouch (including raw materials) produces 85% less CO2 and uses 88% less crude oil than the rigid two-piece dome. Hot N Handy Pouches use 80% less packaging material than rigid containers and offers a 66% reduction in solid waste introduced into landfills.

Penny Sweeney with Robbie Manufacturing told Sustainable is Good the Hot N Handy packaging is currently in use in roughly 5,000 grocery and convenience stores across the country.  She said the company is working on replacing the dome packaging "store by store," but would not identify specific stores using the packaging citing concerns over competitors.

Murray's Chicken Packaging Changes Lead to Additional Resource Savings

Murrays Chicken

The new packaging from Murray's Chicken along with some size reductions to their master case have resulted in major resource savings for the company.  According to their estimates the changes will save 3,600 trees per year, reduce the equivalent to 12 full garbage truck per year of waste, remove the equivalent of 1,128,000 lbs of CO2 emissions per year (78 cars) and reduce solids waste by 455,670 pounds per year. 

The changes the company made are worth focusing on especially given the increased negative focus on foam food packaging across the country. 

Taking into account the fact more and more municipalities are likely to ban the use of foam food packaging - the changes Murray's Chicken made to its packaging are looking pretty good right now.

Target Archer Farms New Cereal Packaging

Archer Farms New Cereal Packaging

Kaplow, a PR Firm Handling the Archer Farms Brand for Target Refuses comment on the exciting new packaging

UPDATE:  4/15/08 - the packaging contains what appears to be an inner foil type liner - its unclear whether this impacts its ability to be recycled or what the material is.  We are hoping to get clarification on the design and materials from either the company producing the packaging or Target.  At this point very little is known about the packaging.

Minneapolis-based Target has introduced revolutionary new packaging for its Archer Farms natural and organic cereals, but won't talk about it.  The new packaging drastically changes the concept of a box of cereal.

Archer Farms cereals are now sold in rounded "streamlined" cereal boxes without the need for an inner plastic bag holding the cereal.  The new packaging also features an easy-flow spout and snap shut reclosable lid to maintain freshness.

The new packaging is made from 55% recycled material with 50% post-consumer content. 

Sustainable is Good
attempted to get information on Target's new eco-friendly packaging and was surprised to find the company refused comment and would not provide any information regarding the new innovative design. 

A representative from New York based Kaplow, a PR firm that handles Target's Archer Farms brand told Sustainable is Good by email, "Target does not work with trade publications, so I will not be able to provide you with the information you requested."

Archer Farms Cereal Target's response through Kaplow is quite surprising since Sustainable is Good is not in any way a trade publication.

Sustainable is Good provides information to a wide audience of people interested in more eco-friendly innovation and design.

However their response isn't entirely surprising since the retailer considers "bloggers" irrelevant as the New York Times reported in January. 

Why Target or Kaplow will not discuss the exciting new packaging they have created is unclear. 

A bit of free PR advice: Target and Kaplow its time to enter the current decade and recognize the "traditional" forms of media aren't the only ones out there.

Furthermore many consumers are interested in things like this, which is one of the main reasons we run this site and its generally a good idea to talk to your customers. 

The overwhelming majority of eco-conscious shoppers spend significant time online on sites like Sustainable is Good and others researching products and making buying decisions.

Besides the new packaging is just plain cool - people are interested in it, so why not talk about it?  Obviously the Archer Farms brand is doing some really innovative design - whats the point if you won't talk to consumers about it?

Hopefully in the near future we'll be able to provide some insight into the design and concept of this new packaging.

IBM Project Maple: Packaging Redesign for X Series Servers

IBM Project Maple Packaging IBM has been working on redesigning the packaging for its X Series Servers. The changes have resulted in environmentally friendly improvements throughout the supply chain.

The redesign project is called Project Maple and its goal is to ship the high powered computer servers using 100% recycled materials. The team involved in the project assessed the shipping carton, shipgroup tray, polybag and the thermoformed HDPE cushions used in the packaging.

The team motto is, "if you're not consuming recycled materials, you're not recycling," said IBM's Bob Sanders, Corporate Packaging Programs, Global
Logistics, IBM Integrated Supply Chain.

IBM's new HDPE cushions are particularly innovative Sanders said. They are nestable and when shipped the company can fit ten times the typical quantity on a forty foot truck. The savings from the new packaging equates to one-tenth the amount of consumed fuel and on-tenth the emissions released in transit.

The new cushion packaging is made from 100% post consumer recycled plastic material, including old milk jugs. Sanders said they provide excellent protection.

IBM is noticing significant environmental and cost savings from the Project Maple redesign.

As Sanders said, "...when you ship 74 million kilos of global airfreight annually – or the equivalent of seven fully loaded 747-400's each day – it adds up."

IBM HDPE Packaging


IBM X Server Packaging

Method Omop Starter Kit Bamboo Packaging

Omop_extra San Francisco-based Method has revamped the packaging for its popular Omop floor sweeper starter kit and Omop microfiber accessory pads.  The new packaging is a significant departure from current industry standards and a real attention grabber sitting on store shelves. 

Made specifically for Method from a combination of paper and bamboo the new brown packaging has an attractive unfinished quality to it - totally unique next to other products packaged in clear clamshells with bright labeling. 

The packaging has a minimal quality to it that alone provides it a creative advantage - you want to look at the packaging, touch it and find out what is in it.

The packaging is both compostable and recyclable (mixed paper) and its creation has an interesting story behind it.

The idea for the new design came out of a "Design Safari" a regular creative departure held internally among Method staff.  At the safaris staff members share examples of packaging or creative design they like and discuss it with their colleagues.

The new Omop starter kit packaging is compartmentalized.  Everything has its own place in a logical easy to open format (unlike many clamshells). 

Method's Katie Molinari told Sustainable is Good the internal layout of the packaging is a little like the experience of opening an Ipod box.  She is exactly right. 

Open the lid of the paper/bamboo packaging on the starter kit to find a bottle of the Omop cleaning solution and a microfiber pad nicely laid out in front of you.  Dig a little deeper to uncover the Omop unit itself.  So simple its actually rather elegant.

The Omop starter kit and microfiber accessory packaging are both made from the new paper/bamboo packaging  designed in-house by Method's design team.

The new packaging replaces the clamshell style packaging the product used before and began appearing in stores across the country last month.  Molinari said the Omop itself is basically the same as the earlier version with a few minor enhancements to its durability and functionality. 

Consumers will ultimately judge the effectiveness of the new paper/bamboo packaging but from a creative and design perspective its bold and ambitious - fitting well with Method's goals of continuing to green their packaging.

The packaging won the Institute of Packaging Professionals’ (IoPP) AmeriStar award. 

The newly designed packaging is available for both versions of the Omop and microfiber pads.

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Dyne-A-Pak Nature Bio-based Foam Meat Tray Packaging

Dyneapak

Dyne-A-Pak Nature is a new bio-based foam meat tray made from NatureWorks bioploymer, a non-petroleum based polymer.   

The new form of meat packaging is made from plants using 65% less fossil fuel energy in its production and generating fewer greenhouse gases, compared to conventional petroleum based polymers.

The company says their foam trays are comparable in density and performance to standard foam trays meaning meat producers or consumers should not see any tangible difference between the new packaging and traditional foam meat trays.

Webextra Read more about what companies are doing with foam meat trays - the Murrays Chicken new eco packaging completely eliminates the foam tray. 

Murray's Chicken New Eco-friendly Packaging Eliminates Foam Tray

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New York based Murray's Chicken announced an innovative new proprietary type of packaging for its fresh poultry products.  The more eco-friendly packaging is scheduled to debut to coincide with Earth Day, April 22.

Murray's becomes the first poultry company to eliminate the use of polystyrene foam trays which are a staple in pre-packaged fresh meat products in the U.S.  The non-recyclable #6 foam tray is commonly used in food packaged due to its low cost.  Millions of the trays end up in landfills each year in the U.S.

Murray's new form filled packaging was by developed by Reiser Equipment and printed by Winpack.  The freezer-safe packaging also features a proprietary leak-resistant seal - eliminating the need to wrap their meats in additional plastic shopping bags at checkout.

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Method Le Scrub & Lil' Bowl Blu Arrive in Stores

Method_lil San Francisco-based Method's two latest products are arriving in stores across the country this month.  Le Scrub and Lil' Bowl Blu mark the company's entrance into "deep cleaning" products and round out their line of bathroom products.

Featuring new distinctive packaging made from 25% recycled #2 HDPE plastic the products stand out on store shelves thanks to some clever and innovative design. 

The packaging was designed in house by Method's own design team and features a soft blue color to match the products spa inspired eucalyptus mint scent Method's Katie Molinari said. 

Le Scrub, a gentle abrasive cleaner gets its cleaning punch from finely milled marble contained in the product.  Le Scrub's packaging was designed to be highly functional with the top of the bottle serving as a storage place for the included microfiber cleaning pad.  Molinari said the bottle was designed to eliminate the all the too familiar problem of tossing a cleaning sponge under the sink after use and never finding it again.

Continue reading "Method Le Scrub & Lil' Bowl Blu Arrive in Stores" »

First Alert Phases Out PVC Packaging, Moves to Recyclable PET Plastic for Product Packaging

Firstalert

First Alert, a leading manufacturer of home safety products, announced it is phasing out the use of PVC plastics in its packaging in favor of the more recyclable #1 PET plastic. The change affects packaging for First Alert's extensive line of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

"This change is a direct result of First Alert's commitment to environmental sustainability," said Debbie Hanson, director of external affairs for BRK Brands/First Alert. "We are evaluating all aspects of our business to identify opportunities to reduce waste and conserve resources. PET plastics are easily recyclable, much more so than our previous plastic packaging, which was one of the primary reasons we made the change."

First Alert smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are packaged in clear plastic "clamshells," a packaging style popular with consumers because it allows them to see products before purchasing. Plastic clamshell packaging is commonly used with software, electronics and a wide variety of other consumer products. First Alert made the decision to switch from clamshells produced with PVC (polyvinyl chloride) to those produced with PET (polyethylene terephthalate) to increase the likelihood that its product packaging will be recycled, rather than being destined for landfills.

Hanson added that First Alert has also decreased the overall size of its smoke and CO alarm packaging in an effort to reduce the amount of resources used to package the company’s popular alarm products.

Continue reading " First Alert Phases Out PVC Packaging, Moves to Recyclable PET Plastic for Product Packaging" »

CleanWell Innovative Products and Packaging Lead to Success

Cleanwell

San Francisco-based CleanWell is a company that has developed a series of hand washes and hand sanitizers using a proprietary plant based natural formula called Ingenium.  The products are innovative because they kill 99.9% of germs without using the harsh chemicals found in their conventional counterparts.

CleanWell is using highly styled packaging along with its innovative product formulations to position its brand as one that is unique and appealing to consumers.  The packaging design both graphic and industrial is the result of a collaborative effort between CleanWell and IDEO said Guthrie Dolin, CleanWell’s Vice President, Brand. 

“Lead by CleanWell’s vision and creative direction, IDEO helped establish an overall look and feel which was then refined and implemented in-house.  CleanWell internal creative staff handle development and design of all corporate communications, marketing and sales collateral as well as the web sites,” said Dolin.

CleanWell’s antibacterial hand soaps are packaged in unique frosted colored PET bottles with pump tops.  The hand soap packaging feature a label which is easily removed allowing customers to re-use the bottle.  “CleanWell has the highest standards for the ingredients we use and maintain those expectations for the packaging that holds them,” said Dolin.

“The bottle treatment was inspired by a human-centric approach to design and development. In fact, the concept for the packaging came from insights gleaned in our early development work. We found many consumers made purchase decisions for hand soap based the appearance first (scent second) and how it may accent (or clash with) their décor and/or personal sense of style.  And since the sink counter in most kitchens and bathrooms highly visible, the more "garishly" designed labels, often covered in imagery and cluttered with marketing claims, were passed over or their contains was removed and placed into a secondary bottle "plain bottle" after purchase," said Dolin.

"With this in mind, we designed our labels with a low-tac adhesive for easy removal and maintained minimal branding/messaging on the base bottle. The bottle was frosted to appear more like glass then PET plastic, and project a more premium feel. We hope that the end result gives the customers a more considerate package and supports our efforts to deliver responsible products, both inside and out.”

Cleanwell_bottles

CleanWell products are available across the country in all Target stores and most Whole Food Markets as well as other specialty retailers. 

CleanWell is another example of a new eco-friendly brand Target has established a relationship with.  Stephanie Wolf of Waggener Edstrom, a PR firm working with CleanWell, told Sustainable is Good the company's relationship with Target stemmed from pre-existing relationships and has been a great fit so far.

New Products Coming

In the months ahead we can expect to see some new items added to CleanWell's product lineup. Additions include a new pocket sized re-sealable pouch for their hand sanitizing wipes and a new soap flavor, Spearmint Lime.  The company is also working on developing a mini sprayer as well as refills for their soap Dolin said.

Weleda Packaging

Weleda

German natural personal care products brand Weleda's motto is "In harmony with nature and the human being."  This philosophy is carried out in the company's brand identity and packaging.

The bright colorful packaging of Weleda's products stand out on store shelves.  The brand's use of vibrant colors corresponds with key ingredients in each product.  The colors of the packaging represent the natural color of ingredients used to make the product.  "Nature is vibrant, nature is beautiful thats what you see in the products," said Jennifer Barckley Director of Communications for Weleda USA.

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Sea Buckthorn Berries

The company's new Sea Buckthorn body cream and hand cream come in packaging with warm yellow's and oranges representing the color of the sea buckthorn berry.  The packaging of Weleda's Sea Buckthorn Body Lotion is particularly well done.  The company used a warm orange/yellow label with a creamy blue apothecary style glass bottle.  The Sea Buckthorn Body Lotion packaging is a good example of Weleda packaging.  The company uses mostly glass and aluminum tubes for its products instead of plastics.  Plastics are only used as closures or caps in most of their packaging.

Barckley said the packaging design is all done by Weleda's European office.  She said its not uncommon for the company to work with outside creative agencies on occasion for specific projects but that product packaging design is done in house. 

Milk Packaging Changing in the UK

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Milk packaging in the UK is changing.  Supermarket chain Waitrose this week began selling milk in plastic bags called Eco Paks.  The new milk packaging was tested in an in-store trial last year and based on consumers positive reaction to the trial the company decided to go ahead with a launch.

The supermarket said it will promote the new bags in more than fifty stores across the UK including several in London. 

The Eco Pak uses 75% less plastic than plastic milk bottles and consumers can buy a reusable jug to pour their milk into. 

Milk packaging in the US has remained for the most part traditional with companies using plastic, cartons or glass bottles.  It will be interesting to see if any major chains in the US begin to experiment with alternate more eco-friendly packaging for milk.

Published reports indicate that of the roughly nine billion plastic bottles sold in the UK only seven percent of them are recycled. 

Park City IceWater Flexible Pouch Packaging

Parkcity_icewater Utah-based Park City IceWater Company (formerly Wasatch IceWater Company) was recently mentioned by Plenty magazine for its "eco-friendly" packaging known as the "GlacierPak."  The proprietary packaging the company uses is a flexible pouch made by Ampac Packaging.  Park City claims its packaging is the answer to the "environmental issues of PET water bottles."

Ampac and Park City refer to the packaging as "recyclable" and environmentally friendly saying both its reduction of waste and of resources used in production are its primary benefits.  Citing statistics that show 77% of PET water bottles in the US (22 billion) end up in landfills annually the company says its packaging is better and because of its shape if landfilled it would occupy 96% less space compared to the traditional PET bottle.   

However, like other complex packaging solutions such as Tetra Pak it is unclear exactly how easily recyclable the GlacierPak packaging truly is here in the US where most municipal recycling facilities accept only blow molded PET and HDPE plastics.  In an ideal world or perhaps through the manufacturer the packaging may be recyclable however reality is far different.  Most communities still aren't accepting injection molded PET or HDPE or #5 PP for that matter.  Trying to recycle a GlacierPak made from PET, nylon and other materials with a polyethylene and silicone spout/closure is going to be next to impossible.

In a recent press release Park City said, "Park City IceWater is packed in flexible GlacierPak pouches rather than plastic bottles.  This environmentally friendly package consumes 96% less waste and requires 75% less energy to produce.  This revolutionary and innovative product is the 'Green' solution to the bottled water industry." 

Continue reading "Park City IceWater Flexible Pouch Packaging" »

Farmaesthetics

Farmaesthetics

Portsmouth, RI -based Farmaesthetics is a company focused on producing personal care beauty products of exceptionally high quality.  The company's use of traditional old school type packaging options along with a commitment to natural ingredients yield a truly sustainable product.

Farmaesthetics is the creation of Brenda Brock and began as line of products sold at a local organic farm stand in Rhode Island.  Now the products are sold in Estee Lauder's Origins stores across the country and online through Farmaesthetics directly.

Using glass bottles and tins which are increasingly uncommon forms of packaging these days the company is able to both preserve and protect their product withstanding the rigors of a national retail supply chain.    

Farmaesthetics packaging is unique as well has highly functional.  Using easily recyclable glass apothecary type bottles and tins the packaging is also sustainable.  Brock uses no plastic in her packaging except for the caps and pump mechanisms on some of the products.

As her company grew from a one person operation into one that needed to meet national supply chain requirements her packaging requirements changed dramatically.  She told Cosmetic/Personal Care Packaging that initially she encountered many challenges when she needed to expand her packaging options. 

Farm_nourishing Her story is an interesting one and underscores a problem in the sustainable packaging industry many smaller companies encounter.  Most manufacturers and distributors want to handle the entire packaging operation or want a certain volume in order to have a profitable arrangement with a company.  As a result distributors and manufacturers often try to steer companies into packaging options that they can offer regardless of sustainability.  This often leaves the business owner with a difficult choice, either compromise on sustainability or risk having a very difficult time securing packaging options.

Brock made very few compromises in her packaging choices.  Because of the relationship with Origins she had to be sure her packaging met their strict requirements.  Brock established relationships with O.Berk Co., Cape Bottle Co. and J.L. Clark to secure the various packaging configurations she felt her line needed.

Using glass bottles as her primary packaging Brock encountered a challenge finding pumps and sprayers that would consistently fit.  Due to the slight differences in each glass bottle most pump/sprayer mechanisms would not work.  She was able to benefit from her relationship with Origins to help secure the proper fittings that worked with glass bottles. 

Production has also changed as the line has grown.  Originally Brock made her products herself in her own kitchen.  "The core skincare line was successfully translated from our "kitchen" in RI to dermatologic lab in New England so that we could get FDA approval and testing for shelf life etc..., so that we could distribute professionally and internationally," said Tabitha Cooney Farmaesthetics Sales & Marketing Coordinator.

Farmaesthetics currently has 46 SKUs in their product line with more coming in the spring/summer of this year.  The company also makes additional items for their professional/salon line.  Origins carries 15 SKUs from Farmaesthetics in its stores across the country.

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Fred Natural Spring Water

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New York, NY - based Fred Brands producers of Fred bottled water announced a new packaging configuration last week designed at making their water easier to sell in new retail environments and markets.

Fred is an interesting brand as they have focused heavily on their image with younger consumers offering a trendzine called FredSpot and Myspace page to promote the bottled water line.   

The new packaging is a paperboard "six-pack" style package designed to hold six bottles of Fred water.  The packaging is made from recycled paperboard and is printed using Soy-based inks. 

The company says the packaging will offer consumers a new option in buying Fred water, one they believe is important to offer as they are expanding into new markets across the country.

Clorox Green Works

Clorox_greenworks

Oakland-based Clorox has been quite the hot topic of late within green circles with its recent acquisition of Burt's Bees.  The company most well known for producing bleach is working on crafting a greener image with consumers.  Using its strong brand recognition and fueled by tremendous growth and interest in greener more eco-friendly household products Clorox has introduced a new product line called Green Works.  Green Works combines the strong trustworthy image of "clean" the Clorox brand enjoys with new product formulations that are 99% natural. 

Green Works is made from plant-based ingredients derived from coconuts and lemon oil, one of the products in the line, the Glass & Surface Cleaner also uses corn-based ethanol.  The ingredients used in Green Works products are sustainable, non-allergenic and biodegradable. "We worked with our suppliers to ensure that they were providing natural, plant- or mineral-based raw materials and asked them to show us their entire supply chain to prove the ingredients were natural. What we have with Green Works products are cleaners with the most natural profile available in today's market: Our products are all at least 99 percent natural and we will not be satisfied until we can get our formulas to be 100 percent natural," said Suzanne Thompson, Vice President of Research & Development, Cleaning Division.   

All Green Works packaging is currently stock packaging according to Mary Seltzer with Ketchum, a PR firm handling the Green Works product line.  The packaging is easily recyclable.  Creative design for the packaging and labeling was done by Clorox's in-house design team. 

"Our brand marketing team wanted a label design that would create shelf-pop versus traditional cleaners and communicate the brand promise of powerful cleaning done naturally. We wanted something that was clean, simple and yet still powerful. Something that would stand out from what we typically see in the cleaning aisles, which is how we came up with the Gerbera Daisy design. The daisy is a visual icon for what Green Works is about. Natural, Simple and It Works."

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Why Do We Use So Much Stretch Film?

Pallet_wrap

Stretch film, made from various formulations of linear low density polyethylene film, is used just about everywhere to hold loads together on pallets. Since most of us do not see the palletized loads that move inside trucks and rail cars, it may surprise you to learn how much of this plastic film is being pumped into the waste stream.

Reliable industry figures are hard to come by, but a conservative estimate of U.S. stretch film capacity is something in excess of 1 billion pounds, which works out to approximately 8,333 rail cars of stretch film material. If those rail cars were passing you on the tracks at a clip of one car every three seconds, you'd have to wait seven hours for the entire train to pass.

Although U.S. annual consumption is not at full capacity, we are nevertheless dealing with a massive amount of plastic waste. What happens to it? Some of it is recycled, but most of it winds up in the garbage.

Why is stretch film so widely used? To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, stretch film is the worst form of pallet unitization except all the others that have been tried.

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Biodegradable Packaging for Wine Bottles

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San Francisco Chronicle Wine Editor Jon Bonne receives many samples of wine for review throughout the year.  Most of the wine is packaged using some form of Styrofoam to product the bottles and product.  He was surprised when a bottle of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc arrived packaged in biodegradable cornstarch-based packaging.

The New Zealand winery which is owned by Icon Wine Estates is beginning to use the new packaging on a limited basis.  The packaging is made from Green Cell foam, produced by KTM Industries of Lansing, Michigan and is distributed by American Canyon-based Packaging Plus. 

The corn-based packaging is made from the same type of material the increasingly popular corn-based packaging peanuts are made from.  The packaging is biodegradable and dissolves in water. 

Bonne was impressed with the new packaging and wondered why he wasn’t seeing it being used by more companies.  Cost is the major issue according to a piece Bonne wrote in Friday’s Chronicle a two bottle corn-based mailer costs about $5, compared to $1 for molded paper-pulp packaging and around $1.20 for petroleum-based foam.  “It may be a while before it hits the mainstream,” says Packaging Plus general manager Barry Salt.

via The Sipping News

How to Use Less Plastic Box Sealing Tape, or None at All

Packaging_tape

Plastic (normally polypropylene) box sealing tape is one of the most popular materials for sealing corrugated boxes. It is relatively inexpensive, easy to apply, durable, and holds up under a wide range of environmental conditions. For those reasons, plastic tape usage has grown steadily over the past three decades, replacing alternate carton closure materials such as paper tape, staples, cold melt glues, and hot melt glues. Today, however, concern about the environmental impact of plastic materials is causing packers to reevaluate their options. Here are the most promising avenues packers can explore to reduce or eliminate their plastic tape consumption.

Reduce

Automate. When plastic box sealing tape is applied manually, it is almost always over-applied. Packers perceive tape to be flimsy, so they tend to apply several long strips when a single, shorter one will do. In reality, most grades of plastic tape have outstanding holding and cross directional strength. Running boxes through an automatic case sealer ensures that a consistent length of tape is applied to the box every time, and that no more tape than necessary is used. Case sealers are available in random and adjustable modes to accommodate multiple box size or single size package flows.

Downsize. Again considering the strength of a quality plastic tape, packers can often reduce the thickness and width of their tape without sacrificing package integrity. The standard plastic tape put up is 2.0 mil thick, 48 mm wide. I have seen scores of applications which were successfully downsized to as low as 1.6 mil thick, 36mm wide. A 20% reduction in thickness and a 25% reduction in width make a significant difference in the amount of tape mass being introduced into the box recycling stream. Considering that about 50% of corrugated boxes are recycled in the US market, downsizing has enormous impact.

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ConAgra Wesson Oil Bag-in-Box Packaging

Wesson_oil_green_packagingthumb ConAgra Foodservice announced last week a new type of packaging for its Wesson Smart Choice Oil that is both environmentally friendly and offers some safety improvements over its existing 35-pound Jug-in-Box packaging for its oils.  The new packaging is aptly named Bag-in-Box.  It includes four built-in handles as well as a built-in spout, which is expected to make pouring easier and safer.

Bag-in-Box packaging offers two major environmental benefits using 66% less plastic than current traditional packaging and it takes up 36% less space in dumpsters when broken down.

360 Vodka

360_vodka What sets McCormick Distilling's 360 Vodka apart from other premium spirits is the entire brand's identity is based on sustainability.

Branding communications firm Sagon Phior handled 360's brand identity including its graphic and packaging design.  "The concept behind the bottle (85% recycled glass) and logo that adorns it (blown into the glass) is all about sustainability, represented by the idea of things coming full circle or 360 degrees," said Sagon Phior's Darren Tarlow.  "Every aspect of this brand and bottle were created to be as renewable as possible, because renewable things don't end like the finite, they continue indefinitely.  That is a very hopeful and fantastic kind of thought, the exact thought we wanted to imbue in 360," he said.

The 360 degree design philosophy is also apparent in the label which was designed to wrap completely around the bottle, unlike many other brands.  Sagon Phior has worked with New Leaf 100% PCW paper with a number of its clients and brought that option to McCormick Distilling's team for 360's label.  The company liked it and 360's label is made exclusively with New Leaf paper.

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Sainsbury's Tetra Pak FSC Certified Packaging

Tetra_sainburys Swedish packaging company Tetra Pak and UK food retailer Sainbury's announced the world's first Tetra Pak certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Sainbury's is the first supermarket in the world to stock the Tetra Recart packaged with FSC-certified wood fiber.  The packaging will initially be used for Sainbury's own private label Premium Chopped Tomatoes.  The tomatoes will have a two-year shelf life in the Recart packaging.

The companies said the new packaging will reassure "Sainbury's customers that the paperboard used comes from well-managed forests and controlled sources."

Additional benefits according to Tetra Pak are the package's rectangular shape which makes it highly efficient during transportation, storage and distribution using 33% less space than a can.

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Reducing Corrugated Consumption - 4 Ways to Get More From Less

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BY BRAD SHORR

Corrugated boxes are so widely used for shipping, most of us barely notice them. However, if your company uses corrugated, chances are you can use less of it. Here are four commonly used approaches to cutting back on corrugated. Not only do these options save trees and reduce cost, they have the potential to improve your packaging performance.

Use Lighter Board

The traditional standard for most corrugated containers is the Mullen test, which measures the bursting strength of the corrugated material used to make a particular box. Another standard now commonly in use is the Edge Crush Test (ECT), which measures a box's stacking strength. A box conforming to the ECT standard is comprised of less paperboard than its Mullen equivalent, yet depending on the application its performance may be equal or superior.

Consider a Bookfold

A bookfold , or one-piece folder, is a flat corrugated sheet with four scored flaps that wrap around the item(s) being packaged. Bookfolds are so called because they are widely used to package books, documents, posters, and other printed materials. But bookfolds are quite suitable for shipping most any type of products less than 4" in height . The sustainable advantage: bookfolds require far less corrugated board than a box designed for the same job. Functionally, bookfolds offer the advantage of wrapping tightly around the product, eliminating the need for void fill materials.

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EPIC Cleaning Products

Epic_cleaners_2 EPIC (Environmental Products for Important Causes) is a line of environmentally friendly cleaning products made by a small San Diego-based company.  The company's product line covers a variety of cleaning products and combines smart choices in stock packaging with well done graphic-design to appeal to its eco-conscious customers.

The company prides itself in using biodegradable ingredients in its products and donates 100% of its after tax profits to environmental charities.  Founder Noelle Morris comes from a background in the non-profit sector and decided to start EPIC after realizing she could use products to raise money to support charitable causes.  One example is her company's partnership with Save our Seas.

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Dani ECO Collection

Dani_eco Oregon-based Dani Bath has added new ECO products to its popular line of candles and diffusers.  The new products debuted last month and feature a number of eco-friendly characteristics including packaging made from NatureWorks PLA.

The new ECO pure soy candles feature cotton wicks and use 100% biodegradable soot free soy wax.  The candle's come in a small attractive glass container with a recyclable aluminum lid. After the candle is spent, the glass container can be cleaned with soap and water and reused as a glass, vase or simply recycled.

The food grade soy wax used in the candles is made from US soybeans and is pesticide & herbicide free.  The candles are 100% biodegradable containing to paraffin, petroleum or genetically modified materials.

The ECO natural reed diffuser oil also comes in a glass container and offers consumers a safe alternative to incense sticks.  The diffuser oil comes with natural reeds in the package and will distribute all natural fragrance throughout a room.   

Continue reading "Dani ECO Collection " »

Apple iLife 09 Packaging Design

Mac|Life Magazine is running an interesting piece on packaging design ideas for Apple iLife 09.  Three designers not connected with Apple were asked to present ideas for the packaging design.  The three different designs represent an fascinating view of the wide range of approaches/functionality packaging can provide a product. 

Apple is known for its modern minimal packaging design so it will be interesting to see their design for this product.

ROBIN DICK: Mac|Life Art Director
We’re going to call this one the “luxe model.” Robin’s case-within-a-case design doesn’t skimp on material, but nonetheless aims for a certain functionality in service of aesthetics. The recycled cardboard shell whispers environmental sympathies, while the colorful, action-packed belly band communicates all that iLife stands for. “It’s a simple, sleek, modern way of giving the consumer a permanent disc case, while duplicating the experience of opening a gift,” Robin says. “The contrast in materials adds a splash of color and vibrancy that attracts the eye.”

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dropps Laundry Detergent

Dropps Pennsylvania-based Cot'n Wash, Inc. makers of dropps laundry detergent are trying to capitalize on the intense interest in more eco-friendly mainstream laundry detergents.  The makers of dropps are marketing their product as one that saves significant amounts of water as well as plastic.

dropps is unique because it comes in dissolvable "toss-and-go" packs instead of liquid or powder format like many traditional detergents.  The packets are made from a polyvinyl alcohol cast film by Aicello.   

The company is making a push to get consumers to use its product as an eco-friendly alternative to even the concentrated laundry detergents on the market.  Recently concentrated laundry detergents have received a significant amount of attention due to major retailers like Wal-Mart making them a focus of their environmental initiatives.

According to Cot'n Wash, Inc. even 2X concentrated detergents are still 50% water and come in a bottle often not made from recycled plastic.  dropps products have no wasted water the company says as the dosage is pre-measured and all ingredients in the packs are "active".   

The company is also focusing on its packaging with a new clamshell style container made from lightweight recycled PET (RPET) plastic.  The new clamshell packaging is made by Placon

According to published reports, in January, Cot'n Wash switched to the clear, RPET clamshells, "because they are made from 100-percent recyclable packaging," says Jonathan Propper, Cot'n Wash president.  The new packaging is a major eco-friendly improvement over their original hanging clamshell packaging made of clear polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

"Our company is passionate about reducing the waste of both water and plastic, enabling consumers to make a small person contribution in minimizing their own impact on the environment," said Propper.

According to Placon's director of marketing and product development, Laura Stewart, Cot'n Wash selected the packaging for its 20-load and 1-oz trial-size packages from Placon's variety of stock clamshells.

dropps can be purchased at select Target, Wal-Mart, and Whole Foods Market stores or online at Amazon. The products are currently sold in 20-load and trial packaging in fresh scent and fragrance-free varieties.

dropps are biodegradable and NPE and phosphate-free.

Wonder Tablitz Packaging

Bluebottle Massachusetts-based Wonder Tablitz has released a new packaging design for its line of household cleaning products.  The new packaging incorporates a custom designed patented empty spray bottle sold with three concentrated tablets housed within the bottle's design.   

A consumer would drop one of the tablets in the bottle through a special refill cavity on the backside of the bottle and add water making a full 32oz bottle of household cleaner.

The packaging design is being pushed as sustainable by the company because it says the fact its products ship without any liquid in them significantly reduces their weight and in turn the carbon footprint of the shipping/transportation process. 

The company also says its products reduce plastic waste by 66% because they come with three tablets or enough cleaner to produce three full bottles of product vs. having to buy three individual bottles of another brand.

Wonder Tablitz is the creation of the Schultz family, makers of the popular Gonzo line of household stain removers.  The products are available to consumers through hardware stores, grocers and other specialty stores as well as the company's web site. 

The new bottle design is receiving a fair amount of attention within the packaging community being recently covered in Pack World and on the Dieline.

Aveda Men Pure-formance

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Pure-formance is a line of men's hair care products launched by Minnesota-based Aveda.  The line is unique and combines some of the company's best technology and innovation in its production and packaging. 

Aveda Men launched in July with seven hair care and styling products: Pure-formance Shampoo,  Conditioner, Composition, Grooming Cream, Grooming Clay, Liquid Pomade and Pomade.   

According to the company, each is formulated to suit men’s most important hair and scalp needs for maximum health, well-being, ease of use, and style.  The line is marketed as a series of products appealing to men's desires for both a healthy product and an environmentally responsible one.

Aveda_shampoo Aveda Men takes on a new, edgy, masculine look with package design that is innovative, easy-to use and environmentally responsible.  Pure-formance Shampoo, Conditioner and Liquid Pomade are packaged in an industry-leading 95% post-consumer recycled HDPE (high density polyethylene).  Pure-formance™ Composition, Grooming Clay and Pomade are packaged in a carton made from 55% post-consumer recycled paper, printed with soy ink.  Pure-formance Grooming Cream is packaged in a tube made from 35% post-consumer recycled HDPE

We found Aveda's new men's line to be one of the best we've seen.  Several of our contributors examined products and packaging from the line and commented on the high quality and effectiveness of the product and the innovative unique nature of the packaging.  The shampoo and conditioner packaging are made from 95% post-consumer recycled HDPE plastic, which is impressive by any standards.  The design and shape of the bottles are well done, easy to use and highly effective.

Aveda Men is manufactured in Aveda’s primary manufacturing facility in Blaine, Minnesota, which now offsets 100% of its electric usage with certified wind energy.

Uncle Ben's Reduces Glass Packaging

Unclebenssisg Uncle Ben's UK division owned by Mars has recently launched a new glass bottle for its sauces.  The launch of the bottles follow a trial testing period and are supported by the Waste & Resources Action Program (WRAP) which is a UK government supported program focusing on the reduction of waste.

Published reports indicate Mars was able to reduce the weight of Uncle Ben's sauce jars by 6% which will save 450 tons of glass per year or 1,215 tons of CO2 emissions.

After initial testing and trials working with glass manufacturer, Ardagh Glass in The Netherlands, Mars set out to reduce the weight of its 258g ambient sauce jar.

Frieda Sporen, Mars’ packaging innovations manager, said: “This project, which saw close co-operation between our factory and our glass manufacturer, managed to reduce the weight of the jar to 243g.

“Crucially, the new jar can be manufactured smoothly on our existing production lines. It has meant the creation of new molds by our glass supplier and involved the slight increase in the diameter of the label recess area to create a smoother design, coupled with a slight reduction in the height of the jar. Together these innovations have delivered the lighter jar.”

Production of 30 million jars a year of Uncle Ben’s sauces will now switch to the new lightweight jar at the Mars factory in the Netherlands.

Mars recent achievement with its Uncle Ben’s sauce jar follows similar success in the reduction of the weight of its 500g Dolmio sauce jar last year.

Target Archer Farms Packaging FSC Certified


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UPDATE:   See our latest story on Archer Farms new innovative cereal packaging

Target Stores Archer Farms brand has recently released new paperboard packaging that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

The new packaging was noticed by one of our contributors at a local Target store.  The packaging is appearing on select Archer Farms Organic product lines.  We found the packaging for the entire line of Archer Farms Organic cookies (Key Lime White Chocolate pictured) carrying both the FSC Mixed Sources logo and the Green-e logo.

Archerfscsisg_3 According to Target's 2007 Corporate Responsibility Report, "In 2007, select Archer Farms Organic product lines will convert to a paperboard manufacturer that uses 100 percent wind power. Additionally, this paperboard and manufacturer are certified with the Forest Stewardship Council."

San Francisco-based Michael Osborne Design (MOD) redesigned Archer Farms packaging several years ago.  The redesign featured a French country theme and allowed Target to position its Archer Farms brand as their "premium" store brand and introduce a more basic Target store brand of food items.

It is unknown what other products in the Archer Farms Organic line have the new FSC/Green-e paperboard packaging or who is producing the packaging.  Target did not respond to multiple inquires by Sustainable is Good.

FSC/Green-e certified packaging on a store brand product is rare and could signify an increased interest from Target in more sustainable packaging.  Previously Sustainable is Good reported on Target's efforts to reduce PVC from the packaging of products in its stores.

Chiquita Fresh & Ready Banana Packaging

Landecsisg Apio, Inc., a subsidiary of Landec has expanded its joint technology license and supply agreement with Chiquita, providing Chiquita use of Landec's patented BreatheWay packaging technology for Chiquita bananas.

Chiquita is the first commercial partner for Apio with initial product sales to food service customers under the Chiquita To Go™ label.

Chiquita is testing Breatheway technology in retail grocery stores in Breatheway consumer packs sold as Chiquita Fresh & Ready.  The Fresh & Ready bananas come in packages of 3 and cost nearly twice as much as loose open air Chiquita bananas. 

According to the company, Breatheway technology packaging extends the shelf life of bananas by 7 days.

The agreement between the companies also includes a new exclusive license for Chiquita to use Landec's BreatheWay packaging technology for avocados

The U.S. banana industry represents over $4 billion in annual purchases by consumers

Blue Q Packaging Design

Blueqsisg Blue Q is a western Massachusetts-based company that makes a wide array of unique gift and personal care items.  The company approaches the marketplace from a different perspective combining the gift and personal care industries.

Blue Q is a company whose packaging concept is worthy of a closer look.  While many companies spend the majority of their packaging budgets on developing custom packaging, Blue Q focuses on the graphic design and artwork in its packaging design, often opting for stock packaging for the physical containers. 

The company works with some of the world's best and up and coming artists and graphic designers and considers their work vital to the success of the brand.

Blue Q is reminiscent in some ways of Japan's MUJI.  Many of Japan's most influential designers work for MUJI however it is not publicly known who designs individual items.  The result being great interest in the brand as a whole.

Blue Q is similar as they go to great lengths to source design talent.  Blue Q's Trevor Ward told Sustainable is Good it is company policy not to disclose who designed the artwork for individual product's packaging.

"Indeed we place a high premium on design – uncovering new artists, nurturing their talents, growing their involvement with Blue Q and perhaps other projects in our catalog outside of one category," said Ward. 

"Mitch (Mitch Nash, Blue Q co-founder) spends many hours on this cultivation – much like a formulator or a manufacturer, a designer is a vital asset and we consider their contributions to be proprietary and not available for general consumption.  An artist is a valuable and limited resource."

In the design community it is known Vinnie D'Angelo, Fiona Hewitt, Alexander Isley, Michael Mabry, Modern Dog, Haley Johnson, Laurie Haisley, Stefan Sagmeister,  Ray Fenwick, Methane Studios, Louise Fili and others have all done design work for Blue Q. 

"We don’t swear designers to secrecy so they are free to submit and discuss their work at their own discretion," said Ward.

CNN Money reported on Blue Q's unique strategy of incorporating top notch design talent into its brand identity.  Blue Q treats designers like "movie stars, offering them a percentage of sales, which attracts talent without breaking the bank."

An example of Blue Q's superior packaging artwork is their new Get Real line of personal care products first launched in early 2006.  "The design inspiration comes from fruit crate art.  The designer is a fanatic for authenticity and research," said Ward.

The line's artwork carries the product.  For example, the Get Real Sunflower Hand & Body Lotion is packaged in a stock HDPE #2 container with a cap perfectly matched to the striking artwork on the label.

Blue Q products are available online through their web site as well as a large group of unique specialty gift type stores and Whole Foods.

Napco ECOtray Sustainable CD/DVD Packaging

Ecotraysisg North Carolina-based Napco specializes in design and manufacturing of packaging for the entertainment industry.  The company has developed a new product called ECOtray CD and DVD packaging made from 100% recycled pulp paper.

The company claims ECOtray is one of the most environmentally friendly packaging solutions available in its category it also provides excellent performance for disc retention and is compatible with some automated packaging systems.

The company says the ECOtray's FIBERlok hub is responsible for offering superior disc retention.  The hub can also withstand collapsing or breaking and continuous use even in warm and humid climates.

Among the ECOtray's other attributes, the highly sophisticated fine pulp molding process used in manufacture provides the tray with an extra-smooth finish and consistent shape and form for optimized disc packaging automation.  A specialized surface sealing process prevents paper fibers from lifting so that the discs remain clean and completely protected from any scratching or abrasion.

The tray is made primarily of a combination of post consumer paperboard along with some recycled corrugated box material, making the ECOtray the perfect combination of fully recycled materials balanced to offer the right amount of rigidity with enough flexibility to provide solid overall performance.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Launches New Packaging for Newman's Own Organics and Single Origin Coffee Lines

 

Gmcrnoosisg_4 Vermont-based Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) recently introduced new packaging for its popular Newman's Own Organics line of coffees.  The new packaging features both structural and cosmetic improvements in the coffee bag.

GMCR is using new coffee bag technology from industry leader fres-co.  Like the bag Sustainable is Good reported Jim's Organic Coffee is using (also made by fres-co), the new Newman's Own Organics bag contains an inner layer of 19.4% PLA - a NatureWorks polymer made from corn.  GMCR said, "The introduction of PLA helps reduce the environmental impact of the packaging while maintaining the necessary barriers to moisture and light that keep the coffee at its freshest."

The bag uses fres-co's Corner Seal technology which allows the packaging to maintain a crisp shape on the store shelf and increases the amount of visible printable surface for graphics.  "The deeper, shorter bag fits better on the shelf and has increased functionality for both shipping and displaying."

The graphic design on the new packaging has been completely reworked to give the coffee bags a premium look.  "The bags' premium look and rich copper color are a reflection of the high quality coffee within," the company said.  Graphic design for the new packaging was done by GMCR own design department. 

Nell Newman, president of Newman's Own Organics said, "I love the look of the new packaging and think it will draw more coffee devotees to our products so they can experience what a distinctive and varied selection of coffees we have.  The packaging is an expression of the care and attention that Green Mountain Coffee Roasters puts into sourcing and roasting these coffees for us."

The new Newman's Own Organics coffee packaging is currently available to consumers across the country.

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GMCR has also created new packaging its own premium Single Origins line of coffees.  The new packaging will also incorporate the 19.4% PLA lining.  The graphic design for this line has also been updated to reflect the change, vaguely resembling the Newman's packaging without the metallic look to it.   

The new Single Origins packaging is being sold to into stores now and should be more widely distributed in the Jan/Feb time frame according to Sandy Yusen, Director of Public Relations for GMCR. 

When asked whether we could expect to see similar changes to the packaging of other GMRC brand coffees, Yusen said, "We are looking at other ways to make our packaging materials more environmentally friendly and hope to incorporate these innovations into other products in our line."

Pangea Organics Packaging

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Colorado-based Pangea Organics made a noticeable splash in the natural cosmetics/bodycare market about two years ago with its new brand identity.  Collaborating with internationally-acclaimed branding firm IDEO, Pangea focused on packaging to accompany the high quality organic products it produces.

Much in the same way Aveda has worked to transform its packaging, Pangea operates with the added benefits of independence.  Today Pangea's now highly acclaimed molded fiber packaging and brown apothecary style bottles have allowed the brand the ability to shape its own identity and customer base.

Pangea's molded fiber clamshell and boxing for its facial care products have an industrial look to them that stands out on the shelf.  The packaging's minimalist style is what makes it stand out.  To the touch the packaging feels like a rough industrial piece of linen.  All of these elements visual and sensory  combine to make a noticeable design. 

Success on the shelf is the number one goal of packaging and Pangea has this element down to a science. 

Staying ahead of the curve is important for any brand and Pangea's focus on its branding image was right on the mark.  The apothecary style glass and plastic bottles it uses for some of its products is at the height of fashion these days.  Interior designers scour flea markets looking for old apothecary bottles for clients - Pangea offers them as part of their brand allowing the products to fit into even the most discriminating customer's home decor.  Cosmetic/bodycare packaging can be fashionable.

The company's #2 HDPE brown plastic bottles are screen printed rather than using labels.

The challenge of new interesting packaging design coupled with the need to protect the contents of the package was something Pangea approached with great care.

On the molded fiber box packaging Pangea worked with UFP Technologies, Inc. a leading manufacturer of custom engineered packaging materials based in Georgetown, MA. 

Before Pangea, molded fiber packaging was commonly used as an inexpensive effective custom protective packaging solution for electronics, consumer goods and items in glass like wine.

In collaboration with UFP Technologies, Pangea created a 100% compostable, biodegradable and plantable package that loosely resembles an egg crate.  In fact the technology used in drying the newspaper and water mixture is from the egg crate industry.  Its biodegradable and reusable properties make it a viable option in sustaining the environment which was a core element in the concept design.   

Pangeapacksisg The packaging is manufactured with zero waste at UFP's molded fiber division in Clinton, Iowa and created from 100% post-consumer newsprint-without glues and dyes.   

Always looking to be unique Pangea wanted to embed medicinal herb seeds in the molded fiber paperboard.  Consumers can grow medicinal herbs by soaking the box for one minute and planting it in about 1” deep of soil.  The whole concept revolves around the idea of packaging having multiple uses and its life cycle continuing beyond its initial purpose.

All of Pangea’s bar soaps, as well as its entire skin care line will be packaged in the seeded boxes. Bar soaps will contain Amaranth seeds while facial care packages will contain edible Genovese Sweet Basil seeds.

Today Pangea is working with Behrman Communcations who specialize in creative, strategic brand building.  Looking forward to seeing what Pangea's next move is.

Sustainable Sourcing's HimalaSalt Focused on Packaging

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HimalaSalt is a product line of primordial Himalayan sea salt produced and distributed by Massachusetts-based Sustainable Sourcing LLC.  The line features the "purest salt on earth," pink Himalayan sea salt with no additives.  The company focuses on what it calls "ethical sourcing" and prides itself on its sustainable packaging.

Sustainable Sourcing's founder Melissa Kushi has focused a great deal of attention on the packaging for the line that includes coarse salt, two different filled salt grinders and pre-ground finer table salt among others.  "All packaging is either 100% recycled, recyclable, refillable or reusable," said Kushi. 

The company's operations run off 100% Green-e certified wind power and all the product's packaging carry the Green-e certified logo.

The products are of high quality there is no question.  Kushi has gone to great lengths to source free trade ethically sourced products like the Himalayan salt.

The company sells two sizes of grinders with its coarse salt, both are refillable and will remain in the buyer's kitchen for years of use. 

The larger salt grinder uses ceramic blades and according to the company is, "100% climate-neutral made by wind power and Green-e certified through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation."  It is this focus on reuseability and responsible production that makes the product and packaging appealing to a wide segment of the market.

Himalasaltgiftsisg Kushi has just released a Sustainable Sourcing Organics Gift Kit, containing an assortment of salt and Fair Trade Green peppercorns from the tropical hill forests of India. 

The packaging for the new kits is different from her line of salts.  The kits come in an open wooden box with wood certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and are wrapped in a shrink wrap made from EarthFirst PLA.   

SFI is one of the most recognized wood/paper certifications along with the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC).  Despite its recognition, SFI has faced criticism from groups who feel it is too closely aligned with the logging industry.  Nevertheless, the organization certifies wood and paper producers following its own set criteria.  Certified producers then can use its name and logo with their products.

The shrink wrap film used to seal the gift packs is made from EarthFirst PLA film which is made with NatureWorks Polymer.  The biodegradable film is made from corn and has properties similar to the traditional petroleum-based plastic films it replaces.  Because of this fact it is beginning to see increased use in both the retail and food service sectors. 

EarthFirst PLA is compostable and has been used for a variety of packaging solutions including the film over wrap of Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth DVD.

Himalasalt is available at Whole Foods and other retailers. 

Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface Daily Sanitizing Spray

Clorox_anywhere When Oakland-based Clorox came out with their new Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface daily sanitizing spray I was impressed.  This product was a big step for the staple cleaning brand.  Known as a more conservative traditional type brand this new spray represented a change for the company.

Clorox along with other brands is facing increased competition from among others Method, based just a few miles across the bay in San Francisco.  Method is offering consumers what it considers more environmentally sound products and then placing strong emphasis on packaging design.

I think the new Clorox Anywhere is a responsible product and a perfect example not only of how a company like Clorox can react to a company like Method, but also an example of how a company can look within a highly successful brand like Clorox bleach and reformulate, producing a product that doesn't alienate its loyal customers but is also much more responsible and practical environmentally.

I've seen others in the green community have criticized Clorox Anywhere as "just bleach and water" and overpriced etc.  I disagree.  While yes the product is made of water and a tiny amount of bleach - what Clorox has done is provided the consumer with the smallest amount possible of bleach necessary for the product to be effective at its mission - disinfecting.  I would much rather have a consumer use a product like this than something which is way overkill for the job.  And most mainstream products on the market today are just that.

The product contains .0095% Sodium Hypochlorite (bleach) and water.  The company has taken the guess work out of making an effective disinfectant. 

Packaging Design

The product's packaging is quite impressive.  The design of the packaging was done by Buenos Aires-based Tridimage and was custom produced by ALPLA in Georgia for Clorox.  The bottle is a custom made HDPE #2 bottle.

The design had two main goals according to Clorox's Vicki Friedman, "comfort of use and aesthetics."  "First, the design is an ergonomically designed bottle, created to be comfortable for the consumer to use, even with frequent application," said Friedman.

The second area the design team addressed, aesthetics, focused on what Friedman said was a common concern they hear from consumers.  "Cleaning product packaging is generally not attractive enough to want to leave out."  Sound familiar?  It should this is one of the key concepts behind Method's packaging design - their idea was to make cleaning products packaging more pleasing for consumers.  Its very interesting to hear this was a key concern for Clorox and one their placed enough importance on to contact them.

Friedman said, "Because Clorox Anywhere spray is a great solution for daily sanitizing, and is gentle enough to use around kids, food and pets, they wanted a package that was attractive enough to leave out on the counter.  As a result, the package was also given an elegant look." 

I agree, the packaging on this product is close to revolutionary for a company like Clorox.  It stands out on the shelf, its elegant and works well with the product.   Friedman said graphic design on the packaging was done in-house using the Clorox Creative Services department.

I think Clorox hit a home run on this product from all aspects: environmental, packaging, design, and effectiveness.    It will be interesting to see if they continue to develop custom packaging and work on offering consumers reformulated versions of some of their other products.

LG Electronics Recognized for Packaging Waste Reduction

Lg Korean electronics maker LG was recently rewarded for excellence in its packaging waste management at Packaging Magazine's Packaging Evolution Awards.

LG was recognized for taking responsibility beyond disposing of packaging effectively.  LG demonstrated its commitment to conserving resources and facilitating the re-use and recycling of used packaging materials.

Some of the areas LG was specifically recognized for were; design - developing cardboard pallets to replace traditional wood pallets. 

Recycling the company initiated a 2010 recycling plan which includes utilizing packaging designs and materials with disposal and recycling characteristics.  Reusing cardboard and recycled packaging materials within LG's spare parts division; forging relationships with organizations who accept packaging waste for re-use and recycling. 

According to published reports LG has also invested in a new packaging process through Eco-design, reducing waste by up to 10% this year.  Eco-design continuously improves the recycling system in LG electronics by up to 60%.

The company has also made a commitment to education, encouraging staff to support recycling programs displaying the recycling logo on products and manuals to promote recycling to consumers, communicating LGs commitment to reducing waste to retail clients through the trade function.

LG stated that the company hopes to influence others to review their packaging in terms of saving resources, using recycled materials and minimalizing landfill.

Innocent Debuts "world's first 100% recycled plastic bottle"

Innocentsisg Innocent Drinks becomes the second UK beverage maker in the last week with a major packaging announcement. 

"We’ve become the first company in the world to put our drinks into 100% recycled plastic bottles," the company said.  Innocent is using rPET in its new bottles which are currently available to consumers.  Four of the company's drinks are available now in the rPET bottles, the rest of their product line will be available in rPET by January.

Innocent's announcement follows a similar one last week from rival Ribena

“We’ve always been a business that has taken our environmental impact seriously, and this move to 100% recycled content in our bottles is extremely exciting. Not only is it a world first, but it means that next year innocent will be saving over one thousand tonnes of C02 which is great news for the planet," the company said.

Ujeans Custom Fit Socially Responsible Jeans

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01/23/08 EDITORS NOTE:

Update our test pair of Ujeans jeans arrived after over four months.  We will be posting a follow up to our original posting after we've had a chance to check out the jeans.

12/19/07:

Readers should be aware that as of 12/19 we have not received our test pair of jeans from Ujeans to finish this review we began on 9/15/07.  We were under the impression the jeans would be back within 6-8 weeks after we sent them in on 9/15/07.  The company founder Daniel Feuer emailed me two weeks ago (after repeated attempts at contact by me) indicating he was having production and customs problems and that those issues should be resolved and we along with other paying customers should be getting our jeans in the very near future.  Since publishing this story we have been contacted by several customers of Ujeans - who are experiencing similar problems and not getting responses from the company.  PLEASE NOTE:  We are in no way affiliated with this company and are simply conducting a product review as we do with numerous other products.  If and when the jeans do arrive to our product tester - we will finish our review as we had intended on doing three months ago. 

Canadian jeans company UJeans offers consumers a custom fitted pair of jeans.  "Our jeans are designed by our customers and are made-to-measure so they are guaranteed to fit.  The jeans are also environmentally and socially responsible," said Daniel Feuer UJeans President. 

Sustainable is Good is going through the process of getting a pair of UJeans.  Buying Ujeans is quite different from going to a retail store like most are accustomed to doing.

Ujeans sells direct to consumers through the internet.  Interested consumers register on the site and Ujeans sends a detailed instruction guide via email.  The consumer needs to have a tailors tape at home in order to complete the measurements.   

You can send a pair of UJeans to someone as a gift as well.  If you choose this option the receiver gets a measuring kit and CD along with a gift certificate card from UJeans.

Ujeanssisg The kit arrives in a mailer made from reclaimed denim and can be reused by the consumer.  Inside is a metal CD sized box containing a measuring tape and instructions on CD.  "The denim bag has been used for a make-up bag, pencil case and even a sleeping bag for a stuffed animal," said Feuer UJeans.

Following the instructions a consumer takes detailed measurements of their body.  You'll need the help of the another person to take the measurements.  We went through the process last week.  The measurements are specific and the instructions tell you exactly how to take them accurately.

After the consumer has the measurements they would visit the UJeans web site and enter the measurements online along with a whole host of choices regarding color and style.  The jeans are then custom made and sent directly to the consumer in about 4-6 weeks.

Sustainable is Good sent in measurements for one of our testers last week and will report on the jeans when they arrive.

Ujeans have a number of socially responsible eco-friendly elements to them.  The cotton used to make the jeans is sourced from the Pakistan Sustainable Cotton Initiative which focuses on conserving water resources.  The cotton is not organic.  The company uses natural minerals and enzymes in their dying process and does not use chemicals like chlorine bleach, formaldehyde or azo. 

The packaging Ujeans uses is made from reclaimed denim from their production process.  They have found the denim mailer to be not only unique but durable and able to withstand the shipping process.

When our test pair of jeans arrives we will provide an update on the product and process.

Amcor Compostable Produce Packaging Debuts in UK


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UK grocer Sainsbury’s and its potato packer Greenvale are the first to commercially launch Amcor NaturePlus’ heat-seal Materbi VFFS film within the fresh produce sector on their SO Organic Baby Salad Potatoes, 750g.

This launch is part of the environmental plan set out by Sainsbury’s in September 2006, where it vowed to change traditional packaging across its SO organic food lines to use more environmentally friendly compostable packaging.

The Amcor NaturePlus heat-seal Materbi film is manufactured from renewable materials and is fully compostable. The 40 micron co-extruded material is produced at Amcor’s extrusion site in Ilkeston in the UK and is then printed and converted at AF Ledbury.

The packaging film could have major implications for fresh produce and other grocery items currently packed in plastic packaging.

Jim's Organic Coffee Greens its Coffee Packaging

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Massachusetts-based Jim's Organic Coffee has introduced a new greener coffee bag made by fres-co.

The new 12 oz. bag will serve as the company's consumer retail packaging and incorporates green components never before used in a coffee bag. 

The bag is the result of efforts by fres-co to produce a coffee bag that retains the ability to keep coffee fresh while using greener components.  The new bag is the first generation of a coffee bag made with renewable resources on the concept of working to replace petroleum-based components in its old coffee bag with renewable ones.

Jim's Organic Coffee is the first coffee company using polylactide (PLA) resin in its bag.  The new bags are made of 19% PLA used in a layer that replaces 48-gauge polyester in the old bag.  The PLA used in the bag is from NatureWorks LLC, a stand-alone company owned by Cargill.

Made by fres-co, who makes coffee bags for a number of major brands, the bags are a major step towards the development of a green coffee bag. 

Jim Cannell, founder of Jim's Organic Coffee told Sustainable is Good, "Any way we can move in a more sustainable direction without compromising quality is always a good thing.  For us, this comes from simply asking our vendors what is new and, in this case, it was something a vendor had been working on for about a year."

"The rest of the bag is a foil laminate (plastic and aluminum foil).  We have always felt that the greatest justice we can do for the organic movement is to provide great coffee.  These are the best way to bag coffee if it is to stay fresh," Cannell said.

Cannell looks at the larger picture when assessing the greenness of his packaging. "If higher quality coffee moves people to purchase more organic then, yes, we consider it green," he said.

Jim's Organic Coffee's new packaging also received a face lift from well known graphic designer Edgar Stewart.   Stewart's work is no stranger to packaging he's done work for Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and Nantucket Nectars Juice among others.

"Edgar Stewart did the design working with my pictures and experiences," said Cannell.  The graphic design works well with fres-co's matte finish select finishing which helps present the graphics in a unique and aesthetically pleasing fashion. The layout of the graphic design is also well done with the trail of steam from the coffee cup on the front of the bag ending right at the bag's one-way valve.

Jim's Organic Coffee's new packaging is currently available, the company sells direct to consumers through its web site.  Its products are also available through a number of retailers and restaurants.

The new bags carry text on the bottom identifying their greenness, "This bag is the first generation of sealed, stay fresh coffee bags to include renewable resources in its design.

Pet Food Maker The Honest Kitchen Unveils New Eco Packaging

The Honest Kitchen's New Packaging

San Diego-based Pet food maker The Honest Kitchen, known for its human grade pet food has completely revamped its packaging and graphic design.

The company's new packaging solution is sensitive to the environment, safe and protective for its food-grade contents, re-sealable, economical and also visually appealing.

The new packaging reduces materials usage and waste with a fine, recyclable 'minimalist' and unprinted barrier bag that efficiently protects the food inside. The bag is fitted with a fold-down coffee tie to keep the food fresh after opening.

That bag is enclosed in a 100% recycled box made from unbleached kraft paperboard. The box is printed with soy-based inks and the finished product is 100% biodegradable or recyclable again after its use.

The packaging also debuts the company's new graphic design.  The look-and-feel of the new packaging is fresh and vibrant with a strong organic influence, and graced with the company's newly face-lifted logo. The packaging is designed to be customer-centric, with a slightly quirky feel.

Lucy Postins, the Honest Kitchen's director of marketing told Sustainable is Good their graphic design was done by San Diego-based Jen Cadam.  "Jen does all our design," said Postins.

The new packaging will debut next week in Las Vegas at the pet industry trade show Superzoo.

Consumers should see the new packaging on retail shelves by the end of October.   "They are on the press right now and we just have to use up our existing supplies of old packaging before we start using them," Postins said.

Sustainable Security Packaging

Securesalesisg Secure Sales Solutions has created a series of what it calls "environmentally sustainable" solutions for retail security packaging.

The packaging would be used for video games, DVDs, CDs and other similar retail items.  The company calls the packaging recyclable polypropylene and says the plastic is molded with patented dissipation agents for quick landfill breakdown and microorganism absorption.

Secure Sales Solutions says their packaging is an efficient low cost security packaging and encourages responsible consumer disposal through easy recycling.  The company  says the additives it uses do not contain any heavy metals, are non ecotoxic and accelerate the rate at which common plastics degrade.

In the recycling process mixing their treated plastics with other plastics does not affect the process or the quality of the recycled plastics the company said.

Compared to an alternative on the market, PVC, these plastics become "environmentally benign" within a few months to a few years where PVC blister packs or clam shells can take decades or longer to degrade.
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Plastic Coating Reduces Waste, Eases Recyclability

Plasticcoating A new plastic coating no more than 20 nanometers think applied to the inside of plastic bottles and jars of common items like ketchup and mayonnaise could significantly reduce consumer waste and ease recycling of the container itself.

How often do consumers discard bottles of commonly used household condiments with some of the product still remaining in the jar?  Often and sometimes as much as 20 percent of the product is left in the bottle because it is difficult to get out. 

Furthermore consumers are often unable to recycle plastic bottles or jars because they aren't able to adequately clean them for recycling.  Many communities will not accept plastic bottles that aren't properly cleaned out.

German researchers in a joint project involving the Fraunhofer Institutes for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Freising and for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart, together with Munich University of Technology and various industrial partners are working on developing packaging materials that reduce left-over traces to half or less. 

While the interior films are still in a prototype stage they do represent an interesting glimpse into things to come in the packaging industry.    Eco-friendly innovations in packaging can come from technological advances like this one.

Concentrated Laundry Detergents Become Latest Trend in Green Retail Packaging

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One of the most noticeable green packaging trends occurring in mainstream consumer products is in laundry detergents.  Nearly every major manufacturer of laundry detergent sold in the US market is coming out with a concentrated version of their most popular product packaged in a smaller lighter plastic container. 

The major companies like Unilever, Proctor & Gamble and Dial are all using the new version of their laundry detergent to tout their greenness.

How did it all begin?  Concentrated laundry soaps are nothing new to the "green" marketplace, they've been around for years and are popular among devout green consumers.  A concentrated detergent for the mainstream market is another story.

San Francisco-based Method was yet again the principle innovator in taking a greener laundry detergent mainstream.  Backed by the considerable retail market force of Target Stores, Method's concentrated laundry detergent gained an instant national audience.

When Method launched their laundry detergent they treated the launch more like an opening at an art gallery sending out a mailing showcasing their new small bottle and its benefits.  Like many Method products the packaging and design were far ahead of products in its class.  The bottle design was done by Karim Rashid and the graphic design was done by the team at Kate Spade.

After Method's August 2004 launch of its concentrated laundry detergent it was just a matter of time before others followed.

Led by growing sustainability initiatives at the country's largest retailer, Wal-Mart the major players in the laundry market all began developing concentrated versions of their detergents in smaller, lighter packaging. 

Webextra The American Chemical Society published a fascinating article on Wal-Mart's influence. 

Who would be first among the giants?  Unilever's All brand launched the "Small & Mighty" bottle containing a 3x concentrated version of its popular All detergent.  The All Small & Mighty bottle is next to the Method bottle the most interesting and innovative of bottles developed so far.  The #2 HDPE bottle is produced by Graham Packaging along with its #5 PP cap.  Graphic design was done by UK-based Vibrandt Ltd.

The bottle was designed with input from Wal-Mart with the goal of making the detergent more shelf-friendly and more sustainable.  The detergent uses 64% less water in its formulation than their traditional All detergent and the bottle is lighter making it easier and more efficient to ship and also easier to use and handle for consumers.  Through a partnership between Unilever and Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart agreed to aggressively push All Small & Mighty in its stores.   The idea was to promote the product and eliminate any concerns from consumers.  The plan worked All Small & Mighty became popular and grew.

Small & Mighty launched in February 2006 and since has appeared as packaging for their Wisk and Snuggle brands.  Unilever has not announced plans to replace all of its All & Wisk packaging with the Small & Mighty bottles.  The bottle does appear to be the main packaging for their Snuggle brand of fabric softeners.

Unilever's success with Small & Mighty and pressure from Wal-Mart led arch rival Proctor & Gamble to develop its own concentrated formula for its brands including Tide.  The Tide 2x Ultra formula and other P&G brands like Gain, Cheer, Era & Dreft have been tested in markets and are becoming available across the US and Canada now.  P&G is planning on replacing all existing SKUs with the 2X Ultra versions from 50oz - 200oz. P&G hopes to have them available nationwide & and Canada by the beginning of spring 2008.  It has been reported P&G is planning a full scale education & media blitz for its new packaging.

Walmartsisg Wal-Mart's national advertising circular for this week contains a full feature on the new Tide packaging and its benefits. 

The Wal-Mart web site has a whole section dubbed "Laundry Aisle Makeover" devoted to laundry detergents including announcements that consumers can soon expect a concentrated version of both Purex and Arm & Hammer detergents.  Visitors to the web site can request a free sample of 2X concentrated Purex.

The question remains how will consumers react to the new packaging of their favorite laundry detergent?  It appears retailers are confident the new packaging will succeed and be an overall positive.  In order to produce the packaging the companies have had to spend considerable sums of money designing new bottles and retrofitting equipment for production.

Will the greener packaging trend in laundry detergent stop here?  It would appear not.  The Birmingham Business Journal reported Unilever will roll out a new "green" 2X concentrate of the All brand this fall in stores in Alabama.  The new product is different than its current 3X All concentrate available now across the country.  Unilever did not respond to repeated attempts from Sustainableisgood.com for comment on this latest version of All. 

Whole Foods Launches Green Path Wine in Tetra Pak Packaging

Wholefoodswinesisg Whole Foods is launching a new organic wine called Green Path.  Green Path wine will be sold exclusively at Whole Foods stores nationwide starting this month. 

The Australian Chardonnay and Shiraz are organic wines made by Organic One Wines, one of Australia's oldest and largest vineyards.  The wines come from the Billabong Vineyard in Jerilderie, New South Wales, Australia and will sell for approximately $12 US.

The packaging choice on this wine is interesting.  The wine will be sold solely in Tetra Pak one liter cartons.  Tetra Pak is a paper-based carton marketed as an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic or glass bottles. 

Sustainable is Good reported earlier this year on Aqua 2 Go using Tetra Pak packaging for its water - the story produced a large amount of discussion on the Tetra Pak packaging and its environmentally friendly claims.

There is concern that Tetra Pak packaging is complex and difficult to break down and recycle effectively.  The company who produces Tetra Pak claims their product is of tremendous benefit to the green community and a viable alternative to plastics and glass.

According to a recent statement, the Country Vitner (Australian Wine Exporter) and Whole Foods believe the packaging for their wine is ideal as it provides customers who want to "enjoy a quality wine in a portable, recloseable, safe and easy-to-use package."

They also point out the fact the Tetra Pak is made from a renewal resource (paper) and is lighter in weight than traditional glass bottles, requiring less trucks for transportation, in turn reducing total greenhouse gas emissions.

Poland Spring, Other Nestle Water Brands Phasing in New Eco-shape Bottle

Ecoshape
Nestle Pure Life will use new bottle this year

Nestle Waters is beginning to phase in a new plastic bottle dubbed Eco-shape.  The bottle took two years to develop. 

The new bottle uses less plastic and is ergonomically designed to be more easy to carry.  Nestle debuted the bottle with its Ozarka and Arrowhead brands already and is working to transition its other brands to the bottle this year. 

The half liter Eco-shape uses 30% less plastic than bottles currently available on the market.  The new bottle weighs 12.5 grams which is 15% less than other similar bottles.  Nestle estimates it may save 65 million pounds of plastic resin each year by using Eco-shape.

The new bottle also uses less paper because the label size was reduced.  The company has removed color from the cap making it more recyclable as well.

Polandsustainableisgood The Portland Press Herald reported Nestle's Poland Spring brand will manufacture the new bottles at their Hollis, ME plant this fall.  Poland Spring has not yet announced the Eco-shape bottle and does not have an image or information on its web site regarding the new bottle.   

Due to the tremendous volume of bottles, most bottled water companies manufacture their bottles themselves on location.  It will be interesting to see when Poland Spring announces the new bottle in their lineup.

Cargo Lipstick Packaging Biodegradable; Turns into Wildflowers

Cargosustainisgood
Innovative packaging from Cargo Cosmetics for its PlantLove line of lipstick actually turns into wildflowers when water is applied to it.

The outer packaging for the lipstick is made of a seed infused recycled paper embedded with real flower seeds.  Customers simply moisten, plant and wait for a bouquet of wild flowers to grow.

The lipstick containers themselves are made from NatureWorks PLA a corn-based plastic.  NatureWorks is owned by agricultural giant Cargill.  Cargo is the first lipstick manufacturer to use PLA for its lipstick cases.

Cargo's president Hana Zalzal worked for several years on developing the product and its packaging.  The cases are injection molded NatureWorks PLA and according to Zalzal ended up costing the same as a traditional petroleum-based lipstick case. 

Francis Ford Coppola Wine to be Sold in Single Serve Plastic Cups

Winesusisgood


Francis Ford Coppola Rosso and Bianco wines are being sold in single serve plastic cups.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported in an interview with Coppola that he is already selling the wines in single serve packaging at "selected" locations including AT&T Park in San Francisco. 

According to the Napa Valley Register the Francis Ford Coppola winery will offer its Rosso cabernet sauvignon and Bianco pinot grigio wines in plastic cups with peel-off foil lids.

Look for single serve wine in reusable bistro style plastic cups to be available nationwide in 2008.  "We’re having some production issues with the seal and the packaging. I’m not sure when we’re going to sell them around the country. Probably not until next year...," Coppola told the AJC. 

At AT&T Park home of the San Francisco Giants, the wines are quite popular outselling similar products with screw-cap tops and wines poured by the glass.  The new offering is designed to attract more consumers and appeals especially to the younger generation

The single-serve wines are known as "187s" referring to their size 187 milliliters or 6.3 ounces. 

It is unknown what type of plastic the single serve wine cups are made out of and what the manufacturing process is blow or injection molding.  This is a key element in determining ease of recycling as many communities nationwide do not accept injection molded #1 or #2 plastics.

Of course the cups could be reused, however reuse is currently not a realistic option since they are sold in environments where disposable products are used (baseball stadium).  It is unknown if the Giants organization collects and recycles the wine cups.

Green Toys Set to Launch Line of Bioplastic Toys

Gtoysustainableisgood

San Francisco-based Green Toys is launching a line of what it calls environmentally friendly toys.  The toys will be made from a bio-based plastic produced by Cereplast.

Green Toys’ product lineup is made from Cereplast bio-based plastic resin.  Cereplast resin is made from corn, wheat, potato and tapioca starches as opposed to petroleum.

Green Toys are produced using an injection molding process.  Because of this, the Cereplast resin is combined with polylactide (PLA) from NatureWorks LLC.  PLA is a versatile polymer that is made from a complex process beginning with corn.

In order to achieve some of the physical characteristics needed for Green Toys it was necessary to combine the Cereplast resin with PLA into one final product, explained Kevin Oates from Cereplast's PR firm Ketchum.

NatureWorks PLA is the world's first and only performance plastic made from 100 percent annually renewable resources.  NatureWorks LLC is a stand-alone company owned by agricultural giant Cargill.

Green Toys is using biodegradable colorants from PolyOne Corporation in order to give its toys their color.   PolyOne Senior Product Manager Carl Knight said, "the colorants enhance the esthetic without disturbing the compostability of the product."  The colorants used in the Green Toys application fall under PolyOne's OnColor(tm)BIO product line.  "We worked with Green Toys to design a custom solution for them - the colors are specific to Green Toys," Knight said.

Greentoyspack In terms of packaging Green Toys is said to be still working on their final packaging design.  They had released an image of a tentative packaging design however that is changing.  The final design will use 100 percent paper board instead of plastic or clam shells.  The company says its packaging is made from recycled paper products. 

All aspects of production of Green Toys are done in the U.S., which Robert von Goeben, a partner at Green Toys told toy industry magazine Playthings was another example of an earth-friendly aspect of his company.

According to Kirk Green of Green Toy's PR firm, Gonzo Communications, Green Toys will be available to consumers after October 1 through the web and at specialty retailers.  The line made its debut at the San Francisco International Gift Fair during the last week of July.

Since the products are not yet available for sale it is too early to gauge their popularity with consumers. Reaction within the toy and plastics industries to the new bioplastic toys runs the gamut from excitement to concern.

Von Goeben says that the response from retailers has been thrilling, and has even caught some of Green Toy’s reps off guard. “Reps think they have their finger on the pulse of the industry, and said that we really came out of left field, so they’re excited about it because it was not on their radar."

Design News Contributing Materials Editor Doug Smock isn't convinced the use of biodegradable plastics is a positive move.  "There is no environmental advantage to biodegradable packaging unless you’re the type who throws wrappers out of your car window," he says. 

"Their (Green Toys) pitch is simple and fair: plastics made from corn or potatoes use less energy to produce than plastics made from oil. There is no documentation of that claim on their web site, however, and there should be because fuel made from corn (ethanol) may consume more petroleum than it saves."

It will be very interesting to see consumer reaction to Green Toys.  If nothing else the line is a significant innovation in the use of bioplastics.

Target Stores Reduce PVC Plastic Packaging

Targetpvcsustainableisgood Minneapolis-based Target has used its size and buying power as a way to get suppliers to reduce unnecessary packaging.

The retailer targeted suppliers using the often tough to open "clamshell" style packaging asking them to switch to greener options. 

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, earlier this year Target asked its packaging vendor for Ipod carrying cases to replace its clamshell packaging with a recyclable cardboard package with a small plastic window.    The change in packaging will prevent an estimated 5,000 pounds of PVC from ending up in landfills.

About 18 months ago, Target pushed its seven private-label packaging companies to get rid of excess wraps. The result: Packages for more than 500 items, from dog leashes to toy rocket launchers, have been redesigned to be less harmful to the environment. In about 100 instances, PVC plastic was eliminated from private-label packages.

Target's biggest competitor Wal-Mart is taking similar steps.  The retail giant has pledged to eliminate all private-label PVC packaging by 2009. The company also has set a goal of producing "zero waste" by 2025; which means that, through recycling and packaging reduction, Wal-Mart will eliminate all waste flowing through its stores and offices.

Hormel Natural Choice Deli Meats Feature Different Approach to Packaging; Reduce Plastic

Hormel_sustainableisgood Minnesota-based Hormel is experiencing success with its new line of prepackaged deli meats called Natural Choice.

The line has expanded to include most of the popular types of deli style meats pre-sliced for consumers and ready to go. 

Natural Choice packaging is different from competitors because it comes in a brown paperboard package containing a sealed plastic inner pouch containing the meat.

Natural Choice's competitors are mostly using plastic containers made from #5 polypropylene plastic.  The containers are durable and reusable but many of them end up in the trash.  Those consumers who do try to recycle the containers usually find out their community does not recycle #5 plastic yet.  So the container ends up in the landfill.

Here in Rhode Island, the statewide recycling authority, Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation will not recycle #5 plastic or "tub" style containers made of #1 (PETE, PET) or #2 (HDPE).

The recycling situation we have here in Rhode Island is common across the country.  Until communities will recycle these types of plastic buying deli meats packaged in them doesn't seem practical. 

So this is what interests me about the Natural Choice line.  They have taken a different approach packaging their deli meats using a recyclable paperboard outer package and a vacuum-sealed plastic pouch on the inside.

In order to achieve this packaging design Hormel turned to an emerging technology in packaging.   Using high-pressure processing (HPP), a post-packaging pressurization process that subjects the vacuum-packed deli meats to 87,000 pounds per square inch of pressure the company is able eliminate the need for preservatives.  The packaged deli meats have a shelf live of over 120 days according to Hormel. 

Food Processing reported Avure Technologies in Kent Washington is Hormel's vendor for this packaging process.  Hormel would not confirm that report.

The outer packaging is as of as much interest to me as the high-pressure process used to package the meats.  By using a paperboard out package the company has eliminated the need for a plastic container.

Ryan Vossler, Product Manager for Hormel Natural Choice said, "The Hormel Natural Choice outer packaging is recyclable and features natural, distinct brown and green earth tones. This packaging design was chosen because there was a connect with our consumers between an all-natural, great tasting product and packaging that was earth-friendly and had a natural look and feel."

Late July Organic Crackers Have Excessive Packaging

Latejulysustainisgood Newcomers to the organic snack food arena are Late July organic snacks.  The products are made by the same company who produces Cape Cod potato chips in Massachusetts.

Like their Cape Cod chips, Late July organic products such as their mini peanut butter bite size sandwich crackers are delicious.  However I notice a troubling trend with the Late July line that seems to be occurring across the industry.  Unnecessary and excessive packaging.

Late July mini peanut butter crackers come in a well designed graphically pleasing box however the box only contains 5 oz of crackers.  The box isn't even at half of its capacity when its sold for around $3.50.  The box could easily hold twice the amount of crackers it contains.

So the question is why?  Why are Late July crackers packaged this way?

Its not just Late July who are packaging organic products with excessive or unnecessary packaging and charging premium prices.  A walk through any grocery store will yield countless examples.

UK Supermarket Sainsbury's to Sell Wine In PET Plastic Bottles

Bottles250707_228x307 A major supermarket chain in the UK will offer wine sold in recyclable #1 plastic PET bottles instead of glass as part of a trial.

Sainsbury`s said the move would cut the weight of wine packaging which in turn reduces carbon emissions.  A plastic bottle is one-eighth the weight of a regular 400g (14oz) glass bottle.

Sainsbury's will initially sell its own label New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and an Australian rose in the plastic bottles.

The move follows the introduction of PET bottles by Wolf Blass, one of Australia's biggest exporters of wine.  Its plastic bottles of wine went on sale in Canada last year and will be available in Britain in August.

The idea of using PET bottles for wine has some practical merit besides its reduced weight.  The plastic bottles are less likely to break and easier to carry and transport compared to glass versions.

Barry Dick, product technologist for beers, wines and spirits at the chain, said: "The new wine bottle looks exactly the same as a glass bottle, holds the same amount of liquid and doesn't compromise the quality of the wine in any way."

UK consumers buy around one billion bottles of wine every year, using around half-a-million tonnes of glass. Reducing the weight of wine packaging to 54g (2oz) by using plastic bottles could reduce carbon emissions by around 90,000 tonnes, according to the government-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap), which is involved in the trial.

Epson Reduces Print Cartridge Packaging

Vestal_epsondiet_01

Epson printers have long been the printer of choice for graphic and imaging professionals.  Mike over at Vestal Design put together an interesting post on his observations of reduced print cartridge packaging by Epson.  Over time he has noticed significant downsizing of the packaging for print cartridges for his Epson 2200.  Thanks to some excellent photography and saving the packaging his piece is quite interesting. 

The packaging began at 77g, (11cm x 15cm x 3.5cm), in a package much larger than the cartridge itself. Having owned several Epson 2200's myself I can attest to the excessive nature of the cartridge packaging. 

Mike notes about two years ago, Epson slimmed down this packaging by eliminating corrugated cardboard filler and shrink wrap inside the box and narrowed the width to 2cm to drop the packaging to 63g.

The cartridge itself is only about 7cm tall, so a third generation of packaging shrank the box down another 3.5cm to 57g.

Epson's packaging reduction had environmental and cost benefits for the company.  By making the packaging smaller and lighter, Epson is able to pack more cartridges onto a pallet, maximizing shipping efficiency and resources.

Earlier this year HP announced it was redesigning the packaging for of all of its North America home printer cartridges.  HP estimates its redesigned print cartridge packaging will eliminate the use of nearly 15 million pounds of materials, including 3 million pounds of corrugated cardboard in 2007.  The packaging also will eliminate the use of more than 6.8 million pounds of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic through material reduction and substitution of recycled content plastic and paperboard.

360 Vodka World's First Environmentally-friendly Vodka

Vodka
360 Vodka is billed as the world's first environmentally-friendly vodka.  A title the newcomer to the adult beverage marketplace appears to deserve.

The Missouri-based company uses locally grown grains for the production of 360 Vodka resulting in reduced fossil fuel consumption in transporting raw materials to the distillery.   The company also uses a variety of advanced filtration and drying processes which they claim make their operation highly efficient reducing their overall carbon footprint.

Vodkapackaging_3 The packaging of 360 Vodka is highly impressive.  Focusing on packaging design as I often do I have to say this company has covered nearly all the bases in terms of making their product packaging eco-friendly.

Their glass bottle is made from 85% recycled glass, 75% of which is post-consumer. 

360 Vodka uses New Leaf Paper products for its labeling, packaging and promotional materials.  The paper is 100% recycled and is printed with water based inks.

Perhaps most innovative is the box their vodka is shipped in.  The shipping box is made of 100% recycled cardboard and is designed to be re-used by consumers.  The box is designed with handles on the sides and can be used for storage, filing, stacking and moving.  I think their box design is ingenious and it shows the company recognizes how often liquor boxes are used for moving and storage by consumers. 

Vodkamail_2 The company goes a step further - they have developed a return program for the bottle closures on the top of their bottles.  Consumers can use a postage-paid return process to send back their bottle closures enabling infinite re-use of them by the company.  In addition 360 Vodka will donate $1 for each closure returned to an environmental cause.

360 Vodka's web site is powered by renewable energy.  Their Vodka is available in the United States.

RCA Triples Energy Star Qualified Products; Reduces Packaging

Electronics maker RCA has tripled the number of Energy Star qualified models from 2006 to 2007.

Each model consumes less than 1 Watt in standby mode to meet the ENERGY STAR® program standards. RCA plans to improve the increasing number of Energy Star qualified models each year; not simply complying with expectations, but going beyond what is required to save energy.  The company has also created a guide for consumers, RCA Energy Savers that features its Energy Star products.

Packaging RCA also plans to save 450 tons of plastic in the next two years by making smaller, environmentally-friendly paper gift box containers that will replace the older clamshell packages. This initiative called “Smart Packing” has already saved over 81 tons of extra plastic.

Looking ahead, RCA plans to continue reducing plastic by using eco-friendly and chemical-free materials to help design and develop products and packaging. In the next two years, the goal is to reduce plastic weight by more than 200 tons in 2007 and by more than 230 tons in 2008.

Smart Packing reduces the overall size of packaging while increasing cardboard usage and minimizing the usage of environmentally harmful materials.  As part of the initiative the company has reduced the overall size of their product packaging, saving both materials and energy.  RCA also notes its packages are easier for consumers to open.

Coffee Cup Developed by Several Major Corporations Wins Sustainability Award

Ecotainer_small

Ecotainer A coffee cup which several major corporations were involved in the production of was recently awarded the 2007 Sustainability Award from the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA).

The ecotainer™ cup debuted last year in a well publicized partnership between the principal producer International Paper and coffee retailer Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

Since its launch with Green Mountain, International paper has developed a stock design of the coffee cup and is in the process of rolling it out into use with other customers.

Ecotainer is touted as having a "smaller environmental impact" than traditional disposable coffee cups which often contain a plastic lining made from a petrochemicals enabling the cup to handle hot liquids.  The ecotainer cups have an inner plastic biopolymer lining derived from corn.  According to International Paper they are made from fully renewable resources and are compostable under "proper conditions."

The technology represented in this cup was developed by International Paper's Coated Paperboard and Foodservice businesses in partnership with DaniMer Scientific, LLC (Danimer Scientific, LLC, a privately held Georgia-based company).   A corn-based polylactic acid resin from NatureWorks LLC (a stand-alone company wholly-owned by Cargill) is modified by DaniMer Scientific to create a new material that can be applied to paperboard to create a water-resistant barrier.  This new material replaces the petrochemical plastic lining mentioned earlier.

International Paper says, "We believe the introduction of the ecotainer™ cup is a strong first step in our journey.  All of us can make a difference - one cup at a time."

While ecotainer is an interesting product in order for it to have a major impact on the 15 billion disposable coffee cups used annually in the US, the cup would have to be widely used.  Issues like production impact, cost and source of materials are unknown.

Webextra Visit Chicago-based Reusable Bags for an excellent selection of
reusable coffee mugs

The obvious alternative is a reusable coffee mug...why they don't catch on is a mystery to me. 

Boxed Water Hits Marketplace Nationwide

Aqua2go AQUA2GO is a new boxed water now available in many locations.  The company claims its water is much more sustainable than bottled waters and touts its packaging as a key component in its sustainability.  AQUA2GO  is purified through a reverse osmosis process. 

AQUA2GO is packaged in Tetra Brik Aseptic packaging made by Tetra Pak Inc.  The company claims their product is 96% water and 4% packaging compared to a typical 80% product and 20% packaging.  The Tetra Brik packaging is made from 74% wood (paper), 20% plastic and 6% aluminum.

The company says because of its packaging its water has a five-year shelf life and is not susceptible to environmental factors like temperature and light like bottled water.  Their water requires no special storage, is compact and lightweight and the package can easily be flattened after use.

AQUA2GO is available nationally thanks to a deal with the large organic distributor Tree of Life.  AQUA2GO was  initially launched in Whole Foods' Louisiana stores, Winn Dixie (100 stores along the Gulf Coast), Rouse's, Langensteins and several other local New Orleans stores.

The new national distribution agreement with Tree of Life has expanded AQUA2GO's presence across the country now making it available to other national merchants who do business with Tree of Life (such as WalMart, Krogers, Hy-Vee, Wild Oats, Roundy's and more), as well as the remaining Whole Foods regions.

It will be interesting to track the reaction to this product in the marketplace.  AQUA2GO does not appear to be available in my region yet. 

Despite the company's claim its packaging is a better option in terms of the environment it should be noted that point is at the very least debatable. 

 


Method's Redesigned Omop PET Packaging

Omop_clean_floor Big surprise, San Francisco-based Method decided to redesign the packaging for its Omop floor cleaner.  The company is known as a market leader in incorporating cutting edge packaging design to their products.   

The new Omop packaging is as you'd expect from Method, innovative.  Its a marketing and branding masterpiece taking an ordinary bottle making it larger adding ergonomic enhancements and plenty of flat space to plaster with their product labeling. 

The redesign of their earlier not so fancy floor cleaner follows typical Method standards by taking a typical boring bottle of cleaning solution and transforming it into something a consumer may actually leave out in the open when they aren't using it.

The new bottle was designed and manufactured by Amcor PET packaging. 

Amcor Communications Director Shelley Steele said the industrial design for the bottle was done, "in-house as conceptualized by our customer."

The bottle is made of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) which is a type of plastic from the polyester family.  Steele said the Omop PET bottle does not contain any post consumer recycled content.  However she did note, "PET is among the most recycled of all plastic materials." 

Every Man Jack Redefining Men's Grooming Products

Everymanjack

BY RIDER THOMPSON

Every Man Jack is a new line of men’s grooming products that launched nationwide in April.  The line is the creation of the former Method VP for Marketing, Ritch Viola. 

Every Man Jack is based in San Francisco and carried by Target stores nationwide.  The line includes shaving gel & cream, body wash, face wash & lotion, soap and hair care (currently available in test markets only).

Every Man Jack has more in common with products you’d find at Macy’s or Nordstrom than it does with its shelve-mates at Target.  Nevertheless, it is redefining men’s grooming and offering customers a better choice in terms of ingredients and design than anything in its price point.

All Every Man Jack products sell for $4.99 or less.  Viola is counting on this simple, direct pricing approach, combined with trendy graphic & industrial design to draw consumers.  Better, healthier ingredients are another feature, beyond the products’ low cost and high end appearance.  But it won’t be easy.  Men are generally a difficult group when it comes to introducing new products, especially grooming or personal care items.

Studies have shown that most men are reluctant to try new products, and tend to stick with old staples; this is not necessarily a result of the staple’s quality over new products.   It appears men are simply habit bound when it comes to their product use.  The motivation to research and to find new products isn’t as common with men as it is women.  This is one of the reasons you often see gift packs of grooming products available and featured in stores.  Often these gift packs are offered by new brands or specialty brands.  Young companies hope a family member or friend will buy the gift pack and give it to their husband, father, etc, who will then try the product and possibly switch allegiance. 

Ritch_viola_2 Viola, 35, is aware of these challenges.  Business degrees from both Berkeley and UCLA prepared him to work first with Oakland-based Clorox and then Method before starting his own business.  Working at Clorox and Method offered him many important insights and contacts within the industry. 

“Seventy percent of retail purchases are made at the shelf,” says Viola.  “So a product with low brand awareness better have great design.  I’ve always believed your product is your best marketing tool,” he said.  His line clearly embodies this ideal. 

When Viola started to explore making men’s grooming products, his first challenge was to create a niche in the marketplace apart from what was already available. 

The task of formulating the products became one of deciding what ingredients to leave out, rather than include. “I went through the products piece by piece and asked, ‘why do we need it?’ For anything that was added,” he said.  Just by questioning the current “way of doing things” in making grooming products at this price point, Viola was able to make his product better.  This small move allowed him to make the new line different and better than his competitors. 

In a recent phone interview he emphasized one of the main ingredients he chose not to include was tallow.  Tallow (stearin) is a beef fat that is a common component of most soaps.  “I thought it was disgusting,” he said. 

He didn’t stop there.  None of his products use parabens (synthetic preservatives), and instead use natural alternatives.  Other things he left out include dyes, sulfates, oils and SLS. 

However, having high-quality formulas and natural ingredients wasn’t enough for Viola.  The next step was creating a brand identity.  He knew his products needed to be masculine and easily identifiable, due to initial low brand recognition.

The answer was graphic and industrial design.  The consumers Viola is going after want products that are easy to use, perform well, are masculine and well designed.  “There isn’t a whole lot going on in design in household and personal care products in this price point,” Viola said.  “Sure, you’ll see it in higher priced designer products.”   

He made an interesting comparison by noting the food industry is much further ahead in terms of design at lower price points.  “If you walk through Whole Foods you’ll see more of an emphasis on design in food products,” he said.

Viola is certainly familiar with the power innovative graphic & industrial design can have on a customer.  After all, in 2001 when he was with Clorox he noticed a high concept dish detergent on the shelves at a local Target.  The dish detergent was made by Method, and as reported in Advertising Age, left Viola wondering why Clorox couldn’t do something similar.  Just about a year after he found this intriguing detergent he was VP of Marketing for Method.

Emj Michael Rutchik of Mudhaus was placed in charge of the graphic design of all Every Man Jack packaging.  Rutchik created the identity for Method and was the perfect person for the job.   Viola wanted something that was “clean, modern and had a splash of color.”   He was inspired by several “really cool modern barbershops,” and got the idea of employing a wood grain from these classic masculine interiors.  Rutchik incorporated the idea into an identity for the brand.

The final piece of the puzzle came from industrial designer Wai-Loong Lim of Y Studios.  Viola wanted a custom design for some of his packaging.  Lim designed the containers for the face wash, body wash and hair care products.  The design was inspired by the overall identity of the line, and an unexpected source: an old Mexican tequila bottle.  It was perfect.

Putting the graphic and industrial design pieces together, all of Viola’s products would feature a wood grain cap. Three of them would use stock containers and three would use the custom containers Lim created.

With the packaging and product formulations set, Viola was ready to launch his line.  He approached Target to carry his products, saying the large-scale retailer was an ideal fit in terms of its consumer base.  The products launched nationwide in April, and he has been busy supplying Target since.

Currently, Viola is focusing all his efforts on supplying Target and developing his line.  In the future he expects the line to be available at other retailers, and is also working on new products.

Microsoft uses New Recycled Plastic in Streets & Trips 2007 Packaging

Pdx0706microsoft1_22 The packaging for Microsoft's Streets & Trips 2007 with GPS Locator represents the very latest in packaging design and trends which are shifting increasingly more green. 

As the latest issue of Packaging Digest reports, Microsoft used sustainable films and cutting edge industrial & graphic design to create a visually pleasing and highly functional package design.

The main component of the package is made from SmartCycle 150 PETE from Klockner-Pentaplast.  The plastic film is made from a minimum of 50 % post consumer waste recycled bottles.

IPdx0706microsoft2_22n order to incorporate the film into packaging Microsoft turned to Transparent Container Co. who specialize in visual packaging solutions.  Dan Ahern, Transparent Container's VP of Marketing told Packaging Digest, "We offer solutions that focus on product visibility within the package.  Microsoft had the idea of creating a reusable carry case for the product's hardware components that would also allow the consumer to see the product inside of the package.  The carry case was to be something that could be used again and again, not treated as a disposable package."

Microsoft's graphic design team created a design for the actual box part of the package that gives consumers the feeling they are actually driving.  Integrating the SmartCycle plastic carry case shell component into the box design so it showed off the GPS locator that comes with the software, was a major challenge.

Scott Ballantine, Microsoft's packaging project manager said of the final product made from SmartCycle, "We wanted to raise consumer awareness about how to use recycled materials in new ways.  We also wanted a carry case that people could use to store the GPS and its components.  The finished package fits in the glove compartment or CD slot of a car.  It is based on a compact, sunglass case design, and for that reason, is value-added because it is reusable.  And consumers can take pride knowing their bottle-recycling efforts have had direct impact in creating this extended-use package."

Bonnie Plants Embarks on Green Marketing Campaign; Backs Up Effort by Switching to Biodegradable Pots

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Bonnie Plants, an Alabama-based national plant wholesaler that supplies Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe's and many other chains has come up with a significant environmental improvement for the sale of its potted plants.  The company is using biodegradable pots for its plants to significantly reduce waste and eliminate post planting shock for the plants themselves.

Bonnie operates nationally from 33 growing facilities across the country and ships products regionally.

Goinggreener The biodegradable pots are part of the company's "Bonnie's Going Greener for You" effort towards providing consumers with environmentally friendly products.  "We're dedicated to giving our customers earth-friendly products, but products that perform as well as or better than conventional products," said Dennis Thomas General Manager of Bonnie

Gallon_fiber_2 The company has two biodegradable pots for its plants; one a peatpot and the other a recycled fiber pot.  The plants are sold directly in the biodegradable pots and the consumer simply removes the bottom of the pot (and works it into the soil) and plants the plant, container and all.  The biodegradable pot will simply decompose and the plant will not suffer the common post planting shock as it adjusts to its new environment.

I think this move quiet significant given the tremendous amount of waste plastic pots produce.  The majority of traditional plastic pots are not recycled even though they could be so this new approach from Bonnie is a major advancement in the gardening world. 

The significance of the new pots are magnified when you consider Bonnie supplies plants to nearly every major retailer in the U.S.  When a company with that type of distribution makes an environmental improvement even if its not an original innovation the effects are tremendously positive simply due to the sheer size of their operation.

Bonnie Plants has also added their own recycling facility and worked on improving internal reuse practices as part of the first phase of their Going Greener for You effort.

Wal-Mart Products Container Design Wins Top Sustainable Design Award

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EcoLab's Proforce Container All-in-One Container with Square Footprint

Ecolab's Proforce all-in-one container design for its Multipurpose and Bath & Bowl cleaning products won the National Association of Container Distributors (NACD) top design award.  The product, sold at all of Wal-Mart's Sam's Club stores was recognized for its innovative and sustainable packaging design which was designed with Wal-Mart's sustainability initiative in mind. 

The design and production of the packaging was done by TricorBraun using studies, computer modeling and simulations to predict problematic areas. 

The 1.5 gallon high density polyethylene container was designed with load-locking nubs at the top that fit into corresponding indents in the bottom of another container for shipment - totally eliminating the need for excess packaging in transit or on retail display.  This feature in the container design also provides for superior stabilization of the load during shipment and excellent efficient retail display.

The container uses space efficiently with its square footprint, meets the criteria of the retailers pallet distribution system and provides consumers with all the things they need in one unit small square unit.