An easy-to-carry, stackable packaging design for Morton Salt’s Morton Waves Water Softener Salt Bars makes it easy for consumers to lift, carry, store, and use the product, compared with conventional water softener pellets or crystals. The new product format, a bar, also reduces mess and simplifies the task of adding salt to a water softener tank.
To package Morton Waves bars, the brand owner chose flexible packaging — an easy-open pouch with a sturdy integrated handle. Innovative Packaging Solutions (IPS) supplies pre-made pouches for the new product line, which includes Morton Waves Clean & Protect and Waves Clean & Protect with Rust Defense Water Softener Salt Bars.
In contrast to the brand owner’s water softener crystals, which are filled into 40-pound bags, the bars come in a 20-lb pouch containing four wavy, easy-to-grip bars. An average household would use two packs of bars per month.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought changes in every aspect of life as we knew it. This includes how we view, buy and use products and by association, the packaging that encases these products. Today, consumers’ expectations and preferences are heavily dependent on the impact of this global crisis. With emerging variants and new health advisories on a daily, buyers expect rapid changes from the market to accommodate the crucial needs of the general public.
A few areas of packaging and packaging design that have needed to keep pace with changing scenario are:
Plastic food packaging adds to this issue; however, it also plays an important role in food quality, safety and reducing food waste. However, this isn’t an either/or proposition – we must ensure that our packaging contributes to the circular economy. Already, Kellogg has one of the smallest plastic packaging footprints among peer food companies2 and 76% of our packaging is recyclable globally. Most of our other packaging uses either recycled-content paperboard cartons or corrugate cardboard. We also use composite cans, and for our bars and convenience foods, we use flexible plastic packaging. We are aggressively driving cutting-edge innovation, looking at how packaging can protect and enhance our foods and have an even smaller environmental impact.
“We’re incredibly motivated to be part of the solution,” said Nigel Hughes, DPhil., senior vice president, research quality, nutrition and technology. “We’re wasting no time in working toward our goal of using 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by the end of 2025. This goal aligns to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s (EMF) New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which we were among just a handful of food companies to sign on to in 2018.”
Achieving our sustainable packaging goal is part of our global Kellogg’s Better Days® commitment to create Better Days for 3 billion people around the world by 2030 by addressing the interrelated issues of wellbeing, food security and climate resiliency. It also supports United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #12 – Sustainable Production and Consumption – including #12.5, to “substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.”
When our founder Mr. Kellogg introduced the first box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes® cereal in 1906, it came in boxes made from recycled content. Today, 100% of our timber-based packaging that goes into cereal and other boxes comes from low risk, certified-sustainable or recycled sources. And we’re speeding up our efforts to achieve our packaging goal. Around the world, we’re committed to following the principles of the circular economy, excluding, reducing and replacing plastic, as well as building external partnerships to ensure more plastic can be recycled after use. Below are a few examples on how we are progressing against our commitment. More information about our efforts are provided in our Sustainable Packaging Annual Milestones.
In 2018, we implemented a “greening” of our facilities, transitioning to compostable and paper foodservice products in all our plants and offices globally … no more plastic and no more single-use foam. In our U.S. operations in Illinois and Michigan alone, we diverted 2 million pieces of silverware, 105,000 straws and 110,000 bottles from landfill every year. We also eliminated single-use plastic spoons that were part of certain packages.
In the U.S., we’re reducing the thickness in some of our bag-in-box retail cereal packages by 17% to reduce our plastic packaging by 97,000 kilograms, or the equivalent of nearly 35, 30-gallon barrels of uncrushed plastic bottles each year3. This project will enable us to eliminate the equivalent amount of packaging it takes to produce 9 million bag-in-box liners, annually. We also recently decreased the size of cereal boxes, while maintaining the same amount of food in each box. As a result, we reduced the size of the corrugated shipping cartons that hold these packages, eliminating up to 1 million pounds of packaging material.
We also currently have some instances where we bulk ship cereal in reusable bins from the production facility to the final destination, where it is packed into pouches or bag-in-box packages. This happens with our granolas and cereals in multiple regions. In Africa, India, China and Australia, we’ve significantly reduced packaging using this approach.
Today, 76% of our packaging is recyclable. In 2020, Kellogg launched Bear Naked®’s first fully recyclable pouch for granolas in the U.S., making it available for store drop-off at more than 18,000 stores nationwide. In Europe, Kellogg launched a project to move cereal pouches to a recycle-ready material by late 2019, which should remove 480 tonnes of non-recyclable packaging from the supply chain each year. In Mexico, we are piloting a project to replace PET packaging with material that can more easily be crushed into pellets and recycled.
We’ve had similar success in the U.S. redesigning packaging in our MorningStar Farms® veggie foods by moving to resealable bags. We reduced packaging weight by 38%. As an added benefit, the bags help fight freezer burn, which reduces food waste.
Across Europe, we are driving innovation by testing and learning different redesign approaches. In the U.K. and France, we’re testing refillable cereal stations that eliminate packaging with each repurchase. In Italy, we’re testing new Pringles® cans to determine how to best increase the recyclability of this global snack.
As we continue to exclude, reduce and redesign, we’re also encouraging more recycling and partnering on new technologies. For example:
- We’re one of 40-leading companies in The Recycling Partnership that invests in community programs and more broad solutions to increase recycling across the U.S. As a member of its Film and Flexibles Taskforce, we’re working across industries to define, pilot and scale recycling solutions for plastic film, bags and pouches.
- In the U.K., Pringles® launched a partnership with TerraCycle to collect and recycle its cans. And in Malaysia, our local waste collector converts rejected Pringles® cans into corrugated paper.
- In Australia, we include the Redcycle logo on our cereal bags. At the Redcycle website, people can easily find the location of their nearest drop-off location. In 2018, 7.7 tonnes of our packaging made it into Redcycle collection bins. A similar effort is underway in the U.S., where we include the How2Recycle label on most of our packages today and are working toward having it on all packages.
- Kellogg India is piloting an innovative project with waste management company Nepra Environmental Solutions in Pune, Maharashtra. Together, we’re developing a system to collect and dispose of multilayer plastic (MLP) waste. Nepra purchases MLP from the local waste-sorting workers and turns it into fuel for cement kilns.
More than 110 years after the very first box of Kellogg’s® cereal included recycled content, using sustainable packaging remains part of our DNA.
“While we don’t have all the solutions, we’re hard at work testing and learning out loud,” Nigel said. “This means researching, collaborating with partners, and piloting new approaches to keeping our foods safe and fresh while also protecting the planet.”
Innovia Films is launching a new film in its Propafilm™ range of transparent speciality packaging films. CHS offers improved thermal resistance and shrinkage properties compared to conventional polypropylene films. It has been designed to substitute traditional outer web films in laminates for applications such as pouches and lidding in various food markets.
Serialization is the provision of a unique serial number to each saleable unit of a product. This number provides information about the product’s origin, manufacturing, and expiration date and works as an identifier for tracking. Serialization codes are generated either randomly or sequentially.
Serialization is important (and obligatory in most countries), especially in the pharmaceutical industry, as it protects against counterfeit drugs.
AV Print Inspector offers whole-label inspection, including image matching, code reading and color detection, at speeds up to 75 meters/minute.
Travagliato, Italy – Antares Vision, a leading global provider of intelligent track & trace, inspection and smart data management solutions for the life science, food & beverage, nutraceuticals and cosmetics sectors, has introduced a dedicated high-resolution vision system providing comprehensive inline layout inspection for webs and labels.
Early this month, the ALDI supermarkets in Australia joined other international arms of the Germany-based supermarket chain (including ALDI US) to commit to a zero-waste future. According to the commitment, which was announced as part of their Vision 2030 plan, all ALDI-made food packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Zero-waste grocery stores have seen an uptick in popularity in recent years as consumers have become more cognizant of the wasteful packaging that so often comes with grocery store goods. In 2019, fellow Australian grocery chain Woolworth’s already pledged to send zero food waste to landfill by 2025.
ALDI’s promises and what they mean
To be clear, ALDI does not have plans to become the type of zero-waste grocery store where products are sold in bulk and consumers are expected to bring their own receptacles. Instead, the chain has promised that all store-brand food packaging (which makes up more than 90 percent of the products on ALDI’s shelves) will be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
ALDI Australia also will reduce the total packaging used by 15 percent, even when it is reusable, recyclable or compostable. Diverting packaging from ending up at the landfill is certainly beneficial, but reducing the amount of packaging is even better, because less land and energy is used to produce it.
Other grocery store chains and their commitments to zero-waste
The zero-waste grocery store concept began in Europe and has spread quickly to all corners of the world. Small zero-packaging food retailers, where consumers bring their own containers from home and self-serve bulk food from open vessels, have begun to emerge. In these retail establishments, food is paid for by weight. But eliminating packaging altogether is not a cure-all. Without packaging of any kind, food will spoil much faster, and not all people have the ability to go to the grocery store to purchase fresh, packageless food for consumption every day. So, packaging helps individual consumers save time and money, and lack of packaging can contribute to food waste on the retail level.
ALDI is not the only grocery chain pursuing zero-waste packaging. Kroger, an American grocery chain with locations in the South and Midwest, created the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation in 2018 to simultaneously tackle the issues of food waste and food insecurity. The foundation connects organizations fighting hunger and food waste with philanthropists who can support them financially. It is not a commitment to zero-waste by Kroger stores, but it goes hand-in-hand with the chain’s 2020 Sustainability Goals, which include ensuring that 100 percent of the packaging for their private-label products (items sold with Kroger’s brand name attached) is reusable, recyclable or compostable.
Many other grocery store chains provide little or no transparency to the public concerning food and packaging waste. The 2019 report Slow Road to Zero ranked the commitment of major grocery chains to a zero-waste future. In the report, Trader Joe’s, Costco, and Publix all earned “F” scores. These chains have not made any public commitment to reducing food waste, do not publicly report any food waste data, and do not publicly share any information about waste-prevention programs that might exist.
Zero-waste packaging has also moved into the food service sector, with Starbucks US launching the trial Borrow a Cup Program in a handful of locations in March 2021.If successful, the program could help the company achieve its goal to reduce their waste by 50 percent by 2025. Single-use coffee cups, while most frequently made of paper, are usually not recyclable because they often have a thin coating of plastic on the interior.
Where does government policy fit in?
Policymakers have plenty of room to limit the use of wasteful food packaging. For example, policies that ban single-use plastic bags, such as New York’s Bag Waste Reduction Law, are growing in popularity. Similar bans exist in seven other states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon and Vermont. In Europe and Canada, legislation against single-use plastic goes beyond bags. Members of the European Parliament support a ban on single use plastic plates and cutlery, as well as expanded polystyrene (colloquially, though incorrectly, known as Styrofoam) containers. Canada’s ban includes other food-related single-use plastics, such as straws and beverage six-pack rings.
Maryland and Vermont banned expanded polystyrene containers for food service, effective in the summer of 2020. Maryland’s law includes a ban on expanded polystyrene cups, bowls, plates, and take-out containers that primarily come from food service establishments such as restaurants. Vermont’s law is a bit more strict, as it also includes a ban on certain expanded polystyrene packaging used in grocery stores, such as egg cartons and produce trays. A similar law has been passed in New York to become effective in 2022.
Another tool that lawmakers can consider to reduce food packaging waste is mandatory recycling. For example, San Francisco’s Mandatory Recycling & Composting Ordinance requires that the entire city separate all trash, recyclable materials and compostable materials to ensure that no recyclable or compostable refuse is sent to a landfill. Refuse collectors will note any commercial or residential refuse that is placed in the incorrect bin (e.g. recyclables in the trash bin) and property owners can be fined. Mandatory recycling has been in the public conversation since at least the 1980s, and it is not an unrealistic goal for a municipality such as New York City.
From March 22 onwards, all Damm’s cans, which are supplied by Ball Corporation, are certified according to ASI’s Standards for responsible production, sourcing and stewardship. The certification covers packaging and storage of beer in cans, as well as related activities including design, packaging and storage of finished products, waste management and storage, and the recovery of waste, including end consumer’s packaging waste. As consumers demand greater sustainability from their packaged goods, the ASI scheme aims to do for aluminium what the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) did for paper and wood, making sustainability performance a mainstream issue.
As part of the Performance Standard certification, Damm’s life cycle thinking, product design, emissions reduction plans and management of natural resources and waste in its breweries were audited. The Chain of Custody certification covers verified practices – certified under the ASI Performance Standard – from mining and remelting to aluminium casting, rolling, can manufacturing and filling.
The ASI certification also acknowledges Damm’s work in raising awareness of aluminium recycling, through the 349 can compactors it places every year along the Mediterranean coast. As well as this pioneering initiative in the drinks sector, the company partners organisations that promote responsibility among producers and recycling.
The ASI was founded over 10 years ago by representatives from the aluminium industry and industrial users of aluminium, and from research and policy organisations and society in general, with the aim of promoting greater sustainability and transparency throughout the aluminium industry. Since 2017, organizations have been able to seek ASI certification and more than 160 organisations have joined the ASI as members, demonstrating their commitment to responsible aluminium sourcing.
Carey Causey, President, Ball Beverage Packaging, EMEA, said: “Today’s announcement represents a landmark moment as we bring together our customers’ ambitions to contribute to a genuinely sustainable economy, with the circular potential of the aluminium beverage can, the world’s most recycled beverage package. Damm’s more than 25 iconic beer brands are enjoyed by consumers in more than 133 countries. We have relished working with such a forward-thinking company that is meeting the increasing demand for sustainable products from consumers and society.”
Ball was the first can maker to receive ASI certification, across all of its 23 can making plants in Europe, Middle East and Africa, during 2020.
Damm’s continued commitment to sustainability
Commitment to caring for the environment forms part of Damm's corporate culture and is one of the main strategic pillars of the company, whose executive chairman is Demetrio Carceller Arce. This was confirmed by the chief executive at the last General Shareholders' Meeting, where accelerating the company's environmental agenda to continue being the most sustainable beer company was identified as a priority.
To minimise its impact on the planet, Damm has programmes aimed at the continuous improvement of industrial processes that use less raw and other materials, as well as initiatives to promote energy efficiency in all production centres and circular economy actions.
The company encourages ecological packaging design, reducing the total amount of materials used while constantly increasing the percentage of recycled raw materials, and improving recyclability. As of the 1st of December 2020, all Estrella Damm can multipack holders are made with 100% biodegradable cardboard; plastic rings have been eliminated. This was a pioneering project in the brewing industry that will mean a reduction in the use of over 260 tonnes of plastic per year, the equivalent of almost 89 million plastic rings. The suppliers that manufacture the cardboard for the packs are PEFC and FSC certified, guaranteeing that all the cardboard and paper used comes from responsibly and sustainably managed forests, thereby helping to combat climate change and protect biodiversity.
Damm has also eliminated printed plastic shrink wrap from six, twelve and twenty-four packs of Estrella Damm cans, which will mean a reduction of 99 tonnes of plastic per year. The plastic has been replaced by new cardboard packaging made with natural fibres from trees from sustainably managed forests with PEFC certification.
Graphic Packaging International Adds Innovative Paperboard Punnet to Sustainable ProducePack™ PortfolioNews:
As a result of the pandemic, consumers now place significantly more value on food safety and hygiene and see sustainability as increasingly important as we emerge from the crisis, according to a recent McKinsey survey1. ProducePack Punnet offers growers and retailers the opportunity to cater to increased consumer demand for hygiene while also prioritizing sustainability.
Designed with optimum operational efficiency in mind, ProducePack Punnet can be top-sealed at speeds equivalent to traditional plastic punnets. The sustainable solution works with existing machinery and tooling for plastic trays, meaning that minimal investment is required for packers looking to make the switch to paperboard.
For brands and retailers, the pack has been proven to offer equivalent shelf life to plastic for certain produce items while reducing the potential for food waste. A range of board and barrier options is available, which have all been selected to ensure the package remains robust in cold storage and throughout the supply chain. ProducePack Punnet can be supplied formed or flat, the latter offering CO2 reductions in transit due to higher punnet tray volume per truckload.
In line with Graphic Packaging’s Design for the Environment (DfE) approach, its features can be customized to suit various markets and potential applications. From tomatoes to berries and more, the unique solution ensures sustainability is at the forefront at each stage of the manufacturing process. ProducePack Punnet can also be graphically printed to maximize branding opportunities without the need for additional labelling.
Elodie Bugnicourt, sustainability manager at Graphic Packaging International, said: “ProducePack Punnet delivers a 90 percent reduction in plastic when compared to polypropylene or polyester trays, and a 100 percent reduction if a barrier coating is not necessary for the application. It is expected to provide carbon footprint reduction versus standard fossil plastic trays and a much greater circularity with an average paperboard recycling rate of more than double that of plastics, on average, in most countries. The interest we received in ProducePack was extraordinary following its launch earlier this year. ProducePack Punnet now extends the range to new applications such as berries, enabling our customers to reap the environmental benefits of paperboard packaging in a wider variety of fresh produce applications.”
Ricardo De Genova, Graphic Packaging’s SVP, global innovation and new business development, added: “As growers and producers look to move towards recyclable fiber-based solutions, they can count on our expertise to deliver value-added innovation as well as like-for-like functionality versus traditional plastic trays. Aligned with our Vision 2025 and DfE methodology, this launch is another example of how we can partner with customers to accelerate the transition to a more circular economy.”
PFE tested a bag made with two layers of film and a polyethylene closure. The outer layer, made of Scholle IPN’s RecShield®, is a barrier film specifically designed to keep unwanted flavors from migrating through the film into the water. The inner layer consists of Scholle IPN’s proprietary film technology, known as 2Pure™, which contains scavenging technology that protects the taste of the packaged water.
Teresa Bernal-Lara, Ph.D., Film Development Manager for Scholle IPN, said of the recyclability testing protocols, “A new film technology cannot simply be put out in the world and touted as recyclable—it must go through testing to be recognized as such. The testing performed by PFE compared an all-polyethylene film and closure to Scholle IPN’s innovative RecShield® and 2Pure™ option along with a polyethylene spout and tap. The samples were reduced to flakes which were then extruded into pellets and successfully re-blown into film that can be used to produce new flexible packaging, a truly circular solution. Scholle IPN’s water packaging performed beyond the minimum threshold for compliance set forth in APR’s Critical Guidance Protocol for PE Film and Flexible Packaging (FPE-CG-01) and we have received a letter of recognition from APR for this achievement.”
“Delivering liquid products in the best, most efficient way possible is what Scholle IPN does,” stated David Bellmore, Director of Global Film and Package Development for Scholle IPN. “Our bag-in-box bag and tap make up less than 5% of the overall package weight—with corrugate making up the balance. According to the EPA, corrugate packaging is recycled at a 96.5% rate while PET and HDPE bottles are recycled just 29% of the time. That means our package will not only offer a recycle-ready bag and tap, but around 95% of the overall package by weight is likely to be recycled. Environmentally speaking, plastic water bottles simply don’t match up with bag-in-box.”
Ross Bushnell, President and CEO of Scholle IPN, added “Source reduction is a powerful step in the mitigation of our carbon footprint. By reducing the amount of plastic required to get our customer’s liquids to their end-market, we ensure that there is less waste throughout the product lifecycle. Our new flexible water packaging provides for recyclability where possible while also ensuring critical source reduction that saves our Earth’s diminishing resources for future use.”
Scholle IPN’s recycle-ready bag-in-box packaging for water is now available.
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