Green Packaging - News
Wal-Mart May Revise Packaging Scorecard
Throughout 2008, Wal-Mart will work on evaluating and refining the calculations used in its packaging scorecard. The scorecard asks companies that sell products through Wal-Mart to answer questions to rate the sustainability of their products. Wal-Mart said that while the questions asked will remain the same as before, the methods for calculating scores could be changed.
“When we launched the scorecard for supplier input in 2007, we knew that we were going to work on the metrics behind the scenes, and we will continue to work with members of our Packaging Sustainable Value Network to refine those metrics,” said Amy Zettlemoyer-Lazar, director of packaging.
Wal-Mart’s Packaging Sustainable Value Network comprises suppliers, government agencies, academics, trade associations, and nongovernment organizations.
In February, Wal-Mart officially began using the scorecard. Its overall goal is to reduce packaging by 5% by 2013.
In addition to significantly reducing the amount of trash going to landfills, the initiative will prevent 667,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
The scorecard lets brands know how eco-friendly their packages are compared with those of other brands. It also allows customers to find out how green a brand’s packages are to allow them to make informed purchasing decisions.
Since the scorecard was first introduced, more than 6000 distinct brands have used the scorecard to rate the sustainability of more than 97,000 product packages. Wal-Mart has more than 60,000 suppliers worldwide. All will be judged according to the scorecard.
Composting Facilities Must Accept More Bioplastics, Says Conference Speaker
As more types of bioplastics enter the composting stream, U.S. composting facilities must quickly adjust to work with these new materials—or risk hindering the green movement, said Frederic Scheer at the recent European Bioplastics Conference in Paris.
Scheer is CEO and president of Cereplast, manufacturer of Cereplast starch-based bioplastics, which are used to create green packages, including those for beauty products. Conference organizers had invited him to speak about the challenges facing the U.S. bioplastics market.
“Especially in the United States, the composting infrastructure is not completely in place to handle bioplastics,” he said. “There are approximately 4500 composting sites in the United States. Only 600 or so are willing to accept compostable packaging.”
The bottom line, Scheer implied, is that even if more beauty companies strive to market packages made from compostable plastics, these packages will never actually be composted if composting facilities do not accept them.
Scheer added that compost sites typically do not accept bioplastic packages from industries such as cosmetics. “You have to remember that the final outcome of composting is going back to the food chain,” he said. “All compost needs to go through a lot of stringent testing, such as seed-germination testing, which is clearly completely new to industries such as cosmetics, automotives, toys, etc. The consequence is that none of these packages are accepted by compost sites.”
He added, “I think that the recycling industry and the plastics industry need to be ready because bioplastics are the plastics of the 21st century. The way that they handle these materials is going to affect the way that people react to them.”
Arkay Packaging Now Eco-Certified
Carton supplier Arkay Packaging Corp. (Hauppauge, NY) has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). The certification indicates that the paperboard that Arkay uses to create its cartons was sourced and manufactured in an environmentally friendly manner.
According to Joseph Riccardella, Arkay’s quality assurance director, “Our customers are aware that more consumers are thinking ‘green.’ The FSC/SFI programs allow our customers to cater to those markets. The fact that Arkay has certifications for both FSC and SFI puts us in the unique position to offer a wider variety of paperboard solutions to our customers.”
Japan Firm Buys 50% Stake in NatureWorks
Cargill has sold 50% of NatureWorks LLC (Minnetonka, MN) to Teijin Ltd., a Japan-based supplier of fibers, films, and plastic compounds. NatureWorks LLC is the world’s first and largest supplier of commercial polymers derived from 100% renewable natural plant sugars—including NatureWorks PLA, the corn-based polylactic acid resin that is popular in the beauty packaging industry.
The acquisition will allow Teijin’s expertise in applications for fibers, films, and plastic compounds to develop new markets for NatureWorks biopolymers. Since 2005, NatureWorks says that it has seen triple-digit volume growth, with more than 100 leading brands and retailers in the United States, Europe, and Asia currently using its products.
“NatureWorks will greatly benefit from Teijin’s expertise in technology and end-use application development,” said Guillaume Bastiaens, Cargill’s vice chairman. “Teaming up with Teijin will allow more brand owners, retailers, and converters to address their global interest in sustainable solutions using NatureWorks biopolymer.”