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Engineering Materials

Packaging Replaces Plastic With Pulp

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Brian Foster
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Re: Sustainable and Easy to Open?
Brian Foster   2/22/2012 2:00:40 PM
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Agreed on all counts.  :-)

kenish
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Re: Packaging Replaces Plastic With Pulp
kenish   2/22/2012 1:51:41 PM
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I'm going to put on my cynic hat for a minute.  The accomplishment is great and admirable (I recycle voraciously).  But, it was driven by the "middle line".  PVC is no doubt more expensive than pulp, especially with crude headed north of $105/bbl. The lighter unit weight saves transportation costs through the supply chain, too.  If PVC were 1 cent cheaper than any other option, the packaging would not have changed.

@vimalkumarp-  That is not a Greenpeace quote, it's from native Americans although the exact source seems to vary.

 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Sustainable and Easy to Open?
Ann R. Thryft   2/22/2012 1:44:25 PM
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Thanks, Brian. I don't think you need to worry that our readers will take sustainability claims at face value, lol. They seem to have a lot of collective healthy skepticism. OTOH, although many of us have become cynical about green materials because of greenwashing as Rob has pointed out several times in various threads, the fact is that the industry has been busy developing not only various assessment tools, like LCA, but actual certification programs like those mentioned in the article.


Brian Foster
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Re: Sustainable and Easy to Open?
Brian Foster   2/22/2012 1:36:39 PM
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Will do.  Thanks Ann.  I was hoping maybe one of your readers might know about the LCA.  Also I hoped my reply would at least raise some questiona so others might not take everything that says "sustainability" at face value. Sustainability is not cut and dry. It seems every question leads to more questions. Be well. BF 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Sustainable and Easy to Open?
Ann R. Thryft   2/22/2012 1:04:48 PM
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Brian, I would also like to know more about the recyclability claims and the LCA info.Separation is a big deal in recycling plastics. The consumers' local waste management supplier is supposed to give their customers updated lists of what's recyclable and what's not. Perhaps Be Green, the supplier, can give you more details on these issues. Please let us know if you find out.


Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Packaging Replaces Plastic With Pulp
Ann R. Thryft   2/22/2012 12:59:37 PM
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vimalkumarp, I share the same sympathies. I'm continually amazed at all the work being done on sustainable materials, and how far it's come in the last 30 years. I'm also often surprised at the fact that I'm surprised, meaning the fact that so little about the strides that have made seems to be commonly known.

Rob, one thing I learned in the reporting for my upcoming March feature on bioplastics is the fact the the whole move there is definitely consumer driven. Sources told me this is also the case with sustainability initiatives in general. And that's why the big companies are doing all this.


Rob Spiegel
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Re: More than greenwash
Rob Spiegel   2/22/2012 10:57:21 AM
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I agree, Ann. What's encouraging here is that these companies would not be putting in this effort if they did not believe it matters to their customers. The story between the lines here is that customers prefer companies with effective green initiatives. 

Brian Foster
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Sustainable and Easy to Open?
Brian Foster   2/22/2012 10:31:15 AM
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Thank you Ann for the article.  I applaud the initiative to remove that much plastic from a package and it still look terrific.  I have curiously been looking to find a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) for a molded pulp tray versus a PVC or PET blister without any luck. I would like to understand how the overall process to harvest, process, mold, and dye the pulp material compares against the common plastic clamshell materials (virgin or recycled).  I hope it is intended that this package get separated and recycled with newspaper and that it will be clear to the consumer, or else this will just end up in the landfill. I haven't read that the material is biodegradable. Regarding some easy opening blogs, the packs I have seen have a strong lid seal without a peel tab or perforation. Plan on scissors unless the US version has improvements.  Just some things to think about when reading the press releases.         

vimalkumarp
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Packaging Replaces Plastic With Pulp
vimalkumarp   2/22/2012 4:30:11 AM
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Nice article Ann. This article is really an eye opener. This reminds me of one of the slogans of Greenpeace that we do not inherit this planet, we just borrowed it from our children. Sustainable design is important and it is high time to think on cradle to cradle design rather than cradle to grave ..!

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Not pretty, but worth it
Ann R. Thryft   2/21/2012 3:14:38 PM
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Thanks, TJ, now I get your drift. I'm more used to clamshell packaging with a cardboard or other hard material backing that is opaque, not transparent. Interesting: perhaps we are talking about different product categories. In any case, the marketing department clearly is not the final arbiter in these decisions, nor do they appear to be final arbiters at companies with major sustainability goals and programs. 


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