For the third year in a row, the Greener Package Awards honor the top innovations in sustainable packaging introduced over the previous year-and this year's honors are given with special attention to measurable achievements in sustainable packaging. For 2011, competition judges set the bar for entry even higher, requiring all submissions to include verifiable data for at least one aspect of environmental impact: greenhouse gas reduction, sourcing metrics/impacts, end-of-life recovery metrics/impacts, life-cycle metrics/impacts, and/or social impacts. Entries were evaluated against some of the latest standards and guidelines under development for sustainable packaging. As the awards entry form advised applicants, "You can't change what you can't measure, and so sustainability improvements must start with measurements."
Therefore, winners in the 2011 Greener Package Awards represent some of the most thoughtfully executed and scientifically substantiated innovations in sustainable packaging from 2010/2011.
The downside of the new, more rigorous requirements? The number of entries to this year's awards dropped precipitously, begging the question, is greenwashing still the norm in sustainable packaging? Despite all the tools introduced to help calculate impacts, despite all the education, conferences, and new groups organized to provide guidance, and despite all the accumulated knowledge, are packagers still relying on vague claims and insufficient data-whether consciously or unconsciously-to guide their sustainable packaging efforts? As we have learned from the consumer's confusion over environmental claims, misleading and/or vague environmental claims by one packager can have a ripple effect, casting suspicion over all brand owners' sustainable efforts.
So we applaud our winners for their hard work in making authentic environmental advances. Hopefully their stories can inspire others working toward sustainable packaging innovations.
2011 Greener Package Award Winners:
Innovator of the Year: Ice River Springs
Non FDA-Regulated Products Category
Environmental Impact: Ecologic Brands
Innovator of the Year: Ecovative
Secondary/Large-Format Packaging Category
Innovator of the Year: Intelligent Thermal Solutions, LLC
Packaging Machinery Category
Environmental Impact: ITW Muller
Innovator of the Year: Intralox
Beyond the Package Awards