Renewable resources ride a wave of momentum

Tulane University calls its athletic teams the Green Wave, but there’s a green wave that’s building momentum in the packaging community: the increasing use of sustainable packaging made from renewable resources.

That observation is based on the increasing number of press releases, e-mail, and calls to Packaging World about commercial applications using such “green” packaging materials.

The momentum is also evident in the results of a recent Packworld.com survey. More than half (53%) of 479 packagers responded affirmatively to the question, “Does your company plan to increase the use of packaging made from renewable resources, or from recycled materials in the next six months?”

Separately, the first meeting of the newly formed Sustainable Packaging Coalition was held June 24-25 in Seattle, WA. Among the end-user packagers registered to attend were Estée Lauder/Aveda, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Nike, PepsiCo, and host Starbucks Coffee Company. For more information, visit www.sustainablepackaging.org.

Here’s a brief look at some of the applications involving packaging made from renewable resources that have been brought to our attention:

  • The use of Cargill Dow’s NatureWorks PLA, packaging made entirely from field corn, continues to grow. Farm Fresh, a division of SuperValu; EarthFare, a natural foods retailer; and several New York specialty chains are among the most recent retail users of the clear material.

  • Organic brownie producer Raw Indulgence, Ltd., Ardsley, NY, and organic soap maker Tikvah, Petaluma, CA, are using NatureFlex biodegradable and compostable film made from wood pulp and supplied by Surface Specialties UCB. The film is customized for both companies, incorporating different barrier properties and moisture vapor transmission rates.

  • Game packaging for Sony and Toyota’s automotive parts packaging use starch-based Green Cell biodegradable foams from KTM Industries.

  • Hershey’s, Procter & Gamble, Kraft, and FedEx are among the major brands packaged in 100% recycled paperboard that have won packaging awards, according to a press release from The 100% Recycled Paperboard Alliance.

  • A food company in France that prefers not to be identified is using packing pellets made from starch-based cereal grains from Clextral.

  • More in Flexible packaging