Posts Tagged ‘Recycling’

Plant-based polypropylene packaging. Is spinach next?

Posted in Cosmetics & Toiletries, Design, Environmental Issues, Innovation, Materials, Opinion, Product News, Technology, Tweets on February 8th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 4 Comments


popeye spinach packaging polymers

popeye spinach packaging polymers?

‘Vegetarian’ polymers seem to be on the increase with yet another innovative initiative that, this time, uses natural cress plant waste, which is combined with a variety of different polypropylene grades to produce a range of packaging materials to suit different types of products with a variety of finishes. Allegedly they are produced using significantly lower CO² emissions than ‘conventional’ plastics.

The material called ‘Agriplast’ has been developed by German bio manufacturing company Biowert, which sources the cress-based waste from farms in the immediate area around Brensbach, in southern Germany, where the factory is based.

This sounds like a really innovative initiative and the the project is a collaboration between German company AHA Kunstofftechnik and French-based packaging manufacturer Cosmeco, who have combined resources to develop this material for use, initially, in cosmetics packaging.

Rumour has it that use of spinach for this type of polymer project could be a next-step development, something that could potentially really increase material tensile properties and produce a product as strong as iron – but this has yet to be verified and Mr P.Peye was unavailable for comment ;-) LOL

The full ‘Agriplast’ natural cress article, 8th Feb 2010, can be read here at

Thanks to @MarktheSpaMan for bringing our attention to this article via Twitter

68k tonne cut in packaging weight – but is that good?

Posted in Business News, Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Food Packaging, Marketing, Recycling on January 29th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 4 Comments

I don’t want to belittle the progress that Kraft has made in reducing the weight of its packaging but you have to ask the question, how much of this reduction is due to the move from heavy glass jars to light weight laminated pouches? 

There is no doubt that this will have had a huge positive impact on there transportation footprint, which is great – but what about the end life of the laminate pouch?  I’m still waiting to be convinced that high temperature recycling of laminates is really the right way to go.  And what about the end consumer, how many of them know how or where to recycle laminate pouches compared to those that can and do easily recycle glass jars?

Great marketing story though. (Jane Bear)

Kraft Foods has revealed it has cut 68,000 tonnes of packaging from its products around the world in the past five years.  To read the full article visit

Article by Simeon Goldstein,, 29 January 2010

Is this really environmentally friendly?

Posted in Cosmetics & Toiletries, Environmental Issues, Food Packaging, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Materials, Recycling, Technology on January 27th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 6 Comments

I find it hard to believe that heating material to 500 degrees celseus in order to ‘recycle’ it can be truely environmentally friendly.  Surely the amount of energy needed isn’t going to be offset by the materials that can be salvaged, particularly when you consider that more energy will be needed to reprocess the reclaimed materials as well.

This article by Josh Brooks shows that the technology is now there, but is it really the right way to go? (Jane)

Commercial UK recycling of aseptic cartons, toothpaste tubes and pouches is to move a step closer when a little-known recycling technology company opens a showcase site later this year.  To read more go to the full article at

Only 25% shoppers are ‘aware of renewable packaging materials’

Posted in Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Food Packaging, Marketing, Materials, Opinion, Recycling, Retailers on January 26th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 31 Comments

Why am I not surprised that only a quarter of consumers are aware of renewable materials in packaging and even fewer have heard of FSC, research from the carton producers association ACE has found. I wouldn’t say that the benefits have been particularly well marketed to the industry, let alone consumers.

Research carried out among 1,001 shoppers for the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) UK found that just 26% of consumers had heard of renewable materials being used in packaging, while 16% knew of the FSC chain of custody logo.

Although I’m aware that mixed material cartons are now collected at some supermarkets (in the UK), it seems to be ‘patchy’ to say the least. The Tetra pak website provides some useful information, but I for one am not convinced that widespread and adequate infrastructure is in place to process these once collected, what impact processing has on the environment and what real usage there is for the recovered materials afterwards. Tetra Pak state that materials can be “used in furniture, to generate energy or even separated out into pure aluminium and paraffin.” But I wonder how much of that actually happens?

Cartons may well state that “purchasing this FSC certified carton from Tetra Pak supports responsible forest management worldwide”, but there are no statements about the other materials that need to be separated.

So come on FSC, if you’d like to provide us with the relevant information so that we can all make an informed judgement as to the pros & cons, we (in the industry) can help you spread your message.

Chris Penfold

Here you can read the rest of the article: ‘Three shoppers in four ‘unaware of renewable packaging materials’: study‘ Dated 25th January 2009, Via Packaging News website.

Chartered Environmentalist + WRAP Technical Advisors x 2 = Good News

Posted in Associations, Awards, Design, Design Cognition News, Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Food Packaging, Gift Packaging, Healthcare & Pharma, Opinion, Recycling, cost-optimisation on December 14th, 2009 by Chris Penfold – 17 Comments

Just a quick note to confirm that both Annie and myself have been honoured with the title of Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) by the Society for the Environment, through our membership of the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3) and because of our life-long commitment to developing sustainable packaging solutions in our day-to-day projects. It’s nice to have it recognised and, by implication, recognition of the fact that packaging actually provides a beneficial (environmental) role in society.

This also sits nicely with our appointment last year as Technical Advisors to WRAP (the UK government-run Waste Resources & Action Programme) in ‘Waste Minimisation – Packaging Product Waste’. I feel that a key component of this has been our understanding of the requirements of present environmental legislation, in particular the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging waste) and Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations, which have been key in a number of recent environmental & sustainability assessments

‘Sustainable development’ to me is all about taking a ‘helicopter’ view of any product development to understand:

  • environmental impacts throughout the whole supply chain (from raw material extraction, through use & disposal, to reuse and recovery) whilst
  • attempting to meet consumer convenience needs,
  • BUT minimising the overall environmental impact through intelligent design of pack (primary, secondary & tertiary), using the optimum material specifications & most economical footprint possible.

I believe that key to our CEnv award was our continued application of the principles of sustainable environmental management and development in our work. Over my 30 year career ‘the environment’ has become ever-more prominent on everybody’s agenda, evolving from the early days of the ‘Topfer Decree’ to the more recent ‘Plan A’. We have endeavoured throughout to apply the principles of sustainable environmental management and development in all of our work as ‘environmental packaging champions’:

  • Acting as an internal consultants for marketers & other business stakeholders – advising on ‘fitness for purpose’ and ‘environmental best-practice’.
  • Highlighting issues with existing packaging to our work colleagues
  • Applying ‘sustainable principles in the hundreds of packaging developments on which We’ve worked

Moving forwards, I pledge that Design Cognition will continue applying the principles of sustainable development and environmental responsibility in all of our work. As CEO of a company that not only develops packaging but also acts in a consultancy capacity (advising on packaging ‘sustainability’ & ‘the environment’) I carry the mantle with a great deal of pride and self-fulfilment – enjoying making a ‘real difference’ in the world.

  • Our initial discussions with clients always encompass sustainable aspects – and that will continue
  • One of our ‘values’ (shown on our website) is to be ‘environmentally aware’:
  • “bearing in mind our impact on the environment and eco-systems in all that we develop and in our day-to-day business”
  • Through this ethos I will encourage all in Design Cognition to ‘live’ our environmental policy as a holistic approach to encompass not only work we do for clients but also in our day-to-day business activities.

We look forward to working with you :-)


Advent Calendar – humorous variation – Move over Cadbury’s!

Posted in Design, Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Gift Packaging, Innovation, Opinion, Recycling, cost-optimisation on December 10th, 2009 by Chris Penfold – 6 Comments

We just received this picture via email and it made us laugh. We thought that you might like it too.  A very novel re-use of packaging to minimise scarce resources. Have a guess from which northern UK country it originated? Chris

tennants image001_1

Novel re-use for Tennants Lager packaging

Unilever joins P&G in rejecting BRC logo scheme

Posted in Associations, Design, Environmental Issues, Recycling on November 20th, 2009 by Jane Bear – 8 Comments

That’s another of the ‘big boys’ out.  I really hope that it might prompt a re-think of the BRC scheme.  I believe there is a lot of value to the scheme it’s self, but it needs a bit of fine tuning if it’s to gain credibility with the larger multi-national brands (Jane)

Unilever has told Packaging News that it will not be signing up to the British Retail Consortium’s on-pack recycling logo, following the news that its FMCG rival Procter & Gamble ruled out joining the scheme.

via Unilever joins P&G in rejecting BRC logo scheme |

Coca-Cola begins global launch of plant-based PET bottle

Posted in Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Materials, Recycling on November 17th, 2009 by Jane Bear – 5 Comments

Coca-Cola Co seem to have very clear goals on where they want to go and how they are going to get there.  Glad to see that their long term plan isn’t to stay with food based materials but to ultimately move onto plant waste materials. (Jane) 

Coca-Cola Co yesterday announced the selective global roll-out of its new PET bottle made from up to 30 per cent plant materials such as sugar and molasses.

The drinks giant said its PlantBottle containers were beginning to hit retail shelves across the world, with a planned production target of two billion by the end of next year.

via Coca-Cola begins global launch of plant-based PET bottle.

P&G rules out BRC recycling logo after 50 brands sign up

Posted in Design, Environmental Issues, Recycling on November 17th, 2009 by Jane Bear – 10 Comments

I fully understand P&Gs reluctance to update their mainly multilingual packs with a set of UK specific logos when they legally don’t have to - maybe this is showing one of the flaws of the BRCs scheme.  They are the British Retail Consortium and this scheme (understandably) is focused solely on the British market.  With the economic climate as it is, many multinationals will be or should be looking at ways to cut costs and multilingual packs can certainly help this cause – but the BRCs logos don’t help with creating multilingual packs.  If it was simply a case of saying what the packaging material was and whether it was possible to recycle it then I believe it wouldn’t be too much of an issue.  I believe the problem arises when you have to state whether the material IS widely recycled by the local councils or not, that statement limits it’s area of use significantly and also discourages even UK residents from looking for ways to recycle the more odd ball material.  I also don’t believe it encourages the local councils to increase the range of materials they recycle – after all if the BRC states that a material isn’t widely recycled why should they bother? (Jane)

Procter & Gamble has ruled out signing up to the British Retail Consortiums on-pack recycling logo after the BRC revealed it was currently being introduced to about 50,000 product lines.

via P&G rules out BRC recycling logo after 50 brands sign up |

GSK takes a shine to filmless, ‘green’ holography | Greener Package

Posted in Branding, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Design, Environmental Issues, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Materials, Recycling, Technology on October 19th, 2009 by Anne Dallison – 3 Comments

GSK takes a shine to filmless, ‘green’ holography cartons

A new carton for GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare’s Aquafresh White & Shine toothpaste shimmers with a subtle holographic rainbow effect with a heavy emphasis on the green end of the spectrum. Through the use of new printing technology, the carton is as easy to recycle —something that most holographic packages cannot claim.: “Traditional holographic packaging contains a laminated layer of metallized polyester that does not remove easily from the paperboard, making recycling very difficult,” says Michael J. Larocca, packaging development manager for GSK Consumer Healthcare. “This package has no polyester or metal content. As a result, there is no impact to typical paperboard recycling streams.”

via GSK takes a shine to filmless, ‘green’ holography | Greener Package.  by Anne Marie Mohan, Managing Editor,