By Dr. Gerald Rebitzer, Director Product Sustainability, Alcan Packaging
and Nina Goodrich, Director Sustainnovation, Alcan Packaging
Sustainability and its implementation in industrial practice have been on the rise throughout recent years. Sustainability events are well attended as companies show a willingness to learn what it entails. The first step is often a commitment to screen new projects, capital investments, or research activities using social and environmental aspects in addition to the traditional financial ones.
Shorewood Packaging (New York) has launched TerraGreen which it says is the first water-based coating made from renewable resources. Developed by Shorewood strategic supplier ACTEGA Terra GmbH of Germany, TerraGreen is free of solvents and petrochemicals, allowing paper board packaging that uses the coating to be processed in a municipal recycling program.
When it comes to packaging, being green isn’t always what consumers always expect. The ubiquitous recycling symbol, for instance, has become the visual indicator of whether or not a product is environmentally friendly. But in pharmaceutical and medical device packaging, recyclability may not always be possible—or even preferable.
Twelve packaging industry participants attended a comprehensive 2-day Paperboard Packaging Seminar at the Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics on the campus of Clemson University, Clemson, SC.
After a medical device company requested an all-polyester lid to ease recycling, Rollprint Packaging Products Inc. (Addison, IL) set out to develop a high-performance solution for medical, pharmaceutical, and food applications. After six months of product development converting equipment upgrades, Rollprint has introduced StreamOne lidding, a 100%-polyester structure that uses as much as 50% less material compared with traditional polyester-blend lidding.
In packaging, the term sustainability emerged after Lee Scott of low-cost-leader Wal-Mart mentioned it in a 2005 speech. Ever since, the term has linked environmentally friendly practices with business efficiency.
Abbott is progressing toward meeting its goal of reducing the amount of packaging it uses for key products by 5% by 2013. To achieve this goal, the company has launched, or is in the process of launching, more than 40 sustainable packaging initiatives across its nutrition, pharmaceutical, and medical products businesses. The initiatives are driven by new standards and guidelines developed by Abbott that encourage increased use of lighter and sustainable materials in package design.
"Abbott's sustainable packaging initiatives will reduce our environmental footprint through less waste in landfills, more responsible forest management, and fewer emissions. At the same time, it lowers cost, and, in some cases, reduces shelf space for our customers," says John Landgraf, senior vice president, Pharmaceuticals, Manufacturing and Supply, Abbott. "Throughout the world, consumers increasingly expect the companies they do business with to be environmentally responsible citizens and Abbott is rising to that challenge."
Diamond Packaging (Rochester, NY) has announced that it appears on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new Top 20 Printers List of the largest green power purchasers in the commercial printing business.
An Alcan Packaging blister pack has received a DuPont award for sustainability. The design was cited for Cost Effective Economics and Enhanced Performance in the annual DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation. Winners were announced May 28 in a global online event with discussions on key sustainability topics.
Alcan Packaging, a business unit of Rio Tinto Alcan, launched its global Sustainability Moments campaign on June 5, World Environment Day.