Movers and Shakers in the Environmental Packaging Movement
With today’s increased awareness of environmental sustainability, companies are discovering better options in environmental packaging. Whether it involves metal closures, aluminum aerosol bottles or cans, companies are striving to develop packaging options that are not only environmentally sustainable but economically viable as well, so that manufacturers don’t have to pass higher costs on to consumers.
Here’s a look at five of the best activist groups and companies in the environmental packaging movement.
1. Ban the Bottle
Originally created to promote the banning of plastic bottles, Ban the Bottle features news articles about global environmental events, as well as ideas for environmental activities that everyone can participate in, from signing petitions to hosting events. Thier website features plenty of interesting news articles about global activism in eliminating plastic bottles and other environmental packaging hazards.
2. As You Sow
Founded in 1992, As You Sow (AYS) is made up of shareholder advocates who directly engage with corporate managers, CEOs and investors to develop greener practices — including environmentally safer packaging. According to the AYS website, fewer than 40 percent of the beverage bottles and cans sold by companies such as Coca-Cola, Nestle and Dr. Pepper are recycled, while only 31 percent of plastic bottles are recycled. Likewise, less than 40 percent of aluminum cans are recycled.
In recent years, the group has been successful in persuading McDonald’s to phase out Styrofoam cups and other types of polystyrene packaging. Likewise, AYS also worked with Colgate-Palmolive to create a recyclable toothpaste tube. In addition, the group has worked with corporations such as Kroger, Kraft, Dr. Pepper/ Snapple , Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, Campbell’s Soup and Walmart to promote environmentally sustainable consumer packaging. The group has also engaged Target and Amazon to participate in phasing out polystyrene packaging in e-commerce deliveries.
3. Ecovative Design
Based in New York, Ecovative Design has recently developed a range of environmentally safe packing materials using mycelium fungi, which is first cultivated and then built into performance structures such as packaging panels and blocks, molded shapes and high-performance foams. This fungus-based packaging replaces materials — such as polystyrene — that are proven to be unsafe to the environment. Ecovative’s eco-safe packaging is being used globally by companies such as Puma, Crate and Barrel and Dell.
4. Ennstal Milch KG
Although Ennstal Milch is primarily known as a producer of quality cheeses and dairy drinks, in recent years the German-based corporation has also become a leader in environmental packaging, thanks to the development of its CartoCan. Launched in 2014, the CartoCan is a cardboard-based can that’s 30 percent more eco-friendly than aluminum cans and plastic bottles. Because the CartoCan is made up of 50 percent renewable raw materials (including wood from sustainable forests), it generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than aluminum.
5. Sustainable Packaging Coalition
As a leading voice in the sustainable packaging movement, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) engages companies along the entire supply chain to commit to more eco-friendly packaging. Its website not only offers the latest updates in its activities, but also offers information-packed blogs and online training courses on recycling and sustainable packaging essentials. Corporate members include Proctor & Gamble, McDonald’s, SC Johnson and Reynolds.
Whenever there’s news of a new innovation in environmental packaging, there’s nearly always an activist group that motivated its initial inception and launch. Environmental packaging activists can come in many forms — from individual consumers to global corporations. Today, thanks to improved corporate protocols, heightened government regulations, and an educated public, environmental packaging is increasingly becoming an industry standard and a way of life for manufacturers and consumers around the globe.