With Earth Day right around the corner it is important for us to recognize the lengths that packaging producers continue to go to ensure that we are taking care of the planet.
We know that our continued reliance on the world’s natural resources must be supplanted with a respect and effort toward long term sustainability and building awareness for recycling. There are also benefits in using sustainable materials across the board, including cost reduction, improved functionality, and positive end-user experience.
Earth day is on this Saturday April 22 and here are some stats that you should know going into the weekend:
- $1 is the amount that it costs for the Canopy Project to plant a tree in their efforts to combat deforestation
- 38 States have installed wind turbines to use as a source of power
- 95% energy is saved by recycling an aluminum can as opposed to manufacturing a new one
- 175 countries are currently celebrating Earth day
- 1970 was the first year that Earth day was celebrated
- 150 Million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year would be saved if 5% of New York commuters biked to work
To keep the Earth day conversations alive in the packaging community, here are 8 companies that have incorporated sustainability in their packaging efforts.
After introducing bamboo packaging for some of its smaller devices in 2008, Dell announced in 2010 that it would start shipping other products in packaging made from a fungus material, combined with commercial agricultural waste. Both packaging designs are renewable and biodegradable, and they also help the company cut energy use. Dell has taken things even further by announcing plans to source 100 percent of packaging from sustainable materials that will be recyclable or compostable by 2020.
Amazon has committed to tackling an issue that their users have with frustrations in opening packages, as well as contributing to reducing the global footprint. Last year, the online retail giant announced that its Frustration-Free Packaging initiative, a five-year effort to liberate products from hermetically sealed clamshell cases and plastic-coated steel-wire ties, now offers more than 200,000 items. To date, Amazon has shipped over 75 million of these items to 175 countries, the company said.
Toms of Maine
Tom’s of Maine is tinkering with potato starch for some its polylactic acid (PLA) packaging. Potatoes are a huge part of Maine’s farming sector, and the company has a long-term opportunity to divert food waste or crops that are below food-grade from landfills and churn them into bio-plastic resin. Tom’s pinpointed its mouthwash bottles and deodorant canisters as good candidates for the use of potato-based PLA initially.
Gap, Inc. uses sustainable packaging in all areas, including its gift cards. Gap gift cards are produced by Envi Portfolio, which manufactures cards made from fiber and post-consumer waste, rather than from plastics. The cards are made by a process that uses 100% green energy, also rendering them totally carbon neutral.
In addition to Kohl’s use of sustainable packaging in its stores for boxes and gift-wrapping, the company has undertaken an initiative to use only vendors that are highly receptive to sustainable packaging. When large companies require their suppliers to go sustainable, vendors have a huge incentive to “go green” as well.
Burt’s Bees, always a leader in responsible manufacturing, has spent years finding the right company to make the plastic tubing for its lip balm, insisting the company use only recycled plastic materials. As always, Burt’s Bees aims to use minimal packaging and to use only materials that are both highly recyclable and highly recycled.