A tiny, little keychain...June 8 2017



This blog is the result of a photo my daughter sent me of a package she had just received from the Bay:  it was a tiny,  little key chain that she had ordered  in a massive box filled with single use packaging material.

That insanity led me to investigate innovations that are being discovered in the packing world that are more sustainable and I was not disappointed.  For the environmentally conscious consumer these are the troubling truths:  too much food goes to waste, too much packaging comes with products and too much of the packaging is made to last for ages.

I have posted blogs about various foods being used for packaging.  A growing number of entrepreneurs and researchers are working to turn foods such as mushrooms, kelp, milk and tomato peels into edible — if not always palatable — replacements for plastics, coatings and other packaging materials. Their efforts come as food and beverage companies are not only looking for biodegradable containers but also joining in the growing effort by governments, restaurateurs and consumers to reduce waste, which contributes to the greenhouse gases enveloping the planet.

The following are some innovative, fun, sustainable packaging being developed.

Announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the world’s no. 1 shampoo unveiled its ambitious plan to collect plastic on beaches around Europe and turn it into shampoo bottles. It was here when it was stated that by 2050 there would be more plastic than fish in the ocean

The bottle is set to launch in France in summer 2017 and is being produced with recycling experts, Terracycle, and the Europe’s largest waste management company, Suez.

The initiative will involve over hundreds of NGOs and thousands of volunteers and tackles the tricky issue of beach plastic.

Plastic coming from the marine environment is notoriously difficult to re-use due to degradation, but working with its partners, Head&Shoulders has found a technically revolutionary way of integrating 25% of this plastic into its packaging.

It is hoped the launch will not only help to clean up plastic on beaches but also inspire consumers to play their part and recycle their shampoo bottles and prevent more waste landing on beaches. FYI…today is World Oceans Day  http://www.worldoceansday.org/

The Greenery converts discarded tobacco plant stalks into packaging. The box is a development by the chain consortium Biobased Westland and is produced by Smurfit-Kappa. As tomato fibres have been used, the box can be recycled multiple times. There are also plans to extract raw materials from the plant juices for bio-plastics.

Remember this one?  (blog http://calstoneinc.com/cindys-blog-june-6-2016-edible-6-pack-rings/) Earlier this year, Saltwater Brewery launched edible six-pack rings for beer packaging. That’s right, you can have your beer and eat its packaging too! Well, except the can, of course. With this new type of sustainable packaging, Saltwater Brewery aims to significantly reduce the vast amount of birds and sea animals that die from eating plastic every year. Although the rings are made from barley and wheat, they are sturdy enough to handle the weight of the average beer can with ease.

This sustainable packaging is as natural as it gets! Completely made of compressed hay, this packaging design by a student designer  is a natural solution to preserve traditional dry sausages.

Miracle-Gro Gro-ables have developed a new seed pod to change the way consumers garden. Gro-ables provide an ideal growing environment with the exact combination soil and seed in every compostable pod. It also takes the guesswork out of planting seeds and is the perfect platform for compostable packaging.

A first in the market from Hovis with the launch of a bread bag made almost entirely from renewable polyethylene (PE). Hovis worked with Amcor Flexibles to develop the sugarcane-based bag to deliver a 75% lower carbon footprint compared with the traditional bread bags on the market.

These are just a few of the many new ideas out there but it is gratifying to know that maybe one day a key chain will be sent in a tiny, little biodegradable package!