Tag: glass packaging

Overhauling Packaging of Consumer Brands | Circular Economy

Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 19, 2021 by Noreen Wise

With the circular economy now in full swing outside the United Statesit becomes that much more clear just how many everyday items cannot be recycled. The reality is alarming. We’ll never reach zero waste unless we find innovative solutions to meet this imperative.

Further, even the plastics that can be recycled, often aren’t. Many items become litter or are tossed in a landfill. It takes 450 years for plastic bottles to decompose and 50 years for tin cans. Plastics breakdown into microplastics, which, unbelievably, land in our food supply as a result of their microscopic size slipping through water filters. On average, we humans eat 100 bits of microplastic with every meal. Microplastics cause toxicity that negatively impacts our life history.

Recycling existing plastic is highly beneficial. But, the following is a list of common plastic packaging/ additional items that cannot be recycled:

  • plastic single use shopping bags
  • straws
  • plastic film wrap
  • frozen food bags (nearly all vegetables are sold in non-recyclable bags)
  • cereal box liner
  • chip bags
  • granola bar, candy bar and nearly all snack items wrappers
  • six-pack rings
  • plastic hangers
  • any plastic containers that can’t be cleaned, ie toothpaste tubes
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The heart of the matter. After a year of Covid and staying home, who’s pumped to go out and live? Surely, the vast majority of us are. So, let’s factor the health impact of plastic into our decision making, for surely it will have health consequences. We must be more cognizant of all the plastic we consume.

Thankfully, innovative sustainability companies have gone plastic free for our safety. According to Healthy Human, the following are the top sustainable packaging innovations of 2019:

  • Loop, Returnity and Share Pack – companies that enable consumers to conveniently return packaging either by dropping off at targeted locations, or sending back in company provided totes
  • Plant based packaging – plastics made from plants
  • Edible packaging – typically this is seaweed, hopefully they’ll soon find additional alternatives
  • Plantable packaging – contains seeds so the packaging can be planted after use
  • Compostable plastic alternatives
  • Minimal packaging design
  • Upcycled or recycled packaging

What you can do about this. Consumers have the power to change the world by how we shop. Sustainable packaging solutions are here. All we need to do is grow the demand by purchasing the products and posting about it through social media. We must be motivated to seek out the brands packaged in recyclable material such as paper and thin cardboard, and use our wallets to influence corporations like Heinz and Coke to invest in overhauling their plastic packaging or lose their customers. If we all refuseto buy particular brands because of the packaging, corporations will make the change.

Nest steps:

  • Laundry detergent sheets wrapped in paper instead of the big plastic jugs
  • Toothpaste tablets replace plastic toothpaste tubes
  • Shampoo & conditioner bars, and ditch the plastic bottles
  • Glass packaged condiments and soft drinks instead of plastic may cut the cancer rate dramatically
  • New loop companies that package food in reusable containers; they pick up the empty containers each week when they drop off the next week’s grocery order

Let’s go! We can do this.

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FINALLY! Ketchup Packaged In Glass | New Brands

Washington (GGM) Analysis | December 24, 2019 by Noreen Wise Exciting update on the “Ketchup in a glass bottle sold locally” saga, a tale that has reached a positive outcome in just five weeks. Five weeks is a very short period of time to go from 0 to 60. This proves that social media is a very powerful solutions driver.
  • In mid November while grocery shopping, after making a commitment not to buy anymore products packaged in plastic, even if that meant paying more, I was shocked to discover that there literally weren’t any Ketchup brands sold in glass. It was the ONLY condiment that didn’t have a single glass packaged option. Barbecue sauce had the largest selection of brands sold in glass, row upon row upon row. BBQ Sauce and Ketchup are very similar, so I was perplexed. How could one of the two similar condiments have the most glass packaged possibilities, and the other have the least, actually none? This made no sense (although now I realize it’s because Heinz cornered the Ketchup market and refuses to revert back to glass).
  • I ended up purchasing “Apple Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce” as my Ketchup alternative
  • I snapped a photo and posted on Facebook about my shocking surprise that Ketchup isn’t sold in glass.
  • Someone commented that I could purchase Heinz in glass bottles through Amazon, although the glass bottles were super tiny, but the price was reasonable so I went for it. I imagines that I could give some away to various friends and family to promote the circular economy and the importance of glass packaging.
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  • And the best part was that I could reuse the bottles in other ways once finished. Tiny storage containers for small things like buttons, etc, and much more.
  • The small 2.25 oz ended up not being practical. So, my next big decision was to be adventurous and order Heinz Ketchup in the 14 oz glass bottles sold as a pack of 24 for $76.60 though Amazon. I realize this seems crazy, but buying in bulk is something we should be used to thanks to Costco.
  • Meanwhile, I posted each of these steps on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
  • I was supposed to receive the 14 oz bottles on Thursday of last week, but was dismayed to instead receive an email stating the delivery was cancelled. The glass bottles had been shipped, but the delivery ran into sone type of snafu and the package was being returned to sender and I’d be given a credit. No explanation provided. Yes, I can’t help but wonder if the bottles broke and everything was a mess. I guess I’ll never know.
  • Disappointed, I resumed my quest in local grocery stores this past weekend for Ketchup in glass bottles. I nearly jumped for joy when I found Unsweetened Organic Ketchup in Whole Foods. I bought it, tested it and determined that I could indeed grow a taste for unsweetened Ketchup. It was wonderfully fresh and healthy, and very tomatoey I might add.
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  • But later Sunday night, I had to dash to Safeway, and wasn’t I shocked to see a “NEW” Ketchup brand along the top row of the Ketchup shelves. The Red Duck label made my mouth water. It looked delicious, and indeed it is very yummy! YAY, a solution!
Climate Action works. Sharing ideas through social media catches the attention of many and nets positive results. I must admit that it’s disappointing Heinz hasn’t begun testing glass packaging for their Ketchup. The majority of the major soda producers certainly have. After 50 years of sustained success at having more than 60% of the Ketchup market share, has Heinz grown complacent? We’ll soon find out. In the meantime, GOOD LUCK, Red Duck! Thanks for responding to consumer demand. ~

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What is a Circular Economy? | Reversing Climate Change

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 21, 2019
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

LIGHTBULB! The solution to the climate crisis is for the global economy to shift from a linear economy to a circular. For the past 250 years — ever since the Industrial ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300
Revolution began in 1760the world has been operating under a linear economy of take-make-waste. Under this paradigm, we take natural resources, make a lot of products and then dispose of the waste. Typically, disposing of the waste nets a negative impact on the environment as well as our health.

The linear cycle is often very inefficient, destroying far more natural resources than necessary, and leaving behind dangerous toxins everywhere. Corporations often build inefficiency into their business plan intentionally in order to increase revenue. For example, if a company manufactures a cheap product (let’s say a refrigerator) and it breaks easily, the consumer will have to buy a new one faster. Corporations are incentivized to produce a flimsy refrigerator. They make more money being inefficient. However, there are  negative consequences for the global community with this business plan: increased carbon emissions, poisoning of the environment and the fueling of climate change.

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The circular economy model is built on the concept of reduce-reuse-recycle . In a circular  economy the manufacturer will produce a very high quality refrigerator that will last a very long time. They’ll make money servicing the hardy refrigerator for the consumer. In creating a higher quality product, the company reduces the number of refrigerators it manufactures which results in a whole series of advantages from natural resources, to the environment, and to the public.

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The circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital.” Again, these are all positives. Breaking down every piece of the economic puzzle so that we can move toward a circular economy to save our civilization, is quite tedious, but must be done. There are layers of issues that need to be analyzed. The product itself, and all its parts, as well as the packaging. The reuse and recycle aspects of the product, the parts and the packaging have variations depending on purity, and other fine details. Take for example glass.

Glass packaging is truly amazing. It can be recycled forever. It will never lose its purity on its own, only when accidentally mixed with cardboard or paper, etc. To keep glass from becoming impure, the new philosophy is to create large community recycle bins where townspeople can drop their glass off for recycling once a week. Northern Virginia is piloting this test program. Curbside pickup of glass has been cancelled in Norther Virginia. Large collection bins have been delivered in key locations around town. We’ll now wait and see the benefits of this minor change in the way glass is recycled, so it can then be rolled out in every community in the United States.

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There will be business winners and losers, of course. Fossil fuels and plastics will each be phased out. These industries have benefitted from the linear model for many decades, but will eventually be eliminated by the circular. There’s already pushback, but the transition from linear to circular is inevitable. It’s the only way our civilization can survive.

Plastic packaging MUST be replaced with glass and aluminum, as well as other easy to recycle natural alternatives, or reused as the material to create new products. In nations with large leaves on most trees, the leaves have been harvested for packaging. Recycled paper is also being converted for packaging. There will be many innovations on this front in the upcoming months and years. Keep your eyes wide open as new solutions debut one after the other. For example, straw make-overs have been so much fun to watch. Aluminum straws, paper, and just this week there was a fabulous article about pasta straws being a fab sensation.

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You know that any article dealing with the economy is only scratching the surface. Economics is not only a college course, but a college major. The subject is massive, especially when you factor in the global layers. So, one step at a time. In the transition from linear to circular, the EU is leading the way in the West. It’s been transitioning for over seven years now. China is aggressively converting as well. China is the world leader in nailing “reduction” through manufacturing the most long-lasting building materials: aluminum, steel, and cement.

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America hasn’t yet begun to rush. Only 16% of US companies are currently using circular principles, however a total of 62% responded positively to a February 2019 survey stating they plan to transition. Investment Funds have begun moving the needle by rewarding corporations that are a match for the circular economy goals and creating a special fund, “BGF Circular Economy” Fund.

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We citizens can do our part by recycling religiously, composting daily, purchasing products packaged in glass, eliminating plastic, planting trees and gardens, the list is endless. Begin today, and again proceed one step at a time. We can save our children’s future, and alleviate their daily stress. LET’S GO!

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