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Be Green Packaging to Open U.S. Plant

Be Green Packaging has finalized the purchase of its first U.S. manufacturing facility, in Ridgeland, S.C.

The packaging company, whose customers include Whole Foods, 7-Eleven and Procter & Gamble, says that the $7.3 million factory will be the country’s first for compostable packaging based on Green Products Innovation Institute (GPII) standards. The plant will join Be Green’s China manufacturing base, and warehouses in Boston and Los Angeles.

“We are committed to safety and quality in our plant and adding value to the communities in which we operate,” CEO Ron Blitzer said. “With radical changes happening daily in our industry, now is the time to bring our manufacturing operations to the US.”

Be Green aims to make the new plant 100 percent waste-free, using a water reclamation system alongside extensive composting and recycling operations.

The Santa-Barbara based company, founded in 2007, makes its packaging from wild-harvested plants including bulrush, bagasse and bamboo. The company says it is the only sustainable food packaging manufacturer to achieve Cradle to Cradle certification according to GPII protocols.

Cradle to Cradle certification considers factors such as material health, material reutilization, renewable energy use, water stewardship, and social responsibility.

In other packaging news, Danone has switched to Ingeo plant-based plastic for most Activia yogurts sold in Germany. The change will reduce the product packaging’s carbon footprint by 25 percent and use 43 percent less fossil resources, according to a life cycle assessment (LCA) study conducted by the Heidelberg-based LCA Institute for Energy and Environmental Research.

The 4x115g and 8x115g yogurts were previously packaged in polystyrene. Danone has now switched about 80 percent of German Activia products to Ingeo, and has plans to convert the other 20 percent.

Ingeo maker NatureWorks is working with the industry to develop a new method of recovery and reuse for its packaging. It is also working with Danone to achieve International Sustainability and Carbon Certification for the cups.

“NatureWorks worked closely with Danone, not only to supply the material solution, Ingeo, but also to rigorously address questions and provide data around the entire supply chain from field to product,” NatureWorks chief executive officer Marc Verbruggen said.

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3 thoughts on “Be Green Packaging to Open U.S. Plant

  1. Congratulations on opening your new Green Facility.

    Companies like yours that break new ground in one area, tend to keep breaking through new barriers.

    Please send me a link or contact to your H.R. Manager so that I may pursue employment with your company whenever you begin this process.

    I’ve been a Corporate Trainer, ISO Consultant, Plant Trainer, Production Manager, Supervisor, and Process Engineer, who has developed an abundance of experiences and skills Trouble Shooting and Resolving Problems as well as foreseeing those elusive signs a problems that are too often overlooked by competent managers.

    I’m a fan of all New Green Better Innovations and Applications, and it was a pleasure reading about you.

    Thank You and Good Luck on a Great Service and Plan for Emerging Markets which should fair well in your favor among other Packagers who were either less ambitious or unable to make this transition.

    Within the next 5 years, with the right choices, you should be able to report a 90% or greater decrease of energy costs, due to renewable energy applications. Add to this the potential to turn a profit through passive generation of energy put back into the grid or shared with your community, and you’ll be one of the greatest company models that the entire country will be looking your way as well.

    (People didn’t think you could achieve what you have just done, so I’m not making a big stretch by comparison with today’s technologies and innovations.) All the best.

    Thank You,

    Rickey Bates

  2. This story asserts that the plant based plastic containeers chosen by Danone have a 25 % lower Carbon footprint compared to polystyrene. However, in the same edition of EL, there is an article about the Styrene industry which puts forward,in contrast, a Feb 2011 study by Franklin Associates (a division of ERG) which draws the opposite conclusion about the Carbon footprints of plant based and polystyrene based containers. Do you, or Danone, or the LCA Institute, have any comment on the apparently contradictory reports/assertions that EL has reported on in the same issue?

  3. Hi Nigel,

    Thanks for your comment. It’s an interesting question but I don’t think the two points necessarily contradict each other, and I’m happy to provide some clarification. Danone is asserting that switching from polystyrene to a plant-based plastic has reduced the carbon footprint of that particular packaging by 25 percent. The Franklin Associates study (http://www.environmentalleader.com/2011/03/28/polystyrene-dinnerware-use-less-energy-and-water-than-paper-corn-based-alternatives-study-finds/ – which we reported back in March, though we did refer to it on May 27) compares average-weight polystyrene foam, paperboard and corn-based material used in 16-ounce hot and 32-ounce cold drink receptacles, 9-inch dinner plates and “clamshell” sandwich containers.
    So the first thing I would point out is that we are talking about different types of containers – yogurt cups vs. drinks cups, dinner plates and clamshells. I would imagine that the manufacturing processes would be different for these different types of containers, so the results would not match up exactly.
    More importantly, the Danone cups are not necessarily corn-based. Ingeo also uses wheat, beets and sugar cane.
    Finally, the Franklin study refers to “polystyrene foam”. In all likelihood Danone has been using solid polystyrene (a quick look in my fridge confirms that that is what they use for Activia in the U.S.) So again, that may have a different carbon footprint.
    If Danone or the LCA Institute have any further comments/clarification, we’d love to hear them.

    Thanks
    Tamar Wilner
    Senior Editor
    Environmental Leader

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