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Sustainable Packaging Brief: Wal-Mart, Safeway, Dr. Pepper

The five largest grocery chains in Canada will require their suppliers to shift to PET for thermoformed clamshell packaging, reports Waste & Recycling News. The move – aimed at increasing recycling and simplifying the product stream – is being championed by The Retail Council of Canadian Grocers. Grocery store chains involved in the project include Wal-Mart Canada Corp., Loblaws Inc., Safeway Canada, Metro and Sobeys.

On a smaller scale, but with a more radical anti-packaging aim than the Canadian shops above, a planned grocery store in Austin, Texas, has announced that when it opens it will eliminate all packaging from its store, reports Treehugger. In.gredients (pictured) also plans to be zero-waste, and, like Austin-based Whole Foods, will focus on local and organic produce. Products will be sold in bulk-buy containers only, with customers encouraged to bring in their own containers to transport the goods home.

Soft drink company Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. saved 12.5 million pounds of plastic last year by using more recycled PET and lighter packaging, reports TriplePundit. The company says in its first corporate social responsibility report that it has the lightest two-liter bottle in the industry. Within the next five years the drinks giant also plans to replace 60,000 vending machines with Energy Star rated equipment.

Sustainable consulting firm EarthShift has launched a simplified life cycle assessment tool that evaluates the environmental impacts of packaging. PackageSmart enables packaging engineers and designers to integrate environmental assessment early into the design process when leverage is high and the cost of change is still low, EarthShift says. A free two week trial is now available through the EarthShift website.

Greenstar Recycling and Vadxx Energy have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture to convert recovered plastic into synthetic crude oil. Vadxx manufactures synthetic crude oil and natural gas by using raw materials consisting of petroleum-based plastics in a process called thermal depolymerization. Greenstar and Vadxx expect that the joint venture will begin producing crude oil in mid-2012 in Ohio.

Renewable chemicals firm Gevo Inc. and its customer, plastics and chemicals producer Toray, have announced that they have successfully produced fully renewable, bio-based PET. The companies now plan to establish a commercial-scale manufacturing process.

EU countries now recycle around 50 percent of packaging according to analysis by packaging trade body Europen. And in the 11 years from 1998 the amount of packaging waste going to final disposal in the 15 longest serving EU member states fell by 43 percent, Europen says. Click here to read Packaging & Packaging Waste Statistics 1998-2008.

Working directly with this important potential customer, Gevo employed prototypes of commercial operations from the petrochemical and refining industries to make para-xylene from isobutanol. This renewable para-xylene was sent to Toray for conversion into biobased PET articles. Toray employed its existing technology and new technology jointly developed with Gevo and used Gevo’s para-xylene and commercially available renewable mono ethylene glycol (MEG) to produce fully renewable PET (all of the carbon in this PET is renewable).
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One thought on “Sustainable Packaging Brief: Wal-Mart, Safeway, Dr. Pepper

  1. At OttLite we also strive for substantial packaging that are all recycable, including our bulbs. With our 508 Natural Daylight illumination which is the number on the nanometer scale when the sun is shining down to see true colors & details perfectly. Not only does our illumination provide clear attention to detail and colors, but OttLite’s phosphorous blend provides optimal focus which allows the eye to become more relaxed, reduces glare, eyestrain and headaches. Also, our bulbs are a huge energy saver as they last up to 10,000 hours which is 7,000 hours longer than a CFL or Incandescent light bulb.

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