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Sustainable Packaging Briefing: Defra Recycling Targets, Polyden Folien, Cardia Bioplastics, Seattle Bag Ban

The UK Department for Environmental Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has introduced proposals for tougher packaging recycling targets to stop 400,000 tons going to landfill by 2017. The proposal includes: increasing the plastics recycling target by five percent per year, from 32 percent to 57 percent by 2017; increasing the aluminum recycling target by three percent per year, from 40 percent in 2012 to 55 percent in 2017; and increasing the overall packaging recovery rate by one percent each year, from 74 percent in 2012 to 79 percent in 2017.

European plastics packaging manufacturer Polyden Folien has launched a line of packaging films made with Cardia Biohybrid resin technology as an alternative to conventional film packaging. The new offering relies less on oil resources and lowers the carbon footprint of packaging, Cardia Bioplastics announced. Polyden Folien said that it expects that the Biohybrid packaging films will make responsible packaging offering for shrink film applications.

Cardia Bioplastics also has won a contract for a six-month trial to supply household kitchen waste bags made from its Biohybrid material to the city of Nanjing, China. The initial order of 10 million bags will be delivered by the Nanjing government to 60,000 households, writes Plastic News.

Johnson & Johnson’s Brazil-based Sundown line of sun care products has re-released with more sustainable packaging that uses Braskem’s sugarcane-based polyethylene, Braskem said. The packaging contains 60 percent green plastic and 40 percent recycled material. During the Brazilian 2011-2012 summer season, Sundown will avoid consuming approximately 100 tons of resin produced from petroleum and avoid releasing the equivalent of about 630 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, Braskem estimates.

The Seattle City Council unanimously approved a ban on plastic shopping bags. The approving vote follows a 2009 effort to impose a 20-cent charge for disposable bags, which was voted down.  In addition to banning plastic bags at grocery, retail and convenience stores, the Seattle ordinance imposes a nickel fee on paper grocery bags to offset the higher cost of paper to stores and incentivize shoppers to bring reusable bags, writes The Seattle Times.

In a review of companies that have had success with sustainable packaging, Food Processing magazine reports that Numi Organic Tea is one step away from a 100-percent recyclable/compostable package. Numi intends to replace its current teabag overwrap with one containing a 100-percent  home-compostable film. The move which is likely to happen in 2012, has been on hold while the company works to bring down the cost of the change. Currently, Numi prints an eco-audit on each tea carton. The audit shows conservation data, including trees saved, prevention of GHG emissions and reductions in landfill, energy and water use. The information is updated using the Environmental Defense Fund Paper Calculator, Food Processing said.

Food Processing also writes that sustainability nonprofit GreenBlue is launching a national pilot program for its new recycling label in 2012. GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) developed the voluntary label, known as the Packaging Recovery Label System, to help consumers properly recycle packaging components. The new label is consistent with the Federal Trade Commission’s “Green Guides” and incorporates updated recyclability data gathered from across the U.S. The label is based on the UK’s successful On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) scheme. The five pilot-program participants represent various industries, including food processing and retailing. ConAgra Foods and Costco Wholesale are two of the participants, writes Food Processing.

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