Plastic Packaging Waste in Food Industry

Food packaging today is as wasteful as it was 30 years ago and in some cases, it’s worse, a new report by a non-profit group indicates.

Source: www.cbc.ca

>” Many people take time to separate recyclables and compostables from the garbage. But according to a new report, the food industry isn’t doing enough to help.

The food we eat is often packaged in unrecyclable or difficult-to-recycle materials, says the report from a non-profit group called As You Sow. The group, which promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility, said only about half of consumer packaging in the U.S. ends up being recycled, and the rest ends up as litter or in a landfill. […]

As You Sow surveyed 47 fast-food chains, beverage companies, and consumer goods and grocery companies in the U.S. — most of which sell their products in Canada — including McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Domino’s pizza and Heineken. It found food packaging today isn’t much better than it was 30 years ago. In some cases, it’s worse.

Shift from glass to plastic

Report author Conrad MacKerron said there has been a shift away from polystyrene since the ’80s, but there has also been a move away from glass, and towards plastic.

“We think it’s of particular concern because of the contribution to plastic pollution in the oceans,” he said. “Plastic litter from takeout orders … plastic cups, straws, plates and so forth contribute to plastic litter, but it is all swept off into waterways and oceans, where they degrade and harm marine life.”

Plastic is the fastest-growing form of packaging, but only 14 per cent is recycled, the report indicates.

MacKerron said a lot of plastics are recyclable. But some, like black Category 7 plastics, require specialized equipment. And even some of the stuff that should be easily recycled just never is.

“So our major finding is that leading beverage, fast-food and packaged good companies are coming significantly short of where they should be when it comes to addressing the environmental aspects of packaging,” MacKerron said.  […]

The biggest offender might just be your morning cup of coffee. It used to produce zero waste, apart from some ground beans and maybe a compostable paper filter.

These days, millions of households are equipped with single-cup brewing machines. The largest company behind those machines, Keurig, produced 9.8 billion little plastic single-serve coffee pods last year, known as K-Cups.

Mike Hachey, the CEO of Egg Studios, is running a campaign that he’s dubbed ‘kill the K-Cup’, in an effort to curb the rise of the single-serve coffee machine.

“We started out with Keurig machines in our offices… and very quickly realized that this packaging is a problem,” he explained.

So while we may be free of the once ubiquitous Styrofoam container, we’ve grown accustomed to a lot of food packaging that isn’t a whole lot better.”<

 

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

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Waste to Energy – Incinerator Operations threaten Community recycling programs

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Design – Architecture & Engineering

Rise in number of plants burning waste may be disincentive to greener methods of disposal

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Experts said the use of incinerators had consequences for recycling as local authorities were forced to divert waste to feed the plants. “The choice to invest in thermal treatment can hold back recycling efforts,” Adam Baddeley, principal consultant at Eunomia, said. “At one level, the money invested in such plant simply isn’t available to put into building recycling plants or collection infrastructure. And once you’ve built an incinerator or gasifier, there’s a strong incentive to keep it fed with waste, even if that means keeping on collecting as ‘black bag’ rubbish, material that would be economically practicable to collect separately for recycling.”

Charmian Larke, technical adviser for Cornwall Waste Forum, which unsuccessfully opposed a large incinerator in the south-west, questioned the planning process that resulted in incinerators being approved. “Some of them [planning officers] have spent their entire careers trying to get this incinerator so they are wedded to the idea,” Larke said. “But if the council members understood how bad these contracts were, the officers would lose their jobs.”

Larke claimed that many of the incinerators were built in poorer areas. “There’s a feeling that people who are downtrodden have a harder time getting their act together to object, and hence it’s easier to place nasty things next to them.”<

See on www.theguardian.com

Plastic bottle recycling exceeds 50 per cent | Resource magazine

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New data from a national charity RECycling of Used Plastics Ltd (Recoup), has found that 70 per cent of the 610,000 tonnes of plastics packaging recycled in 2011 came from domestic kerbside collections.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Future outlook

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has issued yearly targets for businesses concerning the recycling of paper, glass, wood, steel, aluminium and plastics for the period 2013-2017. Although the targets for most of these materials remain static or see only slight increases, the targets for plastic recycling increase by five per cent each year.

This means the plastic recycling target for 2017 is 57 per cent – up from 32 per cent in 2012 – a figure that the British Polythene Industries (BPI) plc has warned is ‘unachievable’.<

See on www.resource.uk.com

Norway: A recycling-happy nation in dire need of trash

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Sweden isn’t the only nation in the throes of a serious trash deficit. As it turns out, Norway is also desperately seeking rubbish to burn in its cogeneration plants. Perhaps the U.S. could lend a helping hand?

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

Excerpts…

Norway’s garbage woes aren’t an anomaly in Scandinavia and across Northern Europe where the demand for trash to fuel garbage-burning incinerator plants is high but the supply is devastatingly low due in part to residents’ pertinacious recycling habits. In fact, Northern European countries only produce 150 million tons of trash annually, while the overall capacity of incinerating plants is 700 million tons and growing.

[…] While the burning of garbage is not an environmentally flawless method of producing energy, modern day cogeneration plants are relatively high-tech affairs and the pollution generated is far less than coal. This method also renders landfills nearly irrelevant.

See on www.mnn.com

Europe’s Most Advanced Paper Recycling Plant Opened in UK – Waste Management World

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

A recycled paper mill claimed to be the most advanced in Europe has been officially opened by Michael Fallon, the UK’s minister of state for business & energy, at Partington Wharfside, Trafford.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

SIACA said that the mill will help to some 450,000 tonnes a year of used paper from export by recycling it within the UK – reducing carbon emissions by 84,011 tonnes per year – equivalent to taking 28,000 cars off the road each.

Economic boost

According to the company PM-11 has led to the creation of 94 direct jobs plus opportunities for contractors and other roles.

“This cutting edge facility shows how state of the art technology and innovation can help drive growth. It’s a real boost for the economy and will create new jobs for Partington and the local area,” commented Fallon.

See on www.waste-management-world.com

Plastic Packaging Design Threatens New EU Recycling Targets

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News
Released: 25/04/2013 10:12:00

The new challenge should be that recyclability becomes a requirement fully equal to the other performance criteria. This will help to divert substantial quantities of plastics away from landfill and

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

Plastic packaging recycling does not begin with collection but design. Packaging design today is focused mainly on maximizing performance. Careless design often leads to incomplete emptying of a package and what about different combinations of polymers/materials which are incompatible for an efficient recycling process?

Plastics Recyclers Europe believe that the introduction of an EU classification system will assist designers in evaluating their creations from a recyclability point of view, in the addition it will help them in choosing the best options to improve their class.

Plastics Recyclers Europe would like to invite all interested parties to join Recy Class™ and increase plastics recycling across Europe.

More info:
www.plasticsrecyclers.eu

See on www.packagingeurope.com

More Major Companies Embrace New Recycling Label | Ethical Consumption

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A dozen major U.S. companies, including General Mills (NYSE:GIS), Kellogg’s (NYSE:K), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and REI, have already joined the labeling scheme. Since launching last January, How2Recycle has established itself as the only labeling system that convey recyclability across all material types and provides explicit directions to consumers to influence their recycling behavior.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

“Consumers are faced with a confusing landscape of material and recycling messages that are often inconsistent or misleading. We believe this label will help consumers and companies more effectively communicate recyclability and contribute to more successful resource recovery,” said Anne Bedarf, who led the development of the label, at a launch ceremony for How2Recycle last year.

“As we enable consumers to recycle correctly, we ensure more quality recycled material is available for us to use, our consumers send less waste to landfill, and we can reduce the energy needed to create new packages,” added Lorio, whose company was recently named one of the “Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World” by Corporate Knights.

See on www.justmeans.com

San Jose, Calif., Businesses Embrace Recycling – RT – Recycling Today

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The city’s businesses recycle nearly triple the material in six months.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

Michael Miller of San José’s Fairmont Hotel says, “The two-container, wet/dry system was quite easy to implement, and we are pleased by how committed and supportive our staff is of this most important initiative. As a result, we are realizing cost savings and proudly increasing the amount we recycle.”

According to San José Councilman Sam Liccardo, the city is on track to achieve an 80 percent waste diversion rate by 2014. “That’s good news for everyone because this helps extend the life of our landfills and reduces associated taxpayer costs, which can be significant,” he says.

“And, with a single, streamlined collection service,” Liccardo adds, “we have reduced the number of garbage trucks driving through busy business districts. These are among the steps that help move San José towards a sustainable future.”

See on www.recyclingtoday.com

Procter & Gamble talks zero manufacturing waste – Plastics Today

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

What if waste…isn’t waste?”

That question inspired the company behind the consumer brands including Gillette, Tide and Pampers to embark on an extensive zero manufacturing waste goal.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

Waste is usually disposed of in four ways: recycling, compost, incineration or landfill. […]

The company recently announced that 45 of their facilities have now achieved zero manufacturing waste to landfill. Over the past five years, P&G’s work to find worth in waste has created over $1 billion in value for the company.

Material that was once sent for disposal is now sold as a raw material to an alternative use partner wherever possible. For instance, excess floss is repurposed in Mexico as the filling in pillows that are used to clean up industrial spills. At a U.S. Pampers site, scrap from the wipe manufacturing process is converted to upholstery filling. And in the UK, waste created in the production of Gillette shaving foam is composted then used to grow turf for commercial uses.

Packaging reduction

“We’re innovating to limit the amount of waste that even has the opportunity to enter a landfill by reducing our packaging,” McDougall said. “In fact, each of our product categories is committed to a 20% packaging reduction by 2020.”

External partnerships are a key part of the company’s packaging efforts to reduce material usage and increase recycled content in its products.

See on www.plasticstoday.com

There’s cash in that trash

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

There could be big bucks in waste disposal and management, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch figures.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

Lets look at some of the opportunities BofA/ML has identified:

– Disposal and recycling of municipal solid waste (rubbish, in common parlance) is currently worth $400 billion but over the next decade,  $87 billion in investments are expected in this sector.

– Waste-to-energy (energy recovery from waste): One ton of rubbish can create 500-750 kilowatts of power. This market is worth $7.4 billion in 2013 and  could grow to $81 billion by 2022.

– Sustainable packaging: Accounts for a third of solid waste in developed countries. Worth almost $109 billion in 2011, the market is expected to grow to $178-212 billion by 2015-18.

– e-waste (discarded electrical or electronic devices):  Recycling/reuse of e-waste components was worth $13.9 billion in 2012 but could grow to between $25 and 44.3 billion by 2017-20. One example of how lucrative this can be – -recycling one million mobile phones can recover 24 kg of gold, 250 kg of silver and more than 9,000 kg of copper.

Wastewater and sewage treatment:  The biggest investments are needed in the developing world but in the United States alone, infrastructure of $1 trillion could be needed over the next 25 years, BofA says, citing research from the American Waterworks Association.

See on blogs.reuters.com