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Flexo Sustainable : Winter 2015
SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING SYMPOSIUM TALKS CHEMICALS ATLANTA, GA—The Amer- ican Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) held its Sus- tainable Packaging Symposium 2014 from Nov. 19-21 in At- lanta, GA. The event discussed sustainable packaging’s surging demand and the subsequent need for bio based chemicals. Some of the takeaways from the event, as outlined on the AIChE website, were: • Polyethylene and polypropylene now account for roughly 70 percent of all packaging materials currently used world- wide • Some chemicals companies are producing polyethylene, propylene, ethylene and the like from new compounds, such as waste fats and oils • PET accounts for 18 percent of packaging worldwide • Large consumer companies are making the move to bio feedstock based packaging. As an example, polyethylene from ethanol is being used in Pantene shampoo bottles AIChE also offered several questions to attendees to further discussion and ponder till the next event: • How much packaging is being made from renewable re- sources? What is its expected growth and future impact? • What are the factors influencing the resulting biopolymers use and what is the impact on the overall supplies? • How will the use of these plastics affect market share? Learn more about the AIChE by visiting its website at www.aiche.org n GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION HAS PROACTIVE EFFECT On the other end, the government is putting pressure on businesses to pay more attention to their packaging’s sustainability. That has been the focus of two pieces of legislation: • The EU Packaging And Packaging Waste Directive, implemented in 1994 • China’s Plastic Bag Ban in 2009 While government intervention will affect all packaging, that which reaches consumers will see the biggest impact. That’s because pack- aging aimed at consumers is reaching the largest audience. Similarly, food and beverage packaging, because of its commanding share of the consumer packaging market, will see the largest regulatory impact. Governments can become directly involved with consumers to help mitigate the environment degrading effects of packaging. They can do that through things like recycling services and waste education programs, the report notes. FIRMS REAP LOWER COSTS, HIGHER PROFITS Sustainable packaging, in general, costs more to produce. But there are links between thinking green and profitability. One example cited by Smithers Pira relates to aluminum. Since the resource costs time, energy and money to extract, it becomes cheaper to use the aluminum in a recycled can. This logic has accelerated the rate of aluminum recycling. Other evidence supporting the implementation of sustainability practices in businesses includes a survey of 141 businesses conducted by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. It found that companies that “used sustainable strategies performed better in almost every market segment than their respective counterparts,” Smithers Pira states. Specifically, these companies had margins that were 4 percent higher. Recycling also spawns new entries in the secondary market for materials like polyethylene terephthalate, high density polyethylene, aluminum and paper. Sustainability programs will continue to become worthwhile projects for printers, because sustainability is continuing to become a concern for both consumers and brand owners. Smithers Pira concludes its report by stating that, “There are definitely opportunities out there for companies to gain competitive advantage through the development of an environmentally friendly strategy without sacrificing product quality or consumer convenience.” To purchase a copy of Smithers Pira’s The Future of Sustainable Packaging to 2018, visit www.smitherspira.com n WINTER 2015 | Sustainable FLEXO 3