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Dec 102010

From Green Right Now Reports

Looking to buy greener products? Sometimes what distinguishes an item as green is its packaging.

This is why wine makers are putting their vino into larger containers that come in boxes (with recyclable plastic linings), which saves on shipping costs and landfill space, and why many pizza makers have gone to plain cardboard boxes that no longer use the wax coating that released harmful PBEs when hot.

Here are two new packaging breakthroughs to look for at the grocery:

  • Stonyfield Organic Yogurt multipacks now come in a special plant-based plastic called Ingeo™. If you haven’t heard about Ingeo™, you will be soon. It’s derived from plant material and doesn’t use any petroleum. It’s compostable in the right conditions and biodegradable. It’s also recyclable, in instances where it doesn’t contain food residue. In food packaging, however, it still presents a much lower carbon footprint than conventional plastic because of how it’s made. The Stonyfield yogurt packs were made of polystyrene. Making them with Ingeo instead will help the company reduce its carbon footprint by an estimate 1,875 metric tons of CO2 per years — which is equivalent to the annual emissions from 160 houses, according to the company. In terms of oil, the savings represents 4,360 barrels of oil that won’t be needed because of this shift.

Stonyfield is using a plant-based plastic, moving away from #6 traditional plastic for yogurt packs.

  • Walmart’s Marketside organic salads, salsas and bagged spinach also are converting to Ingeo™ , which is also used for fresh cut fruits and vegetables. Ingeo-based gift cards also are being sold at Sam’s Club stores. The savings? 25,971 barrels of oil that won’t be needed, according to NatureWorks, which makes Ingeo™. That reduction is estimated to be equivalent to eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions from a car driven 20.89 million miles.

You can read more about how Ingeo saves greenhouse gas emissions at the NatureWorks website.


Mar 032009

By John DeFore
Green Right Now

The folks behind Ingeo plastics have from the start claimed eco bragging rights for their plant-based products, because they aren’t made from oil. But the boasts get a little louder this month with the announcement that the manufacturing processes involved in producing those goods just got much greener.

New manufacturing systems developed specifically for Ingeo maker NatureWorks will reduce energy use by 30% and lower CO2 emissions by 60%, according to the news release. Lest readers wonder if the old processes were simply dirty and inefficient, the company asserts they were already far ahead of the industry curve: Even before the improvements, making a kilogram of Ingeo produced 2 kg of CO2 emissions compared to 3.4 kg of emissions from making a kilogram of PET plastic.

In figuring its environmental footprint, the company says it “measured every significant input and output from seed planting to plastic resin being shipped through the factory’s gate.

The innovations, which have to do with “advanced lactic acid production technologies,” were made possible in part by NatureWorks’ owner, corporate titan, Cargill, which does business in everything from livestock feed to financial risk management; and in part by around $25 million in grants from the Department of Energy.

Ingeo, a “biopolymer” that can be used in the same ways as conventional plastics, for food containers, bottles, drinking cuts and synthetic textiles (blankets, mattresses). But it is “derived from 100% annually renewable resources such as plants” instead of petroleum. It has been on the market in commercially useful quantities since 2005.

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