Rip, Remove and Recycle

Another new packaging stemming from out of the box pondering hit the shelves in February this year. GreenBottle in the UK has developed a bag-in-box packaging for milk to replace the normally used plastic bottles. The outer shell is made from paper which can be recycled, or is promised to decompose within a matter of weeks. The inner bag is made of recycled plastic which scores some extra green points. It also resulted in a carbon footprint 48% lower than that of a standard (plastic) milk bottle.

Since February the “bottle” has been available in selected Asda stores. Now reports have that sales of milk packaged in GreenBottle’s recycled paper and plastic hybrid design have tripled those of plastic bottles, even though they have sold at a premium.

Watch this bottle.

Twist and recycle

I think Evian was the first one out, now about 10 years ago. I am thinking of the PET bottle for water that was structured in a way that made it easier for the consumer to crush the empty bottle into a handy piece of plastic to dispose. But I haven’t seen a lot since, except for the I Lohas bottle from Coca-Cola Japan.

It is a shame because it is such a good idea, to have a packaging solution made for easy disposal. The I Lohas bottle scores even more points by being both light weight and made from plant material. I think the main point is that it is pre made to be easily twisted and compressed into a neat chunk to dispose. This is a packaging feature that strongly underlines the sustainable qualities of a product.

Don’t trash this bag

On an afternoon stroll in London’s Camden Market I came across a colourful market stand promoting bags made of used packaging. I stopped by and got to speak to the man behind the idea of TrashyBags. TrashyBags is an initiative to do something of the situation in Ghana where the infrastructure to recycle used packaging is lacking. And they sure do, TrashyBags employs 60 people in Ghana who collect waste that can be used for making bags, backpacks and other useful things.

They collect and encourage the public to collect mainly plastic pouches and sachets that they wash and sterilise and turn into useful bags etc. Very creative and meaningful and does help the litter problem as well as it provides meaningful job opportunities.

Beverage packaging + environmental concerns = Opportunity

A recent study made by found that all 94% of Americans are concerned about the long-term effects that their packaged beverage purchases and consumption have on the environment. This is a large number and concerning in itself.

The worst thing is that I don’t think this is an American thing. I think this is a more or less global viewpoint. Consumers are concerned about what they can see and feel and everyday packaging is definitely fitting that description.

To make a long story (report) short, recycling was cited frequently (45 %) as the most important environmental concern for packaged beverages. This is not a threat, this is an opportunity. This is an opportunity for the industry to support recycling of empty beverage containers. To make it easier to recycle and perhaps even incentivise it. Because, as the founder of puts it. “Our research shows that consumers think about the environment when they are making beverage purchases; specifically, the findings indicate that consumers relate positively to packages that are easy to recycle. Beverage companies should start a full court press on recycling.”