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Lessons in Environmentally Friendly Packaging from the Capri Sun Pouch

The flexible retail packaging industry has come a long way since stand up pouches and barrier bags were first introduced. A very popular form of this packaging emerged in the late 1960s when Kraft Foods developed Capri Sun beverages.

These juices packaged in laminated foil pouches were perfect for kids on the go and could always find a spot in lunch boxes or brown paper bags. With its wide variety of sweet fruity flavors and tropical theme, Capri Sun has been a decidedly cooler option than standard fruit juice or milk for many kids.

Capri-Sun_Packaging.jpg(Image Source: http://carifree.com/)

The stand up pouches Kraft uses for Capri Sun are rectangular when flat and trapezoidal in profile when filled with liquid. The flared bottom allows the pouch to stand upright, revolutionizing beverage packaging and launching several imitators. Though this flexible retail packaging solution has clearly been a success, Kraft has come under scrutiny lately by interest groups involved with the Make It, Take It campaign. The initiative aims to pressure companies into designing green, reusable packaging and reducing the amount of waste produced by single-use, disposable items. The campaign urges the public to tell Kraft to discontinue its use of plastic and aluminum pouches that are difficult or impossible to recycle.

It is true that there has been an increase in reusable packaging in recent years, from bottles to bags and many different types of containers in between.

Stand up pouches are proven to be a more environmentally friendly packaging option than heavy boxes, cans, and jars, as they are lighter to transport and use less material to produce.

The good news is, not all flexible retail packaging is alike. Kraft stand up pouches – different from the Kraft company – are an example of environmentally sound packaging that is 100 percent recyclable and landfill friendly.

Other forms of flexible beverage packaging can also be recycled and produce less waste in landfills than larger, heavier non-biodegradable containers. Suppliers can work with beverage companies to package their products in larger stand up pouches so families can cut down on waste and pour the beverage into reusable bottles or glasses if they so choose. Kraft took a step in the right direction with the debut of its Capri Sun “Big Pouch” product, which contains a reclosable top, making it a more innovative and flexible option than standard sports drink or water bottles.

We applaud the Make It, Take It campaign for its awareness of the waste some beverage packaging creates in landfills, oceans, and all across our beautiful planet. The good news is not all flexible retail packaging is the same, and not all suppliers are ignoring the environmental impact of their containers. Spouted pouches, for example, can be resealed, so the liquid inside can be reused time and time again. Once the product runs out, the beverage packaging can be recycled into exciting new products consumers will eventually be able to get their hands on. The fact of the matter is, flexible retail packaging is the perfect solution for both the eco-conscious producer and consumer.

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Brittany Nader

Written by Brittany Nader

What LEGO’s Sustainable Packaging Teaches Us About Overseas Innovation

Since 1949, children across the globe have fawned over tiny, plastic, interlocking bricks.

LEGOs are a not only a classic toy but a staple in many households. Many kids beg their parents to take them to the majestic LEGOLAND, an amusement park where all their wishes and dreams could come true.

Why Nestlé, Unilever & PepsiCo are Banning Oxo-degradable Plastic Packaging

Originally marketed as an eco-friendly packaging material, new evidence regarding the potentially negative impact of oxo-degradable plastics has led a number of companies and governments to restrict their use.

More than 150 companies and global organizations, including Nestlé, Unilever and PepsiCo, have recently endorsed a total ban on the material in light of its potentially negative environmental impact.

Oxo-degradable plastic packaging, which includes select plastic pouch bags, is often marketed as a solution to plastic pollution because it claims to degrade into harmless residues within a period ranging from a few months to several years. However, oxo-degradable plastics do not degrade into harmless residues, but instead, fragment into tiny shards of plastic that actually contribute to plastic pollution.

Often, consumers think that because a material is biodegradable, it can be composted or even littered on the ground, because, it is thought, the material will break down into nothing over time. This actually ends up leading to an increase in pollution, since consumers don’t end up recycling or repurposing the material, and misconceptions about how the plastic will degrade leads them to end up putting it back into landfills.

What is important to note in this case is that although oxo-degradable plastics are biodegradable, being biodegradable does not necessarily mean that a material is eco-friendly. Although these plastics do break down over time, the tiny pieces they break down into are still plastics that contribute to pollution — they do not degrade into nothing or into another usable substance.

For companies looking to make the switch to sustainable packaging, it is important to consider that sustainable packaging does not necessarily mean biodegradable packaging, and vice versa.

Why New FDA Guidelines Could Bring Big Changes to Pet Food Packaging

Today’s consumers are demanding transparency and accountability from all types of products, and pet food is no exception.

Greater scrutiny over pet food ingredients, and an increasing demand for responsibility, sustainability and complete transparency from pet food manufacturers is driving change within the industry. As the consumer demand for “clean” pet food labeling evolves as a major topic within the world of pet packaging, FDA guidelines are shifting.