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Tag: recycling

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Leyla Acaroglu is a leading sustainability strategist and an expert in life cycle and systems thinking in design, production and consumption. Her TED Talk has been watched by more than one million people. In this interview, she shares her insights about better ways to design packaging and about the most common sustainable packaging myths.

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Ikea’s plans to use mushroom-derived packaging have made headlines last week. The company is only one among several large retailers and e-commerce stores including Dell and Crate & Barrel that are looking for ways to reduce waste and toxins resulting from packaging. The company supplying a biodegradable Styrofoam substitute to several Fortune 500 companies is Ecovative, a firm based in New York.

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Ecolean is a Swedish packaging company with a strong customer base in Asia. Its success is due to the popularity of its flexible packaging pouches and the growing demand for food packaging in general, especially in emerging economies. The company takes a unique approach to weight reduction: Its packaging film is made of 40 % chalk blended with conventional PP and PE.

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Consumers increasingly demand sustainable packaging. Especially eco-conscious shoppers who buy brands with a green core want to see packaging that is recyclable, renewable or made from sustainable resources. The Body Shop is taking the concept one step further and plans to use methane and carbon dioxide, which would otherwise be released into the air as greenhouse gas, in its packaging.

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It seems counterintuitive, but British company Woolcool uses wool-filled packaging insulators to keep food and pharmaceuticals cool. Wool is not only effective in keeping temperatures at the desired level, Woolcool says it is also more environmentally friendly than polystyrene commonly used for insulated bags and boxes.

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Even recycling isn’t always as efficient as many would like it to be. Paper is usually recycled in an extensive process that involves transporting waste paper from the office to a papermaking facility. Epson strives to shorten the process and recycle paper where it is used: Right in the office.

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Only certain parts of the agricultural products, usually the roots, fruits, seeds or juices, end up as food. While some parts of the plants are used as animal feed, billions of tons of agricultural residue remain and often end up as waste and are burned or used for energy generation. PaperWise has come up with a process that uses the plant residue to produce high quality paper that can be recycled up to seven times.

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Recycling programs have been effective to a degree but a growing number of businesses specialize in re-using materials and turning them into new items that have a long useful life. Green Toys and Preserve are just two examples of companies that view discarded packaging as an opportunity rather than a problem.

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Professor Seokheun Choi at New York’s Binghamton University and his group had been the first scientists to create a paper-based biobattery. When he learned that other researchers were using origami-inspired folding techniques to create stretchable electronics and sensors, he asked himself: “Why not our biobattery?”

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When most people spill coffee on their shirts, they see annoying stains. Alex White and John Mohr saw an opportunity. They embarked on a journey on which they not only figured out how to make textile ink from coffee grounds but also started a flourishing business.