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Sustainable Business Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<12345678910>> Total issues:119

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October 01, 2020, to November 01, 2020

Kelp-Based Snacks From 12 Tides Offer Health, Sustainability Benefits

Another sign of the ascension of kelp (seaweed) as a healthful component of snacks is the line of organic seaweed puffed snacks from San Francisco-based start-up 12 Tides. The roasted, tissue-thin snacks, available in sea salt, chili, and “everything seasoning” flavors, are made from sustainably harvested North American kelp, which is nutrient dense and supports ocean restoration, according to the company. Kelp can grow up to 18 inches in a day, efficiently absorbing a large amount of carbon from the ocean. The company noted that kelp is a zero-input crop requiring no fertilizers, no fresh water, and no arable land. The kelp is also a different species from the Asian nori seaweed, which has a fishier flavor. “We geared the flavor profile and the texture … toward a mainstream audience and are positioning ourselves as a better-for-you alternative to traditional salty snacks like potato chips,” said founder Patrick Schnettler.

Keurig Dr Pepper Brands Steer Toward 100 Percent rPET Bottles

The company’s Snapple and CORE brands will transition to bottles made of 100 percent recycled (rPET) plastic with a goal of eliminating 46.3 million pounds of virgin plastic used annually. Snapple, available now in 100 percent recycled plastic 16 oz. bottles in West Coast markets, will roll out rPET bottles in phases across the country through early next year. The company said CORE rPET bottles will be on shelves beginning in early 2021. About one-fifth of the packaging of KDP's portfolio of 125 brands is made from post-consumer recycled (PCR) content. 

Wildway Sustainability Plan Emphasizes Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic Packaging

The San Antonio, Texas-based natural food company is launching sustainable post-consumer recycled packaging designed to prolong the life of plastic, giving it a second use before it reaches a landfill. The new design will roll out this fall in Wildway’s Apple Cinnamon and Banana Nut grain-free granola. The entire product portfolio will be updated by 2023. U.S. recycling companies had been sending plastic trash to China to process, a practice shut down last year. Other countries began to purchase American plastic trash without proper infrastructure in place. “By redesigning our packaging, we are doing what we can to prolong the life of non-recyclable plastics instead of contributing to more single-use plastics that go straight to the landfill, despite what marketing departments claim,” said Wildway CEO Kelli Koehler. Wildway, founded in 2014, produces better-for-you grain-free granolas, hot cereals, and fruit & nut snack mixes made with real-food ingredients.

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September 15, 2020, to October 01, 2020

Nestlé Waters U.K. Advances Plan For Circular Plastics Economy

The Gatwick-based bottled water company has partnered with recycler Biffa in a program to collect recyclable PET bottles and reprocess them in the U.K. into rPET bottles. The partnership supports Nestlé Waters’ aim to collect as many bottles as it produces globally by 2030, enabling the company to significantly reduce the amount of virgin plastic it uses under its global commitment to reduce the use of virgin plastics by one third by 2025. Every BUXTON bottle will be made from 100 percent recycled rPET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate, by collecting recyclable PET bottles and reprocessing them here in the UK into rPET. Biffa has set a target to quadruple its plastic recycling by 2030, and the rPET supplied to Nestle Waters will come from the company’s new £27.5 million ($35 million) state-of-the-art plastic recycling facility in Seaham, County Durham. The plant has the capacity to process the equivalent of 1.3 billion plastic bottles a year and will supply recycled material to Nestle Waters  Buxton factory beginning in 2021.

All Coca-Cola European Partners Bottles Now Made With 50 Percent rPET


The multinational bottler has partnered with Coca-Cola Great Britain is manufacturing all plastic bottles across its core brands with 50 percent recycled plastic (rPET) – more than 21,000 tons of recycled plastic per year. Labels on the bottles will inform customers of the change and encouraging them to recycle the bottle under a Deposit Return Scheme that is coupled with investment in infrastructure. According to the company, there isn’t enough food-grade recycled plastic available in the U.K. to switch to 100 percent rPET across its entire range. 

Ocean Spray, TerraCycle Launch Free Recycling Program

The Middleborough, Mass.-based agricultural cooperative says waste management company TerraCycle is launching a free recycling program that enables Ocean Spray customers to recycle flexible plastic Craisins dried cranberries and snack packaging for an alternative use. Participants in the program can send their Craisins flexible plastic packaging to TerraCycle, where the packaging is cleaned and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded into new recycled products, such as park benches and picnic tables. For each shipment of Craisins packaging sent to TerraCycle through the program, participants earn points that can be donated to a non-profit, school or charitable organization of their choice. The cooperative is also working with TerraCycle's new Loop platform to design and launch products in reusable packaging.

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July 15, 2020, to September 15, 2020

Coca-Cola European Partners Moves to rPET Bottles In Two More European Markets

The announcement that CCEP will transition to 100 percent recycled plastic (rPET) bottles in the Netherlands and Norway follows the company’s decision to switch to 100 percent rPET bottles in Sweden. The move is an important step toward a closed-loop recycling system that will be supported by local deposit return schemes in those countries. Beginning in October, Coca-Cola in the Netherlands will produce 100 percent rPET small bottles for brands including Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fanta. Larger bottles will follow in 2021, making it the second market to move its locally-produced portfolio to 100 percent rPET. Coca-Cola Norway will transition to 100 percent rPET during the first half of next year.

Nestlé To Invest Millions In Transition From Use Of Virgin Plastics


The company plans to invest $30 million in the Closed Loop Leadership Fund, a private equity fund of Closed Loop Partners, to help support the shift from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics across the U.S. The goal is to upgrade U.S. recycling infrastructure and secure access to food-grade recycled plastics. It is the first investment from Nestlé’s sustainable packaging venture fund, which was established earlier this year as part of its CHF 2 billion ($2.2 billion) sustainability commitment. The company plans to make 100 percent of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, and reduce its use of virgin plastics by one third. Closed Loop will use the money to finance acquisitions of companies advancing circular economies in the U.S.

Nestlé Strengthens Adherence To WHO Standards For Marketing Infant Formula

Following 107 reports of Nestlé noncompliance with WHO’s code on responsible marketing of breast milk substitutes (BMS, or infant formula), the company announced it is increasing its transparency on BMS marketing, has corrected noncompliance areas, and is now in compliance. The company said that to reduce non-compliance, it will continue to train employees and third-party workers on the importance of implementing BMS marketing policies. The company also calls for collective action, clear legislation, and enforcement by authorities in the different countries in which it operates. Sixty-one percent of non-compliance in BMS marketing is traceable to a third-party in a direct contractual relationship, but 39 percent of instances are linked directly to Nestlé. 

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May 01, 2020, to July 15, 2020

Keurig Dr Pepper Sponsors ”Polypropylene Recycling Coalition”

The Burlington, Mass., beverage maker said it has committed $10 million over the next five years to improve the recovery and recycling of polypropylene plastic in the U.S. The Coalition’s goal is to solidify polypropylene's status as a standard curbside recycling material through projects that enhance collection, sortation and processing in recycling facilities. The result would be an increase in the value and supply of recycled polypropylene (rPP) and a reduction in the need for virgin plastic in packaging. KDP has also invested in the American Beverage Association's Every Bottle Back initiative, the Closed Loop Fund and several initiatives led by the Recycling Partnership, Keep America Beautiful, and the World Wildlife Fund.

Evian Drops Plastic Label, Debuts Water Bottle With Engraved Logo

As part of its efforts to be a fully circular brand, with all bottles made from 100% recycled plastic by 2025, Evian has launched a label-free 400 ml bottle that features an “Evian pink” bottle cap. Since labels or the adhesives they use are typically non-recyclable, their presence on a bottle complicates recycling. The new Evian bottle sidesteps this by engraving the logo and tag as the bottle is being formed.

This is an elegant solution to the label problem, but raises a couple of issues. One is that the cap is still made from non-recycled material. The other is that the bottle does not have a bar code, which means it cannot yet be sold in stores. Instead, it’s suitable for online sales where barcodes are not needed. As well as restaurants, hotels and hospitality venues.  The company did not provide any insight into the additional cost entailed by this process, but did say the innovation took about two years to implement. The bottle will be available in France beginning this month, and in additional countries from September.

 A Danone research engineer said the new engraved logo preserves the natural beauty of the bottle and brings it “closer to the water’s purity.” “Our revolution makes old plastic the ultimate new innovation,” he added.

Seven Of Sprite’s APAC Markets Have Switched To Clear PET Bottles

Coca-Cola has switched from the iconic green Sprite bottled to clear PET bottles in seven APAC countries, following recent expansion to Singapore. Beginning in the Philippines in late 2019, the switch to clear PET bottles has taken place in Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Fiji, Hong Kong, and now Singapore, where the clear bottles are available in the 500 ml and 1.5 ml formats. The bottles are made with 10 percent recycled PET (rPET) and are 100 percent recyclable. Packaging experts say that while colored PET bottles can be recycled, transparent PET bottles are more valuable in the after-use market. This also means that the plastic can be repurposed or reused many times, creating a circular solution.

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March 15, 2020, to May 01, 2020

Ambev Implements Ambitious Carbon Emission Reduction Plans; Also Invests In New Breweries

Brazilian brewing company Ambev, with facilities in 19 countries in Latin America and Canada, is committed to several sustainability goals, including a large – 25 percent – reduction in carbon emissions by 2025. To help achieve that goal, the company has introduced new microturbine technology in its factories to reduce CO2 emissions by 482 tons a year. Ambev partnered with an energy generation startup based in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul to implement Capstone microturbine technology from the U.S. The start-up (Luming Inteligência Energética) installed a prototype in one factory and units in three other breweries in the states of São Paulo and Paraná. Together, they produce 449,000 kwh of energy a month, the equivalent of planting more than 2,800 trees a year, Ambev says. The company also announced that, to meet growing competition from aggressively expanding Heineken NV, it would invest $432 million in new brewing plants in Brazil. 

Whole Leaf Tea From English Tea Shop Comes In New Sustainable Packaging

The new sustainable packaging being used by English Tea Shop for its range of Whole Leaf Tea is inspired by the ingredients and colors of Sri Lanka, the source of the tea. Available in 18 blends, including English Breakfast and in combinations such as Turmeric, Ginger & Lemongrass, the tea comes as higher quality intact leaves held in a pouch made from GMO-free cellulose fiber, and paired with a reusable scoop. The cardboard box is 100 percent compostable and unfolds like a flower to reveal mandalas that celebrate the ingredients and contents. Earlier this month, the English Tea Shop received $3 million in funding from HSBC U.K., allocated as part of its lending fund to support the company’s “ambitious” growth strategy.

Coca-Cola Japan Eliminates Labels From Multi-Pack Bottles Of I Lohas Water

Coca-Cola Japan this month is switching to new bottle designs for its market leading “clear beverages” brand I Lohas water that eliminate labels, are made from 100 percent recycled plastic, and  retain the malleability that makes them easy to crush into compact recyclable sizes. The new label-free bottle designs will be sold in cases displaying nutritional information, etc., of 24 for $26) at supermarkets, drug stores, and online retailers. Bottles sold separately will still have the label.

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February 15, 2020, to March 15, 2020

Ambev SA Of Brazil Promises To Eliminate Plastic Packaging Within Five Years

Brazilian beverages company Ambev SA (Sao Paulo) has committed to eliminating all plastic packaging by 2025, a move that could generate as much as $239 million in business, according to one exec. The company, Latin America’s largest brewer, will work with suppliers, recycling cooperatives, startups, and universities to shift all beverage packaging to either returnable or 100 percent recyclable materials. The new target, is part of a broad strategy by parent company Anheuser Busch InBev to step up recycling and phase out plastic containers as consumers seek greener alternatives. In October, Ambev announced its first water in aluminum cans, AMA, likely to be distributed in February. Ambev invested $4.1 billion between 2014 and 2018 to adopt eco-friendly practices, including projects to have all operations run by renewable energy sources by 2025.

Coca-Cola HBC Expands, Modernizes Production Capacity At Northern Ireland Plant

Coca-Cola HBC’s newly-installed $12 million canning line at its Lisburn plant supports increased demand for can production – the capacity is 4.8 million a week – while enabling the key goal of bringing production of its Monster Energy products in house. The new canning line also: makes possible production of sustainable secondary packaging for multipack cans, as well as paperboard and cardboard packaging for multi-pack cans; increases the number of products and pack sizes available; and reduces reliance on sourcing from other European facilities. The new line also supports the transition to taller “Sleek Cans” – launching this month – an element of the World Without Waste initiative.

CCEP’s Glacéau Smartwater Bottles Now Made From 100 Percent Recycled Plastic (rPET)

Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) is launching a promotional campaign to let consumers know that its Glacéau Smartwater bottles are now made from 100 percent recycled plastic (rPET) and are still 100 percent recyclable. The campaign will kick-off at the end of the month and run for three weeks across out-of-home advertising spots such as poster sites and digital screens. The move to 100 percent rPET, which includes all 600 ml and 850 ml plastic bottles, will remove 3,100 tons of virgin plastic from circulation each year.

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December 01, 2019, to February 15, 2020

Coca-Cola’s $11M Global Plastics Cleanup Program Is Lambasted By Greenpeace

The Coca-Cola Co., stung by criticism that it is a major global polluter, reportedly has pledged $11 million dollars over three years to help clean up nine rivers across Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. Each clean-up project will use data from the captured waste in the rivers to change human behavior and create a less polluted world. According to the company, programs in Panama, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Ecuador, Mexico, Thailand, Jamaica, and Kenya are being funded. Longtime environmental critic Greenpeace USA issued a statement saying the initiative was “foolish.”  "Coca-Cola … wants people to believe it can capture this waste before it enters our oceans. This is as foolish as it sounds.” The company has spent millions of dollars, Greenpeace said, promoting the “false notion” that recycling and cleanup of plastic pollution solves the problem. “That is a lie.” The organization said the solution to the problem is to phase out single-use plastics and move toward reuse systems.

Coke Partners With Chinese Online Retailer JD.com To Explore Innovative Recycling Methods

Coca-Cola and China’s largest online retailer JD.com have partnered in a search for new plastic recycling technology. The Chinese company will apply its nationwide logistics system in a pilot project to help collect used beverage bottles from households. The collected bottles are being sent to recycling facilities in partnership with Coca-Cola, where they’ll enter the circular value chain. JD.com launched its Green Stream Initiative in 2017 to reduce the environmental impact of logistics activities. Between June 2017 and December 2019, the company cut use of disposable packaging by nearly 30,000 tons, saving a million tons of paper. Coca-Cola unveiled its World Without Waste initiative two years ago to help collect and recycle the equivalent of 100 percent of its packaging globally by 2030. The recycling partnership was announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Coke Says Being “Plastics Free” Is A Distant Solution Because Customers Like Single-Use Bottles

Coca-Cola head of sustainability Bea Perez says pleasing customers is more important than ending plastics pollution, so the company won't be phasing out its popular single-use plastic bottles anytime soon. According to Perez, despite the company’s reputation as a global plastics polluter, customers like the bottles because they are lightweight and easily reseal. Getting rid of them, Perez said, would hurt sales. "Business won't be in business if we don't accommodate consumers," she said. The company plans to focus on recycling, promising to recycle as many bottles as it uses by 2030, to use 50 percent recycled materials in packaging by that date and to work with nonprofits to better collect its waste. Environmental groups argue that recycling is not the most effective solution to the plastic pollution crisis.

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November 01, 2019, to December 01, 2019

P&G In Europe Plans To Make 300 Million Bottles From Recycled Plastic

P&G announced that its Fairy, Flash and Viakal brands will increase recycled plastic use to 9,000 tonnes per year, starting in 2020. This move is part of the company’s commitment to reducing the amount of virgin plastic in all packaging by 50% by 2030.

In a press release, P&G put more emphasis on product formula changes, pointing out that a life cycle assessment found that the biggest “footprint reduction opportunity” for its home care cleaning products came when consumers used its products, which involved high use of water, often heated. Consequently, it has created formulas that wash dishes and clothes at low temperatures. 

Scientists Manage To Upcycle Polyethylene Into High-Quality Liquid Products

A group of scientists has upcycled polyethylene into high quality liquid plastics, raising the prospect of plastics that are more sustainable. The scientists from a number of US universities and institutions succeeded in catalytically transforming by hydrogenolysis energy-rich polyethylene macromolecules into value-added products that could be re-purposed for motor oils, lubricants, detergents and even cosmetics.


The authors of the study point out that plastics have many advantages – being strong, inexpensive and sterile – that are hard to replicate. Currently 380 million tons of plastics are produced worldwide each year (about 7% of crude oil and natural gas produced) and the plastic market is projected to quadruple by 2050 to ~1100-1500 million tons per year. With over 75% of plastics discarded after a single-use, the potential for an upcycling process is enormous. 


While this study was limited to laboratory conditions, it formed the basis of two patent applications (US Patent Applications 62/796,482 and 62/892,347).

Chlorophyll Water Claims New Bottles Are Fully Biodegradable In Landfills

Chlorophyll Water, maker of a purified zero-calorie and sugar-free water enhanced with plant-pigment chlorophyll, says its new 20-ounce bottles are now landfill biodegradable, thanks to a bottle mold technology that integrates an organic additive that accelerates decomposition in landfills and anaerobic digesters. The idea of the new technology is to eliminate pollution, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and recover clean renewable energy. The organic additive is designed to attract microbial activity within the landfill: as microorganisms consume the additive material, they excrete enzymes that break down the bottle. The process results in a bottle that is 100 percent recyclable, BPA-free, non-toxic and now, landfill biodegradable in about seven years. Chlorophyll Water still recommends that its bottles be recycled; each case purchased online comes with a recycling bag.

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October 01, 2019, to November 01, 2019

Packaging Firms Struggle With Misconception About Recyclability Of Plant-Based Cartons

Packaging suppliers are aware that an increasing number of beverage brands acknowledge the environmental benefits of carton packaging and are switching from other packaging materials. Evergreen Packaging (Memphis, Tenn.), a supplier to New Barn Organics (Healdsburg, Calif.), announced earlier this year that New Barn is transitioning its almond milk line from plastic packaging to Evergreen’s PlantCarton paper packaging. According to New Barn, customers told the company that a transition to plant-based packaging versus petroleum-based packaging is right for the brand. Evergreen’s PlantCarton packages are made with at least 70 percent renewable material; paper made from trees where responsible forestry practices are used, the company says. PlantCarton packaging is also recyclable. But a big problem remains for carton packaging companies: the misconception among many consumers that cartons are not recyclable, despite the fact that carton recycling has grown 240 percent since 2009.

Carlsberg Is Working On Prototypes Of Wood Fiber Bottles

Danish brewer Carlsberg says it is developing paper beer bottles made with sustainable wood fibers and a coated interior that prevents seepage. The company is testing two prototypes for its Green Fiber Bottle: one with a thin layer of a recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic in the interior, and the other using instead a polyethylene furanoate (PEF) polymer film that is 100-percent made from natural, biodegradable sources. Carlsberg hopes to create a bottle made from 100-percent organic materials without polymers as part of a plan to achieve zero carbon emissions at its breweries by 2030. Paper is preferable to aluminum or glass, the company says, because it’s sustainably sourced and has a “very low impact on production process.”

The 2019 Recycling Tracker Is Wrap UK’s Largest Survey Yet

The latest annual Recycling Tracker from WRAP UK is the largest survey since it was started in 2004, with almost 5,500 online interviews. The 2019 results show higher recognition of the Recycle Now ‘Swoosh’ logo to 75%, from 45% last year. It also found that 32% are now recycling items they didn’t recycle in 2018, and 34% have increased recycling of items they did previously recycle. But, it also found that 51% throw items in the general rubbish that can be collected in their area for recycling. The survey found a positive association between the recognition of the Recycle Now brand and reported changes in recycling behavior. WRAP Director Peter Maddox said that the recycling message needs to be sustained, and that small actions by many people can make a difference. Craig Stephens, Recycle Now’s Campaign Manager, wants consumers to become more involved in recycling, and said that Recycle Week can help inspire people to take it into their own hands.

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September 15, 2019, to October 01, 2019

RB Pushes Gray As Greener

This summer RB is launching a tub for its Finish Quantum Ultimate that is made from 30% recycled polypropylene (rPP) content. Unlike PET, which has a well-established recycling infrastructure and which can be recycled in light colors that are close to virgin PET, rPP is the ‘ugly duckling’ of plastic recycling. rPP comes from a wide range of polypropylene uses – bottle caps, ketchup bottles, yogurt pots… –  is difficult to process and comes out gray. Veolia worked with RB to develop rPP to several strict technical criteria. Instead of using masking pigments or additives, RB says it wishes to make a statement and is using this color as a point of difference and saying it is “proudly grey.” It claims to be the first FMCG company using rPP at scale. This move is part of RB’s commitment to make 100% of its packaging recyclable and for it to contain at least 25% recycled content by 2025.

DASANI Announces Series Of Plastic Reduction Initiatives

DASANI’s owner, The Coca-Cola Company, has pledged to make its bottles and cans with an average of 50% recycled material by 2030. In support of this goal, DASANI announced a “robust pipeline” of efforts to lower its plastic footprint. Its HybridBottle, which is made with a mix of up to 50% plant-based renewable and recycled PET, will be available nationally in 20-ounce bottles in mid-2020. It will rollout up to 100 additional DASANI PureFill water dispensers, starting in fall 2019. DASANI will also introduce new aluminum cans and new aluminum bottles. The cans will be introduced in the Northeast this fall with both available nationally in 2020. Other initiatives include adding “How2Recycle” labels to all DASANI packages and ongoing “light-weighting” across its product portfolio.

UK Government Backs c – Edible, Plastic-Free Drink Packaging

Oohos – containers for drinks up to 100ml – are made entirely from Notpla, a seaweed extract that fully biodegrades in four to six weeks. Ooho manufacturer, also called Notpla, received funding from the UK Government to bring the innovation closer to commercialization, with a broader aim of developing a vending machine for use in gyms or restaurants. It envisions the machine could dispense up to 3,000 Oohos a day, with consumers selecting the drink. Notpla is working closely with Lucozade Ribena Suntory. It sampled 36,000 Lucozade Sport Oohos at the 2019 Virgin Media London Marathon and LRS is working to include Lucozade Sports as an option for the Ooho drink dispenser.
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