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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:120

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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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July 15, 2019, to September 15, 2019

Pressure To Cut Plastics Use Sways Coke Toward Aluminum Cans For Dasani

Under pressure to reduce plastic use in packaging, Coca-Cola Co. will start selling Dasani in aluminum cans in the U.S. Northeast next month, and in other parts of the country in 2020. PepsiCo Inc. said recently it would try selling its mainstream water brand Aquafina in cans at restaurants and stadiums. Aluminum cans generally contain more recycled material than plastic bottles and are less likely to float away in the ocean. Dasani and Aquafina are the top two bottled brands in the U.S., with combined sales north of $2 billion. Coke also plans to introduce a “hybrid” Dasani bottle, with half of the materials from a combination of plants and recycled plastic. 

Kimberly-Clark Outlines Its Efforts To Reduce Plastics Use

Kimberly-Clark’s global sustainability lead for products and packaging, Daniel Locke, discussed the company’s Sustainability 2022 strategy, launched in 2016. The goals included diverting 150,000 metric tonnes of waste materials from landfill by recycling or upcycling, without specifying composition of the waste. Locke said that the company used to focus on packaging efficiency and light-weighting but, although that remains a laudable aim, it is moving to making it more recyclable, degradable or reusable. The company has not yet issued a specific “multi-pronged plastics strategy”, but it has created a dedicated UK Plastics Pact team in the UK, tasked with finding non-recyclable packaging and developing formats that are lightweight and made from recyclable plastics or alternative materials. In the UK, it’s scaling its ‘RightCycle’ scheme, launched in the US in 2011, that enables business clients to recycle disposable hygiene products, such as gloves and shoe covers, into inflexible plastic items, like plant pots. The effort to improve recyclability is being matched by on-pack messaging to help consumers better recycle. But, Locke argues, recyclability isn’t enough, and a circular economy will also need other options, such as refills and reuse. It recently launched its first refillable product, for its Huggies wet wipes. 

Suntory Pursues “Bottle-To-Bottle” Plastics Project

After China’s 2017 decision to stop importing other countries’ plastic waste, Japan needed to quickly find alternative destinations for its waste in regions like Southeast Asia. However, Malaysia and the Philippines have followed China’s lead and vowed to turn away shipments of plastic waste, unwilling to serve as dumping grounds for first-world garbage. Japanese leaders are considering a number of potential solutions to the growing problem, including boosting the capabilities of incinerators to burn plastic refuse as fuel for generating energy, and increasing the recycling of soft drink bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Suntory has become the first major Japanese beverage company to move toward closed-loop recycling when in May it announced an initiative to use PET drink bottles made completely from old containers. It is partnering on the project with Kyōei Industry, which has developed a method for creating high-quality PET resin from recycled plastic bottles. The bottle-to-bottle movement gained momentum after a 2009 study showed that manufacturing PET bottles from used plastic emits 63 percent less CO2 than using petroleum does.

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May 15, 2019, to July 15, 2019

Big Beverage Companies To Urge Vietnam To Create Plastic Recycling Program

Amid growing global outrage over plastic waste in the planet’s oceans, beverage major Suntory Holdings announced collaboration with rivals Coca-Cola and Nestlé to encourage the Vietnam government to create a large-scale plastic recycling system. Japan has said it will discuss the problem at the G20 summit it is hosting this month. Suntory told Reuters it plans to switch out pure petroleum-based plastic bottles in all markets by 2030, using only recycled or plant-based materials at a cost of $467 million. Recycling plastic is a vexing problem in Southeast Asia, which lacks lacks sophisticated systems for collecting, sorting, and treating used plastic. Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said he wants his country to phase out single-use plastics by 2025 using unspecified “drastic measures.”

Three Of Coca-Cola Europe’s Brands To Be Packaged In rPET Bottles By 2020

Coca-Cola Western Europe announced that three of its brands will be sold in 100 percent plastic (rPET) bottles in several markets on the continent beginning in 2020. According to the company, the adoption of the new bottles for the Honest, GLACÉAU Smartwater, and Chaudfontaine brands will save about 9,000 tons of virgin plastic a year across Western Europe. The company also said it will change the packaging for its Sprite brand from a green PET bottle to a clear PET pack, which it claims is easier to recycle. The changes are part of Coca-Cola’s pledge to ensure that at least half of the plastic used in its PET bottles across Western Europe will come from recycled sources by 2025.

Danone Waters NA Wins B Corp Certification As PBC

White Plains, N.Y.-based Danone Waters NA announced it has achieved B Corp Certification and is now a public benefit corporation (PBC). The certification indicates that the company has proven its commitment to meeting high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability, the company said. It plans to use the B Corp Certification and PBC status to engage business partners, stakeholders, and consumers in this “important movement." Danone is the U.S. and Canadian importer and distributor of Evian natural spring water, Badoit sparkling natural mineral water, and Volvicnatural spring water,

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April 15, 2019, to May 15, 2019

Genetically Engineered Salmon: Appearing Soon At Your Local Grocery Store

The FDA has lifted a ban on genetically engineered salmon, clearing the way for its appearance in grocery stores. The company AquaBounty may now import its AquaAdvantage Salmon eggs to a land-based facility in Indiana, where the salmon can be grown for food. The fish have been genetically engineered to grow faster than farm-raised Atlantic salmon. But Native American tribes, food groups, and environmentalists are concerned that there is no requirement that the gene-manipulated fish be labeled as “genetically engineered.” Instead, they can be labeled “bioengineered,” a less-loaded term that can appear on packages as a symbol that says “BE” or a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone to find out if it's genetically engineered. "So it's quite a bit more burdensome,” according to a Center for Food Safety attorney. The FDA first approved genetically engineered salmon as safe to eat in 2015.

“Natural” Claim Continues To Lure Shoppers, Despite Lack Of Definition

A Label Insight-sponsored survey of 1,000 adult consumers finds that using the word “natural” on food packaging will motivate as many as 53 percent of Americans to make a purchase. Natural is generally accepted to mean the absence of artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, and color additives in products that are minimally processed. Fifty-one percent of shoppers were swayed by "no preservatives," particularly older generations. Sixty-three percent of Baby Boomers say a product with that claim would motivate them to buy compared to 46 percent of Generation X and 41 percent of Millennials. Other ingredients Americans are concerned about include: high fructose corn syrup (57 percent of older adults) and sugar (all ages). And shoppers increasingly want to know the conditions under which the fish, poultry and livestock they're eating were raised: "antibiotic free" (34 percent); "free range" (26 percent); "grass fed" (25 percent); and "pasture-raised" (17 percent) are the key terms. Oddly, free range and pasture-raised are synonymous.

Three Federal Agencies To Work Together To Reduce Nation’s Food Waste

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have joined forces to create an interagency strategy to address food waste. At an event held at EPA headquarters, state, local and community leaders and others shared ideas on how all levels of government can cooperate to reduce food waste. The “Winning on Reducing Food Waste Strategy” includes six priority areas the agencies will focus on over the next year: enhance interagency coordination; increase consumer education and outreach efforts; improve coordination and guidance on food loss and waste measurement; clarify and communicate information on food safety, food date labels, and food donations; collaborate with private industry to reduce food loss and waste across the supply chain; and encourage food waste reduction by federal agencies in their respective facilities. “Our nation’s agricultural abundance should be used to nourish those in need, not fill the trash,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. 

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March 15, 2019, to April 15, 2019

Starbucks Meal Donation Program In Canada Will Reduce Hunger, Cut Food Waste

Starbucks Canada has launched a national initiative to provide ready-to-eat meals through its more than 1,100 company-owned stores. FoodShare builds on a successful pilot program with Second Harvest, the largest food rescue organization in Canada. The initiative launched in February at 250 stores in the greater Toronto area, and will expand to more cities and provinces and eventually to the whole country. In Canada, the company has always donated unsold pastries and baked goods, but will now donate more healthful breakfast sandwiches, paninis, protein boxes, salads, yogurt, milk, and dairy alternatives like soy and coconut. The company says the initiative not only helps combat hunger, it diverts food surplus from landfills, helping to minimize the company's environmental footprint. 

Milk Dispensers In Schools Reduce Milk Waste, Eliminate Milk Carton Waste

Harrisonburg (Va.) City Public Schools measured milk waste for a week in January, finding that on average students consumed 220 cartons of milk at lunch a day, adding to about 39,000 cartons each school year. Because they are not recyclable, they end up in the trash. Moreover, students consumed about 70 percent of the milk in the cartons, wasting 30 percent, or about four gallons a day. To combat the problem, Bluestone Elementary School, and others in the state, are installing $3,000 milk dispensers in the cafeteria that allow students to fill their own reusable cups with as little or as much chocolate or regular milk as they want. The savings on milk aren’t much, about a cent per 8-ounce serving, but with a tight budget every little bit helps, a school representative said. Not to mention the complete elimination of trashed milk cartons.

Developers Of New Food Spoilage Sensor Technology Seek Development Funding

A new technology that will “smell' when fruit or vegetables are deteriorating is in the works in the U.K. and, once some technical bugs are dealt with, could someday save tons of food waste. The quick and cost-effective quality assessment system would apply a technique commonly used in space science to allow food suppliers to pinpoint the peak condition of produce. The researchers have identified the unique molecular markers given off by rocket (arugula) leaves before they spoil, and want to see if the technique can be applied to other produce. The big challenge, however, is to take the complex technology and apply it to a cost-effective platform so that it can be used at different points in the supply chain, from production through to retail, the researchers said. They have a working prototype but now need funding to conduct the production design and develop an affordable device.

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February 15, 2019, to March 15, 2019

Canadian Start-Up Gets $1M Investment To Develop An Upcycling Machine

Halifax-based Beyond Food Inc. has raised $1 million from a range of investors – including several NHL players – to develop its first Zero Waste Pod and launch a partnership with a Canadian supermarket chain. The company’s mission is to reduce food waste – $31 billion a year in Canada – by using supermarket produce that is about to be tossed out to make a nutritional food ingredient. The patent-pending Zero Waste Pod is a modular facility about the size of a shipping container that can process aging fruits and vegetables into a fine powder for use as a nutritious ingredient in food manufacturing.

Vermont Enters Final Implementation Stages Of 2012 Food Waste Law

Enacted in 2012, Vermont’s universal recycling law (Act 148) is nearing the end of its long implementation phase. By July 1, 2020, Vermonters will have to keep food scraps out of their trash bins. The act quotes a waste composition study that showed more than half the state's waste comprises recyclables, yard debris, and food scraps that could be diverted and repurposed. In 2014, the law required some of the largest producers of food waste – grocery stores, food manufacturers – to keep food waste out of the trash. In 2020, individual residents will finally be required to do the same. When the law goes into effect, trash haulers must provide a food waste pickup service to customers. The requirement is being debated in the state capital, because trash haulers don't have the right equipment for this service and might not want to invest since the revenue stream isn't guaranteed, especially if residents compost in their backyard or feed scraps to animals.

“Upcycled Food” Is A Marketable Term That Could Help Reduce Food Waste

Drexel University scientists have reported on consumer perceptions of “upcycled food" – leftovers from processing that are put into new, value-added products – after originally using the term “value-added surplus products." A survey of more than 1,000 consumers asked what term would encourage them to buy products from materials leftover after processing, including salvaged, repurposed, reprocessed, and rescued. The clear winner was “upcycled,” the scientists found, because it’s a familiar term from fashion that suggests recycling and environmental goodness. What’s more, consumers were also willing to pay more for upcycled than conventional food. The researchers concluded that the right message and marketing would benefit food companies by reducing food waste while achieving equal or greater value from products.

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January 15, 2019, to February 15, 2019

Missouri Lawmakers Are Considering Bill To Require Food Donations

Lawmakers in Missouri are considering legislation that would require foodservice and other food companies with revenues of $5 million or more to donate ten percent of any excess edible “to needy individuals or to nonprofit organizations that provide food to needy individuals." If passed, the bill would make it a misdemeanor punishable by a $25,000 fine if it is discovered that a business is making their food inedible to avoid the donations.

Oregon Is Latest State To Legalize Harvesting Of Roadkill For Use As Food

Oregon recently enacted legislation that legalizes the harvesting and use of roadkill as food. The state is the latest of about 20 states that allow people to scoop dead animals off the road and serve them for dinner. One of these is the state of Washington, which issued 1,600 roadkill salvaging permits within one year of legalizing the practice in 2016. The rules vary by state, though most require timely reporting of the collection to authorities, and most absolve the state of responsibility if the meat turns out to be stomach-churning. Oregon allows the salvaging of deer and elk and for human consumption only. People who pick up a carcass must apply online for a free permit within 24 hours, and they must turn over the animal's head and antlers to the state wildlife agency within five business days.

Washington State Legislators Introduce Food Waste Bill

Three Washington state Democratic legislators have introduced a bill to fight food waste that has the backing of a broad coalition of food producers, manufacturers, retailers, and food banks. HB 1114 establishes a goal to reduce food waste in the state 50 percent by 2030, compared to levels from 2015. According to the bill, food waste results from the storage, preparation, handling, cooking, selling or serving of food for human consumption. The bill includes a prevention goal that includes strategies to reduce waste, disperse edible food to food banks and other productive uses, including animal feed, compost and energy production. The bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Beth Doglio, Vandana Slatter, and Jake Fey, and discussed at a public hearing on January 17 before the House environment panel.

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January 01, 2019, to January 15, 2019

Packaging Coffee Beans In Aluminum Cans Is An Imperfect Answer To A Complex Problem

Blue Bottle Coffee is starting to pack its coffee beans in aluminum cans with recyclable plastic lids, shifting from PLA packaging. PLA is a compostable polymer made from corn. James Freeman, the brand’s founder, says the cans will be a third more expensive than the compostable paper bag, but the environmental problem of packaging is not simple. For example, coffee bags described as biodegradable might contain a lining that will take years to decompose. Metal, on the other hand, is more easily recycled: the Aluminum Association says most aluminum contains 70 percent of recycled product. Cans aren’t the perfect solution either, but they can at least be recycled whole without having to be first dismantled. 

N.J. Lawmakers Tackle Food Waste Problem With Package Of Bills

A N.J. Assembly committee has approved a package of bills aimed at reducing hunger statewide. Assembly Bill 4705 would create a 12-member New Jersey Food Waste Task Force whose purpose would be to devise ways to reduce wasteful food consumption in the state 50 percent by 2030. Assembly Joint Resolution 174, meanwhile, would urge retailers and consumers to find and adopt ways to reduce food waste. Suggestions outlined in the legislation for retailers include lowering “unreasonably high cosmetic standards” for their products, urging food manufacturers to drop “best by” labels and establishing systems for donating surplus foods to charities. To curb food waste among consumers, the resolution suggests retailers could provide food reduction tips and recipes to use leftovers and organize “waste less” campaigns.

Mexican Beer Brand Corona Testing Plastic-Free Six-Pack Rings

Plastic rings holding a six-pack of beer together are ubiquitous, but Corona, the Mexican beer brand, is trialing rings from biodegradable plant-based fibers. It follows an announcement by Carlsberg earlier this year to withdraw plastic rings in favor of a glue. Corona’s innovation will break down into organic matter, according to the brand and will first be tested in the Mexican town of Tulum in 2019. The move is a part of Corona’s commitment to Parley for the Oceans, a non-profit focusing on plastics accumulating on beaches and marine environments. 

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December 15, 2018, to January 01, 2019

Irish Food Ingredient Company Licenses Enzyme That Reduces Acrylamide

The chemical compound acrylamide, a cumulative neurotoxin formed in brewed coffee and in starchy foods heated to high temperatures, such as chips and French fries, is being targeted by governments with regulations limiting its use and adding warning labels on foods and beverages. In the meantime, Irish food ingredient  company Kerry has signed a licensing agreement with Renaissance BioScience Corp. to manufacture the company’s non-GMO acrylamide-reducing yeast enzyme, Acryleast. The enzyme reduces acrylamide by up to 90 percent across food and beverage products, including biscuits, crackers, French fries, crisps, coffee, and instant food. According to Kerry, it is a clean label solution that requires minimal changes to the manufacturing process and has no impact on taste, aroma, or texture.

McDonald’s In The Vanguard Of Movement To Reduce Antibiotics In Beef

With a nudge from the Natural Resources Defense Council, McDonald's announced it has told its beef suppliers around the world to cut back on the use of antibiotics beginning in 2019. Implementation will begin with pilot projects in ten markets around the world, including in the U.S. McDonald’s is the first big burger chain to launch such a policy, though other fast food leaders – Chipotle, Panera, Subway – have either cut antibiotic use in their beef supplies or have committed to do so. A spokesman for the NRDC said: “Nobody in the world sells more burgers than McDonald's, and their actions can shape the future of the industry.” Forty-three percent of medically important antibiotics sold to the U.S. livestock industry go to the beef sector, compared to only six percent for chicken.

Consumers Expect Colors – Artificial Or Not – In Their Foods

Colors are important to food companies because, apparently, they’re important to consumers. Though big food companies like McDonald’s and Kellogg have promised to get rid of artificial dyes, they continue to use – or have reinstated – colorings because consumers want them. General Mills, for example, eliminated artificial colors from Trix, it added them back in last year after consumers demanded a return to the “classic” look. The cheddar cheeses sold by Boar’s Head, Cabot, Kraft, and Tillamook contain annatto, a plant extract commonly used for color.  Because salmon buyers expect salmon to be pink, farmed salmon is often fed synthetic astaxanthin, a version of a naturally occurring compound. It makes economic sense: darker salmon commands an extra 50 cents to $1 per pound when offered next to lighter salmon.

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December 01, 2018, to December 15, 2018

Food Distributor’s Program Moves Ugly Produce To Restaurants Rather Than Landfills

One of America’s largest fresh food distributors is showing chefs and restaurants that “imperfect” produce – fruits and vegetables that don’t meet aesthetics and size requirements – has real value. Baldor Specialty Foods’ Imperfect Produce program allows farmers sell these commodities to chefs, and directly to the public through community-supported agriculture (CSA) models. An estimated 24.7 percent of on-farm produce waste occurs because of disposal of imperfect produce.

Celebrity Chef Teaches Whirlpool Employees How To Cut Down On Food Waste

Joel Gamoran, a national chef with Sur La Table and the host of a cooking show called "Scraps," recently gave a cooking demonstration for employees at the global headquarters of Whirlpool Corp. Michigan. His mission was to show his audience how common household foods normally tossed in a garbage disposal can be used to create nutritious meals. He pointed out that Americans waste $319 billion worth of food every year while one out of eight people go to bed hungry. For his TV shows he partners with food waste champions around the U.S. to celebrate the local cuisine and create a delicious meal with food items many consider to be waste, like banana peels, shrimp shells, chicken bones, and carrot stems. The program is sponsored by Whirlpool’s KitchenAid brand, so he uses the brand's stand mixers, food processors, and blenders throughout his travels.

Blockchain Technology Improves Walmart’s Food Safety, Reduces Food Loss

Walmart is using blockchain technology to help track and manage the chaotic and decentralized food supply system comprising producers, suppliers, and intermediaries such as processors that change constantly. Blockchain technology, like the food system, is based on a decentralized and distributed model that fits the modern food system perfectly. Each player in the network can update data, but also stops them from entering false data or making false changes. The speed with which blockchain enables companies to trace products and problems back to the source means improved food safety and less economic loss, and reduced food waste. It quickly and accurately identifies the source of a problem so that only impacted products are recalled or removed, rather than everything in the category.
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