January 18, 2012

Kudos to greener packaging promises

Some manufacturers are serious about reducing packaging, in spite of what I see on most grocery and retail shelves. Dell is the first company that comes to mind when it comes to reducing unnecessary packaging. They have implemented a plan to simplify and revolutionize computer packaging that will result in estimated savings of more than $8 million and the elimination of approximately 20 million pounds (10,000 tons) of packaging material from 2008 through 2012. Dell, take a bow!

But Hasbro, in its first corporate social responsibility report, says that GI Joe's plastic and cardboard package will now be environmentally-friendly. Buying Mr. Potato Head, Play-Doh, Monopoly, Candy Land and the Transformers will be guilt-free too for waste watchers concerned with overpackaging.

The report says Hasbro will eliminate polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from all new core toy and game packaging beginning in 2013 and ensure that 90 percent of paper and board packaging will come from recycled material, or from sources that practice sustainable forest management, by 2015. It has already replaced all the wire ties in its packages with ties made from paper rattan or bamboo mix. The company said the changeover to rattan and bamboo "eliminated approximately 34,000 miles of wire ties – more than enough to wrap around the circumference of the Earth."

Sure hope they are finger-friendly. I have cussed at these ties recently after buying and opening toys for my grandson.

Kudos to Wal-Mart for trying to get their suppliers to cut back on packaging. Some stores offer a “packaging feedback form” that customers can use to report the store products that they feel are inappropriately packaged. So tell companies what you think. Direct customer input is a powerful thing.

Click here to see what greenbiz,com reports on green product design and packaging, cradle-to-cradle (closed-loop production systems involving benign materials), green chemistry (less- or non-toxic alternatives to petrochemicals), and local sourcing (to reduce transport energy use and emission).