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PAC Award Winner-Bronze

T.S. Simms 3 Pack Paint Rollers Sleeve Bag

Overview

The packaging produced for T.S. Simms (and others) using Ecoflex Resin fits with the philosophy of environmental responsibility that infuses Farnell Packaging Limited, and it enables the smart solutions that Farnell’s customers require. Because Ecoflex is food safe, shelf stable and strong, as well as biodegradable and compostable, the impact of this project has led to continued product development of packaging made with renewable raw materials in many sectors including agricultural films, wrapping paper, drink cartons, fast food packaging, organic food products and horticultural containers.

This film is easily replicated because it is identical in every way regarding the production of poly which allows it to be run on existing equipment from Extrusion to Press and finally, Converting. The properties in strength and sealability are also matched. Many are only now awakening to the challenges we face in order to ensure a sustainable environment. Across North America, biodegradable packaging is catching on slowly. However, recent developments in Europe and in the boardrooms of significant players in North America, indicate a green marketing push that was not evident only a few years ago.

Motivation for Change

T.S. Simms wanted to be an environmental steward by increasing public awareness of biodegradable/compostable packaging

Cost Effectiveness

- Performance – FPL compostable film product meets or exceeds all our customers criteria (strength/sealability/machinability/marketing/etc.). The one area the customer has questioned is clarity. In a perfect world, they ideally would like this to match.

Performance

There are no trade-offs with this material. It can be run on existing equipment; sealability and product strength remained unchanged which offers a smooth transition from product to product with no issues and no added cost to customer.The packaging is now fully compostable and can follow the life cycle of all compost materials.

With the Ecoflex/Ecovio Film, the end-of-life scenario will allow the customer to divert, beginning with this project, approximately 1000 lbs of plastic that will be composted rather than recycled. As this project grows, it could convert up to 40,000 pounds of poly from the landfills to compost films.

Sourcing

- The Simms’ product was made from BASF Ecoflex Resin which is 100% biodegradable and compostable. The end result in a compost facility is materials are converted to carbon dioxide and water.

- Ratio – cost of package to cost of product: 3% approx.

Clean Production

Farnell Packaging Limited’s Environmental Protection Policy has the following fundamental principles:

(a) minimization of negative impacts on the environment,

(b) conservation/wise use of national resources, and

(c) respect for biodiversity.

Specifically:

- Minimize energy and water use through efficient management and practice

- Minimize waste through reduction, reuse, recycling, reengineering and renovation

- Minimizing polluting effluent and emissions into air, land and water

- Minimize, and where possible, eliminate harmful chemicals

- Include biodiversity and environmental standards, regulations and guidelines.

Farnell Packaging has a long history of early practice of separating office waste which quickly spread to include corrugated material, ink pads, scrap metal, strapping, pallets, organics, newspapers, beverage containers and razor blades. A past example that stands out is reclaiming inks and solvents. Improved ink management practices allowed for the recovery of solvents rather than off-site incineration.

Farnell Packaging Limited changed from water to a closed loop glycol cooling system for our machinery, dropping our water consumption by 70-80%; approximately 620,000 L annually and 3,100,000L since 2003 when the project was completed. Farnell installed air cleaning systems over work stations to ensure clean air at the production level.

Environmental Management is under the leadership of the Green Team. Farnell Packaging Limited is incorporating our HACCP initiative into our ISO 9001:2000 Quality System documentation. We passed our preliminary HACCP audit and are now on the home stretch. Once in place, our Environmental Program can become a candidate for incorporation into our Quality System under ISO 14001 structure.

Effective Recovery

The package designed for T.S. Simms has been printed with the BPI Logo which lets the consumer know that the package can go in the compost and that the product is biodegradable and compostable. The compost facility would be the optimal end-of-life scenario for this package where it is designed to fully biodegrade to biomass, water and carbon dioxide within 180 days. The products are designed to be a readily available food source for the micro-organisms during composting. These products do not contain any polyethylene, are converted to carbon dioxide and water and will not leave behind any plastic fragments that would reduce the value of the finished compost.

By diverting biodegradable waste to composting facilities, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, as well as the costs associated with the processing, separation and disposal of waste, through the reduction of trash going to landfills. Our film has been certified to meet the ASTM 6400 Standards.

Community Benefit

A benefit not otherwise available is that these products do not contain any polyethylene, are converted to carbon dioxide and water, and will not leave behind any plastic fragments that would reduce the value of the finished compost from the facilities.We have also used the same film for a project with the Canadian Plastics Sector Council in the way of a “conference bag” with leading graphics, and is biodegradable! Since most people target the ubiquitous plastic bag as a synonym for litter, having a bag made of a leading-edge resin that is both biodegradable and compostable sends a strong message of optimism for our industry.

Engaging youth in discussion around “responsible packaging” and the new generation of bio resins bodes well to stimulate interest in future careers in this sector. Not only to the youth who have been given this bag feel that it is “cool” because of its environmental friendliness, we have also piqued the interest of an Asst. Deputy Minister in the Public Affairs Branch of Social Development Canada through the uniqueness and effectiveness of the message that this product sends about the future direction. Locally, we are in the midst of 3 pilot projects with 3 counties. This involves 6,000 residents in each county.

Resource & Energy Optimization

There is no weight reduction between poly and compostable films; however, T.S. Simms has gone from converted bags to rollstock. This has led to the elimination of corrugated boxes for shipping and enables Farnell to pack more product on a pallet, reducing the number of pallets required to ship product in addition to using reuseable pallets. All follow the 3 “R’s” – Reduce/Reuse/RecycleOne of the methods used in analyzing the impact of the material and carbon footprint was an award-winning program developed by BASF, the life cycle eco-efficiency tool. This allowed Farnell to analyze the entire life cycle of the product, beginning with extraction of raw material through the disposal or recycling of the product.

An “Ecological Fingerprint” provides a picture of the environmental effect of a product in six categories: material consumption, energy consumption, emissions to air, soil and water, risk potential, toxicity potential and land use.

Categories: PAC Award Winner General Packaging Consumer Goods

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