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The Rise of Paper Packaging: Which Brands Are Converting?

The Rise of Paper Packaging: Which Brands Are Converting?

Major companies like Amazon, Chick-fil-A, and JDE Peet's are making significant moves towards sustainability by reducing plastic usage and switching to paper packaging. Discover how these companies are reducing waste, improving sustainability, and embracing eco-friendly alternatives in this round-up.

E-Commerce Giant Amazon Working to Reduce Packaging Waste

Amazon plans to eliminate plastic in its mailer bags as part of an effort to cut down on waste, decarbonize, and improve overall sustainability, according to the company’s 2022 sustainability report that was recently released. It’s also boosting attention to packaging lightweight and elimination.

The company is “phasing out padded bags containing plastics in favor of recyclable alternatives,” the report says. Some of the bags are solely made of plastic while others are a blend of plastic and paper; the mixed materials can present recycling challenges. In the US and Canada last year, the company replaced 99% of padded bags made from a mix of plastic and paper with paper-padded bags that the company says are recyclable.

A pile of Amazon's paper packaging.

Monterey Wine Company Buys First Frugal Bottle Assembly Machine in US

Monterey Wine Company, a custom wine production plant, has purchased a paper bottle assembly machine from sustainable packaging company Frugalpac. The machine allows Frugal bottles to be made in the heart of the winery, ultimately reducing its carbon footprint even further by shipping less volume from formed glass bottles from central manufacturing plants.

Frugal bottles are made from 94% recycled paperboard with a food grade pouch. They weigh 83g before filled, making them five times lighter than glass. This means they have a carbon footprint six times lower than glass bottles. They also offer 360° branding for exceptional, impactful shelf presence. Monterey Wine Company has already established a filling service for brands to fill Frugal bottles for wine and spirits brands in the US.

Green Bay Packaging's Wastewater Treatment Handling Leads to Net-Zero Water User Recognition

Green Bay Packaging's mill in Wisconsin was certified as a net-zero water user in 2022. This means it has low consumption of water and returns the same amount of water it uses to the Fox Valley watershed. The mill receives the treated wastewater from the municipal treatment plant, which is further treated for use in the papermaking process instead of fresh water.

"It also reduces our biological oxygen demand and suspended solids because of the efficiency of our on-site treatment and the municipality's treatment. We have a probably 70% to 80% reduction of sediment that would otherwise go to the Fox River," said Lisa Bauer-Lotto, the company’s Corporate Director of Environment and Sustainability, in a recent Wisconsin Public Radio’s talk show.

JDE Peet’s to Launch Recyclable Paper Packaging for Its Instant Coffee Range

JDE Peet’s has announced plans to launch new, fully recyclable, paper packaging for its instant coffee ranges. The Amsterdam-based coffee group said the packaging will generate the lowest carbon footprint within its existing portfolio of products. It is to be rolled-out across multiple JDE Peet’s brands in select markets next year.

In a press release, JDE Peet’s said the packaging is designed ‘to create a more sustainable ecosystem’ within the global instant coffee market by ‘incentivizing the reuse of existing glass jars and tin formats.’

Reusable and recyclable packaging is becoming increasingly mainstream as major coffee roasters and retailers seek to reduce waste from operations, lower their carbon footprint and cater to environmentally conscious consumers.

Three examples of JDE Peet's sustainable packaging for its coffee brand.

Graphic Packaging Focuses on New Products for Driving Growth

Graphic Packaging is launching new products to meet the needs of customers who are looking for plastic alternatives across numerous product categories. The company is expecting two new products, Chick-fil-A double-wall fiber-based cups and a new grade of coated recycled board PaceSetter Rainier, will drive growth.

Production of PaceSetter Rainier is expected to ramp up in the second half of 2023 and into 2024. The product offers brighter, whiter surfaces than traditional CRB and is "an innovation that will facilitate recycled paperboard in more consumer packaging experiences that historically have only been possible with virgin fiber substrates," according to Michael P Doss, President and Chief Executive Officer of Graphic Packaging Holding. 

Vom Achterhof Successfully Converts to Sonoco’s Paper-Based Packaging with Cork Lids

German health food and wellbeing store Vom Achterhof has successfully converted the packaging for some of its product lines to sustainable solutions, manufactured by Sonoco. The company decided to switch to Sonoco’s paper-based packaging with cork lids, highlighting that sustainability is one of the key drivers for its future.

Vom Achterhof chose Sonoco’s packaging because of its contemporary design, exceptional shelf appeal and capability to maintain the freshness of the products – all while remaining environmentally friendly. The new packaging also enables the company to offer new product sizes and prices to its customers.

Ranpak Expands Cold Chain Offering with Global Launch of RecyCold® climalinerTM Solution

Ranpak Holdings Corp. announced the global launch of the RecyCold® climalinerTM solution, a highly efficient sustainable thermal liner designed to support Cold Chain shipping needs across a variety of end markets. A breakthrough technology in the sustainable shipping space for one-way transport, RecyCold® climalinerTM is a paper-based thermal liner that ensures products stay within their ideal temperature range for up to 48 hours while simultaneously ensuring recyclability and sustainability.

ClimalinerTM’s thermal liner paper is thinner and far more flexible than existing technologies with equal thermal performance. This creates a solution that enables multiple configurations and box size flexibility while maintaining cold temperatures, dramatically reducing food waste and improving cost and sustainability. In addition, the liner offers an aesthetically attractive, paper-based solution providing positive branding attributes for customers.

A woman opening a package with RecyCold solution.

DS Smith Strengthens Now & Next Sustainability Strategy

Packaging solutions provider DS Smith has raised the ambitions of its Now & Next Sustainability Strategy to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, circular economy. The strategy will prioritize circularity, accelerate the journey to Net Zero, and strengthen the business’ focus on people & communities, and nature.

Under its Circularity target, the company intends to test up to five reuse pilots by 2025 and continue to manufacture 100% recyclable and reusable packaging. By 2027, encourage 100% of strategic suppliers to set their own science-based targets; by 2030, reduce Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions by 46% compared to 2019-20; and by 2050, reach Net Zero GHG emissions, among others.

New Tray Helps Manufacturers of Ready-Made Meals Lower Plastic Use Significantly

Holmen Iggesund has launched Inverform PET 30, a new version of its popular ready-made meal trays in 30 gsm. This new version was developed by the Holmen Iggesund Research and Development center, and it has 25% less plastic compared with the 40 gsm version while offering the same high quality and functionality. The new PET 30 gsm product can be used in combination with Holmen Iggesund’s Inverform paperboard products. The PET coating is available in black, white, or transparent versions, said the company.

They have all the advantages of trays made entirely from plastic. Created from fresh wood fibers of known and traceable origin from sustainably managed forests, the trays are a far more sustainable alternative with a significantly lower carbon footprint.

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