August 27, 2014
Based in Oakland, California, Ecologic Brands designs and manufactures innovative and sustainable packaging solutions. Developed as an alternative to plastic bottles and non-recyclable containers, Ecologic’s bottle combines a rigid outer shell made from 100% recycled cardboard and old newspapers with a thin, recyclable inner pouch. We talked to Julie Corbett, Founder, about how smarter packaging can help create a more sustainable world.
How have you been able to merge commerce with sustainable business practices?
As more consumers recognize the importance of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, it has become critical that brands find ways to connect with these values. One of the most impactful ways to do this is to offer quality products in packaging that directly reflects a more natural way of living. Our bottles provide a very visible dedication to environmental sustainability, and the transition to more eco-conscious packaging can revitalize brands while responding to consumers’ demands.
How is your business unique from others that make "sustainable" packaging?
LCA is a fairly comprehensive tool for evaluating sustainability, measuring the use of energy, materials and releases to the air, water and earth by a product from raw material extraction through end-of-life management – taking into account processing, fabrication, distribution, use and disposal or recycling.
To quantify what the Ecologic bottle means in terms of sustainability, we engaged Franklin & Associates to conduct an LCA on our 50oz eco.bottle®. Established in 1974, Franklin & Associates is one of the most highly respected LCA service providers, especially in the packaging sector.
Across all key environmental metrics the eco.bottle® reduces the impact of packaging in the following ways compared against virgin HDPE bottles:
Energy: 48% less total energy consumed than virgin plastic
Carbon: 37% less CO2 emitted
Waste: 59% less solid waste produced
Human health: 42% less carcinogenic agents
Can you tell us a little bit more about the challenges involved in moving CPG packaging toward increasing sustainability across the industry?
One of the greatest challenges in transitioning CPG packaging to a more sustainable model is the fear of disrupting existing infrastructure. Ecologic Brands’ bottles are developed to function just like traditional rigid HDPE plastic bottles with comparable strength and rigidity, but with significantly less plastic and improved end of life. Our goal is to provide a turnkey solution for plastic that can be used on existing infrastructure making it easy for brands to adopt.
Why is green packaging important to the food industry?
Packaging is important for many reasons: It is a vessel that protects the product inside, it conveys vital information to educate people about the product, and it is also the first visual cue that helps attract people to the product. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and the package you choose truly reflects the kind of company you run. As food trends move towards natural and organic ingredients companies need packaging to reflect these trends. We truly believe plastic containers are only half the message for a natural product on the inside.
What can retailers learn from your success?
Retailers have the unique opportunity of creating innovative closed loop solutions for their Private Label products. Taking store box/corrugated waste and converting directly into bottles and packaging for their own store brands closes the loop and creates a waste to value loop for any major retailer.