More and more of us are making an effort to live a more sustainable life. And yet, there’s this nagging sticking point. Packaging. So much of what we buy, particularly liquids, comes in packaging that is either from raw materials or is not recyclable. Or both.
Oakland based Ecologic intends to solve that problem.
Launched last week in the first test store, Ecologic’s packaging is simple: A hard external shell made of formed recycled paper, and an internal lining made of a thin plastic, which can be recycled as a #4 plastic. Once shed of the plastic liner, the shell can be recycled or composted.
How would this be used?
Ecologic’s first customer is Straus Family Creamery, which is using the Ecologic packaging to sell milk products, starting at the Whole Foods Market in Oakland, Calif. Straus is already a proponent of sustainable packaging, given that it also sells milk in returnable glass bottles.
Wine, juice, laundry and home cleaning products are next.
You might think, are current packaging options really that bad? I was surprised to learn that they’re even worse than I thought. Your average milk or juice carton is 85 percent virgin paper, 15 percent plastic. according to Ecologic. Conventional cartons are comprised of multiple layers that are laminated together, leaving only the most dedicated and (at this point) rare recycling facilities capable of processing them, at a greater energy cost.
Plastic jugs, while recyclable, generally use twice the amount of plastic used in cartons, and while recyclable, they use a high amount of virgin materials. Ecologic containers use up to 70 percent less plastic than conventional plastic jugs.
Readers: Will this new style packaging catch on? Will consumers adjust to this visually and tactically different packaging? Will they take that extra step to separate, recycle, or compost the elements? I think so. Just as people have become accustomed to separating what they put in the recycling bin, they can do this too. But what’s your take?
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations around, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media.