PACKAGING: Brands Think Green

Two familiar brand names on U.S. grocery shelves will be presenting a more eco-friendly profile with the rollout of new packaging. Coca-Cola’s Dasani brand is launching its 100 percent-recyclable PlantBottle, which is made from a blend of up to 30 percent plant-based materials, by teaming up with founder/designer Erica Domesek on a limited-edition line of green-hued hats that benefit Ocean Conservancy and raise awareness of the importance of recycling, while Snyder’s of Hanover’s Organic Pretzel Sticks will now come in renewable bags created from 90 percent plant-based materials produced with as little as half the energy of traditional petroleum-based packaging.

“Dasani PlantBottle packaging is both made from renewable material and recyclable,” noted Abigail Greene, Dasani senior brand manager at Atlanta-based Coca-Cola North America. “Erica’s designs will help us spread the word of our West Coast Dasani PlantBottle rollout, and we have committed a substantial charitable donation to Ocean Conservancy to help support clean beaches, lakes and rivers.”

The hats were crafted from such everyday household items as sweatpants, sweatshirt zippers, buttons and thread. Consumers can get a hat through Los Angeles-based boutique Satine by visiting and entering their name and e-mail address through April 21. The boutique will further host an event on that day in honor of Earth Day and Washington-based Ocean Conservancy.

The first 10 consumers to enter daily after 9 a.m. PDT will receive a hat, with a limit of one green hat per entrant. Those who score hats will get the good news by e-mail on Earth Day, April 22. To mark that occasion, and in tandem with the hat program, Dasani will make a donation to Ocean Conservancy for every hat given away.

“The do-it-yourself movement is all about recycling the resources you have to create something beautiful,” said Domesek, who, as part of the promotion, will post information on the hat design program and do-it-yourself tips at during April, which has been designated Earth Month, as well as holding pop-up hat design sessions at key events to help others make their own versions of the hat with everyday materials. “The Dasani PlantBottle and the green hat are both examples of ways we can recycle in our everyday lives — recycled material that can result in fashionable products we feel good about.”

PlantBottle plastic bottles reduce dependence on the non-renewable resource petroleum, according to Dasani, adding that early research shows that from the growing of the plant materials through to the production of the resin, the carbon footprint for the PlantBottle is smaller than for containers made from traditional PET. Coca-Cola is the first to market with a recyclable PET plastic bottle made partly from plants.

Snyder’s new bags employ EarthClear, a renewable material developed by Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based Clear Lam Packaging, Inc. from Ingeo, a plant-based bioplastic produced by NatureWorks, LLC. Earth Clear reduces dependency on petroleum-based products, according to the companies.

“It has always been extremely important to Snyder’s to create products that are both delicious and better-for-you,” explained Claude O’Connor, VP of marketing at Pa.-based Snyder’s of Hanover, adding that the package comes to market after a year of research and development.

Added Clear Lam president and CEO James Sanfilippo, “This is a major milestone and another important step in our effort to provide meaningful packaging solutions that are better for the environment.”

A major engineering challenge faced by the packaging manufacturer was finding a way to maintain performance characteristics comparable to those of traditional petroleum-based packaging materials. Clear Lam figured out a way to produce packaging that would act and feel like conventional bags. Further, to create the right oxygen and moisture barrier properties to help protect product freshness, the film was laminated to another plant-based plastic layer incorporating a thin metalized layer.

Clear Lam’s renewable films are part of the company’s Project EarthClear initiatives, which include using renewable raw materials not oil, recycled content whenever possible, and innovative lightweighting technologies.

Snyder’s Organic Pretzel Stick line, consisting of Organic 8 Grains & Seeds, Whole Wheat & Oat Bran, and Honey Whole Wheat, will be the first items available in the new bags, which should hit stores in time for Earth Day. An eye-catching bright-yellow graphic on the upper right will direct shoppers to the back panel for information on the benefits of the packaging. The suggested retail price is $2.99 for an 8-ounce bag.

“It was important that we selected a product that complements the new renewable packaging,” observed O’Connor, “and our line of Organic Pretzel Sticks was a natural fit. Not only are they an excellent source of whole grains and a good source of dietary fiber, but they’re [also] 100 percent certified organic. The 8 Grains & Seeds is also an excellent source of ALA Omega 3s. It’s true product-to-packaging synergy — natural, organic pretzels in a plant-based renewable bag.”

O’Connor added that the EarthClear packaging is actually Snyder’s second sustainable packaging to come to market. Earlier this year, the company bowed Pretzel Variety Sacks in a renewable outer bag.
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