Sustainable Perspective

25 Sep 2008 Am I Re-Trainable for Sustainable?, Revisited


Image via Wikipedia

This month represents an anniversary of sorts for me because it was one year ago when I submitted my first, above titled article to Rider Thompson of Sustainable Is Good and he chose to publish it. The article was a tongue in cheek recap of my career in packaging and how it relates to sustainability. Much to my surprise, it was picked up and run by numerous other internet outlets including Reuters and GreenBiz. It seemed like a good time to share with you some observations and what we have learned about sustainability during the last year.
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02 Sep 2008 Green Is Good … Book?

Heliotrope Haven
Since starting our own business almost two years ago, I have to admit we do not get to Sunday service as often as we used to. Ironic that at a time we need more Divine guidance and support than ever before, we are too busy to get there, but that is a completely different problem and story. I honestly would have preferred to sleep in but my wife lured me to church with the promise of a nice breakfast out, which has become an equally rare weekend treat. I sat in church, feeling guilty because my thoughts kept reverting back to my breakfast options. As my mind debated the benefits of bacon and French toast versus a Feta cheese and broccoli omelet, I listened to our pastor talking about the beauty and wonder of God’s work in the great outdoors. Most suburban Chicago guys like me usually get their nature on a flat screen TV, while our pastor is a “hike in the wilderness” type of guy so he really got my full attention when he mentioned that God speaks to him through nature. He also stated that it does his heart good to know that even a non-believing tree hugger has felt God’s presence through the wonder of His work in nature.
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21 Aug 2008 Sustainable Packaging Links

chain links Here's a comprehensive look at sustainable packaging from a marketing perspective, by Jackie DeLise at Sustainable is Good. Her lexicon of sustainable terms is concise and very useful. From the Packaging Network, a sustainable rundown on PACK EXPO, confirming Joe Angel's (VP and Publisher of Packaging World) interview comments that 2008 will be the greenest PACK EXPO ever. The Green Routine explains that most plastic bags are made from natural gas, not oil. The author is not a fan of plastic bags, but observes that natural gas, much of which we produce domestically, is better than oil, which is mainly imported.
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31 Jul 2008 Why Secondary Packaging Is Important

"Secondary packaging corrugated"
As consumers and people concerned with the environmental waste problem, secondary packaging should matter to all of us but I believe it is especially important for every traditional or e-commerce retailer of green products, to understand why it is important to them. During a recent presentation to some new e-commerce green store owners, I offered this list of reasons why:
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18 Jul 2008 Every Day Matters

Here are 25 words of wisdom, for a collection Liz Strauss is putting together. These ideas have been running through my mind a lot lately, perhaps because life has been so hectic in so many ways. Why does time seem to accelerate as we age? It could...

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15 Jul 2008 The Huge Benefit of $200 a Barrel Oil

high gasoline prices
Did my title catch your eye? A few years ago it wouldn't have, because we weren't all that aware of the going price of crude oil. Didn't matter much. But today, it matters a lot, and we know it. And therein lies the huge benefit of astronomically high energy costs. Public awareness. Apathy is the enemy of democracy. For decades, we've allowed our political leaders to hold absurd, grandstanding positions on crucial environmental issues rather than roll up their sleeves and hammer out an actual energy strategy. We can blame our political leaders for shortsighted and misguided policies, but our own ignorance has made it possible.
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09 Jul 2008 What is Secondary Packaging?

I am often asked what secondary packaging is and why I spend so much time writing and talking about it. Before I try to define it, let me say that the reasons I choose to focus on it are because I believe secondary packaging is a major contributor to our waste problem, because it tends to fly below the eco conscious radar, and quite frankly, because no one else is talking about it. Primary packaging products are the ones designed for retail applications and usually make direct contact with the product being sold. It may be a paperboard carton, a glass jar or a plastic bottle. Even though we do some basic primary package design in select areas such as shrink over wrap or bagging, there are scores of excellent eco focused blogs, magazines and packaging designers that are almost 100% focused on the primary packaging you see on the retail shelf. Perhaps it is this high consumer visibility as well as volume, that makes it deserving of all the attention it receives.
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30 Jun 2008 Five Reasons Why Green is Here to Stay

Reason #1 -This environmental interest is generational. We baby boomers generally have some mild eco interest; the Gen X population is much more involved and concerned, while the Gen Y age group is downright passionate about it. Combined this fact with the green initiatives by big business and the corporate world, and understand we are witnessing a dramatic, decisive and irreversible trend, not a passing fad.
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26 Jun 2008 What Happens to Our Recycled Stuff?

Ever wonder what happens to your aluminum cans, food containers, corrugated boxes, and other recyclables after they are picked up at the curb? We did, and not long ago got a tour of Waste Management's recylcing facility on Chicago's South Side. This facility happens to be one of the largest in the country. Here's an inside look. Recycled materials are delivered in a transfer trailer --
recycled materials transfer trailer
Unsorted materials are dumped into a big pile, which looks surprisingly neat --
incoming recycled materials
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17 Jun 2008 Pitfalls of Hand Me Down Packaging

I have never been shy about speaking my mind and my interest and concern for the environment and how it relates to the packaging industry is no exception. While I sincerely try not to bore friends who may not be like minded, I rarely turn down an opportunity to speak before a welcoming audience and recently I was invited to make a presentation for the green business people attending the Earth Now Expo in Las Vegas. Even though I am usually expected to teach during this type of presentation, I enjoy participating for many reasons but mostly because of what I learn through the experience. This particular audience consisted mostly of new and small e-commerce businesses, some of which did not even have their green store websites in operation yet. Many of these people have sincere and pure eco motives, as well as great business plans but very little experience in the packaging industry where I have literally grown up in, and some would say, grown old in. What I learned is that many of these new entrepreneurs place very little value on one of their most precious resources – their own time and talent.
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