NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2011 (RISI) -The first 100% recycled, 100% recyclable, 100% carbon neutral paperboard sets a new standard in packaging options for consumer products and wins a 2010 PPI Award for Strathcona Paper.
Frank Dorrington celebrated his first trip overseas with another first. Dorrington, Environmental Supervisor at Strathcona Paper, was on hand to accept Strathcona's first PPI Award for Innovative Product of the Year during the 2010 PPI Awards in Brussels. Strathcona's GreenChoice 100, the winning product, is the first and only paperboard of its kind; 100% recycled and 100% recyclable, 100% carbon neutral and made using 100% clean energy. Beating out a heavy competition of seven other finalists in the category, GreenChoice 100 has set a high standard for other paper and board companies to follow.
As a member of the creative team to design GreenChoice 100, the award marks a remarkable accomplishment for Dorrington and Strathcona. "Personally, to accept the award on behalf of Strathcona Paper as GreenChoice won Innovative Product of the Year was a career high for me," says Dorrington. "I was very proud to represent a company that has worked so hard to integrate environmental leadership as a fundamental part of its business management."
GreenChoice 100 sets a new standard in packaging options for US customers
Mark Sklar, President and COO of Strathcona, and another member of the GreenChoice design team, agrees. "To have won the award is very rewarding because you're being recognized as ‘best in class' from a product point of view by our industry peers and environmental professionals," says Sklar. "It's a comment that we're on the right track and heading in the right direction from a sustainability perspective."
A flagship product
GreenChoice 100 was designed from the ground up to respond to a wide set of environmental concerns, and its credentials are indeed impressive. Made from 100% post-use recycled waste paper fibers, GreenChoice is composed of approximately 65% of post-consumer material and 35% of industry scrap. All of the energy consumed in the manufacture and delivery of GreenChoice is replaced with a third-party's renewable energy credits for clean energy. And 100% of the greenhouse gasses emitted in its manufacture and delivery are returned to the environment through a carbon offset program that funds tree planting and watershed soil protection programs.
"I think GreenChoice is a flagship product for our company," says Dorrington. "It allows us to demonstrate our environmental leadership and performance to not only brand owners but to consumers as well."
Dorrington makes an excellent point. There are other North American paperboard companies that produce 100% recycled and 100% recyclable products, but offsetting 100% of greenhouse gasses and using 100% clean energy credits adds a new dimension of environmental awareness for brand owners to showcase to consumers.
"It's an umbrella product for Strathcona with respect to environmental leadership because we really do think, at least in North America, that we are at the forefront," adds Sklar. "I think there are a lot of our customers and brand owners that are looking and continue to look to improve the sustainability of their packaging. And GreenChoice gives them a great solution to do that. For a good number of brand owners it puts them in the right direction and gets them started. Not an easy task when a large company has to figure out how to improve packaging sustainability. So it's a great option for many of our customers."
"We have a lot of competition in North America that make 100% recycled and 100% recyclable products, and we have three other products or brands that we make that are 100% recycled / 100% recyclable," Sklar continues. "GreenChoice is the only product that is also carbon neutral and made using clean energy offsets. Would I like to see other companies add that to their lineup? Imitation is the best form of flattery, but to date, at least in our segment, recycled packaging, we have yet to see anyone follow us."
Responsible and profitable
Developing a leading environmental product is only half the battle. Since it's release, GreenChoice has proven to be a successful and profitable product in the marketplace. GreenChoice 100 is used by many familiar brand owners, including Janes Family frozen foods, Clorox, Morton and Windsor brand salt, Yves Veggie Cuisine products, Treasure Mills, Barbara‘s Bakery and others. Using GreenChoice allows these brand owners to display three different eco-certified logos, including the GreenChoice 100 logo, on their packaging cartons to demonstrate their focus on environmental responsibility and sustainability.
"We were getting more and more questions about what Strathcona was doing environmentally, and that was the impetus for GreenChoice," says Sklar. "It allows our customers and the brand owners to say to their customers, ‘We're doing the best we can to make sure our packaging is sustainable'. And it also helps with retailers who have increased their demands for sustainable packaging."
Simply putting logos on boxes is not a sustainable action by itself, but it can highlight the very real and tangible environmental impacts GreenChoice offers for brand owners. In April 2010, Barbara's Bakery relaunched their entire line in a packaging redesign by Boehmer Box using GreenChoice 100 as the packaging substrate for all cartons. Using the Environmental Defense Fund's Paper Calculator, GreenChoice 100 provides the direct benefits for Barbara's Bakery of saving over 3,000 trees, more than 2 million gallons of water, and greater than 2 million BTUs of energy on an annualized basis.
On a global stage
Winning the PPI Award may have been a watershed moment, but Strathcona has a long history of environmental leadership. GreenChoice is unlikely to be the last of their innovations and advancements. What's next on the horizon? "We're always looking at raising the bar, for Strathcona from a sustainability perspective," says Sklar. "Everyday we focus on improving water conservation, reducing greenhouse gasses, electricity and natural gas we use. We measure all of those metrics and we evaluate ourselves on increasing, improving those metrics. Over the last five years, on average, we've reduced our usage here by 15% on all of those key areas. And that is as important, if not more important, than bringing new products to market."
To view other winners from the 2010 PPI awards, please gohere