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going green has never tasted so good

As the world becomes more aware of the environmental issues we face, supermarkets are becoming more environmentally friendly to do their part in reducing green house gases and waste. Loblaw’s are phasing out plastic bags in favor of reusable, biodegradable ones as well as promoting the benefits of a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. These are all great steps as they reduce the waste caused by the shopper, but it does little to reduce the waste of the vendor.

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I have studied the packaging used in Atlantic superstores, and found that if the bakery department’s packaging was replaced by more a eco friendly alternative, it would greatly reduce the amount of plastic waste created by Loblaw’s as well as give the company an opportunity to increase its environmentally friendly image.


Problem

The current packaging for the in-store baked goods (cookies, croissants, muffins, turnovers etc) is made of Polystyrene (Code 6 PS) and is not recyclable in most areas due to facility limitations. In fact, the only dedicated polystyrene recycling facility in Canada is located in Mississauga. Worldwide, more than 14 million tonnes of polystyrene are produced annually, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Most of this ends up in landfills. Although polystyrene represents less than 1 percent of solid waste generated in the US, at least 2.3 million tons of it is dumped in US landfills annually. Just 1 percent of all polystyrene waste is recycled.

Another aspect of the current packaging that could be improved is the durability of the packaging. While the plastic is resistant to crushing, the current clamshell design has a tendency to split across the back of the package, especially if dropped off the shelf. Defects such as this add to a stores shrink and cost the company money.

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Possible Materials Plastic PLA plastic Cardboard

en vir on fla me t s nta ta l re- cka ly fri se ble en dly a cle lable ar rid gid ea and sy s to turd ke op y ep en sp ro du ct fre sh

Solution

x x x

Wax cardboard Paper bags Molded Fiber*

x x

x x x x x x

x x x x x

x x

x x x x x

x x x x x x

x x x x x x

*Recyclable Molded Fiber Clamshells are made from bagasse, a sustainable by-product of sugar cane, and are fully biodegradable and compostable in commercially run facilities.

The solution to this problem is simple, switch to cardboard for all dry goods that are baked in-store. I have developed a box that is stackable, modular in size, and most importantly, 80% recyclable. Before Cardboard was chosen as the main material, I documented all the attributes the packaging material should have. Cardboard met all of the requirements except transparency. The solution to this is a plastic window like many other cardboard packaging has, except this packaging has the plastic designed to be easily discarded. This is 3

possible with a pull tab located on the side of the window that is easily removed by the customer after the product is used. This one step process makes it extremely easy to remove the plastic and recycle the cardboard portion of the box. The only thing that gets put in the trash is the very thin plastic window, which compared to the large plastic packaging used now, is a significant reduction.


the box 4


The Box

Here is the solution to the plastic packaging problem. It is made from untreated, 100% recycled cardboard and is 80% recyclable*.

*based on surface area of cardboard and the plastic window

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The Window

The removable window is the key to this products recyclability. To ensure the cardboard is recycled, the removal process has to be as easy as possible. The pull tab located on the inside of the lid makes removal a quick one step process, simply tear and toss away.

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The Window

The instructions for removing the window are printed on the box on the inside back panel

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Resealable

The most successful closure system was a rounded latch that fit into a slot in the box. This keeps the product fresh and the box closed without the need for a complex closing system. The whole box is just one sheet of cardboard, including the latch, which removes the need for extra adhesives.

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Resealable

The various closure systems that were tested. This includes using multi latch systems, square latchs and no latch at all.

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Variations

Three sizes of this box are available.

Box Dimensions

The smallest holds 12 cookies, 6 croissants, 6 scones and 4 turnovers. The medium box is designed for 24 cookies, 6 cheese buns, 6 croissants and 6 muffins. The largest box is designed for various club packs including 12 croissants.

small- 7.5” x 4.5” x 3.25” medium- 9” x 7.5” x 3.25” large- 9” x 15” x 3.25” *note: window cut is set a half inch inside top edge on each box.

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Costs

The new packaging would cost around the same as existing cardboard/plastic packaging, as the manufacturing process is the same as the box used for the in-store PC decadent chocolate chunk (UPC:0 60383 83903 1) The diecut has been designed to minimize offcut and therefore reduce cardboard waste.

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In an effort to reduce manufacturing costs, the recycled cardboard could be sourced from Loblaw’s stores. If the stores sold their cardboard bales to the packaging manufacturer instead of outside recyclers, it would keep the money within Loblaw’s.


enhancing the green image

If Loblaw’s is to become an industry standard in environmentally friendly packaging, every department needs to be investigated to see the weaknesses in the existing product packaging. In addition to the bakery packaging, I researched the problems and possible solutions in the remaining departments.

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Produce

The produce and fresh to go departments could be improved by simple things, such as allowing the stickers and labels to be easily removable on the plastic packaging. This would allow the customer to easily remove the label and keep the resealable plastic container for future use. Extending the packaging’s life and making it usable after the product is long gone would reduce waste and contribute to the environmentally friendly image of the company.

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Another solution would be to replace the red shrink ties that hold bags shut with zip lock bags. Also, using Velcro strapping instead of plastic sealers would give the customer an extremely useful resealable device.


Grocery

The recommendations in this department are similar to that of the produce ones, by giving the packaging a longer lifespan than the product. This gives the customer incentive to buy your product over the competitor because they can continue to use the packaging long after the product is gone.

If Loblaw’s was to make their labels easier to remove without scrubbing the glue gum off the glass, it would make them much easier to reuse. This could be done by using a water soluble glue or a lower tack glue.

An excellent example of this is the mason jars that are used in the pasta sauces. These jars can have very long lifespan and can be used for any number of things.

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Meat and Seafood

Both the meat and seafood departments use foam trays and shrink wrap to hold seal the product. All this foam and plastic wrap creates large amounts of waste that could be avoided if the products were put in zip lock bags. Placing waxed cardboard inside the bag would give the meat/fish a solid base to rest on. This would also allow the customer to reseal the package if they didn’t use all of the product at one time.

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Brian Jeffcock 071169 www.warmachinedesign.com Design Studio 3 Lorely Gaunt 15 December 2009


Environmentally Friendly Packaging