- The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has released its biannual "Environmental Success Stories in the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry" report to show corporate sustainability progress on air, water, and waste issues.
- Coca-Cola distributed almost nine billion of its PlantBottle packages last year and says it is now the world's largest consumer of bioplastic. This accounts for nearly 30% of the company's packaging volume in North America.
- Clorox's Glad brand also found a way to reduce the amount of material in its base trash bags by 6.5%, which meant 5 million fewer pounds of plastic used.
According to the Food Waste Reduction Alliance—a collaboration between GMA and fellow trade associations—manufacturers are recycling 94% of their food waste. As shown in the GMA report, companies can find surprising ways to reduce their waste by rethinking their normal production processes. ConAgra Foods diverted more than 1,000 tons of pudding from landfills by changing the way flavors are blended on the production line.
GMA has also been focused on reducing food waste through legislative efforts around reforming date labeling systems and other issues. Experts say that new strategies are needed at the manufacturer, retail, and consumer levels to make progress on this issue. Both trade associations and companies have begun to see the potential cost savings in this approach and have been active on a number of fronts in recent years.
Within the waste industry, this new focus on packaging innovations is seen as both exciting and challenging. New concepts for green packaging have received lots of attention, but they can't always be easily processed in existing systems. The new corporate focus toward packaging reduction is a positive trend and a good place to start as long as disposal options are kept in mind.