Posts with term Kroger X

Living a low-waste life offers a business opportunity

Sarah Levy (left) worked with customer Helena Hughes at Levy’s store, Cleenland, in Cambridge. She weighed Hughes’s re-usable containers before filling them.(SUZANNE KREITER/GLOBE STAFF) CAMBRIDGE — On a recent afternoon, Sarah Levy picked up an empty pickle jar from a shelf in her storefront, sniffed it, and then suggested a customer fill it with soap. There’s a take-a-jar, leave-a-jar policy at Cleenland, Levy’s new “low-waste, no-shame” store that lets shoppers stock up on cleaning supplies using their own bottles. And as an early adopter of an emerging shift in American consumption habits, she has become adept at getting the gherkin smell out of glass. “This is not a trend; it’s a resurgence of interest in re-using instead of recycling,” said Levy, who opened Cleenland in Central Square in June. After weighing her customers’ jars, she commiserates with them over global environmental challenges. “We’re not going to recycle our way out of this problem,” said Ksenija Broks, a teacher from Roslindale. As consumers such as Broks seek to limit the waste they create, more local entrepreneurs like Levy are stepping in to serve them and have begun opening storefronts — physical, mobile, and online. The Boston General Store is selling a growing assortment of zero-waste accessories. Make & Mend sells secondhand arts and crafts supplies in Somerville’s Bow Market. The Green Road Refill bus tours Cape Cod selling plastic-free alternatives to home and body products. Last month, Sabrina Auclair launched Unpacked Living, an online storefront that she says is the only plastic-free store in Massachusetts. Recent changes in the Chinese recycling industry have upended the way America deals with waste. China had processed US recyclables for decades but is now rejecting “foreign garbage” as part of a broader national antipollution campaign. The decision has reverberated in municipalities across the United States, forcing Massachusetts authorities to place new restrictions on materials they accept curbside in recycling bins. In so doing, it’s also forced more consumers to reconsider the amount of waste they create. Julia Wilson, who tracks corporate sustainability efforts for the Nielsen research firm, says 73 percent of consumers are looking to shift their consumption habits to reduce their environmental impact, and she predicts that they’ll spend $150 billion on sustainable goods by 2021. Young consumers in particular lack the brand loyalty of their parents, she said, meaning they’re willing to make purchase decisions that align with their values. And that presents an opportunity. “It opens the door for new entrepreneurs and upstart products and brands who are thinking about things differently,” she said. Some entrepreneurs are using a “circular economy” model in which goods are delivered in durable packages and sent back when they’re empty. Boston-based ThreeMain launched earlier this year selling cleaning products in reusable aluminum bottles. The most well-funded endeavor, Loop, which expanded to Massachusetts last month, sells 100 major brands including Haagen Dazs, Crest mouthwash, and Clorox wipes in reusable containers. Re-usable glass jars are available at Cleenland, in Cambridge’s Central Square.(SUZANNE KREITER/GLOBE STAFF) Tom Szaky has spent over 17 years processing hard-to-recycle materials as the founder of TerraCycle, and said the challenges in the recycling economy led him to launch Loop. “Waste has really moved from a problem to a crisis in the last 24 months,” he said. “And the real root cause of waste is the idea of disposability, which was really only invented in the 1950s.” Loop’s goal, he said, is to make buying items in durable, reusable containers as “incredibly convenient and incredibly affordable” as the ones we’re currently buying — and tossing — when we’re through. “Our goal is that it feels to you as disposable as possible,” he said. “I want you to feel like it’s a throwaway lifestyle.” The service has been operating in Paris and New York for the past few months and will have as many as 500 products by the year’s end, Szaky said. Partnerships with Kroger and Walgreen stores will launch next year. To the enlightened observer, these entrepreneurs aren’t so much trying to reinvent commerce as they are trying to take it back to a more traditional form of selling goods. Levy recognizes the difficulty involved with changing consumer habits, but she said the model works because she’s selling necessities. “You don’t go a week without hand soap,” she notes. And she’s hopeful, as the popularity of zero-waste shops has exploded abroad in the United Kingdom, Canada, and particularly in Australia, where the nonprofit Plastic Free Foundation launched the #PlasticFreeJuly campaign, which has become a global phenomenon. Auclair’s path to entrepreneurship started in the shampoo aisle of a Market Basket. The Colombia native has lived in Massachusetts for over a decade and grew to hate the American habit of buying everything in plastic. Because her apartment building in Beverly doesn’t recycle, she felt frustrated by the amount of waste she created. “If I buy a shampoo plastic bottle, I’m buying trash,” she said, recalling her Market Basket revelation. “I vowed that day that I was going to quit plastic.” Auclair found a community of like-minded consumers online and began to document her attempt to live plastic-free on Instagram. She created the Facebook group Zero Waste Massachusetts before launching Unpacked Living. The site sells such items as bamboo toothbrushes, metal lunch tins, and lip balms in cardboard containers. It’s a small endeavor — she has invested about $2,000 on the products, and her warehouse is her guest bedroom — but she said it’s a start. Area food suppliers say concerns about plastic waste are driving a steady increase in bulk buying, particularly following the closure of the Harvest Co-op last year. Matt Gray has seen sales of his bulk section and bottled milk soar in his Somerville storefront, Neighborhood Produce. Alys Myers is working to build Supply, a bulk delivery business out of Dorchester, and Roche Bros. recently added a bulk section in its Downtown Crossing store. And since taking over the store’s operations last summer, Greg Saidnawey, the 26-year-old fourth-generation owner of Pemberton Farms market in North Cambridge, said he has doubled the amount of items the store sells (it now offers 120 bulk bins, 65 spices, three oils, four soap products, six pet foods, and 12 beverages). “The demand was there,” he said, “and we took the opportunity and ran with it.” Gergana Nenkov, a marketing professor at Boston College who studies how consumers engage with messages around sustainability, said these entrepreneurs are responding to the shifting attitudes of younger consumers. “There’s a big concern about ‘What are you doing for the world?’ ” she said, a message that “startups are leading the way on, and big companies will follow.” Until then, for consumers like Julia Burrell, living a low-waste life can still feel a lot like a full-time job. In January, the self-described “environmental atrocity” made a decision to rid her life of plastic, documenting her effort on Instagram as The Crazy No Plastic Lady. It’s still hard to buy meat and cheese in plastic-free packaging, she said, and she’s been slapped on the wrist while attempting to use her own containers in the bulk aisle of such stores as Whole Foods. “Living this lifestyle requires a lot of research,” she said, sitting in front of a collection of empty glass jars that line the mantel of her East Boston home. “And a lot of seeing what you can get away with.” But Burrell is hoping her Instagram account might lead to a new career coaching organizations on taking steps toward reducing their waste. “If I focus my energies into this, I think I could parlay this into a successful business,” she said. “It would be the most meaningful job I have ever had.”

Solutions for single-use plastic pollution must consider all stakeholders

PurPod™ product shot There’s something in the air. Or, should we say, the ocean. Joining what The New York Times called “a growing global movement,” the Canadian government recently announced it would be tackling the global pollution crisis with bans on single-use plastics. The big question is whether that strategy will trigger the teamwork needed to get the best results. The details of the Canadian plan remain to be seen, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would follow the lead of the European Union with their vote to ban items, such as plastic cutlery and cotton-swab sticks, that often end up littered in oceans and waterways. With a goal of improving the current 10% “at best” estimate for plastics recycled in Canada, any bans could start at soon as 2021. A key step in that direction will have to be input from manufacturers, retailers, all levels of government and the public—to capture all the factors for success.
Going green, in the grey   Government action is an important and largely missing ingredient in the effort against plastic pollution. Banning certain types of single-use plastic can be a way to prevent pollution at the source. However, we must keep in mind that, despite the current systems of thinking regarding the most environmentally and economically preferable ways to manage resources, we need to pay attention to the grey areas and see the full range of potential impacts. Hindsight is 20/20, which can explain our experience with disposability and single-use in the first place. Manufacturers didn’t advertise the virtues of disposability to fool the public into polluting and littering, but they focused on how this new wave of consumption might make life easier; today, in the light of the past, the effects of a narrow focus on these benefits are plain. We need to take the same big-picture thinking to today’s environmental initiatives of product bans, regulations on packaging design, even recycling, as we need to consider their current impacts and the potential for success in the long-term. We need to be alert to the reality that while consumers care about the planet and their health, they have gotten used to the convenience, price point, and ease offered by lightweight, single-use items. Exploring alternatives We know the consumers care and report being willing to pay or switch brands for those that offer accessible, actionable solutions. A study from Dalhousie University, “The Single-Use Plastics Dilemma: Perceptions and Possible Solutions,” reveals current and emerging generations of Canadian consumers are mindful of the need for greener products; the same study reports one out of every two Canadians actively shop for food in non-plastic packaging. However, we also know many consumers are focused on price. Interestingly, 71.8% of respondents reported that in the event single-use plastic bans are enacted, they’d want a discount, incentive or rebate for supporting alternative solutions. It shows the need to meet people where they are, offer them the virtues of convenience and functionality they have become accustomed to, and make it more worth their while. Plant-based plastics are one option that consumers are excited about. The consumer behavior study showed 37.7% of respondents would be willing to pay more for an item with biodegradable packaging, which is usually plant-based; this percentage grew to 46.6% for those born after 1994. Consumers connect with the concept of compostable plastics made from plants that should break down in composting facilities, or better still, the natural environment. , as it addresses our dependence on petroleum and concerns of further contributing to landfills or ocean pollution. But those expectations may mean a grey area for “green” plastic, as not all of these materials are created equal. Breaking down compostability  
PurPod™ product shot© PurPod™ 
The compostability of plant-based plastics is akin to the recyclability claims for petroleum-based plastics. Everything doesn’t break down in every setting. In the case of compostable plant-based plastics, most require processing in an industrial composting facility to get the mix of the right temperatures and moisture levels to break down as quickly as possible. Many won’t cycle down in your backyard pile, let alone the ocean or in a landfill. The good news is the number of composting facilities in North America is growing, particularly as governments push for food waste diversion away from landfills and incinerators. One of the big challenges centers on “biodegradable” claims. Many composters report that most so-called biodegradable plastics don’t break down into nutrient-rich material as, say, food scraps or yard clippings, which have a wide range of micro- and macronutrients as well as a living ecosystem of bacteria and other microbes. There is growing pressure to ban “biodegradable” claims completely because they are seen as misleading for consumers. All aboard What producers can do is ensure new materials are in line with the system as it is currently. Club Coffee, a major Canadian coffee company, created the world’s first BPI Certified coffee pod for the most common brewers in North America. Unlike the traditional plastic pod, their pods break down in as little as five weeks in facilities designed to produce high-quality compost. A big reason is the pods include the skins of roasted coffee beans, turning what was a waste byproduct into a key ingredient for compostability.  
PurPod™ product shot© PurPod™ 
The PURPOD100TM meets ASTM International’s Standard D6868 for compostability and required quite a bit of lab testing, and transparency around ingredients and production. The company has worked to ensure that marketing and advertising materials are accurate and not misleading. Club Coffee has worked closely with leaders like the Compost Manufacturing Alliance, which brings together major U.S. composting operators to test products to make sure they really deliver the composting results that consumers expect and that operators need. The company also works with the Compost Council of Canada. The result of taking into account the inputs of all stakeholders? Consumers value the coffee, convenience, and compostability; retailers get the positives of a more sustainable, premium product; composters have a product that works in their systems; and Club Coffee enjoys brand affinity. Where the private sector here is stepping up to solve for single-use plastic on its own, governments can drive change by subsidizing research and incentivizing environmentally preferable uses of materials to ease the financial risks. As with recycling, supporting the expansion of the composting network will be an important step forward. According to a study by Frontier Group and U.S. PIRG Education Fund, composting could aid topsoil quality and reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills and incinerators in the U.S. by at least 30 percent.  
PurPod™ product shot© PurPod™ 
Get in the ‘Loop’ Exploring alternatives to conventional plastics is one valuable solution as are single-use plastics bans. Another way forward is to reduce waste at the source through reduction and preventing the need to dispose. To get there, consumers need the alternatives that businesses are in a position to provide. TerraCycle’s new circular shopping platform Loop currently features durable versions of goods previously housed in single-use packaging. The products are offered in a combination of glass, stainless steel, aluminum, and engineered plastics designed to last up to 100 uses; when they do wear out, they are processed to cycle the value of the material continuously. Offering trusted brands in upgraded containers, consumers enjoy products they love while eliminating disposable packaging. Delivered to one’s door, a modern version of the milkman model of yore, the Loop Tote doesn’t use bubble wrap, air packs, plastic foam, or cardboard boxes, scrapping e-commerce excess. Loop partners with retailers to bring reusable packaging into stores, making it easy for consumers to make the switch. In the U.S., the founding partners are Walgreens and Kroger, Europe has Carrefour, and Canada’s largest food and pharmacy retailer Loblaw recently announced it would launch the platform early-2020. Executive Chairman Galen Weston said, “Our industry is part of the problem, and we can be part of the solution.” Buying into solutions for single-use plastics The state of the recycling industry around the globe is fragmented, as are the needs of each region, but the world’s problems with plastic pollution are the same. While improvements are made by governments, there is a strong demand for authentically “eco-friendly” plastics and durable alternatives. Consumers hold more power in this aspect than they know. If we demand less disposability and more systems-thinking, businesses will push suppliers, vendors, peers, and stakeholders for better materials and models for waste reduction, and profit, in the face of many challenges. Thus, the most important shift toward solutions for single-use plastic waste is a collaboration with valued experts. Businesses can close the loop by sharing learnings, taking responsibility, and inspiring others to start their circular economy journey. All players on the supply chain are accountable for the life cycle of goods, and exploring bold alternatives that create value from every angle are the ones that will stick.

CPG companies spending more to use less packaging

https://www.retailwire.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/tide-eco-box-two-views-666x333.jpg In keeping with the society-wide movement toward environmental sustainability, consumers are demanding less packaging. A new study indicates, however, that this trend won’t translate into less spending on packaging in the coming year. Of 250 CPG brand owners polled, 75 percent reported that they plan on spending more on packaging over the next year, according to a study conducted by L.E.K. Consulting. These numbers demonstrate a notable increase from 65 percent in 2018 and 40 percent in 2017. While 85 percent of respondents said that they had been working toward changing packaging materials to make them more recyclable, there were other significant trends in the packaging landscape discussed in the study which all require investment in innovation. CPG companies have made moves into easier-to-open packaging (57 percent), single-serve packaging (51 percent) and packaging with different formats, printing and textures to match the new, premium products that they contain. The general public has become more aware of the problems of excessive packaging in recent years for a numerous reasons, one being the tremendous volume of boxes and packaging waste generated by shopping via e-commerce. Amazon.com, in an attempt to curtail some of this, has instituted rules for its sellers requiring streamlined packaging and is imposing punishment in the form of fines for those who fail to use it, reports Mashable. These restrictions are not solely for reasons of sustainability, though, as bulky packaging from vendors also leads to additional shipping weight for Amazon if it is holding the inventory, driving up costs for the e-tail giant. At least one startup has even attempted to close the gap by creating reusable versions of packaging for major CPG brands that can be left on the front porch and picked up for re-use. Loop, a “circular” e-commerce platform created by startup TerraCycle, entered into partnerships with Walmart and Kroger earlier this year for pilots in four cities. CPG companies are in some instances pioneering different versions of packaging for products sold direct-to-consumer. Proctor & Gamble, for example, released a lighter, sturdier box of Tide specifically to be purchased and delivered from Amazon.com.  

Two Major Household Products Now Available in Reusable Packaging

Detergent brands Cascade and Tide have joined circular shopping system Loop, with customers in the U.S. now able to buy the products in reusable packaging. Recycling specialists TerraCycle run the program, which enables customers to buy everyday products in durable packaging that can be cleaned, collected, refilled and reused.

Cascade and Tide join Loop packaging re-use scheme

The scheme, run by recycling specialists TerraCycle, enables customers to buy everyday products in durable packaging that can be cleaned, collected, refilled, and reused. Cascade and Tide are both owned by Procter & Gamble, which is one of the major consumer goods companies backing Loop alongside Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, Mars Petcare, The Body Shop, Coca-Cola European Partners, and Mondelēz International.

How can we get plastic waste under control?

Several years ago, Sonya Shah dumped the garbage out of her trash can and dug through the contents. She found plastic food containers, shampoo bottles and other items mixed among food scraps and kitty litter. It was Plastic Free July, the monthlong global campaign to reduce plastic waste, and part of her taking action was to audit the plastic in her trash. While she and her husband were environmentally aware, they were not plastic free.   “We don’t eat meat, we take our cloth bags to the store and we were raised by parents that didn’t have a lot of money, so we don’t have the practice in our minds of buying things we don’t use,” said Shah, 48, of Atlanta. “We thought we were doing a lot, then we realized we weren’t really scratching the surface.”   Shah began looking for ways to reduce the single-use plastic — items like straws, shopping bags and plastic cutlery that are meant to be used once and thrown away or recycled — in her life. She tried castile soap, shredded avocado pits and vinegar in an effort to use shampoo that didn’t come in plastic bottles. She already toted a reusable coffee cup and shopping bags but stopped giving herself a pass if she forgot them. She went almost two years without eating berries or grapes because she couldn’t find any that didn’t come in plastic packaging.   Her efforts helped reduce the amount of trash she and her husband produced each week to the size of a plastic grocery bag.   “The things that have been most difficult to eliminate are probably the things I don’t need to be using,” Shah said.   About 400 million tons of plastic is produced worldwide each year, and about half of it is single-use. In Georgia, residents throw away about 1 million tons of plastic each year.   Chemicals used in plastic can be absorbed by human bodies. Plastic in landfills can leach chemicals into groundwater. Plastic debris lands in the ocean, injuring or killing marine life; and burning plastic waste can release toxic pollutants.   The plastic problem keeps growing — only about 9% of the plastic waste generated in the U.S. gets recycled — and experts said the fix will require everyone to do their part, from the engineers who have turned waste into biodegradable plastic to consumers making a conscious choice to reduce the amount of plastic they buy and use.   In metro Atlanta, Fulton County has considered banning single-use plastics at county buildings while a number of local restaurants, including popular seafood eatery Six Feet Under, have stopped providing plastic straws to customers.   “Plastic is a valuable material, but when we started designing things out of it with intended obsolescence, this was a big mistake,” said Dianna Cohen, CEO of the Plastic Pollution Coalition. Cohen, who has a background in visual art, once used plastic bags as material for her artwork. She would later decide that while recycling and reuse had its place, prevention was key.   “I put things in the recycling bin and I say a little prayer, but the truth is, for our own health, it is best to buy things unpackaged,” she said. She replaced her Tupperware with glass containers. She tossed rubber cooking utensils and bought stainless steel and wood. She carries an insulated cup and a food-grade stainless steel bottle everywhere she goes, along with a set of bamboo utensils and a stainless steel spork. When she orders carry-out, she goes to restaurants that will put her food in a Mason jar she provides.   Why problem is growing The life cycle of plastic, a synthetic material made from organic polymers, begins with the extraction of fossil fuels. From the moment it is extracted through its manufacture, production and final degradation in a landfill, plastic is toxic, Cohen said.   Chemists created polyethylene in the 1930s, which led to a boom in polymer-based products like Tupperware and Saran Wrap. Plastic is one of the world’s most versatile materials, used in everything from medical IV bags to automobile parts. But our dependence on single-use plastics transformed a valuable and durable material into one of the world’s biggest environmental concerns.   Global output of plastic waste rose more in a single decade beginning in the early 2000s than it had in the previous 40 years, according to UN Environment. By 2015, Americans were generating 34.5 million tons of plastic waste per year. Much of the nation’s discarded plastic ends up in foreign countries with poor waste management systems where uncaptured plastic turns into pollution.   This year, 34 states are considering over 200 pieces of legislation to address plastic pollution, according to the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, including bans or fees on a range of single-use plastics. Georgia is not one of those states.   The state also has not published a Solid Waste Management Report since 2011. The result is limited data that could help inform solutions, said Will Sagar, executive director of the Southeast Recycling Development Council.   Impact on Georgia By 2025, there will be an estimated 155 million metric tons of plastic in the ocean, according to research from University of Georgia professor Jenna Jambeck. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the mass of plastic in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California that is twice the size of Texas, is the largest and most well-documented example, but there are smaller-scale problems right in Georgia.   Marine researchers from UGA found microplastic in water samples taken from Georgia’s coast during a survey in 2017 while visible plastic debris — shopping bags, plastic bottles — can be spotted in local waterways that feed the South River and the Chattahoochee.   The amount of trash washing into Jackson Lake from the South River is so bad the South River Watershed Alliance (SRWA) joined community organizations to invest in a $368,000 Bandalong Litter Trap system that floats in waterways and captures litter before it flows farther downstream.   DeKalb County committed to maintaining the litter trap and ultimately contributed funds to help residents make the purchase. In late June, the county was reviewing bids for the system, said Jackie Echols, board president of SRWA. “No one wants to claim trash, but you have to take ownership of your trash. I think that message is finally getting around to folks,” Echols said.   Bringing about change For six years, Hannah Testa, 16, of Cumming has lobbied against single-use plastics. Last month, she spoke in support of the proposed ban on single-use plastics in Fulton County government buildings. “There aren’t a lot of buildings, but it is a great step forward,” said Testa.   Testa had hoped Georgia legislators would consider plastic bag bans or fees as early as 2016, but when she raised the issue in meetings, they advised her to focus on increasing awareness about plastic pollution before taking on any bans. Testa, who created Plastic Pollution Awareness Day with Sen. Michael Williams, said she sees good things happening in Georgia.   This summer, she plans to meet with a county commissioner in Forsyth to ask the county to consider a single-use plastic ban like the one under consideration in Fulton. And she is always encouraged by the businesses in her community, like Mellow Mushroom, which recently switched from plastic straws to paper in response to community requests.   “You don’t always see the impact you make when it comes to plastic pollution,” Testa said, noting that more consumers need to trust their power to bring change.   More than 1 trillion plastic bags are discarded worldwide each year, and their ubiquity has made them a target for plastic reform. Kroger (and other stores) send plastic bags and packaging returned by shoppers to a recycler that uses them to make composite lumber products, said Felix Turner, spokesman for Kroger. Last year, the company said it would stop providing single-use bags at registers by 2025.   Kroger also announced an exclusive grocery retail partnership with Loop, a milkman-style service that allows customers to purchase brand-name items such as Pantene shampoo and Haagen-Dazs in long-lasting (at least 100 uses) reusable packaging that is shipped back for a refill of the product or a return of the deposit. Atlanta-based UPS partnered with Loop to create packaging design for the Loop tote as well as the pickup and delivery services for Loop customers.   Other major Atlanta-based companies have also pledged to reduce plastic consumption. Delta Air Lines will begin phasing out plastic straws and stirrers in flight later this month. They have already removed the plastic wrapping on amenity kits. Coca-Cola launched an initiative to make packaging 100% recyclable worldwide by 2025 and use at least 50% recycled material in packaging by 2030. The company will also collect and recycle a bottle or can for each one sold by 2030.   Nationwide, companies are creating alternatives to plastic materials or finding new ways to use plastic waste. Loliware is a startup that creates seaweed-based biodegradable straws while Ecovative uses mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms, to create an alternative material that can replace plastic in products such as footwear and retail packaging.   Shah believes we are in the midst of a cultural shift, one in which everyone — government, corporations and individuals — thinks more consciously about what we consume and discard. She said she draws inspiration for her zero-waste lifestyle from a connection to the past.   “For me, it is a strategy of the ancestors. It is how you survived the Great Depression, the wars, slavery and colonization. Unless you come from nobility, that is the way of all people,” Shah said. “I know everyone is capable of doing something.”

Solving America’s Garbage Crisis: A Chat With TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky

When Tom Szaky decided to become an entrepreneur at the age of 19, he picked something that most people in that “dot-com” era would probably have called a very unattractive business: waste management. For the past 16 years, Szaky’s company, Trenton, N.J.-based TerraCycle, has specialized in recycling hard-to-recycle materials, such as cigarette butts and dirty diapers, and has remained a little-known name to the wider public outside of the recycling industry.