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Disclaimer: The postings in this blog section do not necessarily represent Desjardin's positions, strategies or opinions.

Sustainable Supply Chains from Production to the Store 2/2

Optimizing a supply chain for sustainability is an efficient way for companies to reduce their environmental footprint while increasing long term profits. By 2025 almost two billion people are expected to become global consumers, a 75 percent increase over 2010. This will require increased transport within supply chains, ultimately causing more greenhouse gas production. Sustainable supply chains focus on improving efficiency throughout the entire process, with a strong focus on reducing waste/CO2 production and improving communication. These waste products directly contribute to global warming, which is a worldwide issue leading to a host of further problems. In the metal packaging world a few key components that are focused to improve sustainability are overall production efficiency, location raw materials are sourced from, transportation, and sales. Companies that focus on sustainably optimizing these aspects of their supply chain can expect to see a host of effects relating to their company cost, product cost, and environmental impact.

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Sustainable Supply Chains from Production to the Store 1/2

Sustainable supply-chain optimization is the process of ensuring that all aspects of the supply chain, from manufacturing to sales, are being done in the most optimal and energy efficient way [1]. This is an integral part of any manufacturing company and is especially true in the metal packaging industry. In the past metal packaging has been seen as an energy intensive and non-emissions friendly process, but this is no longer true. With an optimized supply chain and higher rates of recycling metal packaging is actually a more carbon emission friendly process than plastic packaging. A sustainably optimized supply chain produces 1.87 tonnes of CO2-e per tonne of aluminium and 2.2 tonnes of CO2-e per tonne of plastic produced [2,3]. This is an easy way for companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint to make a change. For a supply chain to be sustainably optimized there are a few areas that need to be reviewed: overall production efficiency, the metal packaging supplier, transportation, and sales.

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Metal Packaging - How much CO2 is released during the Recycling Process

Energy is used in every process on earth, from moving an arm to building a skyscraper. The energy for these processes comes from different sources, like from eating food for processes in the human body and burning fossil fuels to power construction. In addition to processes requiring different types of energy, they also require different amounts.

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The Future of Packaging

The opinions of consumers in the United States and Europe will have a large effect on shaping the future of food packaging. In the U.S. over 50% of people say that one of the most important factors for packaging is convenience. Additionally, over 90% of people believe that healthy eating habits are important to having a long life, 70% of people try to eat healthy every meal, and 60% of people realize when they aren’t eating healthy and would like to improve [1]. This increased awareness of how food and health are related is a big change from the fast food obsessed USA of the past. These trends will undoubtedly influence food packaging as consumers continue to look for convenient and healthy food options.

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Use the 'Metal Recycles Forever' Logo to drive your turnover

The Metal Recycles Forever Logo is designed to be used on tin and aluminum packaging. It is a small logo created by the organization Metal Packaging Europe to promote the use of recyclable metal packaging. When used on packaging it certifies that the package is designed with recyclable and sustainable properties in mind. It provides consumers with a visual symbol to acknowledge that the product package they are purchasing can be recycled and hints that the company using the package is environmentally conscious [6].

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Metal Recycles Forever

Public sentiment towards using metal packaging is improving in Europe. People are becoming more aware of the negative consequences of utilizing non-sustainable forms of packaging. This has lead to more people actively choosing to use products they know are sustainably made, can be recycled, and are better for the earth than plastic packaging. A major factor for this increase is due to the public’s increased exposure to information about how recyclable metals are a sustainable form of packaging.

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Social Responsibility in Packaging

What does it mean to be a socially responsible company? This can take many forms, so I think it is easier to first discuss what makes a company not socially responsible. A company that does not care for its employees, community, and shirks its social responsibilities falls into this category. This is seen in many different ways, like poor working conditions for employees or false advertising to consumers. Many types of companies can have these issues, but it is especially common to see them in companies that manufacture products. In the clothing industry a large portion of clothes are still produced in factories with poor working conditions [6]. The packaging industry falls into the category of manufacturing, which means it is crucial that these companies are aware of what socially responsibility is, its importance, and why it is beneficial. Over the past 20 years many packaging companies have been working hard towards producing their packaging in socially responsible ways.

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Health Implications of Biodegradable Packaging

Over the last decade biodegradable packaging has become a viable alternative to plastics. Biodegradable materials are made out of biopolymers, which are polymers made of naturally occurring molecules. They are often used in conjunction with metal containers to help seal perishables, like food and cosmetics. When used with metal containers they typically are found in the form of films, coatings, and bags.

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What is Biodegradable Packaging

The most commonly used material for packaging is plastic. Plastic is easy to make, but comes with a slew of environmental consequences, like long decomposition rates and damage to natural ecosystems. A great alternative to plastic packaging are metal containers made of tin and aluminum. These containers remove a lot of the issues created by plastic packaging. When metal containers are used for food and other perishables they often still require a plastic film, seal, or coating to completely protect the contents from coming into contact with air. In recent years biodegradable non-plastic packaging and films have begun to immerge as an alternative to standard plastic packaging. Biodegradable packaging is produced using biopolymers, which are molecules often found in living organisms, like cellulose and proteins. This means they can be safely consumed, degrade quickly, and often be created from waste plant products [4].

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