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FLEXO Magazine : Sustainable Winter 2011
Accredo Packaging: Stewards of Sustainability, Innovation, Advanced Technology By Christian R. Bonawandt From its inception 25 years ago, API Family of Compa- nies has grown to become one of the dominant figures in the industry. Accredo Packaging, the newest member of the API family of Companies, brings to fruition its vision for a state of the art, flexible packaging operation with a strong focus on sustainability. Green Foundation According to Rex Varn, executive vice president, the concept for Accredo Packaging was born in 2007, when API decided to diversify, and venture into high- barrier flexible packaging. An active member of the Flexo- graphic Technical Association (FTA), Accredo Packaging is a full-service flexible packaging manufacturer, which extrudes its own film, prints and converts. The origin of its name is derived from the Latin term credo, and means to believe. Specifically, it refers to the firm’s belief in environmental stewardship. “ We do believe in sustainability,” says Varn. “ We believe in recycling, conservation of energy, water conserva- tion, environmental ethics and human health. It’s something we don’t pay lip-service to... it’s something we try our best to live by.” It has been that way from the beginning. The entire facility was designed and built to be “green.” It was constructed over the course of two years, all the while following LEED (Leader- ship in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver standards. “As far as we know, Accredo is the first flexible packaging manufacturing facility to achieve this certification,” Varn says. He goes on to explain some of the certification requirements as follows: “Building material must be harvested or manu- factured or extracted within a certain radius of the plant, and also have a certain percentage of recycled content. Building waste must be recycled or salvaged during the construction process to reduce landfill. The landscape must be restored to an active prairie that you don’t use. ” But Accredo’s green efforts go much further than LEED. In addition to water conservation efforts, the plant uses 100-per- cent wind generated electricity, much of it from wind farms in West Texas. While the plant prints using solvent-based inks, Varn is quick to assert that 99.5 percent of all solvent emissions are “scrubbed clean” before going back into the atmosphere. He quips, “We say here that the air leaving the factory is cleaner than the air coming in.” Only thermal plate processing is used at Accredo, elimi- nating solvent and water consumption in that part of the workflow. “Even the waste is recovered and used in biomass energy generation,” adds Varn. In August 2009—the same month that Accredo opened its doors for business—the company filed its first patent applica- tion for an innovative stand-up zipper pouch formed exclu- sively from certified compostable components. Even after more than a year on the market, Malcolm Cohn, director of sustainability claims, “It has the highest oxygen and moisture barrier of any product to come out thus far. ” Accredo also boasts the partnered development of a spout made from compostable resins, and a similarly designed degassing valve. “ T he technology to develop and apply the compostable zipper and spout and degassing valve are the first of their kind, as far as we know,” says Cohn. Accredo’s philosophy of ongoing innovation continues with its focus on eco-responsibility. Cohn insists, “It’s like marriage, in that you can’t, after being married a number of years, say ‘I don’t have to work at it any more.’ It is something you have to continually work at. ” In addition to having developed a second generation of its compostable zipper bag, the firm is an applicant member of the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) which recognizes companies committed to “sustainable green printing.” Cohn says the company will likely begin its efforts to achieve SGP certification early this year. equipped to Succeed Environmental stewardship is not the only reason Accredo stands out among its peers in the flexible packaging industry. “At Accredo we are designed for sustainability and built for true Believers Prepress Manager Jeremy Rohan, gives instructions for platemaking. www.flexography.org wInTeR 2011 Sustainable FLEXO 11 Sustainable_Winter11_v1.indd 11 2/22/11 9:59 AM