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FLEXO Magazine : June 2011
FTA TODAY Environmental Stewardship for Success Focus on Improvement, Innovation Environmental stewardship is no longer just a trend. It’s a cornerstone of good business, as attendees in the Sustainability Session of the FFTA’s 2011 Annual Forum learned. Chaired by Todd Wiederhold of Printpack, Inc. and co-chaired by Brad Vette of OEC Graphics, the proceedings emphasized continuous improvement in the industry ’s envi- ronmental efforts. First, Heather Barrett of MacDermid Printing Solutions discussed Walmart’s Sustainable Packaging Scorecard, a standard of sustainability for consumer product companies (CPCs), and how printing plate processing methods can af- fect a CPC’s score. Section Four of the scorecard requires an accounting of three key aspects of a product’s packaging, Barrett said. “ T he scorecard includes questions about what materials are used in the package, what each material weighs and how the material is transported to the packaging facility.” Because Section Four does not mention consumables used in creating packaging, such as printing plates, that puts the onus on suppliers to demonstrate their relevance, she said. She described an interactive sustainability tool that uses lifecycle assessment data to determine the relative environ- mental impacts of digital solvent and digital thermal and liquid plate processing. (For more information, see Barrett’s article, “Environmental Footprint Calculator” in the April 2010 issue of FLEXO and the winter issue of the digital magazine Sustainable FLEXO.) Joseph Meindl of American Recycling & Manufacturing presented solutions to challenges in recycling. “ Creating new uses for packaging is good for the environment, good for society and good for business,” he said. He focused on how broken end pads could be remanufactured into new ones and how material from wooden pallets could be repurposed. Jean-Cyril Walker of Keller & Heckman LLP, explained the proposed revisions to the Federal Trade Commission’s Green Guides, which define requirements for making such claims about a product, its packaging or the way it is manufactured. “Environmental claims in marketing have become increas- ingly contentious, with the FTC involved in seven cases in the last two or three years alone, so it’s useful to have a set of ground rules.” Walker also covered criteria that will remain unchanged, such as claims of recyclability, compostability, bio-degradation, non-toxicity and renewability. Paul Kearns of Exopack, the final presenter, discussed end-of-life options for packaging materials. “A good package design will begin with the end in mind,” he said. He zeroed in on four ways of handling these materials: recycling, compost- ing, incineration and placement in landfills. There is plenty of room for improvement, he said, noting that each year 43 mil- lion tons of containers and packaging end up in landfills—the least desirable option. n Meindl Walker Kearns Barrett 14 FLEXO June 2011 www.flexography.org
Sustainable Spring 2011