Ben & Jerry’s Pecan Resist against Trump’s Agenda

It is one thing as a politician, to face a certain amount of resistance. However, when ice-cream companies start to build campaigns against you, you might want to change something in your agenda. Ben & Jerry’s, renown manufacturers of ice-cream, is launching a new flavour called “Pecan Resist”, and it’s a limited version only. “Pecan Resist” aims to make efforts for “a more just and equitable nation, fighting the President’s regressive agenda.”

The flavour will be made up of chocolate ice-cream with white & darker fudge chunks, pecans, walnuts and almonds. If only every resistance fight would sound this tasty. The artwork on the colourful cups is designed by Bay-Area artist and activist Favianna Rodriquez, who is known to be an advocate on topics including immigration and women’s rights in.

This is not the first time that Ben & Jerry’s has teamed-up with a progressive organisation. Their latest flavours include Colour of Change, a group who design campaigns powerful enough to “end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward.” In addition, Ben & Jerry’s also support other organisations such as Honour the Earth, Neta and the Women’s march. As a part of their efforts, they are donating 25 thousand US dollars to each of the organisations.

Releasing the “Pecan Resist” flavour one week before the US midterm elections makes it seem like a rather deliberate and politically motivated act on behalf of Ben & Jerry’s. Yet, it is pretty questionable how much of a quantifiable impact this move will have on both, President Trump’s elections and political agenda.

In conclusion, political disagreements are inevitable but companies that previously had no clear political agenda (and don’t sell a product that distinctly relates to partisan issues) now starts to take a stand and boldly show their support. Unfortunately, Trump will most likely not take note of this particular movement, but we certainly are happy to at least taste this new flavour.

Sources:

https://beta.thedieline.com/blog/2018/10/31/ben–jerrys-takes-on-trumps-regressive-agenda-with-pecan-resist

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC

Lobster Plastic – The New Material in The Medical Industry

This sounds like something straight from a science-fiction movie. A process in which lobster shells and other types of shellfish can be used to produce plastic. Would this even work? And wouldn’t the plastic smell very fishy? It turns out that a layman can’t even tell the difference between this “lobster plastic” and regular petroleum-based plastic. It looks, feels and smells the same.

Shellfish, also called Crustaceans, are some of the oceans’ most desired delicacies, with the additional bonus of already coming in their own eco-friendly and robust packaging. Unfortunately, up until now there was little to no use for the leftovers of these sea creatures. Hence most of them ended up in either a landfill – or in the case of the more gastronomically devoted- in a lobster stock soup, before ultimately ending up in the compost bin.

Thankfully, researcher at McGill University have found a much better use for lobster and other crustacean shells – producing plastic. As mentioned before, this seems a bit far-fetched, but the process is a bit simpler than anticipated. The shells of insects and crustaceans contain a material called chitin. Chitin is a fibrous component of these animals’ exoskeletons, making them tough and resistant. Furthermore, chitin has a relatively similar chemical structure as cellulose. Cellulose is a plant-derived component which has already been used for some time now to produce PLA, plant based plastics. Cellulose can also be used to make paper, cellophane film as well as textiles.

During the production process of plastic through chitin, the chitin is processed into chitosan, which can be used to create bioplastics. Audrey Moore is an associate professor of applied chemistry who has found a way to derive a more durable form of chitosan through a simple process. This process doesn’t require special skills nor equipment, and it breaks down fewer of the polymer chains which results in a stronger more durable material.

The future of chitosan-plastic is extremely promising. This out of a few reasons, namely that it is a non-toxic and biodegradable material. Additionally, lobsters and other crustaceans aren’t the only source of chitin, as this molecule can be found in some insects as well.

However, chitosan-plastic isn’t quite ready yet to make for a reliable replacement of oil-based plastic. Let alone the fact that the value-chain and the supply chain of lobster and other shellfish industries are not nearly competent nor efficient enough to produce enough exoskeletons to make the sufficient levels of plastic to obey to global demand. Nonetheless, most scientist familiar with the subject are confident that chitin-plastic can find widespread biomedical applications as it is non-toxic and safe for medical use and medical packaging.

In conclusion, there must be more research conducted into the subject of chitin-plastic. And we can be confident that this might be a viable replacement in the near future. Plus it would be a plastic that is fully biodegradable in addition to making the fishing industry more circular.

Sources:

https://beta.thedieline.com/blog/2018/12/13/lobster-plastic-clawing-its-way-into-becoming-a-new-bio-med-material

Popeye’s Emotional Support Chicken

Popeye’s the famous fast food restaurant chain, focused on fried chicken, has just released a limited series packaging that made a few headlines. The packaging features a chicken but not in the way you might think. Popeye’s has relied on humour to criticise a social phenomenon we see more and more, but therefor they have also managed to turn some heads and stir-up emotions. All in all, they have accomplished to make the internet talk about them.

The phenomenon mentioned is the increased appearance and usage of Emotional Support Animals, in short ESA. These animals provide therapeutic comfort to individuals that suffer from mental illness or emotional disorders. In most cases, these animals are small dogs, rabbits or even cats but this does not necessarily have to be the case. This since unlike service animals, ESA’s don’t have to perform any specific tasks or duties aside from comforting the human in distress.

Though Emotional Support Animals are banned from most businesses and professional settings, owners of these animals are generally allowed to travel with these animals in-cabin on flights. No additional fees must be paid for the animal to accompany you, at least in the United States. This is due to the Air Carrier Act, which does underlie some exceptions. Airlines can for example impose restrictions under which animals must have every vaccination and cannot smell bad or unreasonably burden any other passenger. Whilst many guests have a legitimate need for such an animal, there is an increasing number of pet owner that are abusing this legislative loophole.

Popeye’s has hinted to this well-known fact with their packaging choice for certain airport branches of their franchise. A study showed that the number of ESA’s on regular commercial flights has risen over 74% from the year 2016 to 2017 alone. This regular abuse and disregard for the system has led to industry-wide tightening of the rules and a crack-down on certain types of animals. Reptiles, amphibians as well as certain types of farm animals such as sheep and goats are no longer allowed to be taken onto an in-cabin flight as support animals. Additionally, the ESA must be approved and certified by a health professional.

As mentioned, Popeye’s came up with a cheeky packaging solution to make light of the abuse whilst still abiding to the rules. Popeye’s Emotional Support Chicken is not an actual bird nor any other live animal. It is a limited-edition box that is made to look like a chicken, featuring a head out of cardboard as well as a sort of fitting shape. The chicken featured on the box is depicted wearing a vest that is similar to the ones that ESA would be subjected to wear. Not the official vests of support animals but rather the kind of vest that is found on Amazon and thus can be easily purchased by ESA imposters.

Hope Diaz, a spokesperson for Popeye’s has made the following statement: “We know holiday travel can be frustrating, and there’s no better way to ease stress than with a box of delicious Popeye’s fried chicken and a good laugh.”However not everyone shares Ms Diaz’s sense of humour, especially not PETA, which made their feelings known via twitter in the form of this statement: “Popeye’s is selling boxes of dead “emotional support chickens” for the holidays, proving they’re not above mocking mental illness AND animals who died gruesome deaths”. This might just be a bit too critical.

In any case, we believe that the Emotional Support Chicken might be the thing some people need to distract themselves from the sometimes, deplorable conditions of being cooped up in a jet for hours.

Sources

https://beta.thedieline.com/blog/2018/12/21/popeyes-wings-it-with-new-emotional-support-chicken

Pantone Colour of The Year 2019 – Living Coral

2019 is the 20thtime that Pantone has unveiled their selection for Colour of the year. The 20thanniversary is crowned with an in our opinion extremely vivid, lively and revitalising colour: PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral. Living Coral is somewhat hard to define, as it ranges somewhere between a bright pastel orange to a soft pink. In any case, it is a joyful colour, exactly what we need to start off the year with enough motivation. Pantone describes the colour of the year concept as follows: “The Colour of the Year is one moment in time that provides strategic direction for the world of trend and design. In fact, Colour of the Year is a culmination of the Pantone Colour Institute’s year-round work forecasting trends and developing colour palettes for our clients.”As always, Pantone has partnered up with other companies to create unique products and features that highlight this year’s colour.

ADOBE STOCK X PANTONE

The partnership between Adobe and Pantone is already in its second consecutive year. They collaborate to offer a tailored and curated Colour of the Year collection of stock photo. This is to lead the creative community to be increasingly inspired by this year’s theme colour.

BUTTER LONDON X PANTONE

Butter LONDON is a prestige cosmetics and nail product company, and has now repeatedly partnered up with Pantone to once again introduce a limited-edition product line. The line will include Living Coral nail colouring products as well as Living Coral Plush Rush Lip Goss in addition to a Living Coral Blush Stick. All of these items will be available in the US as of the beginning of January 2019.

FEDEX OFFICE X PANTONE

FedEx Office, one of the market leaders in convenient packing and shipping services collaborates with Pantone in celebrating the 20thColour of the Year edition. Through FedEx Office’s state-of-the-art colour management and detection technology, it allows for customers to be 100% confident every time they are receiving the right colour.

BROWNTROUT X PANTONE

BrownTrout is a market leader in producing dated calendars. This year it will be incorporating a commemorating Living Coral special edition into its collection. The limited collection will include a lined journal as well as non-dated weekly and monthly planner. The latter ones will be available in two convenient sizes.

COPENHAGEN DESIGN X PANTONE

Copenhagen Design and Pantone were already known for a collaboration, and they are now bringing the joy of colours into our daily lives. Through the limited-edition collection, which includes a mug as well as key chains in the 16-1546 Living Coral colour, everyone can experience this joy on a daily basis. At home or at work, a splash of colour is guaranteed to brighten up the day.

Sources:

https://www.pantone.com/color-intelligence/color-of-the-year/color-of-the-year-2019-partners

https://www.pantone.com/color-intelligence/color-of-the-year/color-of-the-year-2019-shop-pantone-living-coral

https://stock.adobe.com/collections/jdIzpWoo7ZgFIlB8Ek1w52ipmTzlPr0z

http://www.butterlondon.com/Pantone-Collection/

https://www.fedex.com/en-us/office.html

https://www.browntrout.com/

https://copenhagen.design/

A Chat With Camila

Today we sat down with our Business Developer for Latin America, Camila Castro, to learn more about her.

What do you do as a Business Developer? Which are your main responsibilities?

What I do is, I look for potential customers that could be interested in our products. I start by contacting them for the very first time, introducing our products and getting to understand what the needs are of these customers. If I manage to make them feel interested about our products, then I go on with a proper quotation or product development or whatever the need is. The main responsibility right now, as the Latin American market is a new market for Swedbrand and my efforts are to enlarge the number of customers, to increase our market share and reach the sales targets.

What does your Business Development Job mean to you?

Business development is a very big challenge to me personally. As I come from a marketing background, I have never worked in direct sales before. Therefore, this new position will really challenge my professional skills. Aside, I like talking to the clients, I really enjoy the conversations with our customers. Thankfully, the people in Latin America are friendly so you rarely get harsh answers. Essentially, it is more of a personal challenge for me, I want to make this work.

What did you do before you started at Swedbrand?

I worked as a marketing coordinator for a Dutch company in Colombia for several years. Then I came to China to do my masters in International Business at Jiao Tong University in Shanghai. During the course of my master programme, I decided to start working again, and here I am.

How and why did you choose to work at Swedbrand?

In essence, I didn’t really apply for this position. There was a job fair at Jiao Tong in which Swedbrand was looking for a marketing intern. I didn’t apply for that position, as at that time, I really wasn’t interested in marketing. However, they were also looking for a native Spanish speaker. I left my contact information with them and a couple weeks afterwards, they called me because Swedbrand wanted to embark on the market development project in Latin America. So, it literally just happened.

What is the most interesting thing that you have learned so far at Swedbrand?

Well many things. I am very happy to be able to work under and with the guidance of European mentality and people. This is due to the fact, that the way of working is very different to the way you work in Latin America. Even the working environment is different, Latin Americans are very emotional. Although it may take longer to build personal relationships with your co-workers, it is very efficient and well-organised and I am really enjoying the freedom and flexibility that comes with efficiency.

Try to describe Swedbrand in 3 words

  • Multicultural
  • Flexible
  • Empowering

What do you like the most about the company and our team?

The thing I like the most, aside from the co-workers, as already touched upon before is the working-mentality. I truly enjoy the efficiency, the fact that it is a professional environment and that the developments and working environment don’t involve emotions as much, as compared to Latin American working environments.

Where are you originally from? Can you tell us a little bit about that place?

I am originally from Bogota in Colombia. Bogota is a city located 2’700 meters above sea-level in the mountains. It is not hot, contrarily to what people might think and we have no seasons, because Bogota is located at the equatorial line. This means that the weather never changes and sunrise as well as sunset is always around the same time. The temperature is steady, between 15 and 16 degrees Celsius all year long.

What is different about living in Shanghai as compared to Bogota?

I have the feeling that time moves much faster in China. I cannot really tell why, as Bogota is also a major city with over 10 million inhabitants, very busy and also plagued with traffic jams and so on. Additionally, Shanghai is unique in the way that if you don’t speak proper Chinese, you will stay sort of an outsider in the Chinese environment. You hang out with foreigners, you live in your little world, you go around in foreigner-areas, eat in expat restaurants, but you don’t get fully involved in the place. The language makes for a huge barrier. You just do what is necessary and common in Chinese culture but you never get fully involved. And I think that makes you, even if you stay here for a long time, always remain an outsider.

What are the 3 things you miss the most from Colombia?

What I miss about my country is the politeness and the warmth of the people. Also, I miss the fact that there is almost no pollution. But what I miss the most are natural juices and fruits and vegetables that are all organic and extremely cheap. Because we drink natural juices three times per day accompanying our meals. We don’t eat with water nor with wine. Therefore, I feel like I am missing out on a lot of Vitamins living here in Shanghai.

What do you like most about living in Shanghai?

I like the multicultural environment. The fact that you can constantly go to dinner with your friends that come from all over the world and have interesting conversations. I also like that it is a very active life. There is always something to do, there is always nightlife, clubs, bars and exhibitions that you can go to. You are never bored.

Do you have any advice for someone who just moved to Shanghai?

Not only for people coming to Shanghai, but for foreigners coming to China in general. Foreigners should stay very open-minded. Try not to criticise what is different about the Chinese culture and habits. You should not be opposed to general behaviours, even the most critical ones that might seem gross or uncommon to us as foreigners. You should just understand and accept that it is different. That there is no good, bad or better, that it is merely the way in which we were raised which makes the difference. Additionally, if you can and have the time, try to learn Chinese as it will help you a lot. Especially if you want to discover China and the Chinese culture.

Do you have any hidden skills or talent?

I used to do figure-skating when I was a kid, for many years. I am sad that I stopped but I think that I could still do it.

How Important Packaging is in Marketing

Like the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. First impressions matter and long before your consumers ever lay eyes on your product, they will first see your packaging. You wouldn’t go on a first date or a job interview without paying excruciating attention to how you dress.

This is because you know how much first impressions matter. If they don’t like what they see from the minute you walk in the door, there is a good chance you won’t get a chance to show them anything else about yourself. Here are 6 ways that packaging is of critical importance in marketing.

1. Helps create immediate brand recognition 


If you were sitting in a restaurant and across the room saw someone pull a box out of their pocket in a very specific shade of blue, you would immediately know they were getting something from Tiffany’s. Why? Because Tiffany’s understands the value of packaging so well that they even went so far as to have their very own special shade of blue designed.

All of their boxes, bags and packaging are all relentlessly made in their very own shade of blue, so no matter how near or how far away you are, you always know when someone is getting something from Tiffany’s. Especially when that person is you.

2. Logos attract attention 

When you see someone wearing a product made by Nike, Adidas or Michael Kors, you generally know it immediately, thanks to their recognizable logos. While not all logos are so immediately recognizable, a great logo will draw attention. A logo can actually make people want to know more about the product.

There is a reason big brands put so much care and attention into designing their logo. A logo needs to sum up in a single image everything that your brand stands for as well as reflect the personality of your brand. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, your logo needs to be an entire novel.

3. Shows how much you care 

In a world where product packaging was getting bigger and bigger, Apple went smaller and smaller. Why? Less waste. Apple wanted to show they not only care about their products and their consumers, they also care about the planet. Apple was one of the first companies to create paper packaging for electronics, but now 71% of consumers agree they would most likely buy products packaged in paper and cardboard, than in other material like plastic.

Think of your customers eagerly awaiting your product like children on Christmas. Would you just wrap a Christmas present for your kids in a brown paper bag and call it good? No, probably not. You should want your consumers to get the same feeling opening your product as children get opening packages Christmas morning. If you can give them that, there is a great chance you will build a loyal following.

4. The quality of the packaging reflects the quality of the products 

 

Once again, this is an area where Apple shines brightly. Apple is one of the most respected brands on the planet and their logo one of the most universally recognizable. Yet Apple spends almost as much time and effort designing the packaging for their products as they do their actual products. Every one of their boxes fits each product like a glove and was clearly designed and even engineered specifically for that product. While you may not have the budget to design packaging to the exacting specifications that Apple does, you can at least aim for high quality materials.

5. It separates your brand from others 

Walmart and Amazon are two retailers that have a booming online business. Yet you would never mistake an Amazon package sitting on your front door step for a Walmart package. Why? Because Walmart and Amazon both have shipping boxes created with their own unique logos. It’s not just the packaging your product actually comes in that is important, but even the shipping box you use to send it in. Remember, if you do not have a brick and mortar store, then the shipping box is going to be the first visual people have of your product. Try your best to make it a memorable one.

Packaging is to your product what clothing is to people. How you dress matters and how you package your product does too. How you dress says something to the world about who you are and the same is true of your packaging.

 

By Austin Winder.

Austin is a Public Relations Specialist and contributing author for Stickermule. He lives in Memphis, TN and graduated with a business and marketing degree from the University of Memphis.

Clip-Carton To Keep Your Cereal Fresh

Have you ever had a similar problem: you want to have breakfast and grab your favourite cereal, but someone has not properly closed the plastic bag inside the carton. The result, the cereal is now stale and not nearly as crunchy as desired. The problem could be solved by a plastic or metal food-clip that you can attach to the bag, but this poses other troubles. Either the clip is too big or small for the bag or the bag including the clip doesn’t fit into the carton anymore, aside from the additional effort that is required. Net result is in any case frustration at the breakfast table, a suboptimal way to start your day to say the least.

Greiner, an Austrian packaging innovation company has come up with the perfect solution to this problem. Greiner conceptualised a fresh-clip that allows the consumer to reseal any carton after it has been opened. This does not only counteract annoying situations like the one mentioned before but also helps preventing food waste, as it keeps cereal and other food items fresh for a longer time. The clip is part of the cardboard box and sits on the top edges. The fresh-clip is manufactured using an injection moulding process. This is essentially a sealing feature onto which a plate element made of plastic, cardboard or even aluminium can be attached. The clip function can be used once the top of the carton has been removed upon opening. The featured creases that are around the clip allow the packaging to be sealed in this spot, a bit like a zip-lock bag. Additionally, the fresh-clip can be attached to the carton in such a way that it can either be removed or remain fixed on the carton, so that the cardboard can be properly recycled.

There is however also the possibility for manufacturers to permanently fix the clip to their packaging solution, using either locking mechanisms or adhesives. Trying to reduce the plastic content to a minimum was one of the central motivations behind the fresh-clip’s intricate design. A multitude of finishing methods from glossy to matte and even metallic textures, allow for potential products to be showcased in a more exclusive setting. As with many clicking mechanism, the customer can determine that the carton has been optimally sealed upon hearing the accustomed clicking-sound.

The combination of both materials, cardboard as well as plastics allows for the usage of both to be reduced to a bare minimum. This occurs however not at the detriment of the contents, as the packaging solutions ensures that contents are provided with a maximised protection against moisture and spoilage. This whilst using as little plastic as possible. Furthermore, the packaging solution is easy to use. The contents of the carton can be accessed by the consumer by merely pulling of the top (plate) element. The reseal the package, it is equally simple, as both grips are pressed together until a clicking sound can be heard. The wide opening of the package allows for an easy access to the desired food items.

In addition, Greiner has won an award for this innovation. In cooperation with Austria’s Federal ministry for Sustainability and Tourism, the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs awarded the “Staatspreis Smart Packaging” (National Award for Smart Packaging) to Greiner Packaging. The award is given out every two years and the celebratory ceremony took place in Vienna on the Austrian Packaging Day. This is an event focusing on Austria’s packaging industry. This year more than 60 entries in five categories were submitted for the award this year.

As we strive for more sustainable solutions in terms of packaging, innovations like the one brought forth by Greiner Packaging are received with a warm welcome. Through the right coating in combination with the new closing mechanism, the packaging industry might be able to further phase-out single-use plastic bags. This could greatly reduce the plastic post-consumer waste.

Sources:

This 12-Year-Old Boy Is On a Mission To Save The World

The twelve-year-old boy named Arlian Ecker is on a self-identified mission to save the world, at least one school at the time. He is also known under his “superhero identity”, in which he refers to himself as “Plastic-Free Boy”, with the purpose of making recycling cool. His goal is for his persona to be on your mind whenever you are in a situation like at the checkout line of a store, and you can choose not to grab a single-use plastic bag.

Arlian is aware of the values he wants to embody and the goals he wishes to reach when he slips into his superhero shirt and patrols outside of supermarkets, educating adults on what happens or can potentially happen with the plastic bag that they are holing. How in certain circumstances, the plastic bag may end up in a turtle’s stomach. This actually brings us to the inspiration and motivational drive behind Arlian’s efforts. The moment that sparked this in the boy was on his last birthday, when he witnessed three rehabilitated turtles being released back into their natural habitat, the ocean. Upon seeing this, Arlian asked his mother why these poor creatures were not in the ocean already, as they stem from there.

To explain this to her son, she took him on a visit to the “hospital” that the turtles were in, the Australian Seabird Rescue Center in northern New South Wales. There Arlian learned that “When a turtle eats a plastic bag, the bag could get heaps of air in it and it floats on the top of the water. The turtle can’t swim down to the food” Arlian explained.

Upon this, Arlian and his family decided to produce a movie about turtles. This initial idea however, evolved into a feature piece about the negative effects of plastic waste. As these turtles were misplaced from their natural environment due to them being harmed by plastic pollutants. This is the feature film, fittingly titled “Plastic Alarm”, which is now Plastic-Free Boy’s latest weapon in his arsenal against his self-declared war on waste. In his efforts to educate, he aims at reaching out to children, contacting schools and presenting his film and the ideals for which it stands at school assemblies. The reason Arlian is targeting schools in particular, is that he recognises kids as being the future of the planet. He goes to say that “kids will grow up and they’ll be owning factories and businesses, and they can make the right choice — like don’t use single-use plastic bags.”

Unfortunately, on his path to achieve his goals, it is not always smooth sailing for the young superhero. He has been a victim of bullying attacks for trying to save the planet and realise his vision. Arlian understand this however, as he says that “it just takes a while for some kids to know that is what’s happening on Earth and [that] they can help. They don’t just have to be scared about it.”

It is nonetheless quite hard for him to hear from some kids that he confronts and tries to educate, that he is lying. To some people like Keith Williams form the Australian Seabird Rescue, Arlian is a true hero, as it surely takes a bunch of courage to try to tackle such a massive issue. Williams goes on to state that: “I think it is incredibly brave for a young man to be so outspoken and take on an issue that is as big as plastic in the environment. I think many of us would see such a big problem and we would run away from it.”

What is truly impressive to see, as outlined by Williams, is the fact that Arlian is extremely committed. One would really notice so when talking to him, and once one were to meet him, you would comprehend that it is one of his focal points. Naturally, Arlian has also winning moments, that really boost his confidence. One of these moments was at Byron Community Primary School where his idea and film were highly appreciated and well received.

In any case, it is highly impressive for such a young individual to already have his priorities in order. In a self-centred world and society, it can be fairly refreshing to have someone that doesn’t merely care about himself but also about others around him. We believe that we can learn a lot form a person like Arlian, that is willing to go through much hardship to achieve a goal for the greater good!

Source:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-02/plastic-free-boy-takes-on-plastic-pollution/9493710

Norway – The World’s Eco Example

As we speak a lot about environment in our blogposts, we want to showcase our readers a great example, of how a country should shape their future. Norway is not holding back in any way when it comes to this topic. Every aspect of life is shaped to be more sustainable and eco-friendly. Here are just some of the things Norway is doing to keep the air, the seas and nature as free from pollution as possible. We celebrate countries like Norway for their enthusiasm for a sustainable society. Check out the infographic below and get inspired!

Reuse

It is very normal to reuse things in Norway. As most things originate in schools, reusing starts there as well. Books are reused, passed down from child to child. If you are looking for a cool furniture piece or trendy retro-clothing, you would definitely go to one of many thrift-shops. Fretex is another good example of the reusing culture in Norway. This second-hand store is collecting donations for charities while selling anything from books, furniture, homeware to clothing, and this for a really low price.

Recycling

In Norway, you will find separate trash-bins for plastic, compost, and general waste, each with a color coordinated bag in every single household. The consumers can get the blue and green bags for free at the supermarket. Norwegian citizens are also encouraged to separate their other waste materials. Paper is collected in large recycling bins which are installed in front of all apartment buildings and housing-blocks. For glass and metal there are specific recycling centers in every city. By the way, trash cans that you can access on the street have the same sorting system.

Electric airplanes

Avinor is the proprietor company of all of Norway’s airports. In cooperation with Rolls Royce and Siemens the company will create a hybrid-fuel-electric plane model by 2020. By 2040, the engineering trio wants all flights – up to 1.5 hours – to be 100% electrically-operated. That means less CO2 emissions, but also less noise and pollution for the Scandinavian countries.

Fighting food waste

Throwing food away in Norway is so not contemporary anymore. The app ‘Too Good to Go’ is a good example for that. The commonly used app offers people to buy leftover portions of food for a cheaper price. Restaurants, cafés, bakeries and hotels all over Norway can offer their dishes, which need to be consumed in the foreseeable future. Otherwise all the food would end up in the compost or as food-waste.

Reduction of plastic

Plastic bags in supermarkets are already up-charged for quite some time, to stop people from buying them and using reusable bags, like the ones Swedbrand produces. Now, those are even made with recycled plastic, or replaced with paper ones. The plastic which was used before to package fruits and vegetables was reduced to the smallest possible amount. In total, all of the changes are expected to reduce 1,260 tons of plastic by 2020.

Electric cars

Norway has experienced an immense growth in the demand for electric cars since 2014. Every second car which is bought in Norway right now, doesn’t have a gasoline engine anymore. It actually started affecting the oil industry – causing a 2.2% decline in overall petroleum product sales. The government offers good perks for electric car owners. This way, the government tries to realize its plan to end sales of gasoline and diesel vehicles by 2025, switching completely to electric engines. Oslo will be one of the cleanest cities on the planet when, by 2030, 95% of its CO2 commissions will be reduced. 

Pant system

One of the best ways how Norway recycles is the so called “pant” system. It is a reward system for returning plastic bottles and cans to the supermarket. When you go and buy something in a bottle or can, you pay some more money. It is usually around 1-2,5 NOK (0,25USD). After using the bottle, you can bring it back to any supermarket, as every single one got some returning machines. You place your bottles and cans in the slot and collect “pant” for each one. Once you’re done, you can get a receipt with the amount. You can either donate this money to charity, or use it to pay for goods at the supermarket.

Plogging

Plogging is a new clever way to train your body and also be an advocate for the planet. Stockholm was the birthplace of this cool trend. By now, it reached all parts of Norway. In forested areas, you will find many Norwegian ploggers, where the waste collection process is not so frequent. Just run around and pick up any litter you find along the way to recycle it. That is the essence of plogging.

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Are We Ready For Innovative Packaging From Sweden?

Petra Einarsson, the CEO and President at the Swedish company BillerudKorsnäs, may have developed a measure to end single-use plastics. This is a desperately needed step into the right direction, and might seem simpler than anticipated. The proposed material to end single-use plastic is paper. Admittedly, the use of this basic material, invented in Ancient China, is a lot less exciting than a revolutionary new material, conceived somewhere in a lab. But paper might just be the material that is needed to gradually phase out fossil-fuel based packaging solutions.

To Einarsson, this is a truly fascinating development and she states that she “could not imagine working in a more exciting industry”. Recognising that our world is in dire needs of alternatives to wasteful, non-sustainable and polluting packaging materials, the challenges faced in the packaging industry excite her. As not only the environment urges for sustainable solutions but also consumers. According to the 2015 Nielsen report, as well as independent studies conducted by BillerudKorsnäs, 66% of consumers claim that they would be willing to pay more for sustainable brands. “Today’s consumers prefer brands in responsible packaging” affirmed Petra. No matter the article, ranging from cosmetics to snacks to spirits, the studies have proven that market participants are ready and waiting for sustainable alternatives.

As economic and ecological data starts to align, resulting that “this generation is more concerned about sustainability than past generations”, this will inevitably lead to brands across almost every industry having to re-evaluate their packaging standards. The combination and alignment of these factors leads Einarsson to believe that this is the beginning of a packaging revolution and not just the waves made by a fad. However, one should acknowledge that change is never easy and getting industry-wide acceptance will be tied closely to creating good experiences, for brands and consumers alike.

The Swedish company offers paper and cardboard solutions, while not being limited to these materials. One of their latest innovations is a product called the D-Sack. This is a dissolvable bag for cement and other construction materials that can simply be added into the mixer. This eliminates any additional waste and creates a protection for the workers, not being exposed to potentially dangerous cement-dust clouds any longer. Eliminating this part of the construction waste results in 30% lower climate impact than conventional cement and building materials packaging.

Petra admits that the responsibility for more sustainable future in terms of packaging doesn’t solely lie on the consumers but also on the manufacturers. Stating that BillerudKorsnäs believes that there is a need for enhancing recyclability and claiming that they “believe change begins at the top of the value chain, and it starts with forests”, as this is the main source for their packaging solutions. Therefore, BillerudKorsnäs plants three trees for every one they harvest. While this all sounds amazing, they admit that it could not be done on their own and Petra emphasises that collaboration plays a major role in their achievements as it is critical to partner with like-minded companies and non-profits, to further advance the concepts of sustainability.

Petra Einarsson goes on to state that “we cannot tackle global sustainability challenges alone. However, when we team up with others we can identify new and innovative solutions for these challenges and simultaneously achieve greater insights into the demands the market makes on us. This approach also allows us to learn from one another, to spread knowledge, and to generate a broader positive impact on society and our environment.”

Thus, BillerudKorsnäs is collaborating with a multitude of partners, which has led to some major developments. One of which is the Paper Bottle. This is exactly what it sounds like. It is the world’s first fully recyclable and biodegradable paper bottle, targeted to be used for the conveyance of carbonated beverages. Another innovation driven by BillerudKorsnäs is the world’s first paper battery, a project on which the Swedish company is collaborating on with a team of researchers at Uppsala University. The ultimate goal of this is not solely restricted to more eco-friendly batteries but to enable a large-scale production and the future use of paper batteries for applications such as smart packaging. These could provide increased securities in the packaging sector in the form of temperature indicators as well as tracking and verification measures to fight counterfeits.

In conclusion, paper might not seem as an exciting or innovative material approach to end the unbearable reliance of our societies on single-use plastics, but it might just be the most viable and recyclable material we have to date. When we keep pushing for innovation in the pursuit of a truly sustainable packaging solution, paper might just be the route to embark on. If we wish to leave our planet somewhat intact for future generations, changes must be realised.

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