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The Responsible Packaging Awards will be presented on Sept. 24 during the Baltimore Convention Center, during Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore. Co-sponsored by the Responsible Packaging Project, a nonprofit collaboration of the Food Trade Sustainability Leadership Association, Independent Natural Foods Retailers Association, National Cooperative Grocers Association, New Hope Natural Media, Organic Trade Association, United Natural Foods Inc. and Whole Foods Market’s Green Mission, the biannual awards recognize organic and natural industry achievements and innovations in environmentally responsible packaging, including materials reduction, the use of 100 percent post-consumer recycled (PCR), non-GMO, compostable and third-party certified packaging, and packaging that’s returnable for reuse and easily recycled or reused by the end user.
“The project continues to raise the bar on the definition, design, and implementation of responsible packaging,” noted Nate Schlachter, executive director of the Portland, Ore.-based Food Trade Sustainability Leadership Association. “This is a constantly evolving process as better materials and systems are created to address our need for more ecologically and socially responsible packaging.”
Project partners rated each nominated packaging item, using criteria in three areas: commitment to transparency, extended producer responsibility, and ecological systems design principles, with a strong focus on achieving zero waste.
The seven brands receiving awards are:
- Choice Organic Tea: Compostable, staple-less tea bags and tags, with 100 percent recycled paperboard with 65 percent post-consumer content cardboard box
- Cocoa Metro: Regional, reusable, refillable, and returnable-to-the-store glass beverage container
- Genji Sushi: 100 percent tree-free compostable sushi tray
- Lundberg Family Farms: 100 percent recycled paperboard with 65 percent PCR content packaging
- Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value brand: 100 percent PCR plastic container bottle
The Responsible Packaging Project additionally encourages continuous improvement through ongoing education. As well as hosting the Responsible Packaging Awards, the project facilitates the biannual Responsible Packaging Forum, an educational program at the Natural Products Expo East. The forum will take place before the Sept. 24 awards ceremony at the Baltimore Convention Center. Speakers will include Michael Besancon, senior global VP at Whole Foods; Tom Wright, CEO-sustainable bizness practices and co-founder of the Responsible Packaging Project; Michael Brown, founder of Packaging 2.0; John Lively, director of environment and material Science at Preserve; and Schlachter.
The next round of awards will occur at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., for which a call for nominations will be distributed in January 2012. More information on the Responsible Packaging Project and the draft guidelines is available at www.responsible-packaging.org.