EPS Newsline

Volume 1 | Summer 2013

Issue link: http://cp.revolio.com/i/143144

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Page 4 of 13

5 Q&A with Bob Sanders, Senior Packaging Engineer IBM Environmental Compliance Corporate Packaging IBM On a positive note, I believe what EPS-IA is doing for EPS mostly represents a positive model which needs to be replicated globally for all types of packaging... not just EPS. Packaging materials producers need to be viewed by the governmental authorities, consumers and themselves as the "responsible steward" for packaging and continually seek ways to harvest the resources represented by previously used packaging materials — only then will the hysteria around specific material types quiet down. IBM Conversely, although the EPS vs. PULP comparisons presented by EPS-IA are enlightening and thought provoking, I don't think the packaging industry or society benefits by internal turf wars between competing packaging material types. All it does is make all packaging materials look bad. Packaging users, such as IBM want to be material neutral and have them all in our tool kit to apply to the situation at hand depending on unique product, client or distribution requirements. The industry should be educating consumers likewise... that all packaging materials provide a positive benefit to society and the environment when used responsibly which is what we're all aiming for. FYI, we don't use PULP either for many of the same reasons we don't use pure non-modified EPS — in our experience, both are not resilient enough or support the higher weight ranges we deal with typically. continued from page 4 EPS-IA The economics are certainly more favorable than other materials due to EPS' extremely low weight. You are correct that the amount collected is negligible. Our sustainability metrics do include transportation energy impacts and emissions and even in comparison to someone that has access to a drop-off location within 10 miles, the mail back option is less impactful primarily because the mail carrier is already in route. On a separate note, regarding the scenario you describe with the zero-waste facility in Peoria, the company in question seems to have fallen into a familiar pattern we are seeing in many instances where out of sight is out of mind, but not out of the waste stream. Ultimately, for better or worse, in some cases zero-waste efforts actually result in increased environmental impacts. This will require ongoing education to promote expansive critical thinking in terms of real-world, life cycle metrics. EPS-IA EPS-IA has communicated and networked effectively with other EPS industry groups throughout Asia and Europe over the past 15-20 years. However, we have not been able to identify an effective model that could be replicated due to a vast number of variables that present an 'apples to oranges' conundrum. It would be interesting to see if the OEM community, coming from a different perspective, could offer ideas on how to solve this problem. We would welcome the opportunity to explore this further if you have additional input. EPS-IA EPS-IA's molded pulp bulletin was not intended to 'bash' molded pulp, rather our goal was to help address the common, but misinformed, 'plastics is bad, paper is good' mindset among many business professionals and consumers. The piece was designed to promote the critical thinking process necessary to identify appropriate packaging materials and to understand that no one packaging material is bad simply because it is plastic. As you know, EPS-IA has been subject to considerable misrepresentation by competing materials and has never supported a retaliation-in-kind strategy. This approach is geared to present factual information that is otherwise ignored. Again, we welcome any ideas or thoughts IBM may have on how we could achieve a more balanced message and would be open to inviting a peer review of the document to better achieve these goals. IBM The pendulum in the EU has now shifted towards the environmental and societal costs of food waste and how good packaging can be deployed to improve that situation. Trouble is, people only see what's visible (the trashed empty package) and not all the good it does by preventing the product from entering the waste stream prematurely. All consumer education done by the packaging industry should be focused on that message in my opinion. EPS-IA This is an excellent message platform that should be a major emphasis by all those responsible for providing environmental education. While significant strides have been made, there is still ample room for improvement. EPS-IA always encourages responsible packaging. ■

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