Be Green Packaging is a Proud Support of AHA Santa Barbara

AHA! serves teens and families year-round with after-school programs in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria, a summer program in Santa Barbara, and in-school programs in Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, and Goleta.

AHA! offers an outdoor program throughout the year, groups for parents, and donation only therapy for families in need.

AHA!’s aim is to create a community of socially and emotionally intelligent adolescents who are committed to compassion, character, positive creative expression, and the celebration of diversity.

AHA!’s innovative experiential curriculum guides teens to set goals and to stop bullying and hatred. It lends invaluable skills for understanding and managing emotions and relationships. From this place of security in themselves, teens are inspired to do good, achieve in school and serve their community.

They deliver this curriculum in a mentorship setting, with one or more facilitators always present for every six teens.

In 2012, AHA! is set to serve about 1500 teens and families. AHA! is growing because what we do works: Santa Barbara area high schools have reported decreases in truancy, disciplinary actions, and suspensions with the introduction of AHA!.

AHA!’s after-school programs offer important mentoring and learning for any teen who wants to be there. After-school programs are especially important for teens, who are most likely to get in trouble during the hours between school and dinner time. With AHA! they get structure, substance, and support to prepare them for a balanced, happy life – and healthy snacks to boot.

ALL PROGRAMS ARE FUNDED BY DONATIONS. No one is turned away for lack of funds. Go to “Program Information” to find out more about what we offer. To contribute to AHA!, go to “Donations”.

Google Chromebook Goes Green: New Laptop Packaging Made From Blend of Sustainable Plant Fibers

Google has long been known as one of the world’s most innovative companies and they are once again raising the bar for packaging of high-end consumer electronic goods by choosing to launch the latest edition of the Chromebook laptop in a custom designed plant fiber tray.  Google partnered with Be Green Packaging to develop and ultimately manufacture the tray in the company’s state of the art production facilities.

Google HP Pack Closed with Band

This past year, Be Green Packaging had major R&D breakthroughs which led to the introduction of zero degree draft angle technology, making it possible to execute complex designs that the tech industry had been demanding.

“The new technology that Be Green has exclusively developed opens the door to a whole range of design capabilities that allow us to take tree-free, plant fiber packaging into new markets and areas.  In every sense, this is the future of packaging.” stated Robert Richman, Be Green’s President of Manufacturing.

Be Green’s proprietary plant fiber blend offers a number of benefits over traditional forms of packaging such as paperboard and plastic.  The fibers Be Green works with are rapidly renewable, abundant and grow like weeds in many parts of the world, unlike trees, which take years to develop and mature and are being cut down faster than they can be replenished.  Unlike plastic, no petrochemicals are used in the manufacturing of Be Green’s plant fiber blend.  Furthermore, the company holds seven eco-social certifications from some of the world’s most respected, independent organizations such as the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, the Non-GMO Project, the Biodegradable Products Institute and the USDA Biobased Product Program, among others.

google chromebook plant fiber packaging

As a founding principle of the company, Be Green Packaging’s current business model has been shaped in thought and practice by adherence to the triple bottom line philosophy.  “Embracing the environment and social equity in addition to profitability is part of our overarching goal of being a truly holistic, sustainable enterprise,” said Ron Blitzer, CEO, of the company’s ideals.  “Our commitment to getting our products, facilities and operations independently certified is helping us lead the industry in terms of accountability and transparency and forward-thinking companies like Google recognize and appreciate that.”

Google’s new Chromebook laptop has begun shipping from online retailers worldwide and will be hitting retail shelves in the coming weeks and months.

*No sustainability claims are yet being made for the new Google Chromebook packaging and it is currently undergoing testing for a potential Cradle to Cradle Bronze certification, although nothing has yet been awarded.  All sustainability claims are made only for Be Green Packaging’s plant fiber blend which is used in all Be Green Packaging products.

Whole Planet Foundation Thailand Trip: Day Three

Day Three

The Whole Planet Foundation journey through Thailand continues into the third day, and although we have received a brief message from Be Green CEO Ron Blitzer that the group is en route on a 3 hour car ride to Alter Eco’s rice production paddies, we have no idea of their whereabouts or activities.

IMG_7497Since the group is off-grid for the time being, let’s get acquainted with the different members participating on this excursion. The experience has revealed that the different companies represented on the trip are also triple bottom line businesses that share a passion for environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and innovative products.  Accompanying the Whole Planet Foundation and Be Green on the trip to Thailand are members from Seventh Generation, Hint Water, Hain Celestial Group, and Izze Sparkling Juices, among others.   A common thread connecting these forward thinking companies with the WPF is that they all share its philanthropic ideals and strive towards producing natural, sustainable products that create a pollution-free environment and encourage a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

Seventh Generation is the nation’s leading brand of household and personal care products that help protect human health and the environment.  Their products offer a healthy solution for the air, surfaces, fabrics, pet, and people within the home and for the community.

http://www.seventhgeneration.com/

Hint Water, started in Northern California by Kara Golden, uses pure spring water and adds a splash of natural flavor to create a healthy alternative to sodas, juices, and other sweetened drinks. Hint focuses on great tasting food and healthy living.

http://www.drinkhint.com/

Genji Sushi is dedicated to the finest quality all-natural sushi and Japanese-inspired cuisine in a grab‐and‐go style. Its sushi bars are located within 138 Whole Foods Market locations in 18 states and the District of Columbia, as well as the U.K. At each location, skilled chefs prepare a variety of fresh items on‐site, including raw, cooked, vegetarian and vegan-friendly sushi and sides. The company mission is to contribute towards healthier food consumption habits on a global level.

http://www.genjiweb.com

Hain Celestial Group produces natural food and personal care products in both America and Europe and is committed to helping consumers lead a healthy lifestyle. Hain continues to implement environmentally sound business practices through quality, innovation, and value.

http://www.hain-celestial.com/

Izze Beverage Company based in Boulder, Colorado uses natural fruit juice and sparkling water with no refined sugars, preservatives, or artificial flavors.  In addition to supporting the Whole Planet Foundation, Izze also focuses it social efforts on the Global Education Fund, further emphasizing the need to focus on our children and future.

http://www.izze.com/

Be Green Packaging Joins Whole Planet Foundation Trip to Visit Microfinance Recipients in Thailand: Day 1

Whole Planet Foundation logoWith operations in 50 countries and over $224 million dollars donated since its inception in 2005, the Whole Planet Foundation is a major force for positive social change worldwide.  The WPF works with a global network of microfinance lending institutions by offering them grants, which are then disbursed to the local communities in which they operate.  These grants allow the local microfinance offices to offer what are known as microloans — typically on the order of about $100 — to members of the community.  Although a small amount by Western standards, it can be life changing for poverty stricken individuals in developing countries.  The efforts of the WPF, in conjunction with its worldwide partners, have positively influenced the lives of thousands of families and individuals, allowing them to rise to a new standard of living, which often includes access to education and other essential needs.

Every year the WPF invites some of its largest annual contributors to travel to a selected destination where they are working with microcredit lenders.  The trip is a chance for companies and individuals donating to the WPF to see the change their contributions are making firsthand. This year, the WPF invited the group to Thailand, where they will be visiting with the communities and recipients of their donations.

Be Green Packaging’s CEO Ron Blitzer joined the group for the second time following his trip to Brazil with the WPF last year.  As a founding member of the Whole Planet Foundation’s ‘Change for Change’ fund, Be Green Packaging has been involved with the organization for many years.  A long-term supporter, Blitzer was interested in seeing what kind of impact the company’s donations were having on people’s lives, this time in Southeast Asia.

Days 1-2

After arriving in Bangkok the night before, the group started the day off touring the Grand Palace where their guide educated them on the history of Thailand, it’s people and their rich culture.  They travelled through the city on some of Bangkok’s many rivers where they got a firsthand glimpse into some of the more impoverished shanty towns existing on the banks of the polluted waterways.

After a bit more sightseeing to help them adjust to the local culture, in Blitzer’s words “The real adventure began” as they boarded an all-night train to Surin to visit with the Small Enterprise Development group and microloan recipients in the field.

microfinance program

meeting with local microfinance coordinators

The group arrived at the Chamuang Village Bank house in Surin around 10am after a long, bumpy train ride.  The weather was typical of equatorial regions — hot and humid.  The local bank put together a presentation for the group covering their activities and programs in the area.

villager crafts

locals display their wares in the village of Chamuang

Chamuang is located near Tramuang in Surin province.  It is a small village consisting of roughly 650 people who make string beads, key rings and other souvenirs as their main livelihood.  The community welcomed the WPF team and the village Chief, Mr. Sonsok, spoke to the group through an interpreter.  The community leaders served a traditional lunch of rice, veggies, fruits and tea.

Blitzer and the group observed the very real effects of the microfinance efforts in the community — the people seemed happy and content and the children all had smiles on their faces as they played with the guests and among themselves.  The houses in the village were small with wood and steel siding and you could see the general prosperity the villagers enjoyed with cars and satellite dishes accompanying their homes.

cooking silkworms

locals making silk

After the visit to Chamung, the WPF group was off to another village where the locals made woven silk fabrics.  This community had been involved in microfinance programs for the past 17 years and it showed — they spun beautiful silks and gave the group a tour to see how the material was harvested from silk worms and woven into the finished goods.

The long day ended with elephant rides (yes, elephant rides) and quality time spent time with the residents of the local community.

elephant ride in thailand

getting ready for elephant rides

Stay tuned for more details of the trip as it unfolds.

Delta + LYFE Kitchen Go Green, Healthy… and Biodegradable

If you happen to find yourself on a Delta Shuttle Service Flight on the West Coast of the US, keep an eye out for the delicious, healthy snacks being served on board.  The new fare is the result of an innovative collaboration between Delta and LYFE Kitchen.  LYFE is known for their sustainable, healthy cuisine and retail frozen food line.   Delta took the sustainability one step further and decided to package the snacks in Be Green Packaging’s biodegradable and recyclable Sushi Trays and Sample Cups.  Is this the future of airline food — healthy snacks served in sustainable packaging?  We certainly hope so!

Delta-Lyfe-Be-Green-Packaging

Love Mamak Puts a Sustainable Spin on Malaysian-Indian Fusion Cuisine

We love hearing about what our creative customers are doing with our packaging and we really wish we were in New York City to stop by the Love Mamak food truck serving up delicious Malaysian-Indian fusion cuisine in our line of biodegradable and recyclable bowls and food trays.

Check out this video they produced with Tableaux Multimedia which showcases their mouth watering cuisine.

If you are in the New York City area, be sure to stop by Love Mamak for a quick, healthy bite.

For Lunch:

7 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10005
from 12PM-3PM

For Dinner:

N6th Street and Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
from 5PM-9:30PM

Hissho Sushi Launches New Sushi Bar Featuring Biodegradable Packaging

new hissho sushi bar north carolinaEarlier this week, Hissho Sushi, one of the world’s largest retail sushi vendors with over 400 sushi bars in supermarkets across the U.S., launched a new location close their North Carolina headquarters. This particular Hissho bar is one of three to convert to Be Green’s tree free, compostable and recyclable packaging.

Phillip Maung founded Hissho Sushi in 1998.  He came to America in 1989 with just $13 dollars in his pocket and a vision to revolutionize how Americans consumed sushi.  With the help of his wife, he was able to finance the first Hissho Sushi bar. Today, Philip and Kristina have built a Sushi empire dedicated to providing their customers with the highest quality sushi available.

hissho sushi biodegradable be green packaging

Hissho Sushi’s bar in NC. The packaging provided
by Be Green is compostable and recyclable.

Hissho Sushi made the decision to switch to Be Green packaging because they care about the planet and creating healthy communities.  Be Green’s sushi trays (shown above) are comprised of a compostable and recyclable plant fiber base and a 100% recyclable lid.  Using Be Green’s packaging is just another way that Hissho Sushi demonstrates that they are an innovative, forward-thinking company providing the highest quality products to customers in a truly sustainable manner.

– By Brandon Sugarman

Whole Foods Market Opens Gorgeous New Store in Oxnard, California

Whole foods oxnard
A line of hungry and excited customers began to form an hour before the grand opening of the new 30,000 square foot Whole Foods Market located at 650 Town Center Drive, Oxnard CA. The smell of fresh BBQ and upbeat music provided by a local favorite, DJ Bruce Barrios, greeted the stores first customers as they hoped to be one of the first 500 in order to receive free baguettes.
Whole foods oxnard 2
Be Green team members Megan and Bryan were met with the same excitement when they arrived to check out the commotion. Beyond the busy bustle of shopping carts, the team was welcomed into what could be described as an ‘organic experience’. The new building, which was built from the ground up, was totally customized to suit Whole Foods needs and it shows. The space features astoundingly high ceilings and incredible amounts of natural light giving shoppers the feeling of being outside, transporting you away from the shopping center locale in which the building is set. The atmosphere allows customers to take their time learning about everything Whole Foods has to offer from organic food to supplements to home care goods.


Whole foods oxnard 3
As Whole Foods Market was Be Green’s first major customer, they will always have a special place in our heart. Be Green attends every Whole foods opening and participates in ways that will be impactful for their team. To show their endless support, Be Green has donated a full month of products to the Oxnard store and is looking forward to supplying Whole Foods with it’s new retail line of plates and bowls in the coming weeks. One percent of proceeds from the new line of products will go to the Whole Planet Foundation, which runs one of the largest microcredit lending non-profits worldwide.

– Bryan Latchford


Zero Waste Packaging: The Coming Revolution in Consumer Packaging

Zero Waste Packaging: The Coming Revolution in Consumer Packaging

The amount of waste the average American generates per year is truly staggering. Statistics suggest that Americans throw out enough paper or plastic cups and utensils every year to circle the equator 300 times. With so much waste generated annually, it is no wonder that many experts are calling for widespread adoption of zero-waste packaging.

But what does zero-waste packaging look like? How important is it for Americans to move away from harmful plastics and chemicals and towards more eco-friendly consumer packaging?

This article will address these important questions and many others through an inside look at the world of consumer packaging.

What Does “Zero-Waste” Mean?

compostAlthough the concept of “zero-waste” has been around since the 1970s, it hasn’t made the shift from theory to practice until recently. In essence, it refers to designing and producing materials so that harmful waste is eliminated from the production model and outputs can be reused for other productive processes. Ideally, the archetypical zero-waste production cycle would mimic natural cycles – where every part of the end product can be reused and nothing goes to waste.

For instance, when a leaf falls from a tree in the forest and eventually dies, it does not become waste. It decomposes and eventually turns into nutrients to help other plants grow. The result is an endless cycle of growth, degeneration, decomposition, and regrowth once more. Implementing zero-waste to its fullest would mean ensuring a product poses a net-benefit to the environment throughout its entire life-cycle – especially towards the end of its lifespan.

Zero-waste has become a cornerstone to many business models and environmental ideas. It is also the central component of the Cradle to Cradle principle developed by William McDonough and Michael Braungart to help business implement closed-loop, zero-waste production systems informed by nature.

The Problem with Normal Packaging

The biggest problem with normal packaging is that it uses materials that are generally damaging to the environment. Materials such as certain plastics, polystyrene foam (styrofoam), and polyvinyl chloride contain harmful chemicals that can leech into the environment, contaminate the ground and water, and adversely affect plant and animal life. And since these products do not readily decompose, large volumes of these harmful materials end up in landfills.

The problem is that packaging is in such widespread use for food and consumer products that large quantities of harmful packaging waste are produced and emitted into the environment every day. The cumulative environmental impact of such harmful waste production is unsustainable and environmentally destructive on a large-scale.

Perhaps the most telling example of the dangers of plastic waste is embodied by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Right now a giant patch of plastic and toxic waste is circulating in the North Pacific Ocean. It has developed due to plastic waste materials that get caught up in the current and accumulate into one gigantic mass. Although no one knows exactly how large the patch is, some estimates suggest it is 270,000 square miles in size.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is perhaps the biggest indicator that the way we currently approach packaging is environmentally destructive. But there are other smaller patches of plastic and toxic waste accumulating around the world that are causing damage to ecosystems.

The Importance of Zero-Waste Packaging


Life Cycle Diagram_Be Green Packaging
One cannot understate the importance of zero-waste packaging in this day and age. If businesses and individuals embrace eco-friendly packaging for their products and food, we would avoid discharging vast quantities of hazardous waste and chemicals into the environment each year.

Let’s take food packaging as an example.

The typical American eats an average of three meals per day. Every meal usually involves some sort packaging materials, whether it’s the container the food comes in or the utensils used to eat the food. With over 300 million people in the US, all these meals add up to a lot of potential packaging waste. In fact, by weight, 50% of all packaging sales are food packaging.

If businesses and individuals were to consciously embrace food packaging that emits zero-waste, we would achieve a sizeable impact on reducing the volume of harmful materials sent to the landfill.

Plant Fibre Packaging: A Type of Zero-Waste Packaging

As alluded to earlier, plant material is an eligible candidate to create a type of zero-waste packaging. Since most plant material is inherently non-toxic, it poses few risks when disposed of properly. In fact, packaging that is derived 100% from plant fibre can theoretically decompose naturally and provide beneficial nutrients for natural or human-made systems.

It is the material that most closely mimics closed-loop natural systems because it is essentially still in its natural state. The manufacturing process for plant fiber packaging can be accomplished without bleaching or the use of toxic chemicals. Finally, when disposed of properly, it does not become a harmful waste product in the environment as it is possible to compost or recycle in a nearly endless closed-loop. The entire lifespan of a piece of consumer packaging made from plant fiber can be entirely zero-waste when disposed of properly.

The Future of Packaging: Zero-Waste

At the end of the day, we have to live with what we as a society have created.  If we choose to use packaging that doesn’t readily breakdown in a safe and healthy manner in the environment than it is to our own detriment.  At Be Green Packaging our vision for the future is one in which all packaging is designed with its end of life in mind – from sustainable, safe materials that are as close to nature as possible and can seamlessly return to it at the end of its life cycle.

 

Going Beyond Cradle to Cradle: The Upcycle and the Future of Sustainable Design

The Upcycle – Taking Cradle to Cradle to the Next Level

upcycle book cradle to cradle When William McDonough and Michael Braungart released their book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way we Make Things in 2002, few could predict their ideas would have such a wide-reaching impact on the world of business. However, the Cradle to Cradle principle provided a much-needed blueprint for companies to incorporate the principles of sustainability into their business models and paved the way for a new certification system based on a products entire life cycle. The book has since been translated into 12 languages and become required reading for numerous college courses based on sustainability.

Nearly ten years after the publication of Cradle to Cradle, McDonough and Braungart have released yet another landmark book called The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability – Designing for Abundance. Instead of simply rehashing the same ideas presented in the original book, they have taken the Cradle to Cradle philosophy and expanded it even further: rather than simply protect the planet from human impact, we should redesign economic development so that it improves the planet.

But before delving too much into their latest offering, let’s take a look at McDonough and Braungart themselves and how their environmental ideas eventually came to fruition.

Who Are William McDonough and Michael Braungart?

In the early 1990s, Bill McDonough was a successful American architect with a particular interest in ecological design. Michael Braungart was a German chemist who studied industrial production processes and co-founded the chemistry section of Greenpeace. When the two met in 1991 at an Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency reception in New York, they realized that by combining their expertise, they could lead the charge for sustainable industrial design.

They published their first book, Hannover Principles of Design: Design for Sustainability, in 1991. It set out some of their initial ideas on designing buildings and products with environmental and social sustainability in mind. Then in 1995 they established McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), a firm dedicated to helping companies implement ecologically-minded design principles in their business models.

Finally, after more than ten years getting their hands dirty in the world of environmental design, they decided to distill all their knowledge into a comprehensive new book – a book which later became known as Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way we Make Things

Cradle to Cradle – From Conception to Certification

cradle-to-cradle-coverThe title of their book is derived from the “Cradle to Cradle” concept, which is the idea that production systems should be modeled after natural systems. As such, all the materials used in production should be viewed as nutrients circulating in a closed loop cycle mimicking how nature operates. Therefore, no waste should be generated. Instead, the output from production should consist only of materials that can either be reused in the system or that pose no negative impact when released into the environment.

However, one of the key components of incorporating the Cradle to Cradle concept in business models is that by eliminating waste, a company can actually save money. Therefore, the Cradle to Cradle concept can be both environmentally and economically beneficial.

McDonough and Braungart eventually decided to take the Cradle to Cradle concept further by devising a certification system with which to rank and evaluate products.

Much like LEED certification ranks the sustainability of buildings, Cradle to Cradle certification ranks products in terms of their environmental and social sustainability. In order to achieve certification, a product must meet the minimum criteria in five categories: material health, material reutilization, renewable energy and carbon management, water stewardship, and social benefits. Once a product achieves the minimum requirements, it is given one of five rankings, ranging from basic to platinum based on how well that product promotes an ideal Cradle to Cradle world.

The Cradle to Cradle certification system has now become a prestigious rating system for companies at the forefront of sustainability.

The Upcycle: The Next Generation of Cradle to Cradle

Given that 10 years have now elapsed since the publication of Cradle to Cradle, one can imagine that McDonough and Braungart have had some time to expand on their initial sustainability principles. Unsurprisingly, they still espouse modelling business models after natural systems to ensure zero-waste production.

However, at the forefront of The Upcycle is the idea that business models should actually work to improve the planet, rather than just reuse resources with greater efficiency. Rather than consider one life of a product, businesses should consider the next five lives of a product.

Therefore “zero-waste” is the bare minimum companies should work towards when designing production systems. By actually improving the environment through production, both economic development and the natural environment can flourish.

Of course one does not often encounter such an optimistic approach in the environmental literature these days. But McDonough and Braungart present a convincing argument that the principles presented in Upcycle can achieve widespread adoption. The book is filled with numerous inspiring examples of how companies have taken the Cradle to Cradle principle to the next level while improving both the environment and their bottom line.

In the end, the Cradle to the Cradle principle is not some abstract scientific theory that looks better on paper than it does in practice. More and more companies are receiving Cradle to Cradle certification as technology improves and consumers demand greener products.

This demand for greener products has especially become apparent in the food packaging industry, which is often criticized for its wastefulness and neglect for the environment.

Be Green Packaging is the first food packaging company to achieve a Cradle to Cradle certification.


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Be Green Packaging designs, manufactures and distributes Cradle to Cradle™ certified, tree-free, compostable packaging for the food and consumer packaging industries that is safe for people and healthy for the planet.

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About Be Green Packaging

Be Green Packaging designs, manufactures and distributes Cradle to Cradle™ certified, tree-free, compostable packaging for the consumer packaging industries that is safe for people and healthy for the planet.