Archive for the 'News' Category

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 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

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.

Be Green Celebrates Earth Day 2013 Across the Country

It’s that time of year again — Spring is in the air and as nature renews itself, we all collectively come together to celebrate Earth Day in its honor.

Santa Barbara, California

On the West coast of the US in Santa Barbara, CA, Megan Havrda, who is both the Be Green Packaging Eco Advisory Board Chairwoman and a member of the Community Environmental Council (an innovative, SB-local, environmentally focsed non-profit) joined the CEC in celebrating the work, life and career of Van Jones, a notable sustainability and environmental advocate.  Jones is widely known for his role as Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, among other things in his distinguished, activist career.

van jones megan havrda earth hero award cec

Jones visited the Santa Barbara region to accept an award bestowed by the CEC in honor of his tireless work promoting environmentally conscious values in his incredible career as a thought leader and eco-social activist.

earth day santa barbara 2013

Bluffton, South Carolina

On the other side of the country, the Be Green South Carolina team celebrated Earth Day with Experience Green, a Beaufort county, SC local non-profit focused on engaging the community in sustainable environmental and social practices.  Like the CEC, Experience Green puts on an incredible Earth Day festival and celebration to raise awareness about all things green and good.

earth day south carolina 2013

Be Green had a booth at this years event and got to meet and engage much of the local community.

be green earth day south carolina 2013

Check Out Burger King Using Be Green Packaging Souffle Cups

You may have noticed the new Burger King commercial that began airing recently:

Did you also notice the Be Green Packaging Souffle Cups that the sauces were served in?

Screen shot 2013-01-17 at 3.51.59 PM

burger king 1

Be Green Packaging Wins US Green Building Council C4 2012 Green Innovation Award

USGBC C$ Green AwardsOn Dec. 7th, 2012, Be Green Packaging was awarded the US Green Building Council’s California Central Coast Chapter top honors in the Green Innovation category at the organizations 2012 Green Awards.  The prestigious Green Innovation award is given to forward-thinking companies whose products and initiatives are pushing the envelope in regards to sustainability and social responsibility.  Be Green was recognized for its pioneering Cradle to Cradle Certified, plant fiber packaging, which is both compostable and recyclable.

Every year, the US Green Building Council’s Central Coast Chapter (C4) reaches out to Central Coast businesses, architects, designers, and entrepreneurs to submit their projects for consideration in their annual USGBC C4 Green Awards Competition.  The organization reviews submissions based on a number of criteria taking into account design, sustainability, level of innovation, impact on the community and planet, and more.  Entries are judged by a highly accomplished panel of USGBC board members and professionals residing on the Central Coast.

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute Celebrates the Legacy of Visionary Cofounder William McDonough

William_McDonoughPioneering ‘green’ architect and visionary William McDonough was honored last night at a private gala in San Francisco, CA.  McDonough is widely known for his seminal book Cradle to Cradle (co-written with Michael Braungart), which launched a revolution in the way we think about a products life cycle.  The book has inspired an entire generation to abandon the old ‘cradle to grave’ mentality in which products are thrown away at the end of their useful life. Instead, McDonough and Braungart propose that we design products not to be discarded, but as technical nutrients that can be reused indefinitely, thereby avoiding the landfill and all the problems caused by their use

McDonough is also known for his visionary work as a green architect, which integrates environmentally conscious design features such as passive solar heating and other energy and water saving features.  He has designed forward thinking, green buildings for NASA, the Environmental Defense Fund, Ford Motors and Gap, among others.  Many of McDonough’s projects have been awarded LEED certifications, which recognize outstanding sustainable design elements within new or retrofitted buildings.

On hand to celebrate the event was Be Green Packaging CEO Ron Blitzer.  Blitzer’s company, which manufactures and distributes compostable and recyclable plant fiber packaging, has held a Cradle to Cradle Silver certification since 2010.  Be Green’s product line is firmly rooted in the Cradle to Cradle philosophy as it can be reused as a nutrient at the end of its life cycle in multiple different ways depending on how the product is disposed of.  Blitzer is known to be a champion of the Cradle to Cradle philosophy, and the book is required reading for all employees at Be Green Packaging.

2012 Consumer Survey Shows Whole Foods Market and P&G Are Leading Green Brands

whole foods market logoA recently released ‘Green Brands Survey’ conducted by leading firms Landor Associates (consulting and design) and Penn Schoen Berland (research and communications) show that in the eyes of the consumer, Whole Foods Market is the nations leading green brand in 2012.   Other top 10 finishers were Proctor and Gamble (P&G), Kimberley-Clark, Google and Waste Management, among others.

The study measured consumers subjective ratings across various attributes relating to brand perception and environmental efforts such as “is a green company,” “is an environmental leader,” and “has environmentally friendly product’s”, etc. to determine which companies were considered the ‘greenest brands’ of 2012.

Whole Foods Market is widely known for its pioneering role as the nation’s first organic grocery and Proctor and Gamble has been making huge efforts towards increasing the sustainability of its offerings across the many brands it owns.  Both companies have made a huge environmental impact by adopting Be Green Packaging’s plant fiber trays for use in their operations.  Learn more about P&G’s environmental efforts with their new Fusion ProGlide Razor here.  Learn more about Whole Foods sustainability efforts here.

Read more about the study here:

Community Environmental Council Hosts Annual Green Gala Fundraiser; Be Green Joins in the Festivities

This past weekend, the Community Environmental Council (CEC) threw the ‘greenest party of the year’ at the historic Armory building in downtown Santa Barbara.  The event, which attracts local environmental, business, innovation, and philanthropic leaders, is intended to help the CEC reach its annual fundraising goals so that the organization can continue its tireless mission of promoting environmental education and social change in the Santa Barbara region.  Of the many things the CEC is known for, putting on incredible, awareness-raising events is definitely near the top of the list and this years Green Gala was no exception.  This years event featured artisan foods and decorations from throughout Santa Barbara county as well as an incredible LED light display from an Ojai-based entertainment company and Cirque du Soleil performers.

Be Green Packaging is a long-time supporter of the CEC and its mission of promoting environmental awareness through education and social outreach.  Some of the companies best and brightest attended this years event to show their support and celebrate sustainability in true Santa Barbara style.

To learn more about the CEC and their mission visit their website here: Santa Barbara Community Environmental Council

Be Green Team at the Green Gala

green gala tree people 2012

Cirque du Soleil Performers Dressed as Life-Size Trees

Vote Yes on California Prop. 37 to Label All Genetically Modified Foods

On November 6th, 2012, California residents will have the opportunity to vote on groundbreaking legislation that would force all genetically modified foods (GM) to carrying labeling signifying them as such, if passed.  This type of regulation would be the first of its kind in the United States and has the potential to set a major precedent that other states are likely to follow.  As it stands now, it is difficult– if not impossible– to identify genetically modified foods with current labeling requirements.  Those wishing to avoid GM products must buy organic foods or there is always a chance that the product could contain GM ingredients.  By forcing companies or farms who grow or use GM foods to label them as such, it will bring a new level of transparency to the food industry and help consumers to make educated decisions about what they wish to put in their bodies.

What Exactly Are GM Foods and Why Should We Care?

Just like humans, the foods we eat have their own genetic code.  Scientists have discovered that by altering specific sequences of DNA in plants, they can force them to exhibit properties that are considered desirable by some farmers and industries.  For instance, plants can be made resistant to certain pesticides and herbicides so that when they are sprayed in large quantities to combat pests, the plants do not suffer ill effects. While this is beneficial for crop yields, it presents many health problems for people consuming GM crops.  When the new DNA sequences are injected into the plants it is not by any means an accurate science and many other unintended changes also occur, which can cause the plant to exhibit undesirable effects such as increased toxicity even to the point of causing tumors and caner in mice!  No one really knows exactly how and to what extent the plants are altered during genetic splicing and what effects this may have in the long term.  Short term tests that have been conducted on animals are alarming to say the least, with findings implicating GM foods in a number of serious diseases.

Additionally, GM crops/foods having the following issues associated with them:

– GM crops are typically sprayed with significantly higher levels of toxic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in part because it does not affect the plants as severely as their non-GM counterparts and also due to the fact that pests become resistant to the sprays and therefore more is required to kill them with each subsequent application.

– GM seeds are patented and cannot be saved and replanted the following season.  In fact, many GM crops don’t even produce seeds and every time a farmer wants to plant a new plot, they must buy more seeds from suppliers such as Monsanto.  If farmers are caught saving seeds, they face serious lawsuits and harassment by companies enforcing their patents.  However, there is an even bigger problem than farmers caught infringing on seed saving rules: cross-contamination of non-GM crops with pollen from GM crops.  Whenever the wind blows, pollen from GM crops is spread indiscriminately into surrounding fields and farms.  Those farmers who do not wish to grow GM crops but who have land adjacent to farmers who do are at major risk for GM crop contamination.  Not only does this happen frequently, but companies like Monsanto then harass the farmers whose fields have been contaminated and destroyed by GM crops from adjacent farms for patent infringement and other ridiculous claims.

– GM crops typically can only be cultivated on large factory farms where growing conditions can be closely controlled by the excessive use of sprays and petrochemicals.  The energy input needed to generate one unit of GM food is significantly higher than the equivalent organic or non-GM foodstuff.

After learning about these qualities, most people choose to avoid GM foods.  It can, however, be very difficult to do so without obvious labeling, which highlights the importance of CA Prop. 37.

Be Green Packaging Supports CA Prop. 37

non GMO project verifiedBe Green Packaging, along with a growing list of innovative companies, has taken the initiative to have its products verified by the Non-GMO Project, an organization who certifies products which are found to be free of all GM contaminants.  In the absence of definitive legislation, the Non-GMO Project is the most respected organization that works with companies looking to certify that their products do not contain GM ingredients.

On November 6th, remember to vote YES on Prop. 37 in support of labeling GM foods in California!

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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.