Author: Minal Mistry

Social Sustainability – Collaboration Drives Change

Sustainability is fundamentally a social issue. Without people envisioning a different state of affairs, coming together, engaging, discussing, learning, and sharing, there would be very little positive change along sustainable materials management. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s annual Spring Conference on March 25-27 in Seattle, WA is loaded with activities conducive to this type of collaboration with colleagues from across the full packaging value chain. Tours … More

A Story of Branded Trash

I am sure all of us at one time or another have taken a walk down a nature trail and found a bit of trash that stood out among the plants or on the path. More often than not the item is recognized almost instantaneously by its color scheme, shape or material combination – its branding. We may be irritated by the unsightliness, we may … More

Update from The Fall SPC Members Meeting: CHEP Pallet Tour

I had a chance to tour the CHEP pooled pallet maintenance center during the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s Fall Member Meeting in Florida.  This was a fascinating look into the world of asset repair that ensures optimal performance and longevity of the wood pallets. This particular facility was operated by CHEP, an SPC member company that manages thousands of sturdy wood pallets in a pooled environment where … More

Part 4: Life Cycle Assessment – A Blending of Art and Science.

In the last of my four-part series, I’ll describe the new tertiary packaging model in COMPASS® (comparative packaging assessment) which is being released on October 7, 2013. There is no better way to understand something than to tear it down and rebuild it. At least that’s my motto…sometimes. When it came to building the tertiary packaging model for COMPASS® the research was interesting but it … More

Part 3: A Wood Pallet’s Artful Journey

In this part three of a four part series, I’d like to explore the creative side of the life cycle of some pallets. There is a growing urban hobbyists movement that uses the pallet to make basic yet creative products; check out 35 Creative Ways To Recycle Wooden Pallets for examples. Approaching the problem from a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) perspective, however, I became intrigued … More

Part 2: Secondary and Tertiary Packaging in Municipal Solid Waste

Tertiary Packaging And Compass Continued… Let’s start part two of our four-part series with some basic facts about packaging in Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). In 2011, the overall recovery of packaging material was at approximately 51% with corrugated board and steel leading the charge in terms of highest material recovery. The overall rate is deceiving because the highly recovered materials such as steel and corrugated … More

Part 1: Packaging System and Sustainability

Tertiary Packaging and COMPASS® The Sustainable Packaging Coalition began in 2005 with the Definition of Sustainable Packaging that emphasizes the responsible use of materials for packaging using a life-cycle approach.  A great deal of the effort has been focused on improving the primary packages—the ones we take home that physically contain the product companies are selling. Innovations in packaging design and materials have continued at … More

Meditating on Sustainable Materials Management

Last week about a thousand people attended the Together for a Better Planet – Sustainability Forum in Mexico City. Jeff Wooster, GreenBlue board member, and I were among them. The event presented opportunities for companies to showcase products and services with the potential to reduce environmental burdens of various industrial necessities. There were displays of solar panels, wind turbines, electric delivery vehicles, commercial lighting, packaging, … More

A Merging of Standards and Sustainability

In “At the Intersection of Standards and Sustainability,” published in the March/April 2013 issue of Standardization News, editor in chief Maryann Gorman wrote, “… modern development — manufacturing, infrastructure projects, building construction and so on — takes place in a vast and interconnected world of systems. Global supply chains, regional regulatory schemes and the emergence of integrated systems like intelligent highways and buildings mean that … More

Can an Unethical Business be Sustainable?

After reading last weeks’s NPR story: In Cyber War, Software Flaws Are A Hot Commodity, I am left wondering how sustainability can be applied to the business case being described therein. The gist of the story is that there exists a perfectly legal market of supply and demand for folks who can figure out holes in security protocol of tier one routing and other network … More