With today’s “Material Monday: Series 1” post we focus on environmentally responsible packaging made from a natural and renewable resource, palm fibre, which is left over when palm fruit is harvested for its oil.
Increased demand for palm oil left countries like Malaysia, the world’s largest exporter of palm oil and second biggest producer of it, with substantial quantities of palm fibre as a byproduct. As a short-term solution, production waste was incinerated, resulting in severe air pollution with schools, airports and ports being closed and residents advised to stay inside.
Acknowledging the value of the waste, Earthcycle launched its first marketable product in 2005. Currently, the company manufactures trays, plates and clamshell hinged-lid containers with a minimum wall thickness of 0.6 mm. Each element can be tailored to fit a brands image through in-mould embossing, stickers or sealed lids.
An additional benefit of Earthcycle is that it speaks to consumers’ growing desire to support local economies and also has a proven record of reducing environmental impact. To exemplify:
- with the production using heat, steam and water to form palm fibre into shape, the final product is free from any hazardous binding agents
- top sealable 10 oz pint container uses 90% less plastic than a traditional clamshell, using 22% less oil in production and emitting 53% less greenhouse gas
- palm fibre products are biodegradable and home compostable (In short, biodegradable means that the product can be broken down and can actually participate in the creation of other organic molecules. Some biodegradable materials, like palm fibre, can also be compostable. You can read about more compostable products in our Material Monday post from last week.)
The aforementioned benefits have already attracted a wide-range of retailers such as Trader Joe’s, Wal-Mart, Wegmans, Aldi, Whole Foods, Publix, Kroger, Sobeys and Loblaws. Would you like to join the environmentally friendly retailer club? We can help you do it through creative production.
If this sounds interesting or you would simply be inclined to take part in our event concluding Material Monday: Series 1, please do not hesitate to get in touch.