Yep. 93% of Americans think genetically engineered (GE) foods should be labeled. We agree, and that’s why we’ve teamed up with a whole host of other like-minded companies and organizations to launch the Just Label It! campaign; a initiative designed to advocate for the labeling of GE foods.
“We hope to raise awareness of this issue, drive consumers to submit comments to the FDA and let Washington know that Americans want labeling of genetically engineered foods.”
Great news for the organic dairy industry coming out of the Buckeye state today, where a court decision banning packaging claims was reversed. Here’s the deal, and why it’s big:
About two years ago the State of Ohio issued a regulation that severely restricted the organic milk industry’s ability to make clear claims on packing; for us that meant we couldn’t simply call out that our milk was rBST-free, contained no pesticides, and contained no antibiotics. That’s a pretty big deal for not only an organic milk company, but the entire organic community in general. So, naturally the Organic Trade Association (OTA) stepped up to fight the ruling. Unfortunately, they lost and Ohio began to move forward with the regulation.
But the OTA appealed! And today found out that the ruling has been overturned by Ohio’s Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
This is a clear win for organics, and for consumers who rely on organic dairy foods. You can read more about the details of the ruling here.
I consider myself eco-conscious. I recycle. I do most of the laundry in cold water, except for the blanket my youngest drags with him everywhere he goes; that thing goes in hot. I buy organic. But I have a “dirty little secret.” I use plastic, “disposable” sandwich bags. I have three little kids at home and am constantly packing up lunches and serving baggies of snacks. But recently, the teachers at my sons’ school gently suggested I try a better lunch-packing system to reduce the trash my family was creating.
I was annoyed at first. I felt judged and reprimanded. My boys come to school with a healthy lunch that includes all the major food groups. So, what’s a couple sandwich bags? Well that’s just it. A couple of sandwich bags add up. Today, kids’ school lunches are responsible for an estimated 3.5 billion pounds of garbage each year. And no one knows how long it takes plastic to decompose in the landfills. I’ve seen guesses from 500 to 1,000 years—way too long for me to not feel guilty once I let myself think about it. A while back The Grazing Mind shared with you the sustainable packaging and transportation changes International Delight has made. And I’m pretty sure there’s going to be more cool news on that front again soon. So if a brand can make large-scale changes, why can’t I? A quick online search confirmed my suspicions. It is not hard to kick the sandwich bag habit. It’s easy to find BPA-free containers and reusable sandwich wraps. I even found these super cute screen-printed reusable bags.
As a consumer, making the sustainable choice isn’t always as simple as it sounds. But as more and more companies, designers and engineers continue to find new ways to make our everyday lives on the planet more sustainable, like these guys, it will get easier to make good decisions.
That being said, I’m curious. What small step have you taken lately?
Packaging is a serious component of all products. It needs to carry or contain the product. It needs to communicate the product’s ingredients. It needs to tell the company’s story. It needs to be visually compelling. And on top of all of that, if it’s going to make a company relevant to society, it needs to be sustainable. In other words, packaging needs to work on a lot of levels.
This keeps package designers and product engineers really busy trying to figure out how to tie all this stuff together. If a package works, but is expensive and inefficient to make, that’s not a solution. If a package is sustainable, but fails to function, that’s not a solution. If a package design looks good, but fails to keep the product intact or safe, that’s really not a solution.
It’s kind of like playing Jenga, which is why when someone gets it right it’s worth talking about. Method is a great example. Recently, they switched to 100 percent post consumer recycled packaging.
At WhiteWave, we recently had to grapple with these thoughts and concerns in redesigning our International Delight brand’s bottles. Previous designs didn’t work as well as we would have liked. They leaked. And more and more over the past few years, we recognized that the package designs didn’t meet our own emerging sustainability standards. We wanted to do better, so we started using sustainable plastic that requires less energy and water to create. The result? A 30 percent reduction in our carbon footprint vs. the previous design… and the bottle doesn’t leak anymore. Which is nice.
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The Grazing Mind is a blog about current and social events related to the products, culture and business of WhiteWave.