A Green Life Cycle

by Todd McDonald on September 13, 2012

Your stomach rumbles so you make your way into the kitchen to find a late night snack. Luckily there’s an unopened bag of chips in the pantry. Just the type of snack you’re looking for. But, when you go to open the special biodegradable bag it makes a terrible crunching noise, and you hear your spouse say, “Honey, what are you doing up so late?” Busted.

Everyone remembers SunChips’ biodegradable bag, introduced back in 2009.

Although the product was discontinued due to the inconvenient noise it produced, the company’s intentions to create a green chip bag were laudable and the feedback they received (aside from noise complaints) was very positive. At the time, 65% of the population was looking for greener products, and this chip bag would have easily succeeded without its minor flaw. Now, however, the focus is shifting. If the company introduced a silent version of their 2009 bag, it’s likely that the reaction would not be as positive today as it was three years ago. Green products are old news.

Now it’s all about a green life cycle.

In his recent Packaging Digest article, “The Big Picture on Packaging,” Tom Szaky, a green entrepreneur and CEO explains that now, more than ever, customers are concerned with the overall environmental impact of packaging – from how packages are conceived all the way to where they will end up after use. As consumers begin to stand up and take note, Szaky suggests moving to a less traditional definition of sustainability, one that conceptualizes sustainability as a process rather than simply a fixed value.

At TEQ, we couldn’t agree more. We know that “sustainable” isn’t just a quality of our finished products. While some of our own end-user products are recyclable, we are committed to ensuring that the sustainable vision encompasses the entire life cycle and supply chain of our goods and services.

Case in point, in 2009, TEQ was awarded a contract to take over production of Kaz’s ear thermometer covers, but the supply chain was wrought with inefficiency and waste. To make the supply chain more sustainable, we set up a local truck to run between our materials extruder, our own production facility, and our printing and shipping partner, allowing us to easily recover and reuse the leftover plastic webbing as well as roll cores, pallets, and transport carriers.

What innovations have you achieved to make not just your products, but also your supply chains, more sustainable?

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