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Reuse Models Through The New Plastics Economy Lens

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative published research it has conducted on how to convert some 20% of global plastic packaging into reuse models, and how this could represent a US$10 billion opportunity for business. The study looked at over 100 initiatives and interviewed more than 50 experts. The report identified six key benefits in reuse models: lower packaging and transportation from using refills in a compact form (e.g. concentrates and solids); more consumer control over the product; brand loyalty and customer retention through deposit and reward schemes; improved user experience; optimized operations, such as economies for scale in standardizing reusable packaging; and opportunities to gather information on consumer preferences by incorporating digital technologies (RFID tags, GPS, and sensors) in reusable packaging. The study also looked at four main reuse models (refill at home; refill on the go; return from home; and return on the go), and ...  More

"New Plastics Economy: Reuse book launched", Ellen MacArthur Foundation , July 13, 2019

Swedish Startup Introduces The Veggio Reusable Bag For Fruit And Veg

Carrinet, a Swedish startup, has developed a machine-washable, reusable drawstring bag, called Veggio, made from 100% recycled PET bottles, for fruit and vegetables. Each bag can hold up to 10kg and the netting design allows the produce to be rinsed while still in the bag. 2Tech is distributing the bags in the UK. It says the bags give consumers an alternative to using the free plastic bags provided in supermarkets, and it aims to persuade supermarkets to stock the Veggio bags.

"Start-up tackles packaging waste with bags made from 100% recycled bottles", Food Navigator , June 21, 2019

McDonald’s UK & Ireland Makes Further Plastic Use Reductions

The McFlurry’s ice cream range at McDonald’s in the UK and Ireland will be sold without the single-use plastic lids from September this year. McDonald’s will also use 100% renewable and recyclable cardboard packaging for all main meals and side salads, replacing the plastic containers. The cardboard will contain 50% recycled content. The company says that the changes will reduce plastic waste by nearly 500 million tonnes a year. Its global commitment is to use only renewable or recycled packaging by 2025 and it has started replacing plastic straws with paper straws. 

"McFlurry gets a makeover in McDonald’s UK latest sustainability drive", McDonald’s UK , June 21, 2019

Consumer Acceptance Is Key In Raising PCR Levels In Plastic Packaging


Melissa Craig, senior manager of packaging sustainability at Unilever North America, says that the company is working towards 100% packaging recyclability, with the main challenge being “flexibles”. Its Hellmann's mayonnaise containers in US will move 100% rPET by the end of 2019. However, Craig admitted there must be some degree of compromise, such as slightly tinted plastic, or black specks, and consumer acceptance might be an issue. The company has pledged a global target of 25% post-consumer resin in total packaging by 2025, but the North America business is aiming for 50% by the end of this year. 

"Sustainability requires at least some compromise, Unilever says", Plastics News, June 13, 2019

Aldi UK Replaces Plastic Checkout Bags With Paper Or Compostable Options




Aldi in the UK will from July this year replace plastic bags in half of its stores with paper bags, and biodegradable bags at the other half. After the trial, Aldo will choose the most popular. The Bioplast 100% compostable bags will cost 6p. Aldo is charging 19p for the paper bags. 

"Aldi announces plans to reduce traditional plastic bags with paper and compostable versions", Independent UK, June 10, 2019

Coca-Cola In Belgium Asks Consumers Not To Buy Its Products Unless It Plans To Recycle Them

Coca-Cola in Belgium is trying an ambitious approach to raising awareness of the need to recycle plastic, with a summer campaign that asks consumers not to buy Coke products if they aren’t willing to help the company recycle. Some 85% of Coca-Cola packaging in the country is currently recycled, but the company says this rate is not high enough. The campaign is also being adopted in the Netherlands, on TV ads as well as activations in towns and at festivals. Although the campaign ends in September, it will be incorporated in other advertising.

"‘Don’t buy Coca-Cola if you’re not going to help us recycle!’ Coca-Cola launches recycling campaign", Beverage Daily, June 10, 2019

Organic Farming Has A Plastics Problem Too

Organic farming, like traditional farming, has hit an obstacle caused by the move to limit single-use plastic, which is used as mulch to suppress weeds, improve irrigation and water conservation, and support plant growth. Plastic film to cover acres of arable land represents miles of film, which is disposed of in landfills after one use. There are as yet no feasible alternatives. Biodegradable plastic, for example, is disallowed under existing organic rules in the US, and natural mulches are expensive and labor-intensive. Manufacturers of biodegradable options, including BASF, have been calling on the USDA's National Organic Program to change the rules, but the long-term impact has yet to be identified. 

"Organic Farming Has A Plastic Problem. One Solution Is Controversial", NPR, June 07, 2019

Buttery Brioche Stands Out On Menu Of New California Bakery

Baker Nubchi Thao, who grew up in France, is known, like her new bakery in Fresno, Calif., as The Brioche Lady. The bakery used to be Le Parisien Cafe, and the new owner continues to sell a few treats from the old menu, including colorful macaron sandwich cookies, mini eclairs, and French pastries. But the headliner is really the brioche, a specialty that is not easy to make, what with the rising and fermentation processes that can take 14 to 16 hours. The bakery offers a variety of loaves, including brioches flavored with chocolate, cinnamon, blueberry cream cheese, and strawberry cream cheese. The brioche is used to make: the croque madam ham and cheese sandwich; waffles and traditional brioche French toast; and a brioche bread and ice cream sandwich. 

"This new Fresno bakery specializes in something different - and it takes 16 hours to make", Fresno Bee (California), May 15, 2019

Whole Grain Reduces Gut Serotonin Levels – And Risk Of Diabetes

A new Finnish study finds that adults who eat whole grain rye products have lower plasma serotonin levels than people eating low-fiber wheat bread, and therefore possibly a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Serotonin, best known as a neurotransmitter in the brain, is also produced by the intestines where it remains separated from the brain. In the gut it serves various peripheral functions. including modulation of gut motility, the ability to move food through the digestive tract. Increased blood serotonin is also associated with high blood glucose levels. The researchers noted that whole grain is known to reduce the risk of diabetes. “On the basis of these new results, the effect could at least partly be due to a decrease in serotonin levels," said researcher Kati Hanhineva from the University of Eastern Finland. (Pekka Keski-Rahkonen et al., The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2019.)

"Whole Grain Can Contribute To Health By Changing Intestinal Serotonin Production", ScienceDaily, May 13, 2019

Hey America! Chickpea Flour Is Not A U.S. Innovation

Indians, Nepalese, Pakistanis, and others have been cooking with chickpea flour for centuries. And now that Americans are getting into the ancient ingredient, some Indians wonder whether their culinary heritage might be getting blurred. The popularity of chickpea flour in the U.S. has been traced to 2009, when it began to appear on gluten-free blogs. In a few years, cookbooks appeared with recipes, for example, like chickpea flour pancakes layered with tomatoes and onions. Gluten-free bakeries popped up, offering treats like chickpea chocolate cupcakes. But freelance food writer Priya Krishna, whose family has long cooked with chickpea flour, wishes cooks and bakers in the U.S. were aware of chickpea flour’s deep roots in South Asian cooking. “I'm not against chickpea flour entering the mainstream,” she writes. “But I wish that more of the stories I read about it, or the recipes I saw that featured it, didn't frame it as a brand-new discovery, and completely ignore its heritage.”

"How Did Chickpea Flour, A Staple Of Indian Cuisine, Become A Health Food Sensation?", NPR The Salt, May 12, 2019

 
Companies, Organizations  

ThaiBev Acquires Chinese Coffee Processor Dongguan LiTeng Foods

Singapore-listed Thai Beverage (ThaiBev) has acquired, through its indirect subsidiary Asiaeuro International Beverage (Guangdong), a 100 percent stake in Mainland China coffee processing and trading company Dongguan LiTeng Foods. The $43,571 acquisition marks the company’s first step into China’s coffee business. ThaiBev currently owns only one distillery in China producing Yulinquan Chinese spirits. In Thailand, the company has 173 subsidiaries, including 18 distilleries, 3 breweries and 11 non-alcoholic beverage production facilities. ThaiBev has also recently acquired equity positions in Myanmar whisky maker Grand Royal Group (GRG) and in Vietnamese food and beverage giant Sabeco.

"ThaiBev acquires China’s coffee company Dongguan LiTeng Foods", Deal Street Asia, July 03, 2019

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