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Re: Polypropylene LCA & Stonyfield Farms



Kirsten:

I am aware of the Stonyfield study -- its one of these classic tradeoffs.
If you look at the life cycle of impacts from plastics manufacture, the
trade off between HDPE and PP is as follows (taken from Stonyfield web site):

*  With polypropylene (#5) plastic packaging, Stonyfield Farm uses
significantly less plastic than we would if our cups were HDPE (#2)
plastic. One of the most beneficial characteristics of (#5) plastic is that
it can be made with thinner walls, while maintaining the same structural
integrity. Our quart containers are over 30% lighter today than they were
just 10 years ago. By using (#5) plastic instead of (#2), in 1998 alone we
prevented the manufacture and disposal of over 85 tons of plastic. Added
environmental savings were achieved through decreased air emissions and
resource depletion associated with the manufacture and distribution of the
packaging. In addition, polypropylene is manufactured without the use of
chlorine, thus eliminating the hazards of deadly dioxin releases during
manufacture and incineration which occur with certain other plastics.

*  Still, many of our customers have requested that we use HDPE (#2)
plastic because it's is the only yogurt container recycled in their
community. Unfortunately, most communities accepting HDPE plastic for
recycling actually recycle bottles only. Bottles and wide-mouth containers
such as yogurt containers have different melting points, thus rendering
them undesirable for recycling together. Many communities accept all HDPE
plastics to avoid consumer confusion, then they landfill or incinerate all
but the bottles. The 1997 national recycling rate for HDPE bottles was over
24%, but less than 2% of wide-mouthed HDPE plastic (such as yogurt cups)
were recycled (R.W. Beck 1997 National Post-Consumer Plastics Recycling
Rate Study).

In summary, its lower plastic production and transportation impacts versus
more solid waste.  Throwing the PP yoghurt container in the trash may be a
difficult pill to swallow, but the data bears out Stonyfield's analysis.  

Tim

PS:  and yes, Stonyfield's yoghurt tastes terrific -- I especially like
their organic line.


At 02:27 PM 10/27/99 -0500, you wrote:
>Tim,
>Andrea is right that Stonyfield Farm was featured in the Waste 
>Management EPA broadcast a year or so ago. I, unfortunately, 
>question the wisdom of what they did.
>
>I first came aware of them when I lived in New Hampshire. They 
>have excellent yogurt. However, I bought their product specifically 
>(after the taste) because they packaged their product in a no. 2 
>recyclable package as opposed to the no. 6 plastic of most yogurt 
>manufacturers.
>
>In the film I believed that they switched from 2 to 6 because it took 
>less material to make the 6's but they are basically no longer 
>recyclable!!!!!!!!! So now we end up with a huge pile of yogurt cups 
>in landfills from not only them but everyone else. I still question the 
>results of this study.
>
>I now buy my yogurt in no. 2 containers from an organic farm that 
>produces the yogurt (with no sugar, finally) in Wisconsin.
>
>Kirsten
>
>
>
>
>Date sent:      	Wed, 27 Oct 1999 13:55:33 -0400
>From:           	"Andrea Futrell" <Andrea.Futrell@epa.state.oh.us>
>To:             	<p2tech@great-lakes.net>
>Subject:        	Re: Polypropylene LCA
>Send reply to:  	"Andrea Futrell" <Andrea.Futrell@epa.state.oh.us>
>
>> Tim, 
>> 
>> Stonyfield Farm ( if they're not the food processor in question!) has
investigated different kinds of lids for packaging their yogurt.  They were
featured in a WasteWise teleconference in June, 1998.  You can read more
about their packaging at:
>> 
>> http://www.stonyfield.com/earth/packaging.htm 
>> 
>> 
>> For the P2 tech crowd, Stonyfield includes environmental messages on all
of their yogurt lids.  My favorite so far is, "Think more. Use less.  Start
now." with a link to Earth Communications Office web site.
>> 
>> And they make great yogurt!
>> 
>> Andrea Futrell
>> Ohio EPA, Office of Pollution Prevention
>> PO Box 1049
>> Columbus, OH  43216-1049
>> phone  614-644-2813
>> fax  614-644-2807
>> andrea.futrell@epa.state.oh.us
>> www.epa.state.oh.us/opp
>> 
>> 
>> >>>>>We are doing a study looking at sustainability indicators with the
Lowell
>> Center for Sustainable Production for a food processing company.
>> 
>> We are looking for recent LCA-type data on food-grade polypropylene
>> containers (e.g. yoghurt cups and margerine containers).
>> 
>> Does anyone know of documents or persons we should contact?
>> 
>> Thanks,
>> 
>> Tim Greiner
>> Tim Greiner
>> Greiner Environmental
>> 47R Englewood Road
>> Gloucester, MA   01930
>> P: 978-525-2214
>> F: 978-525-2247<<<<<
>> 
>
>
>Kirsten M. Koepsel
>Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center
>7300 Jack Newell Blvd., South
>Fort Worth, TX  76118
>
>817-272-5925
>817-272-5977 (fax)
>kkoepsel@arri.uta.edu (e-mail)
>
>
Tim Greiner
Greiner Environmental
47R Englewood Road
Gloucester, MA   01930
P: 978-525-2214
F: 978-525-2247