Discover more from Following the Footprints
🌱 Plastic Plastic Plastic: How Abel & Cole are 'slimming their bin', and the US coalition against ocean plastic that's making waves.
Featuring Rubi, GANNI, Allbirds, IKEA, Belazu, TRIBE and more...
This week we cover:
Quick Take: A New Earth Project: A sea-change in ocean plastic pollution.
Brand Spotlight: How Abel and Cole are ‘slimming their bin’.
In case you missed it: 🌱PANGAIA Knows Best: 5 Packaging Innovations Your Brand Can Try
> Good News Last Week
🎯 Rubi, in partnership with GANNI, launched their yarn made from carbon emissions at the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen. The goal is for GANNI garments to be made from the yarn, produced using enzymatic processes that sequester carbon dioxide and convert it into cellulose.
🎯 Allbirds unveiled their M0.0NSHOT shoe, the first net-zero carbon shoe. Along with the launch, they have made their toolkit open-source, with the Recipe B0.0K available on their website. The M0.0NSHOT shoe can be viewed at their Carbon Concept Store at Selfridges’ Wonder Room for the next month.
🎯 TRIBE bar launched a limited edition bar in collaboration with National Parks UK. For each bar sold, 5p will go to conservation projects across National Parks.
🎯 Belazu announced they will participate in the William Jackson Food Group Challenge to raise funds for the Belazu Foundation, which supports food and educational projects in the UK and Mediterranean.
🎯 Bold Bean Co won Start Up of The Year 2023 at the Grocer Gold Awards. A big week for them as they also launched their Bold Beans cookbook.
⭐️ Too Good to Go released their 2022 Impact Report, highlighting some of their sustainability milestones from 2022, including saving over 79 million meals from going to waste in 2022 and avoiding almost 200 000 tonnes of CO2e emissions.
⭐️ John Lewis Partnership announced that globally they are the first retailer to have their science-based targets on greenhouse gas emissions from forests, land and agriculture and the first UK retailer to have their net-zero targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative.
⭐️ Nestle announced they are withdrawing their carbon neutral pledges that use carbon offsets for their brands and are instead investing in greenhouse gas emission reductions. Their goal is to be net-zero by 2050.
⚡ Hubbub launched their Eat It Up fund of £200k, which will go towards solutions tackling food waste. Small businesses, social enterprises, charities, local authorities and universities are all eligible to apply for the fund.
> Click on each link to read more.
> Quick Take
A New Earth Project: A sea-change in ocean plastic pollution.
Humanity’s love affair with plastic is all-consuming and ever-growing. We’ve accumulated more than 7 billion tonnes of plastic waste since 1950. Global production has doubled over the last twenty years and at least 14 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year. If we’re going to turn the tide on plastic waste, systemic change is needed. This is exactly what A New Earth Project intends to achieve.
What exactly is A New Earth Project?
In a nutshell, A New Earth Project finds and innovates packaging solutions that are viable alternatives to plastic. A “coalition between outdoor enthusiasts, switched on consumers, brands and packaging suppliers”, the initiative finds practical solutions by driving awareness and leveraging that into strategic collaboration. Let’s take a deeper dive into the details..
Step 1: Education and inspiration
A New Earth Project’s founder, Wes Carter (head of US packaging giant Atlantic Packaging) was inspired to action after numerous conversations with fellow surfers highlighted the sheer scale of plastic pollution in our waterways. In 2021, Carter kick-started the coalition. Realising that education is a prerequisite to action, the project immediately prioritised building awareness through story-driven programming and advocacy. They jumped straight in at the deep end with the eight-part documentary series ‘Journey to a New Earth’ (available on Amazon Prime).
The tidal force of A New Earth Project is driven by this ability to rally a collection of voices for a unified message. Sitting right at the centre of a network of manufacturers, suppliers, brands and consumers, Atlantic Packaging is “uniquely positioned to guide and facilitate organisations in the right direction”. To make change, you’ve got to engage the makers.
Step 2: Building material solutions
The project materialises its goals through actual technological innovation - plastic-free packaging solutions. Atlantic Packing’s impressive resources unlocks scalable innovation. Their Packaging Solutions Centre is a state-of-the-art facility allowing consumer goods manufacturers and retailers to develop a solution, test, then optimise according to key metrics. That includes all the essentials for true efficiency: strength/weight ratio, flexibility, degradability, recyclability and transportability for e-commerce shipments.
A prime example is Ecovative’s Mushroom® Packaging. Made from just hemp and mycelium (mushroom matter), the product is light, endlessly malleable and entirely compostable - something which has already caught Ikea’s eye.
Step 3: Bringing it to the brands
For the New Earth Project and their partners’ efforts to be truly effective, it’s crucial to make these solutions accessible to brands. That’s what the New Earth Catalogue is all about. This global, open-source directory of products and technologies provides consumer goods businesses a list of viable and affordable plastic-free packaging options.
To be ‘New Earth Approved’, all products and capabilities must meet the following criteria:
Curb-side recyclable or compostable - the former is preferred over the latter, keeping products in circulation for as long as possible.
Made from renewable resources - focusing on source materials, prioritising fibre-based material.
Not harmful to wildlife or ecosystems - focusing on end-of-life: biodegradable products should degrade quickly, without releasing harmful chemicals.
The project in action:
Pyzel Surfboards have used the S3 Pro system (fibre-based surfboard padding from Signode’s Multiwall) for their products. Founder Jon Pyzel’s shrewd characterisation of their innovative packaging as a “meaningful brand attribute” reflects the new global reality. With consumer expectations for sustainable packaging ever-growing, there’s every reason brands should make use of the New Earth Catalogue. Check out their full directory here.
A New Earth Project is a fantastic example of attacking the waterway plastic pollution problem from all sides. The project unifies all points in the supply chain - educating, inspiring action and providing the means to take this action. If they’ve had this much impact two years in, who knows what’s in store next.
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> Brand Spotlight
How Abel and Cole are ‘slimming their bin’.
As it’s plastic-free July, you may have found yourself wondering how your business can start to reduce their plastic pollution. But where do you start and what are the options?
For inspiration, this week we will be looking into Abel and Cole to see how they are reducing their plastic usage. Since their inception in 1988, they have pioneered a low-plastic approach to life. In 2021 and 2022 they undertook studies to compare their plastic usage across four major supermarkets. They found that they have 77% less plastic on average in their organic Fruit & Veg Boxes, compared to four major supermarkets. With stats like these we thought it would be apt to take a look for ourselves.
Let’s dig in…
Who are Abel and Cole?
Abel and Cole are an organic fruit and vegetable delivery box service. They have been around since 1988 with the belief that food has the power to change the world. As a proud B Corp, with an impressive score of 103.5, they are on a mission to make shopping sustainably simple. Something we all need!
What do they do to reduce plastic usage?
When it comes to reducing plastic pollution Abel and Cole have multiple initiatives on the go:
They have a zero waste to landfill policy. This means that none of their waste streams, from plastic to paper ends up in landfill.
They have relaunched their Club Zero refillable delivery service. Customers can simply choose a container, pick their refills and return their VIPs (very important pots and pouches) inside their empty boxes.
Sounds like a lot of great initiatives. But this isn’t even the full list. Recently Abel and Cole have stated that the initiative that they are most proud of of late is their Plastic Pick-Up, a flexi-plastic recycling scheme. The scheme involves collecting hard-to-recycle plastic from customers’ homes.
What packaging are Abel and Cole accepting?
Anything that is flexible plastic packaging can be bagged in the Abel and Cole ‘Plastic Pick-Up’ bags. You can find a visual on their webpage where customers can check where each item of packaging should be put here.
However, our personal favourite method is their ‘scrunch test’ as modelled by former British Number 1 tennis player, Johanna Konta - wonder if we will see any scrunch tests taking place on the courts of Wimbledon this week too… If packaging stays scrunched it is hard packaging. If it bounces back when scrunched it is flexi-plastic which can be collected in an Abel and Cole ‘Plastic-Pick Up’ bag.
What impact has the scheme had so far?
The Plastic Pick-Up has helped over 14,000 of Abel and Cole shoppers recycle their flexi-plastics. Instead of contributing to the 300,000 tonnes of plastic packaging that goes to waste because of flexi-plastic complications, Abel and Cole shoppers' carrier bags, bread bags and more can be recycled responsibly.
This is just one of the innovative initiatives that Abel and Cole is pioneering to tackle issues, like flexi plastic. We can’t wait to see the continued impact of this initiative, and their many others, to grow.
Take a closer look at Abel & Cole:
> In case you missed it
🌱PANGAIA Knows Best: 5 Packaging Innovations Your Brand Can Try
Featuring PANGAIA, Finisterre, M&S, REN Clean Skincare and more...
> Follow up with…
Community: Network for Business Sustainability
Resource: Greenwashing Handbook
Event: Energy Garden Summer Party - 29th July