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CPT Go Green Packaging Glossary

By Paul Glen,
paul [at] relevantsitecontent . com


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Bagasse - Remains of sugar cane pulp after juice is extracted, used to make bi-products such as packaging, paper and absorbent products.

Biocompostable - plastic and paper products, which disintegrate and biodegrade completely and safely when composted in a municipal or commercial facility (such as yard trimmings and food scraps) Biocomposting is usually completed within 90 days. Biocompatibility will be faster if the products are broken down to small pieces or ground up. Certain packages from renewable resources, like those made from PLA and Sugar Cane, can be composted in your own backyard

Biodegradable - materials that decompose, usually by bacteria or sunlight, into original organic components within a reasonably short period of time. Most organic materials (paper, grass clippings, food scraps), under the right conditions, are biodegradable.

Bioplastic - plastics made from corn, potato or other annually renewable sources which are compostable & biodegradable.

Compost - a crumbly, earthy, sweet smelling mixture of decomposing organic matter (e.g. leaves, food scraps, grass clippings) that is often used to improve the texture, water retaining capacity and aeration (opposite of clumps) of soil.

Eco-efficiency - do more with less of our resources.

Life Cycle Analysis - The key measurement tool for environmental sustainability is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA is a technique for assessing the environmental impacts associated with a product (or service), covering all stages in a product's life.

Life Cycle Inventory - A product's cycle starts when raw materials are extracted from the earth, followed by manufacturing, transport and use, and ends with waste management including recycling and final disposal. At every stage of the life cycle there are emissions and consumption of resources. The environmental impacts from the entire life cycle of products and services need to be addressed. To do this, life cycle thinking is required.

Monopack - This refers to a package that is made from same materials for easy sorting and recycling. An aluminum can with a paper label is not a monopack.

A plastic milk jug and the plastic cap are usually made from the same plastic material (HDPE with the number 2 recycling logo) and is a monopack.

Packaging - protects the food we buy. Usually it cannot be eliminated or compromised.

PLA - PolyLactic Acid - is a product made from corn-starch, with a look and feel like petroleum based plastic. PLA is the one of the most commonly used bioplastics for making products.

Recyclable - material that still has useful physical or chemical properties after serving its original purpose and can be reused or remanufactured to make new products. Plastic, paper, glass, steel and aluminum cans, and use oil are examples of recyclable materials.

Source Reduction - eliminate waste and use less packaging

Sustainability - Actions we take that support quality of life now and for future generations


Published - July 2009

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