Potential problems with carbon offset projects in developing countries

The idea of undertaking projects, such as forestry projects, in developing countries to offset greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries such as Canada has been around since the beginning of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and has been implemented by a significant number of organizations. A new report from the California-based Oakland Institute suggests that this approach to climate change mitigation could face some serious social responsibility challenges.

The Oakland Institute report, The Darker Side of Green: Plantation Forestry and Carbon Violence in Uganda, reviews carbon offset projects undertaken in Uganda by Green Resources, a Norwegian-registered plantation forestry company. and points out that there is mounting evidence that these land acquisitions for climate change mitigation—including forestry plantations—severely compromise not only local ecologies but also the livelihoods of the some of the world’s most vulnerable people living at subsistence level in rural areas in developing countries. Among the findings:

  • upwards of 8,000 people in rural Uganda face profound disruptions to their livelihoods, including many experiencing forced evictions.
  • villagers across Green Resources’ two land acquisitions in Uganda report being denied access to land vital for growing food and grazing livestock, as well as collecting forest resources central to their livelihoods.
  • many local people also describe the pollution of land and waterways by agrochemicals used in forestry plantations, resulting in crop losses and livestock deaths.
  • many of those evicted, as well as those seeking to use land now licensed to Green Resources, report being subjected
    to physical violence at the hands of the police.
  • they also allege that private security forces have been involved in this criminal behaviour, although the role of Green Resources itself is not known.

The report introduces the term “carbon violence” to give context to the diversity of structural, social, political, economic, and cultural harms connected with the way carbon markets have evolved in some developing countries, Evidence presented demonstrates how subsistence farmers and poor communities carry heavy costs associated with the expansion of forestry plantations and global carbon markets.

GallonDaily suggests that, while situations such as that described in the Oakland Institute report almost certainly do occur in association with carbon projects in developing countries, they are not a necessary or desirable part of such projects. At its fundamentals the situations described in the report are not fundamentally different from some of the charges levelled against Canadian mining company activities in developing countries. Corporate social responsibility programs, possibly including ones similar to that which the Canadian government is now encouraging mining companies to implement, may be a part of the solution. In the meantime Gallondaily suggests that it is in the best interest of companies investing in developing country carbon offsets to take a close look at the offset projects to ensure that they are not causing the kind of social, environmental, and criminal disruptions described in the Oakland Institute report.

The 15 page report, The Darker Side of Green: Plantation Forestry and Carbon Violence in Uganda, is available at http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/darker-side-green

Natural gas fuel may not be much better (or better at all) than coal

A research report from scientists at the Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, California and Intellectual Ventures, a patent consolidator and research house in Bellevue, Washington concludes that “if there is substantial methane leakage, natural gas [power] plants can produce greater near-term [global] warming than coal plants with the same power output. However, if methane leakage rates are low and power plant efficiency is high, natural gas plants can produce some reduction in near-term warming. In the long term, natural gas power plants produce less warming than would occur with coal power plants. However, without carbon capture and storage natural gas power plants cannot achieve the deep reductions that would be required to avoid substantial contribution to additional global warming.”

The finding is not surprising to many in the environmental science community but it should be cautionary to some in the environmental ngo and political communities who have been pushing natural gas at least as an interim replacement for coal.

The methodology for the Carnegie study is interesting. The researchers developed a power plant GHG emissions model, and used a schematic climate model  to investigate the radiative forcing and resulting global mean temperature changes (ΔT). This model considers the pathway from emissions of GHGs to global mean temperature response. The generating plants included in this study are single natural gas and coal fired power plants with capacity of 1 GW. The major emissions from power plants occur during operations; construction emissions are relatively small in total life-cycle emissions, and relatively similar for the two types of plants, so they are ignored.

The analysis is complex with several key variables. For example, both natural gas and coal can produce significant methane emissions, the former from avoidable, but not always avoided, leaks in the distribution system and the latter from much ore difficult to avoid leaks directly from the coal bed. The study makes numerous conclusions but overall indicates that “if there is substantial methane leakage associated with natural gas supply, then natural gas plants can produce more warming than a comparable coal plant during the period of operation’. In the best case, if the methane leaks are addressed, then “the best natural gas plant with a zero methane leakage rate still produces about two-thirds of the century-integrated warming [ie over a hundred year time period] as does the best coal power plant”.

The researchers note that “many well-publicized GHG emission targets require much deeper cuts in emissions than can be provided by natural gas. For example, California’s AB32 regulation calls for 80% reductions in emissions below 1990 levels by mid-century. Many power plants built today could still be operational in mid-century; this raises the question of the extent to which natural gas can help in achieving these policy objectives. If natural gas is to play a long-term role in electricity production in a world with greatly constrained carbon emissions, then carbon capture and storage may be an essential component of future natural gas systems”.

The article concludes “natural gas is thought of as a ‘bridge’ fuel by some policy makers—a temporary fuel to be used until a transition to near-zero emission technologies becomes more feasible. Thus, natural gas is promoted as a way to decrease near-term emissions as we make a transition to energy systems that deeply cut longterm emissions. However, if methane leakage rates cannot be maintained at very low values, near-term climate benefits may be small or non-existent. There is potential that, relative to coal, the deployment of natural gas power plants could both produce excess near-term warming (if methane leakage rates are high) and produce excess long-term warming (if the deployment of natural gas plants today delays the transition to near-zero emission technologies. Thus, achieving climate benefits from the use of natural gas depends on building high efficiency natural gas plants, controlling methane leakage, and on developing a policy environment that assures a transition to future lower-emission technologies.”

The article is published in Environmental Research Letters, a peer-reviewed, scientific journal, and can be found at http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/9/11/114022?fromSearchPage=true 

Ontario Auditor General focusses on some environmental initiatives

It is not too often that the Auditor General of Ontario focusses attention on the environmental aspects of government initiatives but the OAG’s 2014 report, released today, reviews both Ontario’s Smart Meter program and source water protection with follow-ups on Drive Clean vehicle emissions testing and Metrolinx regional transportation planning.

With respect to Smart Meters the OAG finds:

  • the smart metering program, involving homes and businesses, was rolled out without nearly enough planning or monitoring.
  • as a result, the government has not met its targets for reducing peak electricity demand.
  • the difference in peak and off-peak rates has not been significant enough to change consumption patterns.

With respect to source water protection, the OAG finds:

  • fourteen years after the crisis in Walkerton, the locally developed source water protection plans envisioned by the Walkerton Commission of Inquiry and legislated under Ontario’s Clean Water Act, 2006, are not in place to ensure the first level of defence for the safety of drinking water for Ontarians.
  • situations of non-compliance with the Nutrient Management Act, 2002 and its regulations, and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s weak enforcement activities, increase the risk that source water (water that flows into water treatment plants and wells) in Ontario is not being effectively protected.
  • there is a high likelihood that spills from industrial and commercial facilities may also pose a significant threat to water intakes in the Great Lakes, but source water protection plans do not currently address them.

The OAG also finds that only a third of the recommendations on regional transportation planning in the 2012 Annual Report have been implemented. For example, Metrolinx, after consulting with stakeholders, has provided the Ministry of Transportation with an investment strategy to fund projects within the Regional Transportation Plan. The other recommendations are requiring more time to be fully addressed, such as defining the business model under which the Union Pearson Express will operate to ensure that it will be a viable and sustainable operation. In conjunction with the provincial government and transit providers, Metrolinx still needs to develop a strategy for implementing better fare integration among GTHA transit systems.

On Drive Clean vehicle emissions testing the OAG found that most of her recommendations have either been implemented or are in process.

It is reasonable to expect that the Government will act on the Auditor General’s recommendations on smart meters, source water protection, and regional transportation planning. At least the first two of these are likely to have cost implications for business.

The OAG’s report and media summaries can be found at http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/default.htm

Ten low environmental impact Christmas gifts

We first published this article in the Vol. 15, No. 9, December 7, 2010 edition of Gallon Environment Letter. In case it inspires readers to give lower environmental impact presents this holiday season we are reprinting it here.

As we approach gift season GL’s editors thought we might share some suggestions for low environmental impact Christmas gifts. Not surprisingly, these are mostly gifts that involve services rather than durable goods – a switch which we see as key to increasing sustainability. So, without further ado (another low impact thing, as far as we can tell),and in no particular order :

  • theatre tickets to a local theatre. We have never seen or done a LifeCycle impact on theatre, but it seems to us that cultural activities such as theatre likely have lower environmental impact per dollar spent than almost any material goods. If you cannot find a local theatre with tickets, or season tickets, for sale, then an alternative may be an educational course for your friends or relatives.
  • museum tickets. With family admissions now often exceeding $20, and sometimes much more, the gift of admission to a museum or art gallery makes a very nice holiday gift. Art will appreciate it too.
  • a season of Community Shared Agriculture. Right across Canada many small farmers are offering CSA programs, where they grow the food and all the members get a share. Many CSA farmers will sell an entire season and, if one share is too big, they will sell a half share. This means that your friend or relatives will get from 12 to 20 weeks of locally grown, often organic, vegetables that will taste better than anything that can be bought in the supermarket.
  • local food products are always a good choice. Food is a necessity and, in GL’s opinion, food production presents one of the most sustainable economic development opportunities for Canada. Depending on where in Canada you live, the following ideas might help you find a sustainable gift: on the east, west, or south (Great Lakes) coasts, look for smoked seafood such as smoked mackerel, smoked trout, or smoked salmon. Many fishmongers can help you choose a delicious local smoked fish product that does not require refrigeration (as far as GL knows, Santa’s sleigh does not carry any kind of refrigerant).
  • garden seeds and planters for growing of food plants. If your friends or relatives are not yet into gardening for food, then a book, a few packs of seeds for vegetable production, or a couple of mini-greenhouses for seed germination can get them started. If they already grow their own tomatoes, then an electric seed starter mat which warms the seed tray from the bottom can help. Search for seed starter mat on Google or Yahoo Search or inquire (by phone, to avoid driving) at local seed supply companies or nurseries. Growing your own food is a pretty sustainable thing to do, and getting the seeds started early can help increase production.
  • transit tickets or passes. All environmentally aware folks know that buses, trains, and coaches are far better than taking you car. Why not encourage you parents, relatives, or friends to use public transit by giving them a bus or train pass. If they are not in a situation where they can use transit regularly, gift them a bus tour or train pass to visit somewhere they would find interesting. Most coach tour operators as well as Via Rail Canada offer short and longer tours to all kinds of neat places. Trains and buses are usually lower environmental impact, and a more pleasant way to travel, than taking your own car.
  • a heated mattress pad or electric duvet along with an automatic turn-down thermostat if they do not already have one. GL is a big fan of electrically heated bedding. At night one can turn down the home heating thermostat by as much as 8 or 9 degrees if one has a warm bed. In most homes it takes far less energy to keep the bed warm, literally only a few watts per hour, than to keep the whole house warm. Yes, we know a hot water bottle might be better but we like an electric duvet, available in the US from bedding retailers but in Canada apparently mostly from EBay – look for Sunbeam brand – but heated mattress pads are also excellent and cheaper than the electric duvet. Your gift recipient will only save money and the environment if they turn down the house temperature overnight so if they do not have one get them an electronic thermostat as well as the heated bedding.
  • a romantic night in a local hotel. ‘Nuff said! But hotels exist and the environmental impact of another occupied room is pretty small! Many people say they never explore their local tourist sites unless they have visitors. For over 40 years, the London Free Press (London, Ontario) has offered a “Shunpiker Tour” which highlights local art, culture, old-fashioned general stores and other places to see and things to do within a short distance away. Staying in a local hotel is a great way to explore the local sights.
  • a gift certificate at a store that you know provides things that the recipient will like. Believe it or not but GL is not a big fan of gift certificates. But we have to say that giving a gift certificate so that the recipient can buy something they will use is far better for the environment than giving them something for which they have no use. So we endorse the current trend towards gift certificates as long as the giver puts some thoughts into the store in which the recipient would find value. If it is an older person or someone who can make good use of the gift of communication, then consider a long-distance telephone gift card. We particularly like the series offered by VOX, which is Bell Canada in disguise, but other brands are probably just as good. The environmental impact of a telephone call is very low and the social benefit seems to us to be very high.
  • trees for the garden or for a public space are another environmentally helpful gift idea. Although it is obviously not possible to plant trees in Canada during the Christmas holiday season, many nurseries and garden centres offer gift certificates that can be used to plant a tree when Spring arrives, or you can just pledge to deliver the tree when the season is appropriate. We don’t recommend giving a potted Christmas tree or garden tree at Christmas time. Even if the tree survives the often dry and hot conditions inside the home it is unlikely to forgive you for the transition to the cool damp conditions that will exist outdoors in the Spring.

Beyond our 10 more sustainable gift suggestions we also recommend the gift of service. If it is someone who lives alone, offer to visit their home, bring and make a meal and join with them in eating together on four, six or twelve occasions during the year or if you are driving, fill up the car and offer a ride to the grocery store. If it is a couple or family, offer to bring a meal or help them with the household chores. If it is a child, offer to play games with them or help them with puzzles or school work on a specific number of occasions and for a specified length of time in the coming year. If you have skills that the recipient would find valuable, offer to teach them, help them exercise, maintain their home, or even babysit for a number of occasions during the year. Give them a number of coupons for the activity you have chosen that they can redeem with you so that you and they will know that the obligation is real and will be delivered. Helping each other has to be one of the cornerstones of a more sustainable 21st Century society.

Above all, enjoy the holiday season and help your friends and family enjoy the holiday season and the year ahead.

Ontario government publishes ministers’ mandate letters

When a new provincial Cabinet is appointed the Premier provides each minister with a document that is now referred to as a “mandate letter”. Essentially it is a list of expectations that the premier has for the new minister. Previously these mandate letters were kept confidential but Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has broken with tradition and published these letters.

It is interesting to note the multitude of tasks the Premier has given to Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray. In summary:

  • Building on, and supporting, the most current climate change science, leading the development of a new long term climate change strategy for Ontario, including an action plan to help the government achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2020. The strategy is to be completed in 2015.
  • Greenhouse gas impact analyses for significant policies, legislation and regulations and adaptation considerations for public infrastructure investments.
  • Working with other provinces and territories on the development of a Canadian Energy Strategy that includes co-ordinated efforts to reduce GHG emissions.
  • Developing new alternative fuel rules in 2014 to help big, energy-intensive industries reduce their GHG emissions.
  • Re-introducing a strengthened Great Lakes Protection Act.
  • Negotiating the renewal of, and implementing, the Canada-Ontario Agreement respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem. This will include developing a nutrient target by 2016 to address algal blooms in the Great Lakes and bringing forward recommendations to meet that target.
  • Working with Great Lakes states to ensure the sustainability of the Great Lakes. This will include fully implementing the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement by regulating intra-basin transfers.
  • Developing and implementing improved approaches to waste diversion. Building on the release of the Waste Reduction Strategy and working with industry, municipalities and other stakeholders toward the objective of re-introducing waste reduction legislation. The goal is to ensure the ongoing sustainability and appropriate governance of waste diversion programs. This is critical to protecting the environment, recovering economic value in the waste stream and reaping GHG reduction benefits by using resources more efficiently.
  • Improving drinking water on First Nations’ reserves, with a focus on remote communities: the number of First Nation reserves without access to safe drinking water is unacceptable. We will develop measurable, achievable targets to monitor progress.
  • Supporting the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in efforts to strengthen pollinator health.
  • Working with business, industry and partner ministers to provide Ontarians with better information about chemicals linked with cancer.
  • Working with industry to ensure that products on Ontario store shelves such as children’s products are as safe as those in the US and the European Union.
  • Continuing to work on decisions relating to environmental assessments associated with projects in the Ring of Fire region. You will do so by working with the ministers of Northern Development and Mines, Aboriginal Affairs, and Natural Resources and Forestry. This will include ensuring that the regional and cumulative impacts of proposed development are considered. [Note that this item comes under the heading “Supporting the Development of the Ring of Fire” rather than “Completing full and complete environmental assessments of the Ring of Fire”. Note that in the Ontario context the Ring of Fire is an area of far Northern Ontario which is projected to be rich in valuable minerals, including chromium, copper, zinc, nickel, platinum, vanadium and gold.]
  • Reviewing the legislative framework to ensure there is a comprehensive approach to holding polluters responsible for decisions that affect the environment. Your ministry will put greater emphasis on prevention and on the “polluter pays” principle, focusing initially on contaminated sites.

It will be interesting to see how much attention environmental issues not included in this mandate letter, such as air pollution, receive from this government.

The complete mandate letter for the Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change is available at https://www.ontario.ca/government/2014-mandate-letter-environment-and-climate-change.

SLAPP lawsuits may backfire on a company’s reputation

GallonLetter and GallonDaily have written before about SLAPP suits. A Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation is a suit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defence until they abandon their criticism or opposition. But SLAPP suits do not always work as Shell found out this week. Shell may well be in a worse public opinion situation now than it would have been had it not initiated a suit against Natural Resources Defense Council and a number of other environmental groups.

In brief, Shell asked the court to pre-emptively validate the federal Bureau of Environmental Safety and Enforcement’s approval of the company’s Alaskan Arctic oil spill plans against any future legal challenge by the environmental groups. This was widely interpreted as an initiative intended to quash dissent against Shell’s plans for Arctic drilling.

The court found this to be a “novel litigation strategy, whereby the beneficiary of agency action seeks to confirm its lawfulness by suing those who it believes are likely to challenge it” and dismissed the case as unconstitutional. Now the environmental groups are trumpeting the court decision as a victory against Shell’s Alaskan Arctic drilling program and are having a field day at Shell’s expense in the US media.

SLAPP suits rarely succeed in the courts, particularly in US courts, and the consequences of a loss can be significant, even though Shell’s lawyer is reported to have said that the Company was prepared for any outcome of the suit. Shell had originally hoped to start drilling in the Arctic in the Summer of 2012, following approval of its plans by the US Department of the Interior. Now it may well be spending more time in court fighting legal challenges brought be the same groups against which it launched its SLAPP suit. In addition, it has almost certainly suffered a blow to its reputation, at least amongst those members of the public who agree with the environmental groups that Shell’s Arctic drilling plans are risky.

NRDC’s account of the court’s decision, with more details included. can be found at http://www.nrdc.org/media/2014/141112b.asp

US agency urges strengthening of pesticide residue monitoring programs

The U.S. Government Accountability Office, an independent, nonpartisan agency that reports directly to Congress, has published a report that is highly critical of the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture which monitor pesticides in food. The report states:

  • monitoring and enforcing pesticide residue tolerances associated with thousands of pesticides currently in use is a formidable task.
  • FDA tests for the majority of pesticides that have established tolerances, but the agency does not disclose the pesticides for which it does not test or the potential effect that not testing could have on its detection of violations.
  • FDA does not test for several commonly used pesticides, including glyphosate, or disclose the potential effects of not testing for these pesticides.
  • though USDA has recently increased the scope of its testing, the agency does not disclose that it does not test for specific pesticides that have tolerances for animal products or their feed or the potential effect of not testing for these pesticides.
  • users of the agencies’ annual reports may not have accurate information and may misinterpret the results of the programs.
  • the annual pesticide monitoring reports do not reliably reflect the rate at which pesticide violations occur in the U.S. food supply.

The GAO recommends:

  • design and implementation of a statistically valid sampling methodology that would gather nationally representative pesticide residue incidence and level data for both domestically produced and imported foods.
  • identification of any types of domestic and imported foods that are at high risk for pesticide residue tolerance violations.
  • disclosure of all pesticides with EPA-established tolerances which the agency did not test for in its National Residue Program and the potential effect of not testing for those pesticides.
  • providing more complete information on the sampling methodology used, such as how the agency identifies and selects states, food distribution centers, and commodities for pesticide residue testing.
  • reporting on the extent to which the survey covers commodities in the U.S. food supply and any limitations associated with its survey.

FDA and USDA have agreed with many but not all of the recommendations of the GAO.

A summary and the full report are available at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-38

Poll indicates that US consumers seek environmentally friendly and socially-responsible food

According to a US public opinion poll published this summer by Consumer Reports® National Research Center:

  • two-thirds of Americans are checking to see if their food is locally produced.
  • the majority of consumers (59%) are also checking to see if their food is natural, though this term is not regulated and may mislead many consumers into thinking it means GMO free.
  • the majority of consumers think that the natural or organic label on packaged and processed foods means that no pesticides, artificial ingredients or chemicals, or genetically modified ingredients were used; an even greater amount of consumers feel that this labeling should indicate this.
  • US consumers want workers that produced their food to be treated fairly and most are willing to put their money where their mouth is.
  • while only half of consumers think a humanely raised claim currently means that the animals were raised without cages, a clear majority of consumers (75%) think these claims should mean this.
  • 92% of consumers demand that the government require that genetically engineered salmon be labeled as such.
  • for the overwhelming majority of consumers very important or important objectives include supporting local farmers (92% of consumers), protecting the environment from chemicals (89%), fair conditions for workers (86%), reducing exposure to pesticides (87%), good living conditions for animals (80%), and reducing antibiotic use in food (78%). Avoiding GMOs (72% of consumers) and artificial ingredients (69%) are also crucial objectives for many consumers.

The study should make clear to industry that there are lots of votes for politicians to be had in mandating food labelling. The non-profit Consumer Reports has launched campaigns to have the US government ban use of the word ‘natural’ on foods and to require labelling of foods containing genetically modified organisms.

The full public opinion research report, containing much more data about US attitudes towards food, can be found at http://www.greenerchoices.org/pdf/ConsumerReportsFoodLabelingSurveyJune2014.pdf

GallonDaily is not aware of any similar recent Canadian opinion research that is currently publicly available.

Conservation impact investments: a proven economic growth opportunity

A very interesting recent report studies the emerging field of conservation impact investments. Defined by the authors as investments designed to return capital or earn a profit while also driving a measurable positive impact on natural resources and ecosystems, such private sector investments totalled more than $1.9 billion from 2009 through 2013, growing at an average rate of 26% during the period. Survey research found that private investors expect to deploy $1.5 billion of already-raised capital and to raise and invest an additional $4.1 billion from 2014 to 2018.

Conservation impact investments cover such areas as sustainable food and fibre production projects, habitat conservation, and water quantity and quality conservation. The research found the most rapid growth in sustainable agriculture which grew globally from grew more than 600% from 2004-2008 to 2009-2013, increasing from $67 million to $472 million. Sustainable forestry and timber grew much less rapidly, from $504 million to $710 million across the same period.

Among other findings of the research:

  • The large majority of the private investments reported were made in projects located in the United States and Canada ($1.6 billion, 82%).
  • Although conservation objectives appear to be the leading reason for investing in this sector,
    most investors are also satisfied with financial performance.
  • Private equity conservation impact investments have an average target of 10-14.9% internal rate of return.
  • The biggest challenge most survey respondents identified was the shortage of deals with the appropriate risk/return profiles. Most investors stated that there is no shortage of capital for good conservation deals.
  • Another key challenge is the shortage of management teams with experience in the sector.

Including several case studies, this 81 page report provides some excellent analysis for everyone interested in private sector investment in conservation. It can be found through a link on The Nature Conservancy’s web page at http://www.naturevesttnc.org/Reports/info.html. Authors of the report are from EKO Asset Management Partners and The Nature Conservancy, a US charitable environmental organization, with assistance from a team of advisors.

Packaging innovation has a long way to go to address waste concerns

The 2014 edition of Pack Expo is running in Chicago until Wednesday. Billed as the world’s largest packaging show, and very credibly qualifying for that label based on GallonDaily’s experience, the show is hosted by PMMI The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies and attracts an estimated 65,000 people over four days. The show is absolutely huge, featuring everything from packaging concepts and machinery to materials and labels (no, Toronto, your beloved Deco Labels, owned by the Ford family, is not here!).

It is challenging but not impossible to find environmental concepts at PackExpo. Among those which have caught GallonDaily’s attention:

  • energy and water use efficiency as a feature of packaging equipment.
  • even more robotics than at previous packaging shows we have attended, with robots for everything from forming, filling, boxing, and palletizing packages.
  • packaging robots capable of using different size containers depending on the size of goods being shipped, for example for consumer internet or mail orders, with the robot efficiently organizing the different size packages on the pallet.
  • considerable expansion in promotion of polypropylene for packages, including a new clear polypropylene material that visually closely resembles clear polystyrene or PET and can be used for all applications appropriate for those resins.
  • wax-free water resistant cartons.
  • bag in box systems
  • self-supporting lightweight plastic film containers
  • ever increasing types of multimaterial films, some with as many as 9 layers, adaptable to every conceivable application and set of properties including microwaveable, oven safe, hot liquid uses, shelf stability, freezer stable, and control of gas permeability.
  • increased lightweighting of packaging through better design and new material use, often without regard ton the recyclability of the end of life package.
  • packaging transportation efficiency, for example through use of square rather than round bottles.
  • metering dispensers incorporated into plastic packages so as to control the amount of product dispensed.
  • more reusable containers for food and industrial applications.
  • increasing availability of third party environmental, safety, and performance certifications.

A common thread throughout much of the packaging innovation on show is the multitude of problems likely to be caused to recycling system operators, especially in Canada where high-tech optical sorting systems for recyclable material handling are rare.

A GallonDaily special report directly from the floor of PackExpo 2014.