Sun Chips Compostable Chip Bag Earth Day 2010

Frito-Lay has been working for a year now on developing and testing a biodegradable bag that will completely break down in an ordinary compost pile. The corn-based polymer chip bags are set to hit store shelves this week and can be expected to biodegrade in a backyard compost pile within 14 weeks. Right now, Frito-Lay is only rolling out the new bags under their Sun Chip brand, so don’t try throwing your Doritos bag into your compost bin, you’ll only have to fish it out later.

The new chip bag material is made from PLA (polylactic acid), a corn-based polymer made by NatureWorks, who claims the material is the “world’s first and only performance plastic made from 100% annually renewable resources.” The Biodegradable Products Institute has also certified that the bag meets its biodegradable standards for sustainable packaging, and starting in May, the B.P.I logo will be included on the package.

Frito-Lay has determined through testing that under typical backyard composting conditions, the bag will decompose at the same rate as the rest of the compost — around 12-16 weeks. If the bag makes it to a commercial composter, it will take about the same time to decompose.

The big question, however, is whether the new bags will actually end up in the compost heap. As Kate Galbraith of the NY Times says, “Whether many of the bags will actually make it into the compost heap, of course, seems doubtful.

Few Americans compost in their backyards, and curbside pickup is typically limited to Western metropolises like the Bay Area and Seattle.” It’s likely that most of these bags will still end up in the landfill, and according to Frito-Lay’s own testing, the new bag will not decompose under the anaerobic conditions of a typical landfill.

Still, it’s a step in the right direction, and those conscious composters who eat Sun Chips can merrily toss the chip bag into their compost pile.

‘Go Green Or Else’

Environmental legislation and climate changes could eat up as much as 47 percent of packaged-goods companies’ profits by 2018 if they don’t adopt long-term sustainability measures, according to a new report released by A.T. Kearney.
The report, “Rattling Supply Chains: The Effect of Environmental Trends on Input Costs to the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods Industry,” addresses long-term profitability of the packaged goods industry. The findings are based on “future analysis” of how much certain commodities will go up, including oil, cereal, soy and palm oil, and how they will fare under certain environmental, governmental policy and climate situations. The term used to describe these hypothetical scenarios is “ecoflation.”

Companies that can reduce their reliance on materials like plastic or paper, through sustainability initiatives, can cut costs when economic pressures cause price increases, said Daniel Mahler, partner and global leader for sustainability practice at A.T. Kearney’s New York office. In a down economy, cost cutting is particularly top of mind for many household and food and beverage manufacturers. “Companies are desperate to save because they can’t grow. The commodity price pressures have eased, but now the pressure is to save costs,” Mahler said.

The report also outlines economic impacts on the packaged-goods industry: Companies can expect a reduction of anywhere from 13 to 31 percent in earnings by 2013, and from 19 to 47 percent in 2018, if adequate sustainability measures are not taken. Assuming commodity costs hit an all-time high, “half of current profits will be erased” if companies continue standing by a “business-as-usual” approach, Mahler said.

Companies like Procter & Gamble and Nestle have already implemented sustainability strategies. Nestle is placing more emphasis on sourcing materials locally to cut down on transportation. Meanwhile, P&G is cross-leveraging research and design teams across different brand categories. For instance, a brand manager on Pantene might consult with a fellow colleague on Tide for best practices, such as using packaging that requires less plastic.

These are just a few examples of the extent to which many companies have considered going green. Oftentimes, retooling a supply chain to be more sustainable involves “rethinking the product itself,” said Joel Makower, executive editor of, a site dedicated to all things green. “It has as much to do with improving business practices as it does with improving environmental practices. In fact, the two go hand-in-hand.”

Artic Ice Shrinks to Second Lowest Level

Crucial Arctic sea ice last summer shrank to its second lowest level on record, continuing an alarming trend, scientists announced.
The ice covered 1.74 million square miles on Friday, marking a low point for this summer, according to NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. Last summer, the sea ice covered only 1.59 million square miles, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1979.

Arctic sea ice, which floats on the ocean, expands in winter and retreats in summer. In recent years it hasn’t been as thick in winter.

Sea ice is crucial to worldwide weather patterns, both serving as a kind of refrigerator and reflecting the sun’s heat. Given recent trends, triggered by man-made global warming, scientists warn that within five to 10 years the Arctic could be free of sea ice in the summer.

Even though the sea ice didn’t retreat this year as much as last summer, “there was no real sign of recovery,” said Walt Meier of the snow and ice data center. This year was cooler and other weather conditions weren’t as bad, he said.

“We’re kind of in a new state of the Arctic basically, and it’s not a good one,” Meier said. “We’re definitely sliding towards a point where the summer sea ice will be gone.”

Honda Clarity, ZERO Emissions

Honda unveiled the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle in 2007 and plans to begin limited retail marketing of the vehicle this summer.
Jaimie Lee Curtis taking delivery of her new Clarity in LA

The FCX Clarity is a next-generation, zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle based on the entirely-new Honda V Flow fuel cell platform, and powered by the highly compact, efficient and powerful Honda V Flow fuel cell stack.

FCX Clarity marks the significant progress Honda continues to make in advancing the real-world performance and appeal of the hydrogen-powered fuel cell car.

“The FCX Clarity is a shining symbol of the progress we’ve made with fuel cell vehicles and of our belief in the promise of this technology,” said Tetsuo Iwamura, American Honda president and CEO. “Step by step, with continuous effort, commitment and focus, we are working to overcome obstacles to the mass-market potential of zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell automobiles.”

How It Works

The FCX Clarity utilizes Honda’s V Flow stack in combination with a new compact and efficient lithium ion battery pack and a single hydrogen storage tank to power the vehicle’s electric drive motor. The fuel cell stack operates as the vehicle’s main power source. Hydrogen combines with atmospheric oxygen in the fuel cell stack, where chemical energy from the reaction is converted into electric power used to propel the vehicle. Additional energy captured through regenerative braking and deceleration is stored in the lithium ion battery pack, and used to supplement power from the fuel cell, when needed.

The FCX Clarity’s only emission is water.

Based on its vision of, “Blue Skies for our Children”, Honda has worked for forty years at reducing the environmental impact of the automobile, including efforts to reduce emissions, boost fuel efficiency and, now, many industry-leading efforts to advance the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle – a technology and fuel that Honda believes may hold the ultimate promise for a clean and sustainable transportation future.

If this exists now why manufacture anything else? Forgot to mention it gets 270 miles per one charge and is quite powerful because of its drive train …it is no golf cart!

Final Global Summit for Ecology Logo

summit final logo
The visual identity for the Global Summit for Ecology was created by international branding and design firm Brandimage Desgrippes & Laga. The group’s Hong Kong office, where the group hosts its Asia regional design center, performed the design work. The Hong Kong design team imagined a planet “filled with life”, using vivid colors and animal images to herald the messages of diversity and hope.

Brandimage, the largest independent design firm in the world, was created in June 2008, from the combination of Desgrippes Gobé Group and Laga, both leading design firms in Europe and Asia, and North America, respectively. The group has annual turnover of US$ 60 million and 300 employees on 3 continents in 9 cities – New York, Chicago, Cincinnati, Paris, Brussels, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The summit will be held in November at Waseda University in November.

Green Marketing and Communications

In the world of “green,” marketing has unique challenges, not the least of which is the lack of standards for determining what it means to be a green product, or a green company.

Along with the rise of green consumers, Activate see the rise of eco-labeling, green advertising and the importance of environmental reporting. That creates the opportunity for just about anything to be marketed as green, from simple packaging changes to products and services that radically reduce materials, energy, and waste.
I will publish a top ten list this week for green products.

Gore Sets ‘Clean’ Energy Goal for Next President

Just as John F. Kennedy set his sights on the moon, Al Gore is challenging the nation to produce every kilowatt of electricity through wind, sun and other Earth-friendly energy sources within 10 years, an audacious goal he hopes the next president will embrace.

The Nobel Prize-winning former vice president said fellow Democrat Barack Obama and Republican rival John McCain are “way ahead” of most politicians in the fight against global climate change.

Rising fuel costs, climate change and the national security threats posed by U.S. dependence on foreign oil are conspiring to create “a new political environment” that Gore said will sustain bold and expensive steps to wean the nation off fossil fuels.

Gore is set to attend the Unesco Global Summit for Ecology in November in Japan. The Summit is organized by Activate.
summit logo