Market Driven Innovations

April 1, 2007
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World’s First Corn Sock
This fall, Iowa-based hosiery manufacturer Fox River introduced a line of socks made of Ingeo—a corn-based fiber from NatureWorks (www.natureworksllc.com)—ranging from $10 to $15. Fox River buys non-genetically modified corn to offset the amount of corn used to produce its bio-fiber socks, which NatureWorks, at this time, can not guarantee as GMO-free. A packaging and communications program, developed by Minneapolis brand identity/design firm Capsule (www.capsule.us), ties the launch into the Fox River brand story and its environmental initiatives, which include waste-reduction programs and water- and heating-reclamation manufacturing systems. Packaging was streamlined to limit materials, time, cost and energy during printing, which was handled by Specialty Finishing (www.specialtyfinishing.com) in Omaha. Recyclable paper and soy inks, which can be more easily removed during recycling, were used.
Aveda lights the way
Aveda, the natural, personal care brand, kicked off its Earth Month campaign on April 1, with the launch of a limited-edition Light the Way candle—a soy wax candle featuring a cotton wick and organic Bulgarian lavender oil. Retailing for $10, the candle is housed in packaging produced by Johnson Printing and Packaging (www.jppcorp.com), with a 95 percent post-consumer recycled glass container from La Mediterranea (www.la-mediterranea.com) and a secondary paperboard carton printed with soy ink on 55 percent post-consumer recycled paper. The carton is made, in part, with “make-readies”—sheets of carton stock used to prepare the printing press, which Aveda has recovered from the production of various products. The brand is donating 100 percent of Light the Way proceeds to a charitable partner in support of clean water projects.
Omop … oh my!
Method has introduced a floor care system modeled on P&G’s Swiffer brand but, like all of Method’s products, with a climate and health-friendly bent. Featuring a curved ergonomic pole and an extra-large handle for better grip, the mop can be used for dry sweeping with cleaning cloths made from NatureWorks PLA (www.natureworksllc.com) that are said to be the first biodegradable sweeping cloths on the market (competitor cloths are primarily petroleum based). Wet mopping uses reusable/washable microfiber cloths and a biodegradable floor cleaning solution that comes in a 14-ounce round bottle (pictured) or a 25-ounce oval refill bottle, from Amcor (www.amcor.com). Method drives the product’s nontoxic positioning home by including recipes with each mop—for floors so clean you can eat off them.  
Eco-centric cartons
Pangea Organics collaborated with UFP Technologies (www.ufpt.com) to develop a molded fiber carton that is said to be the first 100 percent compostable, biodegradable and plantable consumer product packaging. Manufactured with zero waste and created from 100 percent post-consumer newsprint—without glues and dies—the packaging is embedded with seeds that will spring to life when the carton is soaked in water, then planted one-inch deep in soil. All of the brand’s bar soaps, and its entire skincare line will come in the seeded packaging, including a new line of massage and body oils, which feature sweet basil seeds embedded in the carton.
Softening the impact
Church and Dwight has extended its Arm & Hammer Essentials brand, a concentrated liquid laundry detergent formulated with plant-based soaps, with the introduction of Fabric Softener Sheets. The product features biodegradable softening agents (no petroleum-based softeners), which are said to be more sensible for the environment, and packaging made from 100 percent recycled paperboard (35 percent post-consumer). The product is available in Mountain Rain, Lavender, and White Linen fragrances and retails for $3.99 in a pack of 144 sheets. Arm & Hammer is billing the Essentials line as the first "mainstream green" laundry products.
And so went the plastic jewel case
Universal Music Enterprises (UME) is re-releasing its 20th Century Masters series in packaging that is said to be a first for the industry: both sleeve and tray will be completely paper-recyclable. To reduce the amount of paper in the so-called “Eco-Pack”, the company will also eliminate the CD booklet from the packaging; instead, official liner notes will be accessible to consumers on the Internet at www.ilovethatsong.com/green. UME is the first North American music company to replace the traditional jewel case with recycled paperboard sleeves and the plastic tray with trays made from PaperFoam®, a new packaging technology from Shorewood Packaging (www.shorewoodpackaging.com) that is paper-recyclable and biodegradable.

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