KacePack Future Generations Initiative | Q1 2022
Glaciers have shrunk, sea levels have risen, the oceans are warming, extreme weather conditions are increasing in frequency and intensity. Climate change is worsening and like many, we have grown increasingly conscious of our responsibility to protect our planet as business owners and global citizens. We must take action now and #InvestInOurPlanet.
As cannabis packaging producers, we’re always striving to create solutions and develop products that can lower our impact on the environment. It’s not an overnight solution – a lesson learned when we began our sustainability journey in 2018. Our ongoing efforts from our internal supply chain procedures to client packaging solutions have led us to establish the KacePack Future Generations Initiative. We take a look at how our sustainability journey began, the lessons learned, the investments and steps we’ve made to lower our impact every day to reach our 2030 commitment.
Compliance & Compostables
In 2018, we proudly created our first low-impact flower jar, made from 100% biodegradable materials. It was our first foray into compostable products, designed to meet a customer’s requirements. Excited by the prospect of bio-plastic, compostable PLA products, we were quick to produce the product. It seemed to be a win-win for the brand, the end customer, and the planet! But – as it turned out – this became a milestone learning curve that shaped our approach to product development.
Bioplastics were quickly put under the spotlight and rightly came under fire of stringent assessment: Are bioplastics really better for the environment? The compostable PLA jar that we had proudly developed and produced was banned in the state of California due to un-inclusive and prohibitive independent requirements.
It was at this point that we realized creating products to lessen our environmental impact is a complicated issue that requires time and preparation. Creating ‘sustainable’ packaging is not an overnight solution to our climate crisis. Lowering our impact on the environment is a journey, not a destination and we’re in the best position in the manufacturing industry to find the necessary long-term solutions to do that.
KacePack Future Generations Initiative
Our lesson learned in 2018 triggered a wave of initiatives within our business. By 2030, we plan to be a net-zero contributor of waste into the environment. In order to get there, we prioritized three areas: alternative materials, recycling/reusing & upcycling.
At KacePack, we have invested in product development that can help reduce our plastic waste. Since our initial foray into compostable products, we have researched and developed products that lessen our waste footprint.
Aluminum Collection (left to right): Aluminum Cap, Glass Jar, Aluminum Cap shown on Black Glass Jar, Aluminum Tubes in Silver and Black.
Metals can be recycled continuously and recycled aluminum only requires 5% of the energy used to make primary aluminum! Around 75% of all the aluminum produced in history is still in use today, equal to nearly a billion tons of aluminum. The ability to recycle aluminum endlessly makes this metal an appealing solution for the packaging industry.
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KacePack Upcycled Plastic Jars, made with 20-30% recycled plastics
Upcycled Plastics (Post-Consumer Resins)
While natural alternative materials are desirable, meeting compliance requirements is fundamental to your brand’s success. For example, the Government of Canada will require plastic packaging in Canada to contain at least 50% recycled content by 2030. With federal and state/provincial regulations ever-evolving, we support our customers to source packaging solutions that assure compliance.
Upcycled plastics help to reduce our reliance on virgin plastics and the fossil fuel industry. KacePack Plastic Jars are made with 20-30% recycled plastics. All of the scrap produced during the manufacturing process is reused, eliminating our waste output. To date, we have diverted approximately 250 tonnes of plastic manufacturing waste away from landfills and back into our products. We are working to test higher recycled content in our upcycled plastics range to further reduce our reliance on virgin plastics.
Increased Use of Recyclable Materials
Higher pigmented, custom-colored plastics are less recyclable. We have increased our production of recyclable plastics, in white and clear colors, to ensure recyclability. Finding materials that pose the least impact on the planet through recyclability is a practical step toward waste reduction.
Landfill-degradable packaging undergoing testing at the KacePack office
Typically, plastic bottles can take up to 500 years1 to degrade. With less than 10% of the world’s plastics ever recycled, that’s an unfathomable amount of waste produced by humankind.
In the last 12 months, we have been researching and testing an enzyme based plastic-additive to help break down plastics2 in landfill conditions. While this is not a perfect solution for our planet, we are committed to reducing the time burden our environment has to bear. Providing landfill-degradable products without compromising on compliance and brand are exciting steps to reduce our waste footprint.
We believe in investing in the development of products that can genuinely reduce our environmental waste. We do not believe in attributing ‘greenwashing’ claims to our products.
KacePack products undergo laboratory testing by Intertek and TUV and we have historically worked with laboratories to develop tests that did not previously exist. These laboratory tests help us to identify: recyclability, durability, degradability and safety. Each new alternative material undergoes this rigorous testing process and every final product is tested and certified by ASTM, CCPSA and CPSC to assure compliance.
Urban Worm composting facility in the KacePack office
We have installed a compost area in the office that enables us to proactively test biodegradability claims in the marketplace. Not only do we use our composting facility for research and development of materials, it’s a solution to our office pantry waste.
Recycle & Reuse
Reducing supply chain waste
At KacePack, we switched to plastic-free packaging in 2021. Whether we’re sending samples or shipping pallets, it doesn't happen in every case but we do our best to ensure your goods are protected with sustainable materials that can either be planted back into the earth or be converted into reusable materials.
We protect your samples with shredded paper, cutting out the plastic bubble wrap. We invested in specialized machines to apply plastic-free, paper tape. We pay out more for our packaging with low-impact materials because it’s the right thing to do.
Plastic-free packaging at KacePack
Our in-stock inventory is packaged with FSC-certified boxes and paper tape. You may find plastic bags protecting items to meet health & safety requirements. We are working with our manufacturers to replace plastics where we can. While we are plastic-free for our sample packaging from our KacePack HQ, it’s a continuous work in progress across our supply chain.
Office waste recycling
As part of our KacePack Future Generations Initiative, we believe that education is key. Educating ourselves and our staff to produce less waste is just as important as sourcing low-impact materials and educating brands and end-consumers on the correct disposal and reusability of our products.
We reduce, reuse and compost wherever possible. KacePack HQ is connected with GREEN@COMMUNITY to better manage our office waste. This means proper sorting, cleaning, and disposal to approved Environmental Protection Department locations within the city.
Office waste recycling facility
Since we began our office recycling program, we have diverted a total of ~240kg waste to GREEN@COMMUNITY:
Upcycling - Closing the loop
We’re exploring progressive ways in which we can transition our industry to a circular economy. Regenerating by design is a gradual process where we hope to consume less finite resources and produce products that can be reused, upcycled, and recycled for as long as possible.
KacePack’s Circular Packaging Pilot Program, KaceTrace.
At KacePack, we are piloting KaceTrace, a circular packaging program. Each box is reused and tracked through a QR code. Through KaceTrace, we are able to manage our packaging inventory, track the life cycle of each packaging unit and encourage reusable packaging.
We’re excited to be developing KaceTrace to reduce waste across multiple industries, applicable to home delivery services, the food, and beverage industry, and more, KaceTrace can be adapted to a variety of flexible packaging to suit the business needs.
On our path to becoming a net-zero contributor of waste to the environment, we have established short-term KacePack Future Generations Initiative goals for 2022. These include:
- Reducing our CO2 Footprint with nearshore manufacturing: We plan to establish manufacturing partners in North America by Q4 2022. Not only will this help us to respond even faster to customer needs, but the close proximity to customers will help reduce the carbon footprint of our goods.
- Alternative materials: We are committed to long-term research and development in alternative materials that will not compromise on performance or the planet. We are continuously sourcing and testing new materials that have the least impact on the environment.
- KaceTrace, circular packaging program: We have partnered with local businesses to begin piloting KaceTrace within the food and beverage industry. We aim to complete our pilot programs and roll out KaceTrace locally in Hong Kong to a further 10 partners by the end of 2022.
- Education & collaboration: We believe educating ourselves and our staff is key to the success of the KacePack Future Generations Initiative. Understanding why we need to take action now to #InvestInOurPlanet is one thing, learning how we can each play an active role is key to our collaborative success in reducing our waste and carbon footprint.
Developing sustainable packaging solutions takes time, resources and due diligence. With four years of experience developing low-impact packaging, we can advise on best practices, in-stock solutions or develop custom-packaging solutions to meet your sustainability goals. A trusted partner to global brands, we’re well positioned to develop long-term solutions for your brand’s needs. If you’re interested in developing custom-solutions for your brand, contact us or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 NOAA Marine Debris Program, Ocean Conservancy, SC Sea Grant, 2018.
2 The byproduct is gas and humus.