RETHINKING MATERIALS FOR A CIRCULAR ECONOMY
SEB EGERTON-READ · OCTOBER 21, 2015
In the 21st century, product and material choices hold greater importance than ever before. There is an informed and growing awareness of the problems faced by a finite supply of resources, including wood, metals and petroleum-based plastics. Furthermore, significant health concerns are being recognised related to toxic additives and VOC’s inherent in manufactured building materials, especially those used in the workplace, schools, hospitals and elsewhere. The continued growth in global population, landfill waste and associated costs of waste management alongside related issues of recyclability raise additional concerns that must be addressed by the marketplace.
Some of these challenges can be negated by new design approaches, that result in easier disassembly and recyclability, thus maximizing the value of ingredient materials and components in products. It also requires the development of new business models that provide even better services in sectors like mobility, which aid the more effective use of materials and products, and the increased efficiency in energy usage.
When it comes to those materials that are used, a commonly overlooked consideration is ensuring that the palette of materials used is effective, flexible and profitable in the long-term. What are the needs for material, component and product development in the global economy?
That’s where ECOR, a new material developed by Noble Environmental Technologies, has the potential, and is beginning to, play a key role. ECOR has been developed in the context of increasing awareness of finite material stocks and the need for a better circulation of resource value in the economy, utilizing waste cellulose fibre as the key ingredient.
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LS&Co. Expands Clothing Recycling Initiative to All U.S. Stores
As part of its sustainability initiatives, the iconic denim brand Levi Strauss & Co. is taking a step toward reducing this massive stream of potentially recyclable waste by offering customers a pathway to recycling clothing (and shoes).
Levi’s has made strides in recent years toward a greener and more eco-friendly way of doing business, with a full life cycle assessment of its products, a water recycling program in its production facilities, a Water Less™ finishing process for jeans, and even the recommendation that customers don’t need to wash their jeans.
The latest initiative is an expansion of the company’s clothing recycling program, with Levi’s now accepting unwanted clothing and shoes of any brand at all of its retail stores and outlets in the US, where the items will be either “re-worn, repurposed, or recycled” by its clothing collection partner, I:CO. Customers who bring in even a single item of clothing to be recycled will receive a 20% off voucher good on any regular-priced item of the company’s clothing at the store. We partnered with I:CO to make the Levi’s collection boxes out of eco-friendly ECOR.
Read Levi’s Unzipped blog post here.
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Learn more about ECOR at this year’s Sustainable Brands Conference at Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Sustainable Brands is home for the global community of business innovators who are shaping the future of commerce world wide. Since 2006, they have been working to inspire, engage and equip today’s business and brand leaders to prosper for the near and long term by leading the way to a sustainably abundant future. The Sustainable Brands Conference offers news and views from thought and practice leaders, live and on-line events, peer-to-peer learning groups, a robust resource library, a solutions provider directory and more — all designed to help brand, sustainability and design innovation professionals, social entrepreneurs and the eco-system of value network partners who support them, discover, co-create and successfully execute on new opportunities to profitably innovate for sustainability.[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][cs_responsive_image size=”full” image=”16962″][cs_space size=”10px”][cs_button type=”flat” shape=”rounded” size=”lg” color=”red” bgcolor=”#47bf78″ texthovercolor=”#47bf78″ bordercolor=”#47bf78″ borderhovercolor=”#47bf78″ in_style=”font-weight: 400″ bghovercolor=”#ffffff” textcolor=”#ffffff” no_bold=”1″ block=”1″ href=”http://events.sustainablebrands.com/sb15sd/register” target=”blank”]REGISTER TO ATTEND[/cs_button][cs_space size=”10px”][cs_button type=”flat” shape=”rounded” size=”lg” color=”accent” class=”cs-btn-no-bold” no_bold=”1″ bgcolor=”#00b0d1″ bghovercolor=”#ffffff” textcolor=”#ffffff” texthovercolor=”#00b0d1″ bordercolor=”#00b0d1″ borderhovercolor=”#00b0d1″ block=”1″ href=”http://events.sustainablebrands.com/sb15sd/program/” target=”blank”]VIEW FULL PROGRAM[/cs_button][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]
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Lucky Buddha Beer Goes Green with Sustainable Displays in Walmart
Sustainable Point-of-Purchase Displays made with ECOR advance Walmart’s collaborations with vendors to encourage sustainable practices and products
Tuesday, February 10, 2015, Carlsbad, CA – In April 2014, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.’s president and CEO Doug McMillon invited top executives fro
m major suppliers to the company’s Sustainable Product Expo and challenged them to collaborate to explore more sustainable practices and products. Commitments were made by a number of suppliers, and among those commitments were goals to advance standards for more sustainable in-store marketing materials and point-of-purchase displays.
Walmart, Lucky Buddha Beer and Noble Environmental collaborated to create sustainable end-cap displays made with ECOR®, which will be placed in select Walmart stores. Lucky Buddha Beer is the second fastest growing import beer brand in supermarkets in the United States.
“In 2005, Walmart took on the three aspirational sustainability goals that encompass all areas of our operations and products, including energy, waste and sustainable products,” said Manuel Gomez, vice president of Sustainability for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “Since those goals were communicated, we’ve aggressively worked to address waste in our own operations as well as in the products we sell and associated packaging. That’s why we’re pleased Lucky Buddha Beer has worked with Noble Environmental Technologies to develop this sustainable point-of-purchase display that will appear in select U.S. Walmart stores, which will support our commitment to reach zero waste to landfill by 2025 in our operations.”
ECOR is an advanced sustainable building material that was developed by Noble Environmental Technologies and the United States Department of Agriculture to be non-toxic, VOC-free, made from 100% recycled materials and is 100% certified bio-based to be used as an alternative for traditional wood, plywood, corrugated and plastics. Traditional displays in the retail environment are made from corrugated cardboard, they fray quickly, require replacement often, while displays made from ECOR could last over a year without breaking down or fraying; an ongoing challenge for most traditional display materials.
“We are thrilled to be working hand in hand with Walmart to showcase Lucky Buddha Beer inside their stores on what we believe is a sustainable and durable flat-pack point-of-purchase display,” said Kevin Swadish, CEO of Sage Beverages.
“Walmart’s focus on supply chain sustainability makes ECOR an excellent material for Lucky Buddha Beer to use on this store display rollout,” said Robert Noble, Founder and CEO of Noble Environmental Technologies. “Walmart has done a stellar job in establishing and measuring achievement of sustainability goals, and increasing recycling practices. By suppliers integrating ECOR into the supply chain for displays like Lucky Buddha Beer, there is an opportunity to further reduce material use, logistic costs and carbon footprint. Furthermore, ECOR displays enable efforts to close-the-loop for waste, and are designed to be converted into ECOR and other recycled materials at the end of their lifecycle.”
Tom, Kandris, CEO of PackageOne, Inc., an innovative manufacturer of Corrugated Displays and Packaging said “PackageOne is very excited to be able to work with ECOR. The material properties enable designs and configurations unimaginable with traditional display materials. ECOR, and hybrid ECOR and corrugated displays, provide elegance and durability in ways that corrugated alone cannot.”
About Lucky Buddha Beer
Lucky Buddha Beer (www.Luckybuddhabeer.com) is brewed at the Thousand Island Lake, fusing the finest quality malt, hops, rice and water from this pristine region delivering a lager beer that is truly an enlightened brew. Lucky Buddha is imported by Sage Beverages (www.sagebeverages.com), headquartered in Carlsbad, CA.
 Based on IRI Advantage data for the year ending November 23, 2014.
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Sustainable building designs offer businesses several advantages. Increasingly, companies are using green building materials to magnify the cost-saving effect of sustainable energy technology. Environmentally minded companies enjoy the financial benefits of being green.
Big-name companies are going green
Environmental Leader recently reported that Whole Foods and Google are now using a building material called Ecor in their business locations. Ecor, developed by Noble Environmental Technologies in Serbia, is made from 100 percent recycled material.
Interestingly, Ecor was created in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture and is used by cabinet and furniture makers, designers and architects alike. It can replace materials that are typically made from cardboard, plastic, aluminum, fiberboard and traditional wood panels. Ecor is also free of toxins and highly practical, according to the news source.
Sustainable materials such as Ecor offer businesses the same durability and use as other trusted building materials, but they also save money for companies due to the less expensive maintenance and repair costs. Ecor is one of many options available to those who want to incorporate greener materials in their corporate properties.
Sustainable techniques keep costs down during winter
As winter settles in, the topic of insulation becomes relevant with regard to energy efficiency. Homeowners commonly reduce their heating costs by applying window treatments and using programmable thermostats. On the business side, there are similar methods that can be employed to keep costs down.
Mike Schoenecker, vice president at Winkelman Building Corp., recently wrote an article on LinkedIn that outlines how green building saves money. Schoenecker said that the financial benefit of sustainable energy like solar power and geothermal technology is compounded by installing green materials such as energy-efficient windows and roofing. In the same way that a homeowner insulates his or her attic as an easy way to keep heat from escaping the house, companies – some of which have already started using renewable energy sources – can select building materials that conserve energy and keep costs down.
Schoenecker suggested using bamboo instead of hardwood as a way to make positive changes without sacrificing durability or style. An investment of $4 per square foot now, he argued, will yield $58 of savings per square foot over a 20-year period. In his article on LinkedIn, Schoenecker also suggested using recycled glass, drywall and steel in buildings because of the money saved and benefit to the environment. Like Ecor, costs will be kept to a minimum without sacrificing product efficiency.
What successful implementation looks like
In the example of big-name companies, Whole Food uses Ecor for their signage, while Google uses it for their wavy interior panels. Ecor, according to Environmental Leader, is reportedly 75 percent lighter than conventional panel products and can also be shaped into any form – such as waves or spheres. While the manufacturing cost of Ecor started out at $3 to $4 per square foot, the current cost is approximately 29 cents per square foot. The dramatic drop in the cost of production signifies that with green building materials there is always room for growth. It is impressive that such a versatile product can be this affordable, which speaks to the strength of green building materials.
Schoenecker highlighted what many experts have said – businesses that invest an additional 2 percent in overhead for green materials, instead of traditional building materials, on average, will recover up to seven times of that cost in the long run.
Additionally, it is worth noting that there are government incentives for sustainable business practices. Schoenecker mentioned rebates and tax credits offered to businesses that commit to sustainable energy like solar, wind and geothermal technology. The U.S. Department of Energy provides a database that details all of these federal incentives. As green building materials become more widespread, partly due to their ability to accentuate the savings from sustainable energy technology, the government may soon offer additional discounts. Products like Ecor, bamboo flooring panels and recycled glass windows are already priced competitively with respect to traditional materials. It is likely that the costs benefits of green materials will keep getting better.
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Article by Antonio Pasolini
(3BL Media/Just Means) – Can you imagine getting waste materials such as wood, office and cardboard paper, organic waste, in short, any type of cellulose fiber, and turn it into a resilient, super green material for a wide range of applications? Well, someone has done just that and turned it into a successful business with clients such as Google and Whole Foods.
The company is called Noble, it is based in San Diego, California, and was founded by Robert Noble, a veteran in sustainable architecture and design. The material in question, which has the profile of a sustainability superstar, is Ecor. Developed in partnership with the USDA, it is 100 percent recycled, 100 percent recyclable, cradle-to-cradle certified and replaces wood, particleboard, fiberboard, MDF, aluminum, plastic, cardboard and other composites.
Ecor is manufactured by adding water to the fiber to make it stick. The resulting brew is then submitted to pressure and heat and, what’s even better, it remains completely free of toxic materials such as formaldehyde or petroleum. The ‘magic’ is in the technology Noble uses to process this material while keeping it clean.
Noble markets a wide range of Ecor variations, which can be used for raw panels, consumer goods such as eyewear and domestic utensils, furniture and finishes, displays and containers. Noble is developing the product for construction as well.
The raw material can be sourced from a range of settings, including farms, urban areas and forests, which gives the company geographical flexibility and makes it possible to deliver locally, keeping transportation footprint low, as in the case of one of the deal packages Noble offers. Called YourCOR, it allows customers to recycle their own raw material stream, such as wood cuttings, offcuts, agricultural waste, etc) to create new ECOR panels and products for their own use. Talk about true lifecycle resource management!
Alternatively, Noble offers the ReCOR Program, through which it will recover ECOR panels and products from clients after use at no cost. In some cases, the company even pays the client for panels that have not been treated with any type of toxic adhesives, resins, paints, etc.
Besides having a game-changing product in its hands, Noble has also drafted in some heavyweight industry leaders to take the business forward. These include Anders Moberg, past CEO of IKEA Group and past International President of Home Depot, Rene Hausler, past CEO of IKEA North America and CEO of Noble Environmental Europe, Don Moody,former president of NUCONN Steel and Jay Potter, CEO of Greencore Capital.
To find out more about Noble and Ecor, visit their website linked to below.
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“Google and Whole Foods are among the companies using Noble Environmental Technologies’ building material product, Ecor, made from 100 percent recycled material.
Ecor is also 100 percent recyclable and free of toxins.
Noble created ECOR in partnership with the USDA and it is currently being used by architects, designers, furniture and cabinetry manufacturers in place of wood, particleboard, fiberboard, MDF, aluminum, plastic, cardboard and other composites.
The product is 75 percent lighter than conventional panel product, the San Diego Business Journal reports.
Whole Food has used Ecor for signage, while Google used Ecor for wavy interior panels — the pulp can be shaped into waves, patterns or spheres.
Noble produces 100 million square feet of Ecor per year at its manufacturing facility in Serbia. Manufacturing began at $3 to $4 per square foot; however, the company has brought the costs down to 29 cents per square foot, the Business Journal says.”
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