In order to further its social and environmental commitment, Wholesome Sweeteners is consistently searching for new ways to reduce its carbon footprint. As a result, Wholesome Sweeteners has partnered with Accredo Packaging, Inc. to supply the sweetener company with its existing packaging requirements, as well as to develop new, innovative, alternative sustainable materials.
Wholesome Sweeteners chose to collaborate with Accredo because of the high-quality, sustainable packaging products it offers. These products, offered at a competitive pricing, helps the company embrace more environmentally responsible solutions that will benefit the bottom line.
“Accredo is a great match with our corporate values,” says Marjorie Duyongco, Director of Product Development & Packaging for Wholesome Sweeteners. “Since the business landscape continually changes, we are always seeking to partner with suppliers and vendors that offer more environmentally responsible alternatives and innovations. Therefore, we are very excited to work with Accredo on exploring sustainable packaging solutions utilizing renewable and recyclable materials.”
Also based in Sugar Land, Texas, Accredo is believed to be the first high-barrier, flexible package manufacturing facility in the U.S. granted LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. According to Malcolm Cohn, Director of Sustainability for Accredo, Silver certification is the highest level that a manufacturing company can receive and it is very difficult to achieve.
Commissioned in 2009, Accredo’s facility is a 200,000-sq-ft, state-of-the-art flexible packaging converting plant, which uses 100 percent wind-generated electrical power as well as processes designed to eliminate waste and minimize carbon emissions during the production process. Building materials were sourced locally, and recycled materials were used whenever possible. As a result, everything produced at the facility has a greatly reduced carbon footprint, even when manufactured to the same specifications as at conventional plants.
Cohn points out that Accredo runs exclusively expanded color gamut process printing. The proprietary ink delivery system supplies ink directly to the ten-color, 2,000 feet-per-minute printing presses, which reduces ink consumption by up to 35 percent and ink waste by up to 95 percent. Similarly, solvent usage is also significantly reduced. Because of this technology, Accredo is able to produce even conventional packaging material in a much more sustainable way than other suppliers.
As mentioned, Wholesome Sweeteners chose Accredo for their packaging needs because it is, and remains, one of the only LEED® silver certified flexible packaging manufacturers in North America. The fact that Accredo’s factory is located less than two miles from Wholesome Sweeteners corporate office is an amazing coincidence. Beforehand, Duyongco had to travel to other cities to conduct press checks on packaging. This was not only time consuming and costly, but did not help in reducing the company’s carbon footprint.
Duyongco is quick to praise the packaging company. She states that the print quality is phenomenal, the material is of the highest quality and the customer service is excellent. She adds that Accredo was the first company to introduce the first-of-its-kind zippered standup pouch made from certified compostable components.
It was Carl Moccia, National Account Manager for Accredo, who first approached Duyongco at a trade show approximately three years ago. The facility was still in the planning stages and Duyongco admits that she was skeptical because it sounded too good to be true. “I told Carl that I would believe it when I saw it,” she recalls. Once the facility was completed and she saw firsthand their capabilities, there was no question whether to use Accredo.
Duyongco notes that she had previously worked with various other packaging suppliers but jumped at the opportunity to join forces with Accredo because they provided the ability to develop and test new sustainable packaging solutions. She explains how she has been working on a concept for new packaging material for six years and had many other suppliers approach her with ideas on how to tackle the problem, but never offered any tangible sample that she could test.
That has now changed. Working together, Wholesome Sweeteners and Accredo are now at the forefront of experimenting with biopolymer and renewable packaging material, and are currently working on developing a viable biofilm for a standup, zipper pouch. Duyongco explains it is critical that the biofilm has the right properties to preserve the sweetener throughout the supply chain cycle. The biofilm structure is currently undergoing shelf-life evaluation.
Although Accredo only began formal operations less than three years ago, the facility has grown significantly due to increased production, requiring new equipment and employees. Cohn reveals that later this year the company will begin building a new plant adjacent to the existing one, which is scheduled for completion next year.
“Our collaboration with Accredo helps with our branding because we are working with a supplier that shares our same environmental philosophy, which is not only important to us but important to our customers, says Duyongco.”