“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…..Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist” – Stephen Hawking
And, here we are, always wishing for everything to be perfect and life to be made easy. Its safe to say that our quest for the perfect (magical) product or solution has made us pass on many opportunities to reduce the waste today. Our quest to conquer the wild, creating roads and infrastructure, as a means of enriching ourselves and our lives has waged a terrible toll on the environment. And the world we live in.
There are many among us who strive to live much simpler and lower impactful lives, seeking to be as close to zero waste as possible, thus having almost no real impact on the world around us. The work these people are doing is commendable and should be mirrored to the best of all our abilities. With most people’s lives and daily rituals, this is just not practical for myriad of reasons. But it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be different and more sustainable than yesterday was, and the day before.
Dig The Falls recently had the pleasure of meeting with Todor Saslekov, Founder & CEO, 3Epack Group. We were pleased to gain a better understanding of his small beverage container design. Saving space, they contain over 70% biodegradable* materials, 100% recyclable in many parts of the world, and competitively priced compared to packaging for containers used on similar beverage types.
“Saving space, they contain over 70% biodegradable materials…”
*Unlike many “biodegradable” products, up to 75% of these containers materials will biodegrade easily in any compost pile or simply under natural conditions. The components are not glued/bonded to each other and the inks are eco-friendly. This is untrue for many biodegradable products: see Fact #2 on AllThings.Bio
There is something to note, which we keyed in on right away, though. There is a straw (which comes in biodegradable and non-biodegradable forms), a lid (non-biodegradable, with a caveat: The lid can be made of the same biodegradable material as the straw but requires a minimum order of 1.5 million lids), thin plastic wrapper (non-biodegradable, but may be produced with a biodegradable film supplied by www.polypack.com), and inner pouch (non-biodegradable). If all plastics were non-biodegradable/recyclable, it would take two 3Epak® containers to create the same amount of plastic waste as the average PET water bottle of similar volume (or 4.5 3Epak’s per pasteurized product bottle, which are an average of 25g each).
The packaging allows for much less expensive production, due to energy savings from not having to cool the beverages during the filling process. No adhesives, which most times have to be held at high temperatures. There are even savings in transportation and warehousing due to the compact nature of the design, which plays a huge roll in the environmentally conscious design of the containers.
Keeping in mind that 100% of your everyday PET water bottles are recyclable, yet approximately 23% of them actually are actually recycled, you could see where merely throwing the 3Epak directly in the trash could save in plastic entering landfills or the ocean for that matter! Yet, there is a bigger opportunity here that cannot be overlooked; This is a piece of future technology that will only get better!
At the moment, the straw can be ordered as biodegradable. With a large enough order, the plastic cap can also be ordered as biodegradable. This increases the biodegradable materials to over 80%. There are other design changes, which are noted above in the materials list, and modifications that can and will be made in the future to accommodate more environmentally positive changes as well. Todor and his team seem to be up to something, but he would not confirm this with Dig The falls.
- 5.5g of recyclable plastic, assuming no biodegradable plastic is used in the current design
- 100% recyclable/over 70% biodegradable
- Reduced CO2 emissions during the manufacturing process, landfill space, and minimizing the toxins released into soil when recycled properly
- Up to 20%d less structural volume, reducing cargo and warehousing space, saving money and emissions
- 12g-30g of recyclable plastic
- over 661,000 tons of plastic (80%, or over 529,000 tons not recycled or released into the environment) a year
- Excess chemicals leaching out of the bottles when exposed to sunlight
- Most caps are not currently recyclable
It would be easy to dismiss the strides 3Epak® have made in creating as close to perfect packaging as modern technology can provide, but there are many years of R&D, practical experiments, and proof of concept ventures that have happened and are ongoing for anyone to not take this team seriously. Dig The falls will be following along in their quest for betterment of our global ecosystem, one beverage container at a time.
Who knows… You may be drinking Dig The Falls water before you know it!!