The Bright Side: Recycled Plastic Packaging

Recycled plastics used in packaging
The Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Will consumers select one product over another because it is packaged in recycled plastic? Can such packaging be successfully branded?

Michael Brown, a veteran in the plastics industry who now works out of his home, says the answer to both questions is yes.

In fact, he’s staking his new business, Packaging 2.0 LLC, on the proposition that saving the environment has finally become popular in our culture and people will embrace packaging that they believe helps clean it up.

Brown created the trademark “SmartCycle” for his new packaging, using a symbol that incorporates the color green and the floral pattern on the bottom of plastic bottles.

He bases his business entirely on recycling plastic bottles made from the various grades of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, plastics. Some 5 billion pounds of PET plastic bottles are discarded each year in the United States, so there is no shortage of raw materials, Brown says. PET is one of the most common plastics in use and containers made of the material lend themselves to recycling because they are easily identified and separated from other plastics.

“Some people are already making new packaging out of recycled bottles,” Brown said during a recent interview at aWhole Foods store, where he was marketing some of his packaging.

He’s wearing a polo shirt made from recycled bottles. He displays his trademark on a reusable shopping bag made from recycled bottles. And, one by one, he covers the table with an array of packaging – containing everything from salads to soap to a global positioning device – all made from recycled bottles.

“My concept is to brand it and make it easy for consumers to understand. The essence of my brand is made from bottles. It really is a marketing concept.”

Brown says the labels on plastic products are unclear, and the public doesn’t understand the symbols and numbers.

He says he hopes his trademark will guide consumers to use his packaging and recycle more bottles. More…

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