The Freshpack is tailored to workplaces and reduces emissions from raw material extraction by 40% by eliminating aluminum.
Increasing concerns in the coffee industry and beyond on the environmental impact of single-serve plastic pod packaging are bringing about innovative design alternatives that aim to minimize that impact.
One such example is the film-based new-generation Freshpack, recently launched by Mars Drinks, a business of Mars, Inc., headquartered in West Chester, Penn. The company’s exclusive focus with its single-serve business is offices and other workplaces globally. Its single-serve packaging is designed to work with Mars Drinks brewers.
The company produces the Freshpack packaging at its LEED-certified West Chester, Penn. facility using a horizontal form, fill and seal process. They are made from purchased extruded film, including PP, PLA, and PE, and have the following dimensions: for coffee and instants, 70 mm (2.76 in.) wide and 101 mm (3.98 in.) tall; for tea, 50 mm (1.97 in.) wide and 101 mm (3.98 in.) tall.
The company achieved a 31% carbon footprint reduction in its single-serve packaging. This has been verified by ISO 14044:2006 Life Cycle Assessment—which analyzed environmental impact across all production stages—from raw material through distribution by Montreal-based engineering firm WSP Parson Brinckenhoff.
According to the company, “upstream” environmental factors were key to the new design’s creation. As part of that approach, Mars Drinks reexamined the entire Freshpack production process and identified the raw material extraction of aluminum as the most significant contributor to the carbon footprint of the raw materials in the original pack design.
The removal of aluminum resulted in a 40% emissions reduction from raw material extraction in the new-generation Freshpack packaging. This, according to the company, while maintaining its predecessor’s benefits, including proprietary brewing technology to preserve freshness and eliminate flavor cross-over from one drink to the next.
Meanwhile, the company also continues its Recycle Your Freshpacks program, offering its North American customers and easy way to divert 100% of Freshpacks from landfills. (Mars invested in a Texas-based wind farm that reportedly generates the equivalent amount of energy required to power all its U.S. operations, including Mars Drinks West Chester campus.)
Said Samantha Veide, Mars Drinks’ global director, corporate sustainable solutions, “Customers have told us their number one sustainability issue when it comes to workplace drinks solutions is solving the packaging challenge. That’s why we placed such a priority on rethinking our Freshpack design.” As guided by its parent company’s sustainability commitments, Mars Drinks is focusing its 2016-2020 sustainability initiatives in three areas: sustainable agriculture, sustainable operations, and sustainable solutions.