Conflict Minerals In Packaging?

Conflict Minerals In Packaging?

Owner: Murry

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After we hear about responsible sourcing within the context of sustainable packaging, it’s often an advocacy for using both renewable resources from nicely-managed sources, or non-renewable resources from the recycling stream instead of virgin sources. This broad steering definitely covers the foremost issues of accountable sourcing, but an upcoming U.S. Securities and Change Fee vote led me to consider that there are larger dimensions for us to contemplate.

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The vote applies to a provision of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that might require companies to disclose their utilization of conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the encompassing region. There are 4 primary minerals of concern: gold, wolframite (supply of tungsten), columbite-tantalie (source of the component tantalum), and cassiterite, which is an important source of tin. Most of the scrutiny around these minerals occurs with makers of electronics, and at first glance there’s not a lot of a connection to packaging. My thinking was "definitely no gold in packaging, can’t imagine there’s any tungsten, no clue what tantalum is, and tin might only present up in small quantities in tin cans (which are made nearly completely from steel, in case you didn’t know)." But, life cycle stock data all the time reveals a number of materials that one wouldn’t normally affiliate with the most important packaging supplies, and sure enough, there’s a measurable quantity of tin can tree used to make most sorts of packaging.

Organic compounds containing tin can be utilized as catalysts, stabilizers, or polymerization aids to make plastics. Tin is an alloying ingredient in aluminum. Glass containers have a coating of a tin-bearing compound. And yes, tin cans are certainly coated with tin. On a kilogram-by-kilogram basis, it’s truly glass containers that use essentially the most tin. Second place? Recycled folding boxboard. Of all the materials, I have no clue how tin factors into making recycled folding boxboard - if you already know, fill me in, please.

Even so, the quantity of tin used is relatively tiny. Using the example of glass containers, a tough calculation tells me that about 52 kilograms of tin have been utilized in all the container glass produced in 2010 - that’s fifty two kilograms of tin to make 8.5 billion kilograms of container glass. 52 kilograms of tin? That’s not a lot. To put that in perspective, Wikipedia tells us that almost 300 million kilograms of tin have been produced in 2006.

Wikipedia additionally tells us that somewhere around 80-90% of the world’s tin is produced in China and Indonesia. So what are the possibilities that the tin used in packaging comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the place it is alleged that the sale of minerals goes to funding the conflict there? In all probability fairly low. Nonetheless, it seems quite plausible that someplace in someone’s packaging supply chain, there’s at the very least a miniscule occurrence of conflict tin. Addressing our usage of tin in packaging in all probability ought to not be high on our list of ways to make packaging extra sustainable, but it’s something to remember.

My takeaway is that this: there may be an absolute plethora of materials that go into making packaging. If we wish packaging to be really sustainable, we should look at every input. We can’t overgeneralize packaging and enhance our utilization of solely the biggest raw materials. Issues like tin, however small our usage is, can’t be ignored, especially when lives may hinge on it.

Brief description: After we hear about accountable sourcing within the context of sustainable packaging, it’s often an advocacy for utilizing either renewable resources from well-managed sources, or non-renewable resources from the recycling stream instead of virgin sources. This broad steering definitely covers the most important issues of responsible sourcing, but an upcoming U.S. Securities and Alternate Fee vote led me to believe that there are greater dimensions for us to consider.
Conflict Minerals In Packaging?

Conflict Minerals In Packaging?

After we hear about accountable sourcing within the context of sustainable packaging, it’s often an advocacy for utilizing either renewable resources from well-managed sources, or non-renewable resources from the recycling stream instead of virgin sources. This broad steering definitely covers the most important issues of responsible sourcing, but an upcoming U.S. Securities and Alternate Fee vote led me to believe that there are greater dimensions for us to consider.

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