Starbucks Coffee Company, LBP Manufacturing and Henkel have announced the availability of EarthSleeve, a new hot-cup sleeve that integrates proprietary technology to enable a reduction in overall material usage while at the same time increasing the post-consumer content. These adjustments are claimed to correlate to a savings of nearly 100,000 trees.
Manufactured in Cicero, Illinois, USA, by LBP Manufacturing for Starbucks with Henkel adhesive, the new product decreases raw fiber material by 34 percent and increases post-consumer content by 25 percent, without sacrificing performance or function. With nearly three billion hot cup sleeves produced in the United States in 2011 and Starbucks representing nearly half of the marketplace, the material ‘will have a substantial impact on the packaging industry’, say the companies.
‘At Starbucks we are constantly looking to innovate in ways that make our world a better place,’ said Cliff Burrows, president of the Americas for Starbucks. ‘This product represents how the integration of our environmental values and collaboration with like-minded organizations can create significant impact.’
The EarthSleeve is currently being introduced into Starbucks locations across the United States and Canada and is being evaluated for global usage.
In addition to substantial decreases in raw material makeup and a new total usage of 85 percent post-consumer fiber content, the EarthSleeve also allows for a case cube and truckload yield improvement of 15 percent, reducing the overall environmental impact of the transportation of the sleeves. The product has also been deemed fully compostable by both ASTM and Cedar Grove requirements, and has recently been approved for repulpability by Western Michigan University.
‘We are very excited about the opportunities the combined vision and resources of Starbucks, Henkel and LBP have proven what they together can deliver with EarthSleeve,’ added Matthew Cook, president of LBP. ‘This product represents a whole new level of innovation in packaging performance, sustainability and corporate social responsibility we can expect in the future.’
‘The introduction of the EarthSleeve represents an achievement in adhesive formulation,’ said John Meccia, VP of paper converting for Henkel Corporation, whose team collaborated on the development of the multi-functional adhesives used in the project. ‘Creating a formula that would allow for user experience on par with traditional sleeves, but effectively facilitate the removal of fiber, framed every aspect of the cooperative effort. Successfully meeting the technical objectives was truly a feat. The implication of our work on the environment is what makes this a real accomplishment.’