By Eduardo Cruz Prado*
With great vision and enormous sense of responsibility, the World Packaging Organization, founded in 1968, celebrated its first award at the World Star Contest in 1970. Their love for ecology was already in their roots and consequently, so was the sustainability principle.
With low weight, low volume and low cost principles, they were already making an important contribution to the functions of containing and packaging which are to conserve, to preserve, and protect all kinds of products.
These principles continue to be vital to the philosophy of Sustainability by emphasizing the use of less natural resources to manufacture containers and packagings.
The story doesn’t end here. We must add that for the past 20 years, we have been using the Sustainable and Ecological concepts of:
- Re-circulating: In the production plant recovering and reprocessing raw materials.
- Reusing: When the product is in the market and is used in different ways or applications.
- Recycling: Where the container is transformed into a different product.
For example, consider a bottle made of PET where the residues are crushed and are reprocessed at the plant. This bottle is reused if it is filled with other liquids and crushed and turned into polyester to produce clothing.
Evidently, not all material used as containers or packaging can benefit from this process but fortunately, there is the process of incineration which generates electric power and some monomers to produce polypropylene and polyethylene resins.
It is important to emphasize that lower weight, lower volume, lower cost, re-circulating, reusing, recycling, less energy consumption, and electric power generation make a great contribution to Ecology and Sustainability. In addition, the study of Life Cycle Analysis foresees the secondhand effects which must be considered when producing these containers and packages. Add simplicity and standardization to these basic principles which should be applied to every operation or production process and we have a more complete solution.
WPO, as well as other federations and associations, have promoted the worldwide Packaging Industry through The WorldStar competition which works as the ultimate goal for all the other packaging contests that have their own names in different countries. For example, “Envase Estelar” in México, sponsored by the WPO member, Mexican Packaging and Containing Association (AMEE), recognizes its industrial products and sends its entries to the WorldStar competition with the approval of its associates.
The impact of these national and international contests on managers’ ecological conscience and responsibility has been enormous. Every year, since 1970, the WPO evaluates more than 300 participating products coming from countries all over the world, from developed and developing nations alike.
WorldStar results in other countries are important. For example: Argentina launched its “Estrella del Sur” similar to World Star in the 70’s. It was created by Dr. Henry Schcolnik. Brasil has its own contest too. The “Envase Estelar prize” launched in Mexico in 1986 was highly successful and still has a close relationship with WorldStar from which they adopted the basic principles.
In just a few years, the container and packaging participants of AMEE’s, Envase Estelar rose from 6 during the first year to 87 in 1989. In fact, a Mexican container produced by Celloprint (a vacuum multi laminated aluminum) participated in 1987 in the Argentina Estrella del Sur and in the World Star contests during the same year and was rewarded by both.
In 1990, AMEE left WPO and the contest went down until the AMEE went back to WPO in 1996 and it resurged.
The Sustainable Package Contest launched in 2009 by AMEE has had little growth because of being a complement to the Envase Estelar but is still indispensable.
Sustainable Package 2009 2010 2011 2012
Participants 9 7 5
It’s important to mention that Mexican business participation in Envase Estelar is significant and varied, having a great number of participants including Vitro, which has earned several WorldStar awards. They, along with other leading Mexican businesses, have dedicated themselves to keenly and effectively satisfy the Packaging Industry’s Objectives for Ecology and Sustainability.
*Eduardo Cruz Prado is from AMEE (Mexican Packaging Association), a member of WPO.