7 Steps to Make Your Grocery Store More Sustainable, and More Profitable

by Ed Weisberg

In a newly released study conducted In August of 2014, Gibbs-rrb interviewed over two thousand adults to assess the impact of sustainability on grocery buying habits.   Not surprisingly, they found that sustainability continues to be a key factor in American purchasing habits at the grocery.   Consumers greatly prefer buying products that support their own personal principles of social responsibility, according to the study.

Although price is always important, Americans are willing to spend an average of 31% more per week on “safe and sustainable” foods that are produced in ways that advance the well-being of the planet and humans, and the safety of food sources.   Jeffrey R. Graubard, managing director of Bibbx-rbb Strategic Communications stated “Consumers are voting with their wallets [and] increasingly choosing brands aligned with their values, while penalizing brands that disappoint them. This is true not only for actual food items, but for the brand banner of the grocers themselves as well.

The Consumer study found that there were seven major influencers on grocery purchases. These included:

  1. Nutritional Content (i.e. ingredients that help promote good health) 88%
  2. Food Safety (i.e. prevention of contamination and pathogens, antigens and foreign bodies) 87%
  3. Food Waste (i.e. item size that GXT Green Groceriesmay cause unconsumed amount of food or beverage) 78%
  4. Labels and Traceability (i.e. ability to know the location of origin, supplier source or use of genetically modified ingredients) 76%
  5. Sustainable Packaging (i.e. packing produced via environmentally responsible practices) 72%
  6. Labor Practices (i.e. wages and safety of workers involved in farming or packaging) 68%
  7. Resource Intensiveness (i.e. amount of land, water, food, or energy needed to produce) 62%

The challenge for grocers is not only to be responsive to these factors, but also to communicate to their customers that they are paying attention to what is important to them. And of course, grocers must do so without incurring excessive costs, as the economic welfare of the store remains key to its survival.

To boil it down, visibility of these key elements can be achieved following a set of seven clear steps and activities:

  1. Go local to insure traceability, freshness, and nutrition. Engage with local farmers wherever possible.
  2. Protect nature, and save fish. Be sure your fish and food is from sustainable sources.
  3. Think welfare and treat your employees and suppliers well: Employee attitude is important. Word gets out!
  4. Eliminate and recycle food waste. Be sure you have a clear procedure to dispose of compostable waste separately from trash. Engage with a local community group that will take unsellable and post-expiration date food for food banks.
  5. Provide options for customers who wish to avoid processed food and products.
  6. Make your facility sustainable with energy efficient design, lighting, and Leed design. Some stores, such as Wegmans, have even implemented energy efficient hydrogen fuel cells for their handling equipment.
  7. Provide a sustainable solution for your customers to get their food home. Many shoppers now bring their own bags to ECOgrade bagscarry their groceries. However, for those that don’t, a sustainable carryout bag will be your emblem to show customers and the community that you care about the environment. Instead of paper or plastic, which are both energy resource intensive (and expensive in the case of paper), consider offering your customers a product such as ECOgrade Degradable bags. These bags cost the same as plastic, but solve the plastic bag pollution issue, as they will photo-degrade to a non-toxic residue from sunlight exposure within 240 days if littered. In addition, they are recyclable with plastic and use less energy and produce fewer greenhouse gasses in production than plastic or paper. As a follow-up to all you do in-store, ECOgrade bags provide a medium to send the message that you care about the environment home with your customers.

As we saw in all of the categories surveyed, visible sustainability has a major impact on the decision of customers to shop in your store. 31% more per week on “safe and sustainable” products is a great business booster, and certainly worth striving for.   But it all depends not only on your actions, but also your ability to communicate this to your customers.   Be sure that both when they are in the store, and when they carry their groceries home, they know that you and they have both done your best to mitigate negative impacts on our planet.

Edward Weisberg is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, GXT Green, Inc.

Posted in bag ban, degradable bags, ECOgrade, green business, green grocer, green marketing, grocery bags, GXT Greem, GXT Green, sustainability, sustainability news, sustainable business, Sustainable grocery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There Is No Longer a Need For Bag Bans!

by Ed Weisberg
Last week, the city of Huntington Beach California, one of the first areas to implement single use plastic bag bans, instituted steps to rescind their ban (Surf City First In Nation to Repeal Plastic Bag Ban). Previously, we have seen bans rescinded in Toronto Canada (Toronto Plastic Bag Ban Nixed By City Council) as well. Perhaps there is now recognition of a better solution to stop plastic pollution than just simply banning plastic bags?

Sometimes, laws that seem to make perfect sense at a time become unnecessary as technology aGXT Greennd cultural norms progress. Did you know that it’s against the law for unmarried women to parachute on Sundays in Florida? In Alabama, putting salt on a railroad track is punishable by death. In Arizona, donkeys may not sleep in bathtubs. In Pennsylvania, state law requires that you stop your car every mile to send up a rocket signal. And if you see a skittish team of horses coming toward you, be sure to take your car apart, piece by piece, and hide it under the nearest bushes—unless, of course, you want to be in violation of state law. Perhaps in just a few short years, we will look back at the laws banning single use shopping bags as yet another unnecessary obsolete law. You see, all of these laws were developed for a good reason when there was not a better solution. Once something better came along, however, they just became obsolete, as they were a legal burden on police, and no longer made sense. The day is here when bans on single use bags are falling into this category, as retailers solve the plastic pollution issue without the need for legal oversight.

Businesses are eager to do the right thing for the environment, as long as it is not an undue financial encumbrance. A current example is the way some businesses are addressing the environmental danger of plastic microbeads by developing alternatives. Microbeads are tiny bits of plastic, often used in skin defoliators and toothpaste to create friction and help clean. They are also the end result of many kinds of plastics when they break down. When ingested by shellfish and small animals, microbeads give them a feeling of being full, and can starve them to death.

Having been made aware of this danger, manufacturers are voluntarily removing microbeads from their products. Proctor and Gamble, as a concerned company, has promised to stop putting them in toothpaste by March, 2016. Thus, before the public even becomes widely aware of the danger of microbeads, responsible businesses will do what is right, and the problem will be solved.

Businesses are also aware of the dangers of littered plastic bags, no smoking under waterand continue to find alternatives. For years grocers have developed a recycling process, and offered containers in their stores to enable consumers to return their bags. They offer reusable bags to those who want to buy them. They experimented in the past with bio-degradable and compostable bags. However, they had been dogged by the fact that there was no viable cost effective and convenient alternative for consumers who may be careless enough to litter bags, and present a risk to wildlife. Thus, to address the behavior of people who litter, legislators began to develop and enforce bag bans.

The good news today is that these bans are no longer necessary. Products such as GXT Green ECOgrade degradable bags can now satisfy the needs of the environment, communities, grocers, and retailers. They function as well as plastic bags, cost about the same to the retailer, and can be recycled along with plastic bags. If they are littered, they photodegrade from exposure to sunlight and subsequently biodegrade to a non-toxic residue. Thus, there is no reason for retailers and grocers not to switch to ECOgrade bags, eliminating the need and cost of enforcing single-use bag bans. Just like laws of the past that regulated donkeys bathing in bathtubs, the need for bans of single use bans is rapidly becoming an unnecessary regulation and legal burden. We are glad to see that science and ingenuity continues to lead us to a better solution for our environment, our convenience, and our economy.

Edward Weisberg is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, GXT Green, Inc.

Posted in ASTM 5272, bag ban, biodegradable, Consumer Product of the Year, degradable bags, ECOgrade, global warming, green business, green marketing, GXT Greem, GXT Green, Innovation Award, plastic bags, sustainability, sustainability news, sustainable business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GXT Green Sponsors the New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup

by Ed Weisberg

Every year, the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation coordinates the New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup—a major initiative to clean up the coast of New Hampshire as part of an international effort with the Ocean Conservancy. This year, 1,121 volunteers gave up their weekend time to remove 2,207.2 pounds of trash, including 45,465 items from the coast!

Since 1993, Bbeach cleanuplue Ocean Society has collected over 62 tons of debris. The good news is that through education and outreach efforts they are seeing a reduction in the amount of trash that litterers are leaving on the beach. In 1993, 113,919 items were collected weighing 15,000 pounds! Over the past three years debris collected as part of the New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup has been relatively stable at approximately a ton of waste each year.

ECOgrade™ degradable bags were used to collect debris during this year’s New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup. ECOgrade bags provided a durable solution to hold the trash, which included 164 littered plastic grocery bags. If by some chance any of the ECOgrade cleanup bags were to blow away, the good news is that they will degrade to a non-toxic residue from exposure to sunlight, mitigating any risk to wildlife, and avoiding the need to clean them up next time.   It also seems only right that bags made from ECOgrade, which can be recycled, and have less environmental impact in manufacture than plastic or paper, would be used for this important task.

We salute Blue Ocean Society’s effort to keep New Hampshire’s ECOgrade bag sample on blackcoast free of debris, and Pollslook forward to participating as a sponsor in coming years, until such time as these cleanup initiatives are no longer needed. GXT Green has committed to working with the Blue Ocean Society for the coming year, as the “Adopt-a-Beach” sponsor of Jenness Beach, as well as to supply ECOgrade bags for all of their cleanup efforts.

To learn more about the beach cleanups and the Blue Ocean Society, please visit www.blueoceansociety.org, or email the organization at info@blueoceansociety.org for more information.

To learn more about award winning ECOgrade degradable bags and their attributes as an alternative to plastic or paper, please visit http://www.ECOgradebag.com.

Edward Weisberg is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, GXT Green

Posted in Beach Cleanup, biodegradable, Blue Ocean, degradable bags, ECOgrade, environment, green business, green marketing, grocery bags, GXT Greem, GXT Green, New Hampshire Beach, photodegradable, plastic bags, sustainability, sustainability news, sustainable business, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Sustainable Solution to the Agricultural Mulch Waste Problem

by Jackie Deacutis

Plasticulture, or the use of plastic materials in crop production, has become an important tool for farmers around the world. It is used in row crop farming to reduce weed growth ECOgrade filmand warm the soil for earlier planting and greater yields. The most commonly used solution is plastic mulch, but its use requires additional labor and costs, and is not a particularly sustainable solution for the environment. At the end of the season the plastic strips have to be carted away to a landfill or burned leaving behind toxic residue and smoke. It costs about $100/acre to remove the plastic and produces over 143,000 tons of plastic waste in the United States alone, enough to circle the earth over 100 times.

100 x globeOne solution that has been explored is to use a bio-degradable mulch film. This solution is more sustainable, since it would not need to be removed at the end of the season because it degrades before the next growing season. This reduces costs for the farmer and the environment. However, most existing bio-degradable or oxo-degradable films are 5-6 times more expensive than plastic and are difficult to use because they tear easily. Some of them also leave behind residue that may negatively affect the soil.

ECOgrade™ mulch film from GXT Green, brings new technology which addresses both the cost and sustainability problems, making it a viable replacement for plastic mulch without making the farmer sacrifice price or quality. ECOgrade film is made from an entirely new compound called Calcium Olefinic Glucosate (COG), It costs about the same as plastic, has the same high strength as plastic, is not brittle, and if left on the ground will photodegrade in 240 days, and then biodegrades, leaving behind no toxins in the soil. It can be left to degrade in the soil, or can also be burned safely, emitting low smoke and producing calcium rich ash which has been tested and certified as a safe a soil conditioner adding up to 9% growth.

Furthermore, ECOgrade mulch contains more than 50% natural and plentiful materials and produces nearly 50% less greenhouse gas in pre-production. At the same cost of traditional plastic mulch, without the end of season expenses, ECOgrade mulch is a truly sustainable and cost savings alternative benefitting both the farmer and the environment.

Jackie Deacutis is a student at The College of William and Mary, and an intern at GXT Green.

Posted in agricultural mulch, biodegradable, Crop covers, Degradable mulch, ECOgrade mulch, environment, global warming, green business, GXT Green, mulch, plasticulture, sustainability, sustainability news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GXT Green COO and SVP of Sales Michael Vanin Featured in TV Interview

GXT Green COO and SVP of Sales Michael Vanin was featured on a recent TV interview.  He talks about the award winning benefits of ECOgrade Degradable bag, the market need for this product, and the underlying mission of GXT Green, including our 4 tenets of success, where “Economics meets Ecology”.

 

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GXT Green Recognized on the Shortlist for “The 5th Annual Responsible Business Awards”

GXT Green has been shortlisted as a finalist for the 5th Annual Responsible Business Awards. The Responsible Business Awards are sponsored by the Ethical Corporation in the UK to recognize international companies that are “agenda-leading in corporate responsibility”. GXT Green has been recognized for their groundbreaking ECOgrade™ degradable bag, as well as their corporate commitment to “Economics Meeting Ecology™”.

Billerica, MA USA – July 21, 2014 – GXT Green has been shortlisted as a finalist for the 5th Annual Responsible Business Awards. The Responsible Business Awards are sponsored by the Ethical Corporation in the UK to recognize international companies that are “agenda-leading in corporate responsibility”. GXT Green is a finalist in two categories: “Sustainability Commercialized” and “Best Small to Medium Enterprise”.
Responsible Business AwardsThe Sustainability Commercialized Award is for a company that most clearly demonstrates how they have incorporated responsible business and sustainability thinking into commercial objectives. GXT Green’s success with the ECOgrade Degradable bag is the impetus behind this recognition. ECOgrade bags solve the plastic bag pollution issue, as they photo-degrade from sunlight if littered or lost, and then subsequently biodegrade to a non-toxic residue. They cost the same or less than plastic bags, so they offer a commercialization win/win/win solution to retailers, consumers, and the environment.
The Best Small to Medium Enterprise Award is for a company with under 250 employees that has clearly innovated on sustainability in 2013. GXT Green was recognized for its portfolio of sustainable products that solve critical needs, without any negative tradeoffs in cost or performance. This charter is encompassed in the GXT Green tagline “Economics Meeting Ecology”™
Last year’s winners of the Responsible Business Award include such companies as GE, Mars, Western Union, and Timberland. The winners for 2014 will be announced on September 29th in London.
GXT Green’s charter is encapsulated in their tagline “Economics meeting Ecology”. They help clients achieve their sustainability goal through a focused set of products that includes:
• ECOgrade™ degradable bag, which replaces plastic and paper bags with bags manufactured with GXT Green’s patented Calcium Olefinic Glucosate, a non-toxic, cost-competitive, sustainable alternative that solves the plastic pollution problem.
• ECOgrade reactive agent, the underlying ingredient for ECOgrade bags, which is a low-cost, sustainable alternative to plastic resin, with significantly reduced environmental impact.
• ECOgrade Agricultural Mulch and Row Covers which offer farmers a cost-effective non-toxic option to extend their growing cycles and mitigate the use of chemicals on their crops.
• ECO-R3SP™ suspension packaging which replaces expanded polystyrene and rigid foam packaging with a “zero-waste” sustainable alternative.
Manas Chatterjee, CEO of GXT Green commented “We are excited to be recognized by the Responsible Business Award judges for our initiatives, as we continue to support the global community with our economically viable sustainable products”.
For more information on Ethical Corporation and the Responsible Business Awards, please visit http://events.ethicalcorp.com/awards.

About GXT Green
gxt greenGXT Green, where “Economics Meets Ecology” is a leader in creating products that help the corporate community meet their economic and social sustainability needs. GXT Green is committed to manufacturing and marketing products that are both sustainable and are economically viable.
Every product that GXT Green offers stands muster to 4 key criteria:
• They solve a critical problem for the user. They address real-world issues with viable solutions.
• They are sustainable. After their use they must leave our environment with as little negative impact as possible.
• They perform as well or better than the product they replace.
• They cost the same or less than the product they replace. Everyone wants to save the world until they find that it costs too much… then it’s not such a big priority.”
GXT Green and the ECOgrade bag have received recognition as Runner-up International Sustainability Consultancy of the year from BusinessGreen, 2011; Consumer Product of the Year from MassTLC, 2012; Innovation of the Year Finalist from SBANE, 2013; Silver Award Winner as Consumer Product of the Year and Most Innovative Product of the Year, Best in Biz Awards International, 2013; Business of the Year from the Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, 2013, and Innovation All-Star Winner in the product category from Boston Business Journal/Mass High Tech, 2013. Learn more at http://www.GxtGreen.com

Posted in Business of the Year, degradable bags, ECOgrade, Ethical Corporation, green business, green marketing, GXT Greem, GXT Green, Responsible Business Awards, sustainability, sustainability news, sustainable business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Inspiration Behind GXT Green

by Ed Weisberg

The tagline at GXT Green is “Economics Meeting Ecology.”   To us, that’s more than just a clever phrase. In fact, it’s a mantra that runs through the fabric of our management team, and is a driver in everything we do.  GXT Green is committed to manufacturing and marketing products that are both sustainable and economically viable.

Every product that we offer stands muster to 4 key criteria:4 criteria of GXT Green

  • They solve a critical problem for the user. We are solving real-world issues with viable solutions.
  • They are sustainable. After their use they must leave our environment with as little negative impact as possible.
  • They perform as well or better than the product they replace.
  • They cost the same or less than the product they replace. Everyone wants to save the world until they find that it costs too much… then it’s not such a big priority.”

Depending on the perspective of the buyers of our products, they can be viewed either as sustainable products that people can afford, or money saving items with sustainability “baked in”. Either way, our products fit the bill for what’s needed in today’s business and consumer eco-system.

The evolution of sustainable (or as some people refer to as “green”) products has been a rocky road. People assume that sustainable products cost more and do not perform as well. Perhaps the buyers’ mindsets have been influenced by the organic food and farming industry where it does, in fact, cost more to grow sustainable produce vs. using commercially efficient but not necessarily sustainable practices. Historically, products which address the same markets as those from GXT Green have been more expensive. Biodegradable plastics and paper which are considered an alternative to plastics bags, cost more than plastic.   They also may require special handling and tend to be less durable. This is not the case with ECOgrade degradable bags or any of our products.

At GXT Green our products are critically evaluated against our four point business driver and when they measure up, they are a home-run. GXT products include:

  1. ECOgrade degradable bags – the only viable alternative for plastic bags that is less expensive, more sustainable, and better performing.
  2. ECOgrade agricultural mulch –extends the crop season, saves farmers time and money, reduces water consumption, fertilizer use and run-off, reduces and in certain cases eliminates herbicide and pesticide use, and is non-toxic and sustainable.
  3. ECOgrade resin – a low-cost replacement for plastic resin used for manufacture of plastic products.
  4. ECO-R3SP zero-waste suspension packaging – a replacement for Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Foam Packaging which not only protects products for shipping, but also uses 60% less space, 40% less labor, fewer resources, and ultimately costs less than foam and other packaging methods.

We continuereduce, reuse, recyclee to build on our success and are developing new exciting products that meet our tests, increasing sustainability while remaining viable in the market. We are dedicated to doing our part with economically viable sustainable products.

Edward Weisberg is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, GXT Green

 

Posted in bestinbiz award, biodegradable, carbon footprint, Consumer Product of the Year, Earth Day, environment, green business, green marketing, GXT Greem, GXT Green, plastic bags, sustainability, sustainability news, sustainable business, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment