November 15th, 2013
Written by Iuliana Nita, Global Marketing Manager, Food and Beverage, Process Systems Business Unit of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics
Building a secure and sustainable supply chain not only makes good business sense; it also helps to demonstrate a commitment to wider stakeholder and societal interests, enhance the resiliency of the supply chain, and stimulate innovation as well as productivity.
Food and beverage manufacturers are building sustainable practices in many different ways. These may include streamlining logistics to minimize emissions in transport, reverting to packaging materials that are made of recycled or recyclable materials, auditing the utility usage at their facilities and investing in energy-efficient machinery.
To further enhance their sustainability, manufacturers are looking to the suppliers of materials, machinery and equipment. It is critical to work with suppliers that aim to improve the sustainability of their operations and the sustainability of their technologies down to each and every component.
Take tubing, for example. Flexible tubing can come into contact with beverage and food products at several points along the supply chain, beginning with transfer applications at the processing stage and ending with applications in beverage or condiment dispensers found at many restaurants and fast-food chains. Just like CPGs, these institutions are aware of their environmental footprint and continuously strive to meet sustainability goals.
The sustainability of a brand can be measured in many ways, including the reduction of greenhouse gases, minimizing material waste or harmful by-products, or higher efficiency equipment and operations. Disposal at the end of a product’s lifecycle is one measurable aspect of a tubing solution’s sustainability. For one thing, typical disposal can require incineration, which has far-reaching negative effects on the environment, releasing hazardous and corrosive hydrogen chloride gas that can produce acid rain. However, tubing made from environmentally sound materials can be safely disposed of without releasing unsafe byproducts. It is important that tubing solutions for food processing operations help brands reach their sustainability goals to minimize their carbon footprint and inspire confidence from consumers, partners and investors.
Many tubing products are comprised of a fossil fuel-based phthalate called DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate), which is a plasticizer used to give tubing its flexibility. Recent studies suggest DEHP may be responsible for negative environmental and human health impacts. Already on the EUs REACH candidate list of substances of very high concern (SVHC) and California’s OEHHA Proposition 65 List of chemicals of concern, many industries, consumers and governments are putting limitations on the use of this chemical in certain applications. Adopting a non-DEHP, bio-based material solutions throughout the food and beverage production line will not only anticipate impending regulations on the chemical, but will also demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and foods safety to consumers and industry players.
As part of the company’s commitment to sustainability, Saint-Gobain recently launched Tygon S3™, a bio-based, non-phthalate tubing for food and beverage dispensing and transfer applications. This safe, smart and sustainable solution provides high-level performance in delivering clarity, product consistency and taste/odor-free properties associated with the Tygon® brand of tubing, but with a forward-looking formulation to address the needs of evolving regulatory requirements. By using a bio-based plasticizer instead of DEHP-based plasticizer, the potential human health and environmental impacts during the tubing’s use are reduced. Companies that use Tygon S3™will have reduced exposure to risk or liability for their business and brands with the anticipated regulations on products containing phthalates like DEHP in food or beverage dispensing, processing, and transfer applications
Iuliana Nita is the Global Marketing Manager, Food and Beverage, Saint-Gobain Fluid Systems, one of the top 100 industrial companies in the world. She has over twelve years of experience in marketing and business development, primarily in the polymer industry. As a Global Marketing Manager, she helps to connect processes, operations, and products with what matters most to the industry: safety, performance and brand assurance. Iuliana holds a PhD – Polymer Science from Manchester Metropolitan University, an MBA – Marketing from the University of Akron and a Bachelor of Science – Chemistry from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest.
 NIH, Hazardous Substances Data Bank, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/r?dbs+hsdb:@term+@rn+117-81-7
 ECHA, Candidate List of Substances of Very High Concern for Authorisation, Accessed June 19, 2012.
 State of California EPA OEHHA, Chemicals Known to the State to Cause Cancer or Reproductive Toxicity, March 16, 2012 https://oehha.ca.gov/media/downloads/crnr/p65single01272017.pdf
» Visit the Whole Foods Magazine website for this and other articles -- http://www.wholefoodsmagazine.com/blog/suppliers-big-impact-sustainability