The global pandemic has brought to the forefront the necessity to adapt to remain sustainable.
More than ever, sustainable practices must be integrated into every step of a manufacturer’s operation to survive. So, it is no surprise that this year, the annual FTA Sustainability Excellence Award program was the most competitive it has ever been, drawing nearly triple the average number of high-quality entries in its 22-year history.
Through this competition, companies are recognized for outstanding Sustainability Programs and Innovations in Sustainability.
This year’s award winners are:
- Industrias de Plasticos SA de CV (INPLASA), of Valle de Amarateca, Francisco Morazán, Honduras C.A., for Sustainability Programs
- Footprint LLC, of Gilbert, AZ, for Innovations in Sustainability
Additionally, two companies were awarded Honorable Mentions for Innovations in Sustainability: Sun Chemical of Parsippany, NJ and TC Transcontinental Packaging of Chicago, IL.
Footprint LLC earned recognition in the Innovations in Sustainability category for its entry “Footprint Shelf-Stable Cup and Print Technology.” Footprint is a global materials science technology company with a vision to create a healthier planet and healthier people. Phase one of its mission is to provide solutions that eliminate single-use and short-term-use plastics in the food chain.
Footprint’s team of engineers use plant-based fiber technology to design, develop and manufacture biodegradable, compostable and recyclable solutions that compete with plastic’s cost and exceed its performance. As a result, it is keeping harmful chemicals away from consumers in materials digestible by the earth. Its products have already led to a global redirection of 61 million pounds of plastic waste, keeping it from entering the air, ground and water, by working with leading global consumer brands.
Footprint was founded in 2014 and employs more than 2,500 employees worldwide. It was named to the 2020 Fortune “Change the World” list, is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators Community and is a 2021 CNBC Disruptor 50 company. In 2021, its co-founders, Troy Swope and Yoke Chung, were named to Newsweek’s inaugural top disruptors list in the category of planet protectors.
After two years of pioneering development, Footprint launched a brand-new print operation in 2021 and is printing approximately 3 million cups per month. This is the first indirect flexographic print process on molded fiber cups in the world. Footprint drove this innovative print technology on molded fiber cups to provide an alternative to the cup problem today.
Footprint has partnered with a leading cup printing press manufacturer and is currently using a unique press. The machine uses conical indirect flexography technology to enable consistent ink transfer to the tapered cup that is superior to a traditional cylindrical machine. The advantages are minimal distortion at the top and bottom of the prints and improved color densities—necessary to replace current plastic products. Custom conical anilox rollers have been developed with Footprint’s anilox manufacturing partner and ink supplier to achieve this goal.
“Combining flexo with traditional dry offset seems to be a positive step toward sustainable direct to container packaging,” commented Competition Judge Justin Green of Comexi.
In addition to a 2022 FTA Sustainability Excellence Award, Footprint’s cup also received an award in the non-traditional flexo category of the 2022 FTA Excellence in Flexography Awards.