2015-01-08 / Front Page

Sustainable Plastics Company Cleans Shoreline

By Olga Enger

Michael Brown has developed his interest for a cleaner environment with his business and as a COA volunteer, below. (Top photo by Mike Salerno) Michael Brown has developed his interest for a cleaner environment with his business and as a COA volunteer, below. (Top photo by Mike Salerno) We are all familiar with the adage “you are what you eat,” but one Jamestown resident says the same is true about our food's packaging. Michael Brown founded Packaging2.0, which is the only company in the Northeast that provides 100 percent recycled plastic packaging.

"Over the years, I have developed an immense love and respect for our oceans, lakes, and rivers,” Brown said. "The company is my way of helping protect and preserve the environmental balance essential to ensure that future generations have a chance to experience it in the same way.”

Brown launched the company in 2002 to address the growing need for sustainable packaging solutions. His company provides front-end design services, manufacturing and delivery of innovative packaging products. In addition to the plastic containers, used locally by A Market in Newport, he hopes to also raise awareness about the impact plastic pollution has on the coastline and waters.

“We support a wide range of efforts and organizations that share our goals to reduce ocean plastic pollution through prevention, innovation, education, science, and action-based efforts,” said Brown.

As part of that promise, Brown’s company, together with Clean Ocean Access (COA), organized the ninth annual Hull Cove Coastal Cleanup in Jamestown last month. Thirty-seven people removed 956 pounds of debris. Since the first cleanup, 320 volunteers have removed 9,212 pounds of trash from that shoreline.

COA Executive Director David McLaughlin said the beach cleanup helps “fix the problems of the past” and Packaging2.0’s products align with COA’s ideal future-state.

“Packaging2.0 has a wide variety of innovative products that are moving in the right direction in terms of sustainable plastics and packaging, and COA fully supports the using these types of products at local events,” said McLaughlin. “Michael Brown really inspires us to continue to remove small- to medium-sized marine debris from the coastline, especially the really tiny stuff that gets integrated into our food supply and causes the most harm.”

In 2013 his company sold over 10 million packages made from over one million pounds of recycled plastic resin. According to Brown, this saved one million kilowatts of energy and 600 tons of greenhouse gas versus if the company had used virgin plastic.

Heather Raymond, of A Market Natural Foods, said the grocery store uses the containers because they are committed to a healthy environment as much as providing healthy food choices. “We use Packaging2.0's products because they also strive for sustainability and a healthier environment with products made from recycled plastics that are clean and able to be recycled again,” said Raymond.

In the past few decades, only 30 percent of plastic containers are recycled in the U.S., according to the National Association for PET Container Resources. The report said there were 5.5 billion pounds of such products on U.S. shelves in 2012, with 1.7 billion pounds recycled.

Brown said he hopes to help increase that number by urging customers and suppliers to join in the effort.

“Last year we sold over 10 million packages through a supply chain comprised of thousands of people across the country. By mobilizing even a fraction of this industrial and human might, we know that we can help be the change,” said Brown.

See story about recent beach cleanups on page 15.

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