When Kermit the Frog (voiced by Jim Henson) first sang “Bein’ Green” in 1970, few consumers were concerned about climate change. Most manufacturers didn’t focus on sustainability or tout their products’ “green” qualities (if they happened to have any). Oh, how times have changed. In thinking about our annual sustainability issue, I’m particularly taken by the song’s second verse:

It’s not easy bein’ green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re
Not standin’ out like flashy sparkles on the water
Or stars in the sky

If we can generalize beyond the introspective musings of a fictional children’s character, it’s interesting that being green in today’s marketplace is often the “flashy” property that draws interest. Indeed, sustainability-related specifications often dictate if a product can be used in certain projects. Bio-based materials provide renewable alternatives to traditional petroleum-based products. For example, pine trees offer a green source for tackifiers (read “Bio-Based Materials for Adhesives and Sealants: The Sustainability Revolution is Here”), while starch-based adhesives help address issues such as recyclability for packaging applications (check out “What Was, What’s New, and What’s Next in Corrugating Adhesives”).

Manufacturers can also address sustainability by optimizing the efficiency of various operations within their facilities. As Christine Banaszek writes, “An energy-efficient, low-waste mixing process is a necessary piece of the big puzzle that is sustainability.” Learn more in her article entitled “Mixing Sustainability and Innovation.”

Even a product’s packaging can influence its environmental impact. “Exploring Sausage Packages for Commercial and DIY Mastics” has details.

When did your company first realize that being green could be a good thing? Please contact me at (248) 786-1704 or suttons@bnpmedia.com to share your story.