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Cereal maker 'bags' the box, PepsiCo's compostable cups

Consumer products companies continue to rethink packaging, recycling.

Two developments related to packaging have hit my inbox this week that it seems fun to share.

First, cereal maker Malt-O-Meal is touting the fact that it eliminated boxes for its cereals, opting for resealable bags. Its rationale is both environmentally and operationally motivated. First, the company wants to save on paperboard. By doing so, it figures that it will reduce the amount of packaging that customers need to dispose of at the end by up to 75 percent. Considering that there are roughly 2.3 billion cereal boxes produced annually in the United States (according to the company), that's a lot of paperboard (something to the tune of 345 million pounds). Oh, and yes, the company figures it has saved 1.1 trillion BTUs of energy since 2001 by moving to this approach. Although I think the company has been doing this for a while, it is upping the ante with a ton of publicity on its bagthebox Web site.

What I want to know, though, is how these things will stand up in my cabinet?

Meanwhile, PepsiCo has introduced five different recyclable and compostable cups that can be used by its food service clients.

The new cups include those made from recycled plastic (up to 20 percent of the content) as well as paper cups and wax cups that are compostable and that PepsiCo says are sourced from sustainably managed forests. The sorts of places that would use these new cups are concessions stands at stadiums, restaurants, food service operations at colleges and universities, and theme parks.

For a brief moment, I wondered how these things will make it into a recycling or compost bin. But then I remembered where most of the cups in stadiums wind up anyway, on the ground under your seat. So, my guess is that food service operations probably have a better grip on handling stuff like this than the average food service customer.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com