How to Create a Green Purchasing Program




In a recent survey conducted by EcoVadis and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, 63% of executives said that meeting corporate sustainability goals was “very important” for their organization – an uptick from only 25% in 2019.

69% of the surveyed respondents reported that they’re taking sustainability performance into consideration when selecting new suppliers and renewing contracts.

To that end, creating sustainable purchasing programs – also known as environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP), green purchasing or green procurement programs – is no longer just relegated to the public sector. Now, many private companies are getting in on the action, too.

We’ve rounded up key takeaways from organizations paving the way for greener purchasing practices. Keep reading for inspiration to create a green purchasing strategy for your organization, with actionable tips and best practices to implement whether you’re making an initial plan, a formal program, or even official company policy. 

Man’s Hand Signing Contract


A green purchasing program is a formal plan which documents how to find, evaluate and measure the efficacy of suppliers offering products or services that meet a company’s specific sustainability goals.

Through a green purchasing program, you can not only benchmark typical supplier criteria such as prices, quality and capacity, but also how working with these suppliers will help you achieve your overarching sustainability objectives.



NASPO recommends that you first focus on one type of product you purchase instead of rolling out an entire program for all of your vendors. By doing so, you can identify what works and what doesn’t, better fine-tune the process, and eventually gain more stakeholder approval.


Identify members of your department and relevant people outside of procurement that can offer expertise and that will be affected by any sourcing changes you make. For instance, you may want to recruit people from accounting, finance, IT, operations, shipping and facilities management.

As part of this process, you’ll want to clearly define roles and responsibilities, especially when determining the major decision-makers on your team.


Now it’s time to analyze how your company is performing from a sustainability perspective. What is your current carbon footprint? Where does most of your waste go?

Then, assess the performance of your current suppliers for the product group you’ve chosen to focus on. Look at their environmental impact, the financials and different quality measures. How many of your supplier vendors offer green certifications? Do any of the products you purchase contain harmful chemicals that hurt the environment? What percentage of their products are recycled? How much do they cost? How timely are their deliveries? Do they ever send you defective products?


Purchasing is only a piece of the larger sustainability puzzle. Evaluate your organization’s green initiatives and then identify how your purchasing practices can ladder back up to these initiatives. In other words, look at the larger picture and work backward.


This can be done in tandem with step four, but you’ll ultimately need to identify – and then define – your green purchasing goals for the product category you’re focusing on.

You may want to begin with broad goals, such as:

  • Using products with fewer toxic ingredients.

  • Lowering your carbon footprint.

  • Using more recycled materials.

  • Leveraging renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gases.

Afterward, choose the broad goal(s) which apply to the product category you’re initially concentrating on and then break these down into SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable and timely).

Consider Doing Clean Sheet Cost Analyses

To find green procurement program goals which are both cost-effective and improve sustainability, McKinsey & Company suggests you use “resource clean sheets,” a modified form of a clean sheet analysis (also referred to as a cost modeling estimation) which factors in carbon emissions. These granular assessments allow you to measure both the cost and carbon footprint involved in creating a product.

For instance, if looking at a specific product, you would first evaluate the costs for overhead, production and material, and then see what the cost is if you make any adjustments to the materials for sustainability purposes. Next, you would look at the greenhouse gas emissions involved in your current state and what the emissions would be with the same proposed changes.

This will help you identify which change would yield the most cost savings and emission reductions.


Determine the specific criteria you’ll use to evaluate your current vendors and screen future suppliers. These criteria will go hand in hand with your green purchasing goals.

Let’s say that you’ve chosen to start out with your company’s janitorial and sanitation products. For this example, we’ll assume your company has similar sustainability goals to Bosch, which models its sustainability strategy off the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Purchasing greener cleaning products helps with two SDGs: good health and well-being, and clean water and sanitation. One of your specific green procurement goals is to purchase cleaning products that do not contain ingredients that are harmful to humans or animals.

To analyze your current jan/san suppliers and establish qualification criteria for future suppliers, you’ll look for specific, third-party green certifications. That way, you can avoid doing business with suppliers who mislead about the “greenness” of their product.

Check out the EPA’s Recommendations of Specifications, Standards and Ecolabels for a list of green certifications to consider. Though this list is designed for federal purchasers, it provides recommended certifications and specifications for different product types that you can use as well.

Outside of requesting specific certifications, you can also reference the Responsible Purchasing Network’s Vendor Sustainability Questionnaire, which lists questions to ask suppliers and more criteria for your vendors.


If you have contracted suppliers, you will want to update your contract requirements to include the new standards you’ve identified.

NASPO recommends including the following items in your contracts:

  • State the standards suppliers need to reach. Clearly articulate your green procurement goals and the certifications that validate if their products meet them.

  • Request that new suppliers provide proof of these green certifications.

  • Update your contract language allowing current suppliers to offer alternative green solutions if they’re in the midst of an existing contract term.

  • Make it mandatory for new vendors to provide training on how to use their products, if needed.


If you haven’t already, make sure to reach out to the suppliers you’re already working with and let them know about the changes you want to make, including updates to their future contractual language. Update your RFPs and RFQs to include the new requirements for this product category. This will give them the opportunity to submit a new bid and show you if they meet the new qualifications you’re seeking, or decline renew the contract so if they don’t. 


By now, you’ve measured your current state and determined your desired future state for a particular product category. Use this information to establish minimum key performance indicators (KPIs) so you can measure the success of your program implementation (at the start, just for this product type). For instance, you may want to measure:

  • The product costs.

  • Your carbon footprint.

  • Your percentage of recycled content or toxic ingredients.

  • The number of vendors you’re using before you implement the policy and afterward (especially if vendor consolidation is top of mind).

Then, determine how often you will measure these KPIs, whether it will be weekly, monthly or quarterly. Choose the cadence which best fits the product category at hand.

Next, choose a final review date where you’ll evaluate the overall progress and potential success of your green procurement program implementation.


Before you start your new sustainable procurement program, reach out to any employees who need to know about the initial phase. Provide enough time and training so that people are less resistant to change and aren’t caught off guard. Explain how this change will benefit them individually and the company as a whole.

The key is to only communicate with people you need to communicate with, and to do it clearly and with transparency. Since this is only the first phase of the program, you’ll likely experience some trial and error and may face some bumps along the way. Work out any initial issues and be prepared to answer relevant questions before rolling out the green purchasing policy more broadly to reduce friction and ensure buy-in from the majority of your team.


Now, it’s time to start the first iteration of your program using the product category you’ve selected. Once you begin requesting new bids, set up meetings with key stakeholders to check in on how things are going, identify rooms for improvement, and troubleshoot as necessary. If you experience any small successes, consider advertising them to other people in your company. You can drum up enthusiasm for your department’s new focus on sustainability and encourage other departments to follow suit.


After the designated amount of time has passed for the final evaluation of your green purchasing program trial, meet as a team and dive into the details. Look at your reports and KPIs. Evaluate what went right and what didn’t. Determine ways to streamline processes.

Use your learnings from this first phase to identify ways to include more product categories in your more widespread purchasing program (if not all of them) and then develop a more comprehensive program for other supplier types. Finally, draft your official statement of purpose which summarizes why you’re adopting this program and what your goals are.  


Execute your solidified program and you should start to see results, whether you reduce your carbon footprint, use more energy-efficient technologies, or dispose of less waste in your local landfills. No purchasing program is perfect, but there’s always room for improvement. At SmartSolve, we’re continually working to improve our green purchasing practices and using this guide as a blueprint for our continued growth.


Executing green purchasing strategies is one of many ways you can make your company more sustainable. Check out these posts for more actionable ideas:


Breaking Down Water-Soluble Paper



Hand Dipping Water Soluble Paper Into Pool of Water

Water-soluble paper is at the core of everything we do at SmartSolve. This completely dispersible paper product has a wide range of uses across a diverse spectrum of businesses and industries. SmartSolve’s versatile dissolving paper helps organizations from a variety of markets reach their sustainability goals effortlessly.

Read on to learn some of the secrets behind this disappearing paper and ways dissolvable paper can benefit your business.


Water-soluble paper is an advanced paper technology that can dissolve quickly in water, or biodegrade more slowly in a moist environment. Dispersion can occur in 30 seconds or less with a large amount of water and agitation, or it can be slowed by controlling the amount of moisture in the environment. SmartSolve’s dissolvable paper is printable and available in a variety of sizes to fit businesses’ needs.


SmartSolve’s dissolving paper is made from a paper-based material that’s largely composed of cellulose, a very finely-ground wood pulp sourced from FSC-certified forests, and other compostable ingredients. During manufacturing, a locking mechanism forms between each individual fiber. When exposed to water, the locking mechanisms release, allowing the tiny fibers to separate and biodegrade.


Water-soluble paper can be used the same as any other paper product – just with the added benefit of solubility. Popular uses for this product include:

  • Hang tags and labeling that will dissolve without any adhesive residue leftover.

  • Container labeling, with the ability to wash off the previous container label and apply new.

  • Personal care products such as soaps, body wash and any other dry formulations.

  • Soluble pattern paper for quilting and other sewing projects.

  • Single-use saturated soap or colorant sheets.

  • Dissolvable seed strips or packets for germination.

  • Secure, dissolvable documents for government organizations and institutions.

  • Novelty dissolving paper for toys, games, schools, churches, magicians and other marketing ventures.

  • Tearable packets or dissolving packaging for granulated products and soap-making.

  • New product innovations being brought to the market which emphasize sustainability and functionality.



SmartSolve’s water-soluble paper is 100% biodegradable and dispersible in water, exceeding the marine standards for biodegradability. Because our materials are a non-toxic, environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional paper, businesses use dissolvable paper as an easy and efficient way to meet their sustainability goals.


The wide variety of uses for water-soluble paper is what makes this product one of SmartSolve’s most popular materials. Our dissolving paper is functionally printable with any type of ink, using any type of printer, including press, flexographic, inkjet and laser printers. However, just because you functionally can print with any ink on SmartSolve paper, doesn’t mean you should. You will want to assess if the inks you’re using match your desire for sustainability. For example, it’s not ideal to print with oil-based inks, since oil does not dissolve in water. Because this versatile material is eco-friendly, making the switch to water-soluble paper for projects and campaigns can also boost consumer confidence and attract new customers who support sustainable brands.


With the ability for customization and environmental benefits, it’s easy to see why SmartSolve’s dissolvable paper has become so popular. Our dispersible paper comes in a variety of sheet sizes and weights. Plus, we offer a wide range of water-soluble printing, adhesive and packaging materials to meet your organization’s needs.

If you’re looking for sustainable, water-soluble paper or labeling solutions, get in touch with our team today and learn how our products can work for your business.


Harry’s Re-Imagines Razor Packaging With Water-Soluble Pouches



In 2020, more than 158 million people in the U.S. used disposable razors, and that number continues growing each year. Because razors are sharp and made of mixed materials, they (and the plastic packaging they typically come in) are not recyclable and end up in landfills.

Harry’s was created to be different from other shaving companies, and in their Miami for Design Week showcase, they demonstrated how packaging can be another standout feature of their personal care products.

Harry's SmartSolve Dissolvable Razor Pouch


Popular shaving brand Harry’s made a splash on Instagram with a post featuring their “magically appearing” razor. The video shows their product pouch being held under the faucet and dissolving to reveal a new razor concept made from 100% recycled material.

Harry’s worked with SmartSolve to create their branded water-soluble pouch for this project. Their goal was to bring science and design together to make a zero-waste package for their permanent razor handle.

Frank Zaremba, Designer at Harry’s, shared, “The event went great and people really loved the experience of running the packaging under the faucet! It was one of our biggest hits for Harry's on Instagram ever.”

While this product is not currently available for purchase, consumers are abuzz about this razor that is not only made from 100% recycled materials, but can also be recycled again after use. There’s also a lot of chatter about the dissolvable packaging it comes in.

Harry's SmartSolve Dissolving Pouch Under Water Reveals Razor


SmartSolve’s water-soluble pouches, also known as dissolvable pouches or sachets, are made of bio-based wood pulp fibers that disperse completely in water with no adhesive residue. The pouch shape is retained by a heat-seal coating, and once it comes in contact with water, the dispersion process begins. The adhesive completely dissolves while the wood pulp fibers begin to separate and return to their original bio-based state.

The 3X15 pouch material from SmartSolve has passed the GD4 flushability tests used to certify toilet paper and wipes, meaning the material is safe to go down the drain. The dissolved pouch material is also safe for the environment and fish, meeting marine biodegradation standards and the EPA’s Ecological Risk Assessment.


The personal care and beauty industry produces more than 120 billion units of packaging worldwide every year – most of which is not recyclable. Cardboard takes about 2 months to decompose in landfills, while plastic can take up to 1,000 years, with some types never decomposing. SmartSolve’s dissolvable packaging gives brands the potential for zero-waste practices and provide an eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastics.

Beyond environmental considerations, water-soluble pouches provide unique branding capabilities. When brands leverage SmartSolve’s water-soluble technology and share their products on social media platforms, they’ve seen a major boost in engagement. In addition to Harry’s, female personal care brand Daye has seen massive success on social media from campaigns featuring SmartSolve’s flushable, “disappearing” pouches, exposing a global audience of eco-conscious consumers to their products.


According to Flexible Packaging, “One sustainable packing trend to watch out for in 2022 is the use of lesser materials. Businesses are steering away from using excessive materials in their packaging and only using materials that actually serve a purpose.”

Harry’s dissolving razor packaging is just one of many applications for SmartSolve’s water-soluble materials. Get in touch with our team or request a sample to see what our pouch solutions can do for your brand.


Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider founded Harry’s in 2012 because they were tired of overpaying for over-designed razors. They wanted simple, high-quality products at a fair price and decided to do something about it. Harry’s flagship product is razors with blade refills that come in a recyclable box.

Harry’s launched its subscription service in 2013 and has grown to offer shave, body, face and hair products for men. As part of their mission to stand out from other men’s brands, they donate 1% of sales to charitable organizations promoting better mental health care for men. Follow Harry’s on Instagram for updates on how they’re re-imagining razors and other everyday household items.




SmartSolve Water Soluble Pouches

Many brands are switching to eco-friendly product packaging, and for good reasons. Consumers are more environmentally conscious than ever and looking for brands that align with their values. According to a survey by McKinsey & Company, 60-70% of consumers said they would pay more for products with sustainable packaging.

Looking for product pouches that reflect the quality of your product while still being safe for the environment? Keep reading to learn more about water-soluble pouches.


SmartSolve’s water-soluble pouches, also known as dissolvable pouches or sachets, are a proprietary product that disperses completely in water with no adhesive residue. A heat-seal coating retains the pouch shape, and pouches will disperse in seconds, regardless of water temperature.

SmartSolve pouches can hold any dry product, including powders, granules and other objects that are void of liquid or condensation.


SmartSolve’s eco-friendly product pouches are comprised of bio-based wood pulp fibers sourced from FSC-certified forests. The active ingredient in our water-soluble pouch is carboxymethyl cellulose, a safe, food-grade powder which is most commonly used in chewing gum. These dissolving pouches are non-toxic and biodegradable, functioning more effectively with a smaller environmental impact than similar plastic-based products, such as PVA or PVOH.


While sometimes referred to as “dissolving pouches,” the material technically undergoes a dispersion process. Once the pouches come in contact with water, the dispersion process begins. The adhesive completely dissolves while the wood pulp fibers begin to separate and return to their original bio-based state. Biodegradable materials are a lower-impact alternative to traditional plastics, as they are designed to transform into substances that can be recognized and utilized by living organisms once they are disposed.

SmartSolve’s 3X15 pouch material has passed the five GD4 flushability tests used to certify toilet paper and wipes, meaning the material is safe to go down the drain. The dissolved pouch material is safe for the environment and fish, meeting marine biodegradation standards and the EPA’s Ecological Risk Assessment.



SmartSolve offers a range of water-soluble pouch packaging options that are suitable for many different dry product types, from detergent packs and personal care items to building chemicals. Unlike PVA, a petroleum-derived material commonly used for laundry detergent pods, water-soluble pouches can register print with water-soluble ink. While packaging is normally thrown away before a product is used, dissolvable pouches provide the unprecedented advantage of consumers seeing your branding in the last moments of the product lifecycle.

Personal care brands like Daye and Harry’s have seen viral success on social media from campaigns featuring SmartSolve’s flushable, “disappearing” pouches, exposing the brands to a new, growing audience of eco-conscious consumers.


Our dissolving pouches are designed to deliver a pre-portioned product - sometimes even without the need to physically open the package. Many water-soluble products require careful handling, and some of these items can’t be exposed to air and other contaminants before use. SmartSolve’s water-soluble pouches eliminate the need for human contact while preserving the integrity of pouched products. They also protect end users from exposure to potentially harmful substances that are meant for use with water.


Eco-friendly packaging has many advantages in commercial applications. SmartSolve’s dissolving pouches give organizations the potential for zero waste practices and make a great alternative to single-use plastics. Making the switch to greener product pouches can increase consumer confidence, attract new customers who support sustainable brands and alleviate the environmental impact of traditional product packaging. Choosing environmentally-friendly business practices can also qualify your organization for tax benefits.


For dry products, SmartSolve’s water-soluble pouch technology holds distinct benefits over plastic-based and other packaging types. If your business is looking for sustainable, water-soluble paper, packaging or labeling, get in touch with our team today and learn how our solutions can work for your business.





When one of our personal products customers approached us with a unique application—a water soluble pouch for a body wash product—they sought proof of flushability to ensure that the entire solution was safe for the environment, packaging included.

Since our world’s wastewater systems unfortunately are filled with items that shouldn’t be flushed down the toilet, but are, such as sanitary napkins and non-flushable wipes, this personal product firm wanted to guarantee that all aspects of their product offering would be zero waste. 

That’s when they turned to us.


We worked with SGS-ISP Testing, an international testing lab that offers flushability testing per the Fourth Edition of the Guidelines for Assessing the Flushability of Disposable Nonwoven Products (GD4) from the Association of the Nonwovens Fabrics Industry (INDA) and the European Disposables and Nonwovens Association (EDANA).

SGS-ISP Testing ran five tests with our 3x15 heat seal printed pouches including:

  1. FG501: Toilet and Drainline Clearance Test, which evaluates whether or not a nonwoven product can safely clear toilet and building drainage lines.

  2. FG502: Slosh Box Disintegration Test, which tests if a nonwoven product disintegrates when exposed to mechanic agitation in water.

  3. FG503: Household Pump Test, which assesses if nonwoven products are compatible with household sewage ejector pump systems.

  4. FG504: Setting Test, which measures if nonwoven products can settle in septic tanks, sumps, setting chambers, and on-site aerobic systems.

  5. FG507: Municipal Pump Test, which tests if nonwoven products are compatible with municipal sewage pumping systems.

Because these flushability standards don’t normally apply to paper, we ran a modified version of this testing method and only tested five out of seven standard properties because the other two did not apply to our material.


In the end, SGS-ISP Testing found that our water soluble printed pouches passed the five GD4 flushability tests, thus proving safe to flush down the drain.

Note: SmartSolve’s materials cannot be certified for flushability according to these standards since they only apply to wipes and paper towels, two kinds of products we don’t offer. However, since our pouches passed the GD4 tests, our pouches can be flushed without any negative environmental impact.


Once our pouches passed these tests, our customer began using them with their liquid bath product, which is vegan, cruelty-free, and free of sulfates, fillers, phthalates, and parabens.

After consumers open a water soluble pouch while using it in the bath or shower, the pouch begins to dissolve when exposed to water in 40 seconds or less, then washes down the drain.

As a result, our customer can meet their goals of having 100% dissolvable packaging without the use of non-biodegradable or polluting packaging.


Interested in trying out our water soluble pouches for yourself? Request samples today . Or do you have another packaging application that you’d like to discuss? Contact us to get the conversation started.




The average American woman will use between 5-15 thousand tampons and pads throughout her lifetime—most of which will end up in landfills. Considering the fact that plastic can take up to 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill, the amount of menstrual waste generated every year has become a cause for concern.

Daye, a female health research and development company based in the UK, is hoping to change that.


Founded in 2017 by CEO Valentina Milanova, Daye focuses on creating sustainable products and services that bridge the gender gap via science and innovation. Their flagship product is the world’s first—and only—pain-relieving tampon.

Sanitized for safety and coated with CBD, Daye’s tampons not only help relieve the burden of period pain (which 80% of women experience), but also are good for the environment.

All of their tampons are 100% free of dioxin, plastic, rayon, chlorine bleach, phthalates and fragrances and are made of 100% organic cotton that’s both biodegradable and compostable. And what’s more, their sustainable packaging reduces the burden of menstrual waste—thanks to SmartSolve Industries.


When developing their first tampon product, Milanova and her team wanted to find a packaging option that was better for the planet. They started by working with a company that produced compostable wrappers.

While the wrappers were sustainable, they soon ran into a major problem. 

“We found out that most of our customers wouldn’t be able to compost the wrappers at home because it’s not what real customer behavior is like,” Milanova explained. “Most people would throw their wrappers in the trash.”

As a result, Milanova and her team decided to change tactics and find another packaging option that wouldn’t require so drastic a change in how most consumers dispose of their tampon wrappers.

Enter SmartSolve.


Milanova explained that she and her colleagues were impressed by the investment that had gone into developing their water soluble material, as well as SmartSolve’s ability to answer the extensive questions they had.

“We moved to the SmartSolve wrapper because it fits more neatly with customer behavior,” Milanova said. “The water-soluble option is so great. Since people aren’t recycling or composting their wrappers, we found another natural way to dispose of them with SmartSolve.”

Daye is leveraging the SmartSolve 3x15 Heat Seal material for the tampon wrapper. The wrapper disperses when it comes into contact with water, allowing it to be easily flushed. Also, it has been classified as readily biodegradable—the highest level of biodegradation—per the OECD-301B test method, which means that it will quickly break down when submerged in an environment like a sewage system. Finally, the material has also proven ideal from a branding perspective since Daye can print their logo on it.

“The feedback has been incredibly positive: Everyone was really excited to have a flushable wrapper,” she continued. “In fact, one of our best-performing pieces of content has to deal with the water soluble wrapper our tampon uses.” The video above has been viewed over 6,700 times.


Since launching their original CBD tampons, Daye has continued to expand and refine their product offerings.

You can now buy CBD-free tampons called Naked tampons, which are the most absorbent organic tampons in the market. Plus, their vegan-friendly, allergen-free ProViotics help with vaginal health by offering protection from infections. CBD is no longer just limited to tampons, either—Daye also sells CDB Balm, which can help with pain relief.

More products are in the works.

“We’re currently working on developing menstrual hygiene pads and would like to wrap them in the SmartSolve water soluble wrapper as well,” Milanova said.


This is just one of many applications for SmartSolve’s water soluble materials. To try out one of our products for yourself, request a sample today.





Of all the kinds of packaging materials, paper remains one of – if not the – most popular options used worldwide.  

In this post, we’ll explore some of the benefits of paper packaging that have led to its continued popularity, as well as some of its drawbacks, so you can walk away with a well-rounded understanding of this kind of packaging material. 



Paper has higher biodegradation rates when compared to other kinds of packaging – especially plastic. This means that paper packaging breaks down in natural environments quickly when exposed to bacteria, yeast, and other organisms.  


Source: EPA

Paper is one of the most recyclable materials in the world. In fact, paper and paperboard made up nearly 67% of the total municipal solid waste (MSW) recycled in the U.S. in 2018 – the highest of any other kind of material.  

Plus, according to the American Forest & Paper Association, the U.S. paper recycling rate has met or exceeded 63% since 2009.  


Paper is primarily composed of forestry materials found in nature (i.e., fiber). This is beneficial because when the material decomposes, it reverts back to natural materials from our environment. Since paper is based on wood, it’s one of the world’s few truly sustainable products.  


At 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, the pulp, paper and print value chain is one of the lowest industrial emitters in the world.  

And when managed sustainably, younger forests can actually help reduce carbon dioxide emissions through carbon sequestration, defined as “the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide.” Since carbon dioxide is the most frequently produced kind of greenhouse gas, this can be significant. Here’s how.  

How Carbon Sequestration Works With Trees 

Though older forests store more carbon than younger ones, younger forests sequester more carbon dioxide than older forests.

As trees get older, their ability to sequester carbon lowers. That’s because of their growth rate. “Biological growth in trees is very rapid at young ages, and this growth rate declines as the trees age,” Steve Prisley, a principal research scientist with NCASI, explains. Since younger trees (and forests) grow faster than their older counterparts, they can remove more carbon dioxide than older forests that have the same area coverage.

Consequently, sourcing fiber from forests for paper products can be better for the environment when managed in a sustainable way. And what is a sustainably managed forest?

“The bottom line [of a sustainably managed forest] is that we’re not removing more trees than can be regrown, or we’re not harvesting faster than the forest is growing. The goal is to balance the growth and harvest with the removals from the forest and ensure our harvesting rate is sustainable relative to growth.”

-  Steve Prisley, Principal Research Scientist, NCASI


Paper isn’t just more recyclable than other materials – it’s also easier to reuse with little environmental impact. That’s because it can re-pulped without the use of chemicals. The life cycle of paper is long, too – recycled paper fibers can be reused up to 5 to 7 times to make new products.  


Paper is advantageous for brand visibility because you can easily print your logo or other designs right on the material.  


You can easily combine paper with other materials to achieve unique aesthetics, which can influence purchasing decisions. Per a national study conducted by the Paper and Packaging Board and IPSOS, 7 in 10 consumers – 72% – reported that packaging design can influence whether or not they purchase a product, and 83% of consumers said that paper and cardboard design can be innovative. In addition, 63% of consumers said that paper and cardboard packaging makes a product seem premium or high quality. 


Source: FSC

According to a recent study conducted by GlobeScan for the Forest Research Council (FSC) of 12,000 participants from 15 countries, climate change was the #2 most concerning global issue.

Not surprisingly, stainability is on consumers’ minds as they make purchasing decisions. In another study of conducted by McKinsey, 55% of U.S. consumers surveyed said they were either extremely or very concerned about how product packaging impacts the environment. Since paper is bio-based, biodegradable, reusable, and recyclable, it’s a popular option for packaging materials.  


Though paper offers many pros, it still has some cons.  


Paper offers less of a barrier to oxygen, light, and microbes than other packaging materials such as plastic. As a result, the items it stores – food products especially – have shorter shelf lives when stored in mainly paper packaging. (For paper to have better barrier properties, plastic usually needs to be added in plastic layers of laminates.)  


Even though paper is very recyclable and reusable, it still fills up landfills. In 2018, paper and paperboard (that is, cardboard) materials made up the largest component of U.S. MSW at 11.8%, or 17.2 million tons.  

While paper does have a high biodegradation rate, this happens in aerobic environments, which are environments where paper materials are broken down by the action of oxygen-breathing microorganisms.  Conversely, paper has a slow anaerobic (oxygen-absent) biodegradation rate in environments without oxygen, like landfills, because it’s resistant to degeneration when compacted.  

Within less than a year of being brought to a landfill, anaerobic conditions get created, no matter what type of MSW has been deposited – including paper.  Bacteria then decompose MSW in landfills and produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas. 


Paper takes up more space than the same weight of plastic in landfills because it’s less dense than other types of waste. For example, 1 lb. of paper will occupy more space in a landfill than 1 lb. of food waste, glass, or even some plastics.


As we’ve reviewed, paper packaging offers more advantages than disadvantages and is an environmentally friendly and adaptable solution for product packaging. Nonetheless, using paper as your packaging material does depend on its intended usage or application.   

So, what packaging material can you use that has the same benefits as regular paper, but overcomes some of its pitfalls?  

Consider SmartSolve. 

Unlike regular paper packaging materials, SmartSolve’s materials are: 

  • Water soluble. Water soluble paper dissolves quickly when exposed to water back to the natural components it’s made up of.  

  • Readily biodegradable. Several of our materials have passed the international OECD 301B testing method and thus demonstrate that they biodegrade “rapidly and completely” in aquatic environments.   

  • Nontoxic to fish. Most of our materials have passed U.S. EPA Ecological Risk Assessment guidelines and show that they’re not toxic in marine environments.  

  • Flushable. Our 3x15 heat seal printed pouches, for example, have passed several flushability tests including FG501 (Toilet Bowl and Drain-line Clearance Test), FG502 (Slosh Box Disintegration Test, and FG503 (Household Pump Test). This basically means that they’re safe to flush down the drain.  

  • Made of FSC-compliant fiber.  SmartSolve Industries meets the FSC Forest Management and Chain of Custody Certification requirements for the production and distribution of labels and paper using the transfer system. You can rest assured that our products come from sustainably managed forests that preserve biological diversity, benefit the lives of local people, and sustain economic viability.   

  • Compostable in 40 days. Our water soluble board stock qualifies as compostable in 40 days because it passed the ASTM D6868-11 testing method. The material contains no hidden or unknown substances that recycled materials – including paper – sometimes carry. 

To learn more about SmartSolve’s materials and how you can use them for your specific application, request samples today.




Click here to view our video on the differences between bio-based, biodegradable and compostable materials.

Click here to view our video on the differences between bio-based, biodegradable and compostable materials.


With so many buzzwords being used to describe environmentally-friendly packaging these days, it can be hard to differentiate the meanings between them.

In this post, we’ll dive into the differences so you can better align the materials you choose with your ultimate sustainability goals.


What Are Bio-Based Materials?

Bio-based materials are made from renewable plant or animal feedstocks. These renewable materials are often used throughout the manufacturing process and at the very beginning of a package’s life cycle.

Examples of Bio-Based Products

The most common examples of bio-based materials are fiber-based packaging that originates from trees, and other fiber sources such as wheat straw or bamboo. Others include bioplastics, which are made from materials like sugarcane, cornstarch, potatoes, and algae.

How to Quantify a Material’s Bio-Based Content

The bio-based nature of a product is often tested against the ASTM D6866 standard in order to quantify a material’s bio-based content. This standard uses radiocarbon analysis to determine the content of solid, liquid, or gaseous samples.

How to Properly Dispose of Bio-Based Products

Many bio-based packaging materials can be recycled, including bio-based plastics. When recycled, bio-based plastics are collected by recyclers and brought to a recycling plant. Then, after being processed, they can be reused in new solutions.


What Does Biodegradable Mean?

When a biodegradable material reaches the end of its life cycle, bacteria and other living organisms will begin to break down the product. Gradually, the material will decompose – i.e., biodegrade – in natural environments and will eventually be converted into components such as carbon dioxide and water.

Examples of Biodegradable Products

Most biodegradable packaging materials are made of cardboard, paper, cornstarch, and bioplastic. Examples include label stock, board stock, corrugated boxes, packaging “peanuts,” and envelopes.

Many bio-degradable packages consist of bio-based materials; however, there are a few exceptions to this large generalization. It is always best to ask your material supplier directly to ensure the materials align with your sustainability initiatives.

How to Measure the Biodegradability of a Material

OECD 301B is the main way to measure a material’s biodegradability. This international testing method measures how quickly a material will break down in water over a period of 28 days. If a material passes the OECD 301B test within the 28-day timeframe and within 10 days of reaching 10% biodegradation, it’s categorized as “readily biodegradable.”

How to Properly Dispose of Biodegradable Products

If bio-based products are also biodegradable and compostable, they can be composted or brought to a biogas plant to be used as renewable energy. Others can also be recycled.


What Makes a Material Compostable?

Compostable materials will quickly biodegrade in a home or industrial composting environment. In order for a product to be classified as compostable, the material must biodegrade naturally without leaving visual remnants or unacceptable levels of toxic residues.

When considering the differences between biodegradable and compostable materials, it is good to keep in mind that while all compostable materials are biodegradable, not all biodegradable materials are compostable.

Examples of Compostable Materials

Compostable packaging materials such as paperboard, coatings, inks, and additives derive from fossils, trees, sugar cane, seaweed, and cellulose fiber.

How to Measure the Compostability of a Material

The ASTM D6400 and ASTM D6868 standards are often used to evaluate the compostable characteristics of plastic and fiber-based packaging materials. ASTM D6400 measures if plastic or plastic-based products will “compost satisfactorily” in municipal and industrial aerobic composting facilities.

Meanwhile, ASTM D686 measures whether or not packaging materials with attached biodegradable plastic film or coating compost in the same kinds of facilities.

How to Properly Dispose of Compostable Materials

Compostable packaging materials – including those made of plastic – can be composted in a commercial or industrial composting facility. If this kind of facility isn’t located near a consumer, it’s best to throw compostable materials in the garbage since they often aren’t recyclable.


SmartSolve water soluble materials are comprised of bio-based wood fibers that are sourced from FSC Certified forests. Our paper-based materials are non-toxic, bio-degradable, and approved for both home and industrial composting. Contact us directly to learn more about how our water soluble materials can help you go beyond recycling.




How much packaging waste makes up our landfills? Who’s leading the race in packaging recycling – and who’s falling behind? What does the future look like for packaging waste in our oceans?

Learn more about packaging waste in this roundup of 40 global packaging stats.


Paper and cardboard make up 17% of the global waste generated – the second-highest amount after food and green waste. (World Bank)

12% of the global waste composition is plastic waste, which partially consists of plastic packaging among other plastic products and materials. (World Bank)

Of the municipal solid waste (MSW), or trash, generated in 2018 in the U.S., 12.20% consisted of plastics, which includes plastic packaging. (EPA)

23.05% of the MSW generated in the U.S. in 2018 consisted of paper and paperboard, which was the #1 highest amount generated of all materials including glass, metals, wood, textiles, and more. (EPA

Nevertheless, U.S. paper and paperboard products generation declined from 87.7 million tons in 2000 to 67.4 million tons in 2018. (EPA)

The amount of containers and packaging generated in the U.S. has increased over the past 50+ years, from 27,370 in thousands of U.S. tons in 1960 to 75,840 tons in 2000 and finally, 82,220 tons in 2018. (EPA)

15% of the waste composition in East Asia and the Pacific region consists of paper and cardboard, and 12% consists of plastic. (World Bank)

This trend also carries over into Europe and Central Asia, where in 2016, 18.6% of the waste composition was paper and cardboard; at 11.5%, plastic was the third-highest material making up the total waste generated. (World Bank)

The Middle East and North Africa have a similar waste composition: 13% of its waste consists of paper and cardboard, and 12% consists of plastic. (World Bank)

Meanwhile, Latin America and the Caribbean had the same waste composition as the Middle East and North Africa, with paper and cardboard making up 13% and plastic making up 12%. (World Bank)

In North America, the waste composition consists of less food and green waste than other regions, affecting the percentages of paper and cardboard and plastic generated. Still, paper and cardboard (28%) and plastic (28%) were, like other parts of the world, the second- and third-highest percentage of waste generated.  (World Bank)

In South Asia, the “Other” (30%) category surpasses the amount of paper and cardboard (10%) and plastic waste (8.6%) produced. (World Bank)

Sub-Saharan Africa has a similar waste composition to South Asia. After the “Other” category (30%), paper and cardboard (10%) and plastic (8.6%) were the third- and fourth-highest waste types produced. (World Bank)


In the U.S., plastic products generation increased by 4.3 million tons from 2010 to 2018 – partially because of an increase in generated packaging waste. (EPA)

An estimated 146.1 million tons of MSW were landfilled in the U.S. in 2018. After food (24%), plastics were the second-most-common type of material to be sent to a landfill. (EPA)

In 2018, Italy generated the most plastic waste (4,388,081 tons) of all the countries in the European Union (EU), followed by the UK (2,922,915 tons) and Germany (2,864,626 tons). (Eurostat)

The amount of plastic trash in our oceans is expected to almost triple to 29 million metrics tons by 2040. (National Geographic)


Paper and paperboard made up 12% of the 146.1 million tons of MSW landfilled in 2018 in the U.S. (EPA

In 2018, the EU generated 53,280,000 tons of paper and cardboard waste. (Eurostat)

Paper and cardboard was the main packaging waste material in the EU from 2008 to 2018, when 31.8 million tons were produced. (Eurostat)

Of all the countries in Europe, the UK generated the most paper and cardboard waste at 10,453,231 tons in 2018, followed by Germany at 7,631,010 tons and France at 7,290,000 tons. (Eurostat)


In 2018, the total MSW recycled in the U.S. was more than 69 million tons. 67% of this amount was paper and paperboard. (EPA)

In the U.S., some of the most-recycled products and materials were packaging-related in 2018. These included:

  • Corrugated boxes (32.1 million tons)

  • Mixed nondurable paper products (8.8 million tons)

  • Wood packaging (3.1 million tons)

  • Mixed paper containers and packaging (1.8 million tons) (EPA

Corrugated boxes made up the largest product category of MSW in 2018 in the U.S. (EPA

The EU recycled packaging waste for monitoring compliance with policy targets at a rate of 66.3% in 2018. This includes all kinds of packaging (plastic, wooden, metallic, paper, etc.). (Eurostat)

In 2018, Belgium had the highest recycling rates of packaging waste for monitoring compliance with policy targets by type of packaging (85.3%), followed by the Netherlands (72.9%) and Luxembourg (70.9%). (Eurostat)  

The EU recycled 84.2% of its packaging waste overall in 2018. (Eurostat)

Of all the countries in the EU, Finland recycled the most paper and cardboard packaging (at a rate of 116%) in 2018, followed by Denmark (99.7%) and Cyprus (97.9%). (Eurostat)

In 2018, Lithuania recycled the most plastic packaging waste (at a rate of 69.3%). Bulgaria had the second-highest plastic packaging waste rate (59.2%), and the Czech Republic had the third highest recycling rate at 57%.  (Eurostat)

In 2018, the recycling rate of generated packaging and containers was 53.9%. These products are made of materials including paper and paperboard, steel, glass, plastics, aluminum, plastics, and wood. (EPA)

The recycling rate of generated packaging and containers has increased steadily since 1960, when only 2,870 in thousands of U.S. tons were recycled. In 2000, 31,500 tons were recycled, and in 2018, 44,300 tons were recycled. (EPA)


The combustion of containers and packaging was 7.4 million tons in the U.S. in 2018 – 21.5% of total combustion with energy recovery. (EPA)

In 2018, 30.5 million tons of containers and packaging was sent to landfills in the U.S, which consisted of 20.9% of total landfilling. (EPA)

The following countries had the highest recovery rates of packaging waste at waste incineration plants with energy recovery per year in the EU in 2018: Finland (114.6%), Germany (96.9%), and Austria (94.4%). (Eurostat


55% of U.S. survey respondents said they were extremely or very concerned about how product packaging would impact the environment. (McKinsey)

60-70% of surveyed consumers would pay more for sustainable packaging. (McKinsey)

52% reported that they’d purchase more sustainably-packaged products if they cost the same as conventionally-packaged products. (McKinsey)

35-36% of consumers would purchase more sustainably-packaged products if they were more available (both in stores and for more products) and more obviously labeled as sustainable. (McKinsey)

Surveyed consumers said that their preferred alternative packaging types in the future would consist of sustainable plastic: fully recyclable plastic films (22%), plastic films made out of renewable raw materials that are compostable (21%), and fully recyclable plastic bottles (18%). (McKinsey)

Consumers also reported that they would like paper-based alternative packaging: paper-based cartons (16%) and flexible paper (14%). (McKinsey)


For more of a deep dive into the packaging industry – including advantages of using bio-based packaging and tips for reducing packaging waste – head over to the packaging section of our blog.






Per a 2020 report by First Insight, 73% of the Gen Z consumers they surveyed reported that they’d pay more for sustainable products. With trends like this only increasing, many businesses are trying to achieve sustainability goals themselves or are evaluating potential partners and suppliers through a sustainable lens.  

But not all “green” companies are actually green, and not all sustainability claims are legitimate. In other words, greenwashing is on the rise.

In this guide, we’ll explore what greenwashing is, how to spot it when you’re looking at suppliers or partners, and how to avoid working with companies that greenwash in their marketing efforts.

That way, when you are evaluating suppliers or packaging materials, you can have confidence knowing that your claims and those of your supplier are certified and true. Let’s dive in.


“Greenwashing” is when a company makes environmental claims that are untrue or misleading for sales, marketing and PR purposes. For example, companies may describe their products as “organic” or “green” without having any certifications to back up these claims.


Most often, greenwashing occurs in the form of word choice. In order to appeal to eco-conscious consumers and perform well in web searches, companies that greenwash will use phrases that imply sustainability even though their products aren’t sustainable – or aren’t to the degree that they assert.


Here are some phrases to be wary of that can indicate when a company is greenwashing:

  • “All natural.”

  • “Chemical-free.”

  • “Clean.”

  • “Earth-friendly.”

  • “Eco-friendly.”

  • “Free of… [insert substance].”

  • “Natural products.”

  • “Non-toxic.”

These words sound good at first, but you’ll discover that many companies who describe their products or solutions using these terms don’t have proof to verify what they state.

What’s more, some of the terms—especially “all natural” and “clean”—are vague enough to seem authentic without actually meaning anything concrete. There are no certifications or criteria that show that a product is “all natural” or “clean.”

For more advice on spotting potential greenwashing—as well as news about companies accused of it—check out the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Green Guides.


Besides including word choices like the ones listed in the previous section, we’ve seen other trends in the past few years that are worth paying attention to. Some include:


In 2019, the FTC filed a complaint against an American retailer which advertised their beauty and bath products as being “100% organic” and “certified organic” even though their products were not certified as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Unfortunately, this is not the only company doing this nowadays.


Companies that greenwash don’t just use misleading phrases when describing their products on their packaging. They also use these words in their brand names themselves.


Every year, the European Commission conducts a “sweep” where they screen websites to uncover potential breaches. In 2021, they focused on greenwashing for the first time, and their results were startling. Almost half (42%) of the 344 websites screened that claimed to be sustainable could be classified as greenwashing.

In more than 50% of the screened websites, the company didn’t offer enough information to validate their green claims. Also, 59% of the websites didn’t provide information that was easy to access.


What happens if your organization inadvertently commits greenwashing or partners with a company that claims to be sustainable, only to learn it isn’t?

Research shows that it can hurt your brand reputation – and, in turn, hurt your bottom line.

For example, according to a 2019 study entitled “Different Shades of Greenwashing: Consumers’ Reactions to Environmental Lies, Half-Lies, and Organizations Taking Credit for Following Legal Obligations” by Menno D. T. de Jong, Gabriel Huluba, and Ardion D. Beldad, telling lies and telling half-lies about green claims—and then getting caught—negatively affects a company’s corporate reputation.

Moreover, per the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, brand trust ranked as the #2 reason why a consumer would decide to buy from a brand—just behind price and affordability. Also, 70% of respondents reported that trusting a brand is more important today than in the past. 

So, imagine what happens when you lose trust with your consumers in an environment like today, where brand trust is more important than ever. You don’t just lose trust—you lose business.


As we’ve shown, greenwashing is running rampant across the world. But how do you spot organizations that greenwash so you can consider if it makes sense to do business with them?

Follow these tips to evaluate future suppliers and partners, identify ones that are truly sustainable, and protect your brand reputation.


Remember those phrases we mentioned before that companies use to fool consumers and companies alike? If a company describes their products as, say, “all-natural,” “eco-friendly,” or “chemical-free” without listing or offering any information to substantiate these claims, be on your guard.


A good rule of thumb is to look for companies that not only provide specific claims about their products, but also corroborate their claims with tests and certifications from reputable, third-party organizations.

Here are some examples of key green certifications to look for per product type.

Food & Beverage Certifications

  • Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW

  • Certified Humane: Humane Farm Animal Care

  • Certified Vegan: Vegan Action/Vegan Awareness Foundation

  • Demeter Biodynamic Certification

  • Organic: USDA

  • PETA-Approved Vegan

  • Rainforest Alliance Certification

Health & Beauty Certifications

  • Certified Vegan: Vegan Action/Vegan Awareness Foundation

  • COSMetic Organic and Natural Standard: COSMOS

  • Eco-Efficiency: BASF

  • Natural Detergents: Ecocert Natural Cleaning Products Standard

  • Organic: USDA

  • PETA-Approved Vegan

Packaging Certifications

  • Absence of Lead and Phthalates: Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) Compliance

  • Biodegradability: ASTM D6868 and OECD-301B

  • Chain-of-Custody Certification: FSC

  • Compostable: ATSM D6868-11

  • Degree of Disintegration of Packaging Materials: ISO 2020:2015

  • Ecotoxicity: OECD Guide 208

Nina Goodrich, the executive director of GreenBlue and the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), offers some additional advice about packaging-specific certifications that demonstrate sustainability.

“It really does come down to knowing where the fiber for your [paper] packaging comes from. Credible certification bodies such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and the Programme for the Endorsement for Forest Certification are excellent. These organizations have standards that certify Forest Management and Chain of Custody so a company evaluating suppliers can be confident the fiber for their packaging was sourced responsibly.”
— Nina Goodrich, Executive Director of GreenBlue and the Sustainalbe Packaging Coalition (SPC)

“The challenge, however, is that only 10% of the world’s forests are certified,” she continued. “So if certified fiber is unavailable, it’s important to ask suppliers the right questions. The American Forest Foundation (AFF) has a standard for small landowners in the United States called the American Tree Farm System. And, recently, GreenBlue developed a tool in partnership with AFF called Forests in Focus that takes a landscape-based approach to assess risk and provide information for responsible sourcing.”

Goodrich suggests requesting certifications from to BPI and CMA for compostable packaging. “BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) is a North American certifier of compostable packaging using third-party standards and testing to determine compostability of products,” she says. “CMA (Compost Manufacturing Alliance) provides field disintegration testing and certification of compostable products that meet conditions at composting facilities.”

Finally, if evaluating plastic-certified recycled content, she advises that you look for the launch of the SCP’s Recycled Material Standard in November. This certification is a chain of custody certification designed to cover both mechanically recycled plastic and chemically recycled plastic.


Valentina Milanova, the founder and CEO of Daye, a female health and research development company in the UK, suggests that you go one step further than asking for proof of sustainability claims by requesting product data sheets. This is a best practice she and her team at Daye have followed to find suppliers to work with that share their same commitment to sustainability.

“We ask that [potential suppliers] provide relevant documentation for us to inspect. We also ask for any extensive validation. We never just hop in and start working with an organization. We’re constantly researching materials for our tampon applicators – with a focus on water-soluble, biodegradable materials – because we want to minimize period waste, which is quite a significant issue.”
— Valentina Milanova, Founder and CEO, Daye


Goodrich advises that you get in touch with applicable ENGOs if you’re doing business with a supplier overseas, especially those that are involved in sustainable measures of the particular product or service you’re evaluating. Since there are so many standards—some of which are specific to the country in which the product is designed or produced—touching base with ENGOs can help you understand local regulations and certifications. They may also be able to refer you to vetted companies.


Avoiding greenwashing and choosing to work with organizations that can validate their sustainable claims aren’t the only ways to make your company greener. Gain more market share and appeal to the consumers of today and tomorrow by following some of the suggestions listed below.





As more and more companies pursue sustainability initiatives, packaging materials have become top of mind. Businesses spanning from some of the world’s largest brands to personal care startups have started evaluating suppliers with new criteria beyond just price and available inventory.  

Now, many companies want to know where the materials will end up and how they’ll affect the environment. When meeting with suppliers, many will ask how compostable their packaging is. But there’s another certification you should also consider: OECD 301B.

Here’s an overview of OECD 301B and how it shows the true life cycle of a packaging material—beyond just compostability.


The OECD 301B test method is an international testing method that measures how quickly and effectively a material breaks down when submerged in water under aerobic conditions—that is, in the presence of oxygen.

Biodegradation occurs when a material is decomposed by microorganisms like aerobic bacteria, yeast, and fungi. During this OECD screening test, you simulate how a material would most likely react in an environment like a sewage system.

In the end, the test shows you whether or not a material is “readily biodegradable” or “ultimately biodegradable.”


According to OECD, a material that’s defined as readily biodegradable has passed several rigorous tests and “will rapidly and completely biodegrade” when exposed to different sources like surface water or sewage effluent (i.e., sewage that’s been treated by a sewage treatment plant).

If the pass level of the test is reached within 28 days, and within 10 days the material achieves 60% biodegradation, the material is considered to be “readily biodegradable.”

If the pass level of the test is reached within 28 days, but not within the 10-day window, then the material is said to be “ultimately biodegradable.”


Let’s say a lab is testing the biodegradability of a label facestock.

First, they will place 2 to 100 mg/l of the material in at least two flasks or other vessels along with what’s called the “inoculum”—that is, the substance that this material might be exposed to in an aquatic environment.

“The OECD 301B biodegradability test protocol monitors the degree of activity of microorganisms exposed to a material in an aqueous inoculum. If microorganisms recognize the material as a food source, then we can measure the increase in biological activity by assessing the degree of conversion of organic carbon to inorganic carbon.”
— Ashleigh Hotz, Director of Sales, SmartSolve Industries

There are five kinds of inocula sources used for this test method:

  • Activated sludge from aeration tank

  • Mixture of sources

  • Sewage effluent

  • Soil extract

  • Surface water

Meanwhile, they will fill two other flasks with just the inoculum source, minus the test substance—in this case, the label facestock. These are referred to as “blanks.”

Over 28 days, they will measure how much carbon dioxide is produced by both the test substance and the inoculum. The amount of carbon dioxide produced by both materials will translate to the percentage of biodegradation.


In order to be classified as readily biodegradable, the sample material has to reach a pass level in a 10-day window within the 28-day period of the test. The 10-day window begins when the degree of biodegradation has reached 10% and must end before or at day 28 of the test itself.

Also, the material must reach a biodegradation threshold of 60% or more within 28 days.


We’ve explored what OECD 301B is and what a readily biodegradable material will do within 28 days when exposed to one of the six inocula indicated above. But why is it important?


When looking at how “green” a packaging material is, you might be tempted to just assess if it’s recyclable. Still, that’s just the beginning. You need to focus on the final end of a product’s life cycle. What happens after the material is tossed by a consumer? What’s the last place it could go?

If a material is recyclable, there’s a good chance it may still end up in the garbage. Most people don’t recycle correctly. Also, not all municipalities offer recycling services for businesses or homeowners, so recycling isn’t as easy or convenient—and thus, can occur less frequently.

Besides, if a packaging material is made of plastic, it’s much less likely to be recyclable. Plus, a recent study showed that 91% of plastic in the world isn’t recycled. Instead, it can often turn up in places it shouldn’t be, like our water sources.


So, even if a material is recyclable, if it’s made of a plastic or another material that takes a long time to degrade, it could still hurt the environment. That’s why using tests like OECD 301B can show what a material will do if it ends up in an aerobic environment.

If a material is found to be readily biodegradable, you’ll know that it will break down quickly in its final resting place and revert to its natural state.


Many sustainable-savvy companies have caught on to the importance of tracing the life cycle of a material and look for packaging that has little to no impact on the environment—even if it ends up in our waterways. They then start to gauge if the material is compostable, often asking about one specific standard: ASTM D6400.

This American standard measures how compostable a product is that’s made of plastic. ASTM D6400 is important in its own right, but OECD 301B offers more—especially if you’re looking at solutions that incorporate bio-based content. Here’s how.


“[ASTM D6400] is not a single method, but a combination of individual tests that looks at bio-based content, bio disintegration, biodegradation, and toxicity to plants. Per this method, the material is incubated at 50 degrees centigrade for 90 to 180 days, making the test method somewhat selective for bacterial-based biodegradation. Because of the higher temperatures and times used, a material that passes this test may not degrade under natural conditions.”
— Jonathan Jakubowski, Director, SmartSolve Industries

The OECD 301B method gives a direct report on the ability of the material to break down under natural conditions if released to the environment. It’s a very convenient method when studying water-soluble materials, for example.

Conducted at 25°C, this test is considered to have very stringent conditions for this type of process, which is why this is the preferred method to determine the biodegradability of chemical substances in general.

This is the main reason why we had some of our technologies tested using the OECD 301B method—all of which were found to be readily biodegradable.


Consequently, even if a plastic material is found to be compostable, it may not be biodegradable. That’s why evaluating whether or not a material has passed the OECD 301B test is worth exploring. 

What’s more, if you’re looking at materials that aren’t plastic-based, ASTM D6400 won’t even be relevant.


SmartSolve materials have undergone extensive third-party testing, especially concerning biodegradation. Below is a chart of our materials that have the OECD 301B classifications of Readily or Inherent.



Besides looking at how readily biodegradable your packaging material could be, there are many other ways to pursue sustainability at your company. Check below for more advice:




Global Health & Pharma (GHP), a global, multi-disciplinary information sharing platform focusing on human, animal, and environmental health has named SmartSolve as the winners of the 2021 Global Excellence Awards. In the Q2, 2021 Issue, SmartSolve was awarded, “Best Sustainable and Water-Soluble Packaging Company 2021 - USA.” GHP is distributed digitally four times a year to over 260,000 people worldwide.

The article, originally published in the Q2 2021 GHP Magazine, is referenced below.


SmartSolve’s Foundation

SmartSolve was established in 2016 as a new business unit within CMC Group to solely focus on bringing environmentally friendly, game-changing, water-soluble technology into markets of need. It has several facilities in Bowling Green, OH, as well as a manufacturing site in Markham, Canada. Worthy winners of this issue’s Best Sustainable and Water-Soluble Packaging Company 2021 – USA award, we take a closer look at the company.

Combining highly innovative, water-soluble materials with leading scientific and engineering expertise, SmartSolve creates custom environmentally friendly packaging solutions for products in various industries. Some industries currently using SmartSolve materials include consumer goods and children’s toys, cosmetics, and personal care, as well as food service and identification.

It strives to be a preeminent water-soluble materials supplier, recognizing that it can only do this by helping customers to achieve their sustainability goals. SmartSolve’s scalable production facilities are designed to accommodate customers’ unique manufacturing needs, whether they are a small business owner or part of a Fortune 50 company. The SmartSolve team is dedicated to being the best possible partner as customers undergo their sustainable packaging journey.

SmartSolve’s Approach to Supporting Brands with Sustainable Materials

The company’s approach is based on its customers’ overarching needs. It begins by meeting them on a one-on-one basis and works with them to outline their unique packaging needs. Typically, customers will receive samples of SmartSolve’s various substrates, and they will let the company know which materials fit their individual requirements. From there, SmartSolve works alongside them during the product development process to bring a sustainable and innovative solution to their industry. SmartSolve’s environmentally sustainable materials are engineered to provide many utilitarian benefits in the marketplace, including personal safety, time savings, customer convenience, product portioning, and innovative and sustainable packaging.

SmartSolve’s Core Values of Faith, Family, and Fun

SmartSolve lives by its core values which are not just something that is written on a wall, but they are behaviors that are integrated into everyday work: there is an emphasis on faith, family and fun; giving life to the right ideas; doing what’s right every time; deferring to action when uncertainty exists, even at the risk of failure; and possessing customer intimate culture reflecting the Philippians 2:3 principle.

As part of the CMC Group, SmartSolve believes its faith ethos drives it towards a broader mission, its passion to make the world a better place by helping to reduce the use of single use plastics. Through multiple company-wide initiatives, CMC Group has invested in bettering the lives of its employees, stakeholders, community, and environment as a whole. An example of this is CMC Group’s financial support of a large number of established charities and non-profit organizations, as well as the creation of its own non-profit organization, CMC Giving at Heart, which donates funds to a group of charities decided upon each year by a committee comprised of CMC employees. This program was established to help CMC Group’s employees and their families in need of emergency assistance after an injury, accident, illness, death, natural disaster, assault, or robbery.

SmartSolve believes in the power of people. In short, its people make everything possible. The company culture is centered around the wellbeing of its employees and on treating its customers with respect. Its culture is built on the beliefs, attitudes and actions of its employees and leadership.

Since COVID-19, SmartSolve has seen an increased demand for its technology and growth in the single-use packaging sector. There continues to be a large push for sustainability, and it can be challenging to find sustainable packaging solutions for single use packaging, but this is where SmartSolve comes in.

What’s Next for SmartSolve?

Currently working on crafting bio-based adhesives which will help increase the water-vapor barrier (WVTR) properties of its materials, SmartSolve believes this will help it to better serve new market segments. It is also working alongside several major corporations with leading edge sustainability initiatives, and it is excited to see these entities and their new sustainable packaging launch to be readily available for purchase on store shelves.

Ultimately, SmartSolve is honored to be part of the game-changing sustainability initiatives to reduce global waste, with its materials offering sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic packaging.

Why partner with SmartSolve? Because it wants to help build a better future – for you, for your business, and for the planet. Contact us or call 888.788.5085 for more information.




As major brands across the globe grapple with how to handle both growing need and growing consumer demand for environmentally conscious packaging, there are those that break through and set the stage for others to follow. Saie is one of those brands.

Saie is a health and beauty brand founded by Laney Crowell, who had a vision for a cosmetic brand that was both clean (without any toxic ingredients) and fashionable. “I started experimenting with nutrition, then meditation, and eventually beauty. If I was so conscious about what I put in my body, shouldn’t I be just as sure of what I was putting on my body?” said Crowell, speaking about how Saie was founded.

Saie Brings Environmental Consciousness to Health and Beauty Market

The brand didn’t just stop at clean ingredients. As they said on their website, “What are clean, sustainable formulas and recyclable components if they’re packaged and shipped in materials that aren’t mindful of our planet? We put a lot of thought into ensuring our products are clean and sustainable for our bodies and the environment, and our standards for packaging are no different.”

At the start of 2021, Saie announced they are officially Climate Neutral Certified, taking great effort to measure their carbon footprint. Additionally, the brand has committed to a number of environmentally friendly packaging initiatives, including using cartons made from 100% recycled FSC-certified paper made in a carbon-neutral facility, using cotton balls as padding instead of peanuts, water-activated kraft paper tape to secure products in transit and last but not least…using SmartSolve water-soluble corrugate boxes for their kraft mailers.

SmartSolve Takes Saie Beyond Recycling

SmartSolve worked with Saie to deliver on their commitment for a cleaner, more sustainable packaging approach. Taking steps to understand their unique application and brand, the SmartSolve team recommended water-soluble shipping boxes that Go Beyond Recycling. “The SmartSolve water-soluble boxes were used to launch our new Sun Melt Bronzer and were sent to over 400 top Instagram influencers. It was a really big hit. We had a lot of responses on social about the box and asking what it was made of.” said Michael Irwin, Product Development at Saie.

SmartSolve board stock is an engineered composite, yet it has a 100% organic construction. The magic happens once the SmartSolve material comes into contact with water. The individual fibers have an interlocking mechanism that can only be ‘unlocked’ with water. Once exposed to water, the locks dissolve, allowing the fibers to disperse. In an environment with water, the fibers will release and decompose naturally. Absent water, SmartSolve board stock will naturally biodegrade.

100% Organic, Water-Soluble, and Compostable Materials

In the case of the Saie box, made by SmartSolve, it is 100% organic and will completely compost (ASTM D6868) in 40 days. You can even throw it in your backyard compost pile if you want! There are no “hidden” or unknown substances that can sometimes be present in materials with “recycled content” as part of their makeup.

In a world where container and packaging waste generation continues to grow year over year (at the tune of 82.2 million tons in 2018 in the US alone), SmartSolve is thrilled to see brands like Saie tackle sustainability issues head on. If you have questions about SmartSolve materials, please feel free to contact us today!





As consumers and corporations become more aware of the need for sustainable packaging, innovative solutions with a sustainable focus are more than a fad, they are directly tied to consumer purchasing trends. One packaging arena ripe for sustainable innovation is custom packaging sleeves.

Custom packaging sleeves are almost ubiquitous. Whether marketing or selling food, soap, or arts and crafts, sleeves are commonly used as a packaging solution. But, with water soluble board stock, you can take sleeves a step further into the world of sustainability and environmentally-conscious buying behavior.

If you want to learn more about sustainable and economical packaging options for your sleeves, read on…


Custom packaging sleeves elevate the design of your products while being cost-effective. Simply by adding sleeves around the product, you can already make it more aesthetically pleasing. From soap and food to invitation cards and books, you can use custom packaging sleeves of different sizes depending on your needs.

Have you considered using SmartSolve board stock for your packaging sleeves? In addition to the extra protection provided for your items, like food, you can also attract more customers by choosing a more sustainable raw material for sleeves…and there is nothing more sustainable than water soluble board stock from SmartSolve.

RELATED ARTICLE: 4 Industries Ripe for Water Soluble Packaging


An environmentally-friendly option that has been gaining popularity is SmartSolve board stock. A bio-based, biodegradable, non-toxic material, it instantly disperses in water. SmartSolve board stock is not limited to custom packaging sleeves, it can also be converted into hang tags, pillow packs, and backer boards, too.

SmartSolve board stock largely functions like traditional bio-based board stock, in terms of performance and shelf-life, while delivering the magic of dispersion. By using it with custom packaging sleeves, this material allows you to have a competitive advantage over other businesses while helping the environment.

RELATED ARTICLE: 3 Advantages of Using Bio-Based Packaging


While more customers opt to buy products that help save the environment, you can also do your part by using more sustainable packaging. Choose greener alternatives like water soluble board stock.



Regardless of your industry, SmartSolve has the water soluble products necessary to make your product packaging more environmentally friendly. Contact us today or call 888.788.5085 to learn more about the wide variety of innovative, bio-based packaging solutions that we have to offer.




Water soluble labels are one of the best solutions for reducing our waste. Every year, landfills gather waste, including paper, cardboard stock, and labels. By using water soluble labels from SmartSolve, you can help reduce toxins in the air and water supply. Our innovative product has many practical uses.

RELATED ARTICLE: 4 Industries Ripe for Water Soluble Packaging


You can use the label as a sticker to promote your brand. Add a thank you message or put in some small reminders as a part of your product packaging. Customers can place the stickers wherever they like, and they dissolve in water.

Food Labels

Water soluble labels are best for sorting out meals and ingredients. You can use them with your Tupperware or other containers when you’re going out for lunch. It’s also a way to sort medicine, supplements, condiments, and more.

Canned Goods

Water soluble stock does not harm the environment, making it a good choice to pair with preserved goods. It’s a green label that helps you sort out food and other things you’re preserving.


Place a water soluble label on the soap, and the customer won’t have to worry about peeling it off. With the first use, the label dissolves with a bit of agitation. Our product works best for similar items you use in the shower, such as gels and shampoo.

Bottles and Drinking Containers

Glass bottles and other containers are often reusable and recyclable. By applying a water soluble label, you allow customers to wash it off, reducing waste. Then they are free to use the bottle in whatever way they like.

RELATED ARTICLE: 5 Practical Uses for Water Soluble Paper

Water soluble labels are an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional labels. SmartSolve water soluble labels contain an industry leading, water soluble adhesive designed to ensure labels stay put until they are cleanly removed with water. These labels are also made from wood fibers derived from FSC-certified forests to ensure sustainability. Using water soluble labels can not only help promote a green future but can also attract the growing green-conscious consumer base.

Check out all of our environmentally friendly products that we have available to order online. Do you have a practical use for water soluble labels that’s not listed above? Please send us your ideas!





Many modern packaging materials can be extremely harmful to the environment. For example, the hazards associated with our over-use of plastic products are well-documented. While not as bad as plastics, traditional paper can also have a negative impact on the environment. Traditional paper often requires the use of vast amounts of water during the milling process, the mass harvesting of trees, and a large amount of methane is typically emitted during the anaerobic phase of the degradation process.

Water soluble packaging options from SmartSolve offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to those traditionally made from plastic or paper.

While the look and feel of SmartSolve water soluble products are similar to their plastic or paper counterparts, there are several major differences. SmartSolve products dissolve almost instantly in hot or warm water, are completely non-toxic, do not leave behind residue in rivers and streams, and are classified as readily biodegradable.

RELATED ARTICLE: Quarterly Innovation Update: Q1 2021 in Review


If more industries began using water soluble material to package their products, we could cut back on waste and toxic residues which are harmful to the environment. These industries are ripe for increasing their use of water soluble packaging:


While you might not think food labels use much plastic or paper, think again. Take a stroll through your local supermarket and look around at the aisles of jars, bottles, cans, and packages, each adorned with a large plastic or paper label. Together, these labels account for more plastic and paper than many consumers realize. SmartSolve water soluble labels offer a great alternative for food industry labels.


Between the holidays, birthdays, graduations and weddings, the paper industry produces vast amounts of products, most of which are thrown into a landfill without further use. Wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift bags and other party supplies traditionally made from paper or cardboard could all be replaced by water soluble board stock and water soluble tissue.


The fashion industry uses excessive amounts of paper and plastic when packaging items. Many of these packing materials could be swapped out for water soluble products to become more eco-friendly. High-end dresses or suits packaged in water soluble board stock boxes and wrapped in water soluble tissue would appeal to environmentally conscious shoppers. Another unique option to decrease the use of plastics and traditional paper is using water soluble hang tags for clothing and accessories.


The shoe industry is another example of a sector that could benefit from water soluble products. Instead of using cardboard boxes, shoes could be packaged in water soluble board stock, wrapped in water soluble tissue, and stuffed with water soluble paper. A water soluble label could be placed on the bottom of the shoe or on the box for product identification. Or, water soluble thread could be used in conjunction with a water soluble hang tag printed with the company logo and tied onto the shoe as well.

RELATED ARTICLE: Water Soluble Hang Tags for a Responsible Future

SmartSolve is proud to produce a variety of environmentally friendly packaging products ideal for use in a variety of industries.

Contact us today to learn how your business can benefit from using SmartSolve’s paper-based, water soluble products.




Bio-Based Packaging Advantages

The nature of bio-based materials has made them an increasingly appealing material choice for the packaging industry, and bio-based materials present several key benefits and advantages. Click here to learn more!

Exclusive Outlook Interview: Sustainable Feminine Care

Michael Lippis from Outlook Series interviewed SmartSolve’s Director Jonathan Jakubowski, to hear about their innovative perspective on Sustainable Feminine Care. Listen now to learn more!

SmartSolve Featured Innovation: Print-At-Home Labels

SmartSolve's new Print-At-Home water soluble labels are specially designed to bring all the benefits of quality, water-soluble labels to your home or office. These new customizable labels will fully disperse in 30 seconds or less without leaving behind any adhesive residue. SmartSolve labels are also compatible with standard inkjet and laser printing equipment. 
Visit our Shop to view the available sizes and to see if SmartSolve Print-At-Home labels are a good fit for your next project.

Will you be attending SPC Impact 2021?

April 20th - April 21st

This years virtual SPC Impact event will bring together over 2,000 attendees from more than 500 companies to discuss industry drives and how they are impacting sustainability changes around the world.

Be sure to visit our virtual booth to learn more about how SmartSolve’s bio-based packaging solutions can help you go beyond recycling!

SmartSolve Joins the PBPC

SmartSolve recently joined the Plant Based Products Council in an effort to help businesses around the world identify more sustainable, bio-based packaging solutions.

Learn more about PBPC and their sustainable mission!





As we move toward a more sustainable world, it’s important to understand some of the advancements that will allow our earth to thrive for generations to come. One such advancement is water soluble paper. Many people have heard of this product, but don’t necessarily understand how truly versatile it is. If you or your company are looking for more eco-friendly or sustainable options for your home, office, or consumer products, we’ve listed some of the top uses for water soluble paper.

RELATED ARTICLE: Make Gardening Easier this Spring with DIY Seed Paper

Arts and Crafts

If you enjoy sewing, quilting, cross-stitching, or other types of arts and crafts, water soluble paper is a great addition to your creativity kit. You can draw designs onto the paper and embroider or sew right through it. When you’re finished, simply wash your project and the paper template will dissolve completely and without residue.


Water soluble paper makes wonderful seed packets or germination kits. You can pre-divide your seeds into small packets made from water soluble paper. Then, place the entire package into your garden when it’s time to plant. The biodegradable paper will dissolve completely, and you aren’t fumbling for seeds with your gardening gloves.

Dissolvable Documents and Memos

If your office uses frequent paper copies of memos or other temporary documents, printing them on water soluble paper significantly reduces waste. When the documents are no longer needed, they can be easily dissolved with minimal harm to the environment (we recommend using water soluble inks for more environmentally friendly printing). This use can also be convenient for documents containing sensitive information, with no shredding necessary.

Soap Wrappers

If you are a natural soap maker, you know that packaging soaps can be tricky. You need a packaging product that will contain the bar of soap, give a professional appearance, and avoid unnecessary waste. With water soluble paper labels and containers, the wrapper will keep the product looking nice until it’s time to use. Then, the paper will simply dissolve down the drain.

Novelty Family Fun

Imagine sending your kids on a top-secret scavenger hunt and instructing them to rinse the paper after completion. Alternately, try inviting your child’s friends over for a spy-themed birthday party where they must conceal their invitation from double agents. The possibilities for unique, creative fun involving water soluble paper are endless, especially with children.

RELATED ARTICLE: Water Soluble Hang Tags for a Responsible Future

No matter how you decide to use water soluble paper, you can rest easy knowing that you are reducing your impact on the environment, and supporting efforts to create a more sustainable world. Here at SmartSolve, we lead the industry in eco-friendly, water soluble product development, and our water soluble paper is the best in the business.

Be sure to check out all of our innovative products that we have available to order online. Have a practical use for water soluble paper that’s not listed above? Send us your ideas!





As consumers become increasingly concerned about the environmental impacts associated with the products they purchase, sustainable packaging innovations continue to emerge. One widely accepted innovation is bio-based packaging, which is made of materials derived from renewable plant or animal feedstocks. Fiber-based packaging materials, such as water soluble paper from SmartSolve, can provide environmentally friendly packaging solutions for existing consumer goods.

Due to growing business sustainability commitments, the packaging industry is rapidly embracing bio-based materials as a replacement for petroleum-based packaging like never before.


The nature of bio-based materials has made them an increasingly appealing material choice for the packaging industry. Bio-based materials present several key benefits to both the producer and the consumer, including but not limited to:


Bio-based materials can be altered and modified to achieve specific packaging visions. Some modifications include changes in textures, shapes, coatings, and substrate thicknesses. This high-level customization allows bio-based materials to provide more adaptable and cost-effective packaging solutions.


Although not all bio-based materials are biodegradable, a large majority of them are. Thus, over time, organisms will decompose the biodegradable material and the package will return to its naturally derived components. This not only reduces the impact the package has on the environment but also makes the package more sustainable.


Bio-based materials tend to be viewed as environmentally friendly and often have a positive appeal to consumers. This large-scale popularity helps make a product more marketable and the many customizable features of bio-based materials help deliver sustainable and aesthetically pleasing product packaging.

RELATED ARTICLE: Supply Chain Trends: Sustainable Periods


Regardless of your industry, SmartSolve has the water soluble products necessary to make your product packaging more environmentally friendly. Contact us today or call 888.788.5085 to learn more about the wide variety of innovative, bio-based packaging solutions that we have to offer.





An environmentally friendly approach to periods.

Menstruation products generate medical waste and can come with large amounts of hard to break down plastic. Leading firms are addressing this feminine hygiene challenge with environmentally friendly approaches to periods. Packaging plays a material role in polluting landfills with menstruation product waste.

So, period waste isn’t just made out of tampons and pads, but also the boxes and wrappers they come in. However, organic period care sold with sustainable packaging like water-soluble paper wrappers is enabling sustainable menstruation.

Michael Lippis from Outlook Series interviewed SmartSolve’s Director Jonathan Jakubowski, to hear about their innovative perspective on Sustainable Periods.

For related information, check out our previous interviews: Supply Chain Trends: Post Covid-19 Sustainable Packaging, Supply Chain Trends: Infection Control and Supply Chain Trends: Water Soluble Packaging Market Poised for Strong Growth.


极速赛车开奖结果查询 秒速飞艇开奖网站 SG飞艇群 秒速飞艇计划app 极速赛车开奖网 澳洲5平台 秒速飞艇直播 澳洲10官方网站 澳洲5开奖记录网