The top 8 manufacturing trends for 2023

Read the full story from the National Association of Manufacturers.

The NAM recently released its Top 8 Manufacturing Trends for 2023—a guide to the opportunities ahead and the resources that the NAM can offer. Here is what to look out for this year and beyond. 

Inside Nestlé’s $2.5m investment into a sustainable future

Read the full story at Food Processing Australia.

With the aim of bolstering local manufacturing and supporting collaborative product developments, Nestlé Professional has revealed a $2.5 million investment in its Smithtown factory in NSW — starting with a recyclable Hot Chockee cup.

In partnership with 7-Eleven, Nestlé Professional has developed an entirely kerbside-recyclable cup, including the label and foil seal. This could save up to 95 t of waste from entering landfill each year.

What do oranges, coffee grounds and seaweed have in common? They outshine cotton in sustainable fashion


by Rajkishore Nayak, RMIT University Vietnam

Ever considered the carbon footprint of manufacturing your favourite shirt?

The average cotton shirt produces 2.1 kilograms of carbon dioxide – but a polyester shirt produces over twice as much (5.5 kilograms). It might come as no surprise that the fashion industry is responsible for around 5% of global CO₂ emissions.

Some natural fibres can also take a heavy toll on the environment. Last week, for example, an ABC investigation revealed hundreds of hectares of the Northern Territory’s pristine tropical savanna had been cleared to make way for cotton farms, sometimes without permit.

So, are there more sustainable textiles we should be producing and purchasing instead?

Research, including our own ongoing research, points to certain “non-traditional fibres” as new green alternatives. These include fibres produced from wastes – think coffee waste and recycled plastic bottles – as well as seaweed, orange, lotus, corn and mushroom.

Brands such as Patagonia, Mud Jeans, Ninety Percent, Plant Faced Clothing and Afends are among the brands leading the way in incorporating sustainable fibres into their products. But the true turning point will likely come when more of the biggest names in fashion get involved, and it’s high time they invest.

The problems with traditional fibres

There are two types of traditional fibres: natural and synthetic. Natural fibres, such as cotton and flax, have certain advantages over synthetic fibres which are derived from oil and gas.

When sustainability is considered, natural fibres are preferred over the synthetic fibres due to, for instance, their ability to biodegrade and their availability in the environment.

However, some natural fibres (particularly cotton) need a lot of fresh water and chemicals that are toxic to the environment for harvesting. For example, it takes 10,000 litres of water on average to grow just 1 kilogram of cotton.

It takes an average of 10,000 litres of water to grow 1kg of cotton. Karl Wiggers/Unsplash

In comparison, synthetic fibres consume a significantly lower amount of water (about one hundredth), but a significantly higher amount of energy.

Petrochemical fibres made from fossil fuels – such as polyester, nylon and acrylic – are the backbone of fast fashion. Yet another big problem with such products is that they don’t easily decompose.

As they slowly break down, petrochemical fibres release microplastics. These not only contaminate the environment, but also enter the food chain and pose health risks to animals and humans.

You may have also come across blended fabrics, which are produced with a combination of two or more types of fibres. But these pose challenges in sorting and recycling, as it’s not always possible or easy to recover different fibres when they’re combined.

Clothes on racks and strewed on the flood
The fashion industry is responsible for around 5% of global emissions. Shutterstock

Non-traditional fibres: a potential game changer

Amid the overconsumption of traditional fibres, several global fashion brands have started to adopt new fibres derived from seaweed, corn, and mushroom. This includes Stella McCartney, Balenciaga, Patagonia, and Algiknit.

Patagonia is among few global clothing brands spearheading sustainable materials. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Other emerging natural fibres include lotus, pineapple and banana fibres. Lotus fibres are extracted from the plant stem, banana fibres are extracted from the petiole (the stalk that connects the leaf and stem), and pineapple fibres are extracted from pineapple leaves.

The process of extracting fibres from wastes such as orange peels, coffee grounds, and even from the protein of waste milk, has also been well researched, and clothes have been successfully manufactured from these materials.

All these examples of non-traditional fibres are free from many of the problems mentioned earlier, such as heavy resource consumption (particularly fresh water), use of toxic chemicals, and the use of large amounts of energy (for synthetic fibres).

Further, these fibres are biodegradable at their end of life and don’t release microplastics when you wash them.

Meanwhile, there has been tremendous growth in the use of recycled synthetic fibres, which reduces the use of virgin materials, energy and chemical consumption. Recycling plastics such as drink bottles to make clothing is also becoming more common. Such innovations can help lower our dependency on raw materials and mitigate plastic pollution.

Plastic water bottle scrunched in a hand
Recycling plastic bottles to create synthetic fibres is a great way to minimise waste. Shutterstock

What’s more, the selection of appropriate colour combinations during recycling and processing for fabrics can avoid the need for dyeing.

What now?

Fashion companies can reduce the load on the environment through seriously investing in producing sustainable fibres and fabrics. Many are still in research stage or not receiving wider commercial applications.

Fashion manufacturers, large fashion brands and retailers need to invest in the research and development to scale-up production of these fibres. And machine manufacturers also need to develop technologies for large-scale harvesting and manufacturing raw materials, such as sustainable fibre and yarn.

At the same time, you, as a consumer, have an important role to play by demanding information about products and holding brands accountable.

Rajkishore Nayak, Associate Professor , RMIT University Vietnam

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Frito-Lay transforms California facility into showcase for sustainability

Read the full story at Potato News Today.

Frito-Lay today announced the near completion of its Modesto, California, facility’s transformation into a first-of-its-kind showcase for sustainable manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution technologies.

The project was started in 2019 and supported by the California Climate Investments (CCI) initiative, in conjunction with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), to demonstrate the sustainability benefits of zero-emission (ZE) and near zero-emission (NZE) technologies.

The Frito-Lay Modesto site is one of the largest Frito-Lay manufacturing facilities in the United States at 500,000 square feet, sitting on 80 acres and employing more than 1,100 associates. The facility is the first Frito-Lay manufacturing facility to implement site-wide alternative fuel vehicles, on-site renewable energy generation, energy storage equipment and employee electric vehicle charging stations.

Lobsters versus right whales: The latest chapter in a long quest to make fishing more sustainable

Lobster fishing uses a lot of rope, and whales can die after becoming entangled in it. MyLoupe/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

by Blake Earle, Texas A&M University

Maine lobster fishermen received a Christmas gift from Congress at the end of 2022: A six-year delay on new federal regulations designed to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.

The rules would have required lobstermen to create new seasonal nonfishing zones and further reduce their use of vertical ropes to retrieve lobster traps from the seafloor. Entanglement in fishing gear and collisions with many types of ships are the leading causes of right whale deaths.

Maine’s congressional delegation amended a federal spending bill to delay the new regulations until 2028 and called for more research on whale entanglements and ropeless fishing gear. Conservationists argue that the delay could drive North Atlantic right whales, which number about 340 today, to extinction.

This is the latest chapter in an ongoing and sometimes fraught debate over fishing gear and bycatch – unintentionally caught species that fishermen don’t want and can’t sell. My research as a maritime historian, focusing on disputes tied to industrial fishing, shows the profound impacts that particular fishing gear can have on marine species.

Disputes over fishing gear and bycatch have involved consumers, commercial fishermen, recreational anglers and environmentalists. With conservation pitted against economic livelihoods, emotions often run high. And these controversies aren’t resolved quickly, which bodes poorly for species on the brink.

Millions of tons wasted

Bycatch is difficult to measure. Estimates vary widely, but scientists have calculated that 10% to 40% of total yearly catches worldwide are species that weren’t targeted, including fish, whales, dolphins, turtles and seabirds.

According to the United Nations, global fishery harvests totaled 178 million tons in 2020. Even by the most conservative estimates, then, some 20 million tons are likely wasted annually. Advocacy focuses on high-profile species like sea turtles, dolphins and sharks, but the problem is much more pervasive. Recent studies of U.S. Atlantic fisheries indicate that flounder, herring and halibut are among the species most frequently landed as bycatch.

At the same time, global demand for fish is rising. From 1961 to 2019, world fish consumption grew by an average of 3% annually, and yearly per capita consumption increased from 22 pounds (10 kilograms) to 46 pounds (21 kilograms). Today, fish consumption is split evenly between aquaculture, or farmed fish, and wild-capture fisheries, where bycatch occurs.

Bycatch is a major global problem that kills fish, marine mammals, sea turtles and seabirds.

Dolphin-free tuna

Most wild-catch fishing takes place far from shore, so bycatch occurs out of the public spotlight. Sometimes, though, threats to charismatic species make news.

Logo approved by U.S. regulators in 2000 for tuna caught without targeting dolphins. NOAA

Perhaps the most prominent example is U.S. consumers’ campaign against the tuna fishing industry for killing dolphins. In the 1950s, tuna fishermen adopted the purse seine – a long, rectangular net that hangs vertically in the water. Boats encircled schools of fish with these nets, then cinched them at the top and bottom. Some nets extended hundreds of feet deep and more than a mile from end to end.

Purse seines often swept up dolphins that swam alongside tuna. Using a method called “setting on dolphins,” tuna fishermen would search for pods of dolphin feeding at the surface, which generally indicated that tuna were beneath them feeding as well. By the 1960s, it was estimated that nearly a quarter of a million dolphins were dying every year when they became trapped in nets and suffered traumatic injuries or suffocated.

When Congress held hearings in the early 1970s on a proposed ban on the capture of all species of whales, including dolphins, this practice sparked outrage. The New York Times accused the tuna industry of “wanton slaughter.” Millions of viewers watched televised documentaries with titles like “Last Day of the Dolphins?” and “Where Have All the Dolphins Gone?” Advocacy groups campaigned with slogans like “Would You Kill Flipper for a Tuna Sandwich?” and boycotted canned tuna.

Under pressure, major suppliers including StarKist, Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee pledged to use only tuna that was not caught using methods that endangered dolphins. In 1990, Congress passed legislation creating a label that identified canned tuna caught appropriately as “dolphin-safe.” Other measures banned tuna imports from countries with dolphin mortality rates higher than those in U.S. fisheries.

Trap doors for turtles

The spotlight next shifted to the U.S. Gulf Coast, where shrimp catches were skyrocketing thanks to gear like otter trawls – large conical nets towed through the water behind fishing boats. By some estimates, for every 1,000 pounds of fish that these nets gathered, less than 100 pounds was marketable shrimp. Other species – usually dead, dying or injured – were tossed overboard.

Environmentalists and recreational anglers accused the fishing industry of endangering popular sport fish, such as red drum and spotted trout. But sea turtles, which often were found in the same coastal waters as shrimp, became critics’ poster animal. A 1990 report from the National Research Council estimated that shrimping killed up to 55,000 Kemp’s ridley and loggerhead sea turtles yearly.

Federal regulators initially proposed voluntary use of turtle excluder devices, or TEDs – small trap doors in fishing nets that could allow captured turtles to swim free. In 1987, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published mandatory TED usage regulations, which went into effect in 1989 after several years of lawsuits, injunctions and state legal action.

Turtle excluder devices, or TEDs, direct sea turtles toward openings in shrimp nets that allow the turtles to escape.

Many fishermen argued that TEDs greatly reduced their shrimp catches and resisted the new regulations, sometimes agressively. Over time, however, shrimpers began working with federal regulators to develop and test TEDs that released turtles and retained shrimp more effectively. Today, sea turtles are still at risk, but there is wide agreement that modern TEDs effectively reduce turtle bycatch. Conservation organizations are working to increase their use worldwide.

Slow progress

Fishermen often are quick to rebut claims that their methods endanger other species. They typically assert that their fishing has little impact on the broader ecosystem and that new gear and practices will be too costly or ineffective against a minor problem.

Ultimately, public pressure – including lawsuits – can lead to regulation, especially when a potent symbol like dolphins, sea turtles or, perhaps, right whales, is threatened. The Maine lobster fishery has lost several sustainable certifications because of concerns about right whale entanglements.

But regulation isn’t enough. Reducing dolphin and sea turtle bycatch also required extensive engagement between regulators and fisheries to educate fishermen and develop and test gear. It’s not clear whether this will happen fast enough to save North Atlantic right whales.

Across broad swaths of the globe, including much of Africa and Asia, more than 3 billion people obtain from 20% to over 50% of the animal protein in their diets from aquatic sources. Rising demand for wild-caught fish is likely to increase bycatch. In my view, unintentional capture of any species – whether it’s a winsome spinner dolphin or a bottom-dwelling scavenger like the hagfish – harms the ocean’s ecological health and threatens communities that rely on the sea for sustenance.

Blake Earle, Assistant Professor of History, Texas A&M University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste

Download the technical report, roadmap, and case study matrix.

This research is a world first.

  • It’s the first to measure volume (weight) using a standardized system across the whole food value chain
  • It encompasses all food types from terrestrial and marine commodities
  • It identifies and validates loss factors based on primary data provided by industry
  • It provides a whole of chain analysis, from primary production through to end of lift
  • It identifies the root causes of FLW, where they occur along the value chain, and the extent to which they differ by food type
  • It establishes a replicable whole of chain FLW analytical framework, comprising standardized metrics that can be used at enterprise and industry level
  • It establishes a means to connect commodities to finished products (foods and beverages), to enable extrapolations to be established between consumer products and primary source
  • It calculates mass balance: total available commodities produced for food, minus exports, plus imports (from a whole chain perspective)
  • It assesses the destination of FLW occurring along the value chain

Clean Energy 101: Carbon accounting

Read the full story from RMI.

Accounting is back in vogue, and no, we don’t mean the boring financial kind. When organizations want to understand their climate impact, they turn to carbon accounting — the practice of quantifying and reporting an organization’s greenhouse gas emissions. They use this information to set targets for reducing emissions and to identify potential areas to implement solutions. But unlike financial accounting, carbon accounting is not yet required for all organizations — and there’s no risk of hefty fines for C-Suite executives for misrepresentation. In this article we’ll dive into how carbon accounting works and why it matters, but first we’ll look back to understand how it started.

Creating a sustainable shingle

Read the full story at Construction & Demolition Recycling.

Mark Leo, director of sustainability for Owens Corning, discusses the company’s recently launched shingle recycling facility in Indianapolis.

Firefighters worry about chemicals in their gear, but alternatives could present problems too

Read the full story from North Carolina Public Radio.

It’s challenging to pinpoint what might be responsible for the high rates of cancers in firefighters. During the course of their work, firefighters are exposed to multiple carcinogens in the fumes of burning buildings and vehicles.

Many firefighters, like Massachusetts’ Burns, are increasingly pointing to their PFAS-laden gear as a source of their health woes. They spend long days exposed to their gear.

As firefighters push for removing PFAS from turnout gear, the question is what will replace it? In removing PFAS, could firefighters be swapping the long term risks of PFAS with shorter term risks of injury from less effective gear?

The Saving Gelato Project: Walmart Foundation Food Loss + Waste Implementation Program

Download the case study.


Righteous Gelato is a small-batch gelato company with factory operations based in Calgary, Canada. Their mission is to enrich people’s lives, one tiny spoonful at a time. They use honest ingredients and nothing artificial.

The purpose of the project was to prevent and reduce food loss & waste at the Righteous Gelato manufacturing facility in Calgary, Canada as part of the Walmart Foundation funded Food Loss & Waste Prevention & Implementation Program.


Anthesis’ partner, Enviro-Stewards, conducted an on-site waste prevention assessment utilizing our award-winning Food Loss + Waste Toolkit at the Righteous Gelato manufacturing facility. We measured the savings achieved from our previous Food Loss + Waste assessment, and re-engaged the team on opportunities not implemented or new solutions found. We quantified three opportunities to make sure as much gelato as possible was not wasted from the production line, and able to be enjoyed.