E-Newsletter - A Publication of Interstate Resources

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Interstate Resources' Green Initiative for the Department of Defense

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: Interstate News, Spring 2008

In the past few years, customers have shown that they are becoming more and more engaged with efforts involving sustainability and “Green Initiatives.” In 2006, through the efforts of Keith Gray (ICL Design Manager) and Terry Moore (ICL SalesManager), Interstate began a “Sustainability” project for one of the largest customers in the United States - The U.S. Army.

Interstate was invited to bid on a Department of Defense (DOD) project for the U.S. Army, to modify the current packaging design of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE). The objectives were:

• To have less overall fiber than the current design

• To have equal compression strength

• To have the ability to decompose in the field

Since 9/11, approximately 3-6 million MRE ration cases are produced per year for the U.S. Army alone. This current packaging incorporates a solid fiber body and a corrugated insert. The solid fiber body is made from three wet strength laminated liners (two 90# liners & one 69# liner), while the Corrugated B Flute insert is made with 55# liners and a 26# medium. The total weight for such a package is 393#/1000 sq. ft. These packages were originally designed for “burst or Mullen” strength after World War II, but the true functionality is box compression

Needless to say, after meeting with representatives from the U.S. Army Research facility in Natick, MA, Interstate was awarded the grant to do research and field testing. A team was formed that included Keith Gray, Terry Moore, and me.

While the task at hand appeared quite daunting, we
have made incredible progress with the following results:

• Most importantly, the corrugated boxes (designed by Keith Gray), containing liner-board grades suggested by the Technical manager, not only have greater box compression strength than the current MRE ration boxes, but have 61% less fiber!

• Through various wax replacement coating trials,Interstate has demonstrated that boxes can be made with “non-wet strength” liners that can hold up in a variety of conditions.

• Ultimately, testing conducted at the University of Kansas has shown that all the prototype boxes and respective coatings have the ability to breakdown and decompose in the field.

Thus far, Interstate has more than demonstrated its value and partnership with the DOD with regard to their sustainability effort. The U.S. Army has again requested that we submit a budget for additional work and grant money for 2008. We anticipate that this will entail actual production trials and airdrops where product integrity will be evaluated.

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