Inside Sustainable and Branded Packaging

Industry News and Perspectives

04 Aug 2009 From “Going Green” to “Growing Green”

eco-friendly-planet Over the weekend I had some time to reflect on how far we have come as a company and product line (Globe Guard) but more importantly how far green businesses in general have come. Certainly green companies have grown and matured and some have become very successful by being exactly what they should be.

Characteristics of a Green Company

  • Authentic – they are legitimately green and not just jumping aboard the band wagon
  • Innovative – creating new products and services that the market wants and needs
  • Competitive - in terms of quality, performance and price
  • Consistent – every person within the organization follows the green path every day with no room for compromise or shortcuts
Green Is Authentic This is an absolute must because the market demands it. I often describe green buyers as skeptical and that is a gross understatement. The massive amount of green washing to be found in the market place forces green minded consumers to be downright mistrusting and unforgiving when they are wronged. Be prepared for the questions because they will be asked and understandably so. The market is getting smarter so looking green and claiming green are not nearly enough. Green Is Innovative I am thrilled and encouraged that real solutions are indeed being developed. I respect the green minded person who complains about the use of plastic coffee stirrers but I applaud the individual who develops a good alternative. When I see what companies are doing in terms of up-cycling, I am amazed. Turning waste into something better than it originally was, is an amazing feat. An example is recycled glass being turned into expensive counter tops and tiles. We are also creating and saving almost every form of energy at unheard of rates and having a legitimate and positive impact on the environment. Green Is Competitive
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21 Jul 2009 Nashville Wraps and Salazar Packaging Team Up to Offer Globe Guard 100% PCW Boxes

[caption id="attachment_655" align="alignnone" width="300"]Globe Guard Corrugated Boxes Globe Guard Corrugated Boxes[/caption] (Note: this post written by Dennis Salazar also appeared on Nashville Wraps blog on July 6th, 2009) Sustainable Packaging Creates Strange Bedfellows I may be paraphrasing the old adage about politics but there is absolutely no politics involved in the decision for Nashville Wraps to offer Globe Guard, 100% recycled (PCW) content shipping boxes to their customers. It is really all about good customer service and making it easy for customers to order and receive what they want and need. Two Different Companies with One, Almost Identical Objective nashville-wraps-eco-friendly-gift-packagingMost people and their own customers recognize Nashville Wraps as an innovator and leader in their market of decorative, retail and gift packaging. They long ago committed to making their products and company as green as possible and made news in the green and packaging communities with their Green Way® product line. Our company, Salazar Packaging, Inc. has been working toward the same goal in our product area of green, eco friendly packaging products for secondary (shipping) purposes. We created and trademarked the Globe Guard® line of 100% PCW boxes and began promoting them in 2007.
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16 Jul 2009 A Better Cushioned Mailer from Globe Guard

Back on March 26th we published an article on this blog talking about sustainable packaging dead ends. In it I described a personal pet peeve which is single use products that are destined to end up in a land fill. It only adds salt to the sustainable wound for me when the manufacturer leads customers to believe that they are doing a good, green thing. An Imperfect Sustainable Packaging Example - Cushioned Mailers We have all used them at one time or another but cushioned (foam or bubble) lined paper mailers feature two excellent materials. Unfortunately they are laminated together and cannot be separated for easy sorting and recycling. Since the outer layer is paper, they are likely to hold up for only one trip through USPS, FedEx, or UPS so it is usually a prompt and short trip to your local land fill. Think about the millions of these that are used for home or office and you can see how easily the problem is compounded. A Near Perfect Sustainable Packaging Solution - Globe Guard 100% Recyclable (Plastic) Cushioned Mailers [caption id="attachment_634" align="alignright" width="220"]A Better Padded Mailer A Better Padded Mailer[/caption] Before the anti-plastic people get all worked up, please keep in mind that on sustainable, green packaging, it is not always about bad versus good. Sometimes the decision is not all that simple and the choice is between very bad and perhaps, not so bad. Or in this case between completely unrecyclable and easily recyclable. I know I would likely be escorted out of some green gatherings for using the C word (compromise) but that is the reality of current eco friendly packaging options. The key is to know what you are using in terms of content and how or if it satisfies the sustainability requirements of reuse, recycle and reduce. What Makes These Plastic Cushioned Mailers Green
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14 Jul 2009 Green Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry (for using a higher grade of packaging than necessary)

mailing-envelope-from-globe-guard-eco-friendly-packaging-productsMuch of the attention on sustainable secondary packaging is rightfully given to using too much of a given packaging material. A compounded example is using a box that is oversized for a shipment, thereby also requiring more void fill product than necessary. We have all seen the examples of bad packaging posted here on ISP and on other excellent green focused sites like Sustainable is Good. We like to scrutinize not only the quantity of packaging also the quality of the packaging being used for a specific application. Some of this is for good environmental reasons but it is important to note that it often results in a lower cost to our customers, and today, that is a very good thing. Typical Examples of Over Packaging These include some of my all time favorites that can often be found in many mail rooms and shipping areas.
  • Using cushioned mailers for products that do not require cushioning such as soft goods, textiles, paper products, etc. I have written many times on bubble and foam mailers that are destined to wind up in a land fill because the plastic and paper used to make the mailer are laminated together. Both packaging materials are recyclable in theory only, since they cannot be separated and effectively recycled.
  • The use of white corrugated and envelope mailers of almost any type and configuration. Why do customers pay more for a product that is less eco friendly, looks less eco friendly and will arrive at its destination looking worse due to its white surface?  When a client wants to be “obviously” green and reduce costs, this is usually one of the first areas we look at and change.
  • Utilizing Tyvek, Nylon reinforced and other premium or reinforced mailer envelopes.There are some marvelous materials being used for applications that do not require them. They usually have excellent specific properties such as moisture protection or puncture resistance but are also not recyclable because of the composition and structure.
Why Do Companies Over Package?
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09 Jul 2009 The Natural Abode – A Globe Guard Partner for the Great Pacific Northwest

the natural abodeWe are very pleased to announce the appointment of The Natural Abode as a Globe Guard corrugated box distributor to serve the states of Washington, Oregon, northern California, Idaho, Montana, and Idaho. The Natural Abode is well established, four year old company and is very familiar with packaging from a user’s perspective. They are also a Green America member, very involved in the green community and their facility in Moscow, Idaho makes them centrally located for the geography they plan to cover.

What This Means to You, the Green Packaging Buyer

We know you expect price and quality and we know our Globe Guard products will not disappoint you in either category. We have also learned that your concerns include product availability, shipping costs and of course, carbon footprint. Shipping low cost, commodity packaging products cross country no longer makes sense and our job is to get the product where you need it, quickly at a reasonable cost, and with absolute minimal carbon footprint left behind. Intelligent logistics and distribution is the key and we are confident The Natural Abode will enable us to meet and exceed your expectations. Fast, Economical, and Reliable Deliveries to the Pacific Northwest
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02 Jul 2009 No Getting Around “Green”

I have often described green as a fast moving, irreversible trend that will only grow in strength with each new generation. In fact, the word and name green - or greene, if you prefer the silent “e” - has been around for some time, one could even say for generations. To solve this little quiz, you may need help from an older or younger generation because the questions and answers range from pop culture of the 40’s to now. So, if you find yourself with some time to spare this holiday weekend and are willing to focus on colors other than red, white and blue, please enjoy.
Warning: Answers appear at bottom of the post, so don't peek under the Big Green Question Mark.
The Green Culture Quiz
  1. Mean guy from Pennsylvania - __________ Greene
  2. West coast punkers of the 90’s – Green ______
  3. Mellow sounding unity advocate in 1972 - _____ Green
  4. Crime fighter and Kato’s buddy – Green _______
  5. TV westerns were a bonanza for him - ________ Greene
  6. Mid 60’s TV series featuring transplanted NYC couple – Green ___________
  7. Premier funny man of the 70’s - _________ Greene
  8. Baseball hall of famer _______ Greenberg
  9. 40’s and 50’s actor - ___________ Greenstreet
  10. Went home with Oscar in 1941 - _______ Green _____ ______ _______
  11. Justice League member and superhero – Green ___________
  12. They were eco before eco was cool – Green___________
  13. 70’s movie NOT a favorite of AARP - __________ Green
  14. Hitters nemesis in Boston – the Green ________________
  15. Acclaimed 1999 Tom Hanks movie – The Green __________
  16. Favorite breakfast food of Theodor Seuss Geisel – Green ______ ___ ______
  17. 1968 John Wayne film The Green ____________
  18. NFL rival of the Chicago Bears, the Green ______ __________
  19. Captain Kangaroo sidekick, Mr. Green ________
  20. Former Fed Chairman and economic guru ______ Green______
  21. Popular "chick flick" _________ Green __________
Answers appear below the Big Green Question Mark
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25 Jun 2009 Propane Powered Lawn Trimmer and Sears Fall Short in Green Effort

Recently on this blog we published a post applauding mega retailer Home Depot for going above and beyond in their garden department by making it easy for their customers to return their empty polystyrene floral containers. They could have decided their responsibility ended at the cash register but opted to assume some level of responsibility after the sale. If we praise effort like Home Depot’s, we also have to condemn a retailer like Sears who is most definitely guilty of promoting a product for its green benefits; in this case a zero emission, propane powered lawn trimmer, and failing to assume the post sale responsibility that is certainly theirs.

Are Propane Powered Garden Tools Really Green?

[caption id="attachment_564" align="alignright" width="225" caption="The Green Product"]The Green Product[/caption]For my Father’s Day gift, my wife and I went shopping for a propane powered weed trimmer/cutter. I personally dislike the fumes and trouble of a gas powered weed whacker, and have grown to dislike my electric and battery powered units as well. I realize $200 for a propane model is a lot of money at times like this, especially when you can buy an inexpensive electric version for as little as $39.00. However, I decided that the eco benefits would make it worth the higher initial cost. The problems really started when I realized the propane fuel tanks my new trimmer would use are not refillable. So I asked a friendly Sears employee about recycling and disposal. The propane tanks are metal so if not refillable, certainly they have to be recyclable, right? The minimal information provided indicated each tank lasts approximately two hours so it did not take a mathematician or landscaper to determine I was likely to create an empty cylinder every other week or ten to twelve cylinders over the course of a single Chicago summer. I was surprised when the man offering “trained Sears’s assistance” said he had no idea about disposal or recycling. I guess that was not covered in sales training class.

The Search for Information and Eco Truth

[caption id="attachment_565" align="alignright" width="225" caption="The Green Pitch"]The Green Pitch[/caption]We bought the trimmer and the next morning I called our local waste hauler, Waste Management, and asked about the recycling of the empty propane tanks, in hope recycling could be accomplished curbside. They promptly responded they did not want them and have always instructed their people to not collect them. Recalling we do business with a company for propane for our fork lift, I thought they might have some answers. They were kind enough to tell me that they would accept one or two empty tanks but did not want to be a collection point since the small, empty canisters I was eager to get rid of had no value, only cost to them. I turned to our local village for assistance and they quickly sent me to a county department in charge of hazardous waste. The lady who answered the phone immediately understood the problem and told me I was the fourth call that day on the same topic. She admitted her family used a similar propane cylinder for cooking while camping but told me they (county government) could not accept the cylinders because they were not considered hazardous. “What do you do with yours?” I naively asked. “I bury and hide them in my kitchen garbage bags” she replied, “Otherwise our waste hauler won’t take them.”
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23 Jun 2009 Announcing – New Green Blog on Packaging Digest

I am very happy to announce I am now blogging for Packaging Digest, one of the media leaders covering the packaging industry. Writing for them is a terrific opportunity to reach a different, substantially larger audience and I invite and encourage you to check out their excellent online and print publications.

The Increasingly Crowded Green Blogosphere

The world of eco focused internet blogging has become very crowded as more people and companies are writing about packaging OR about sustainability. Green is an increasingly popular topic because readers are eager to better understand sustainability. Packaging will always be a green focal point for consumers so the growth in interest is to be expected. packaging-digest-logoIn our work as well as in our writing, we strive to be a place where people with an interest in sustainability AND in packaging can learn more about the people and products impacting both. That is our overall objective on Inside Sustainable Packaging and will be our goal for Common Sense and Sustainability, our new featured blog on Packaging Digest.
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11 Jun 2009 Printed Water Activated Tape is Creative, Sustainable Packaging at its Best

printed-water-activated-tapes What do a West Coast oyster farm, a Wisconsin maker of fine cutting tools, a creative designer of green products for the office and unique online green products store, all have in common? They all decided to combine unprinted boxes with custom printed tape to -
  • Communicate their green brands
  • Make their secondary packaging as eco friendly as possible
  • Reduce their packaging costs
  FREE machine for new printed tape customers. Contact for details. The Benefits of Printed Water Activated Tape
  • It is colorful, stands out and your customers remember your message, logo, and brand
  • It is a much less expensive branding alternative to costly custom printed boxes
  • It has a high green perception rating from even casual observers and customers
  • It’s a paper product so no stripping of plastic tape is necessary before recycling the corrugated box
  • It bonds better to the box making it safer, more rigid and much more secure because it prevents tampering and pilferage
Sustainable Packaging Is Creative? Yes it can be.  Take a look at what these terrific customers decided to do to convey a consistent and memorable image.
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09 Jun 2009 Home Depot Wins Mid Year Globe Guard Eco Consistency Award

In an unprecedented move, the Globe Guard Eco Consistency Award judges held a first ever midyear caucus and by unanimous vote decided to give Home Depot this prestigious award. OK, that all sounds quite impressive but the fact is that my wife took me shopping for the seasonal purchase of flowers for her garden and I spotted this sign. home-depot-plsatics-recycling-program That is when I realized Home Depot has launched an excellent, green program to encourage and facilitate the return of the empty flower containers they now sell. Polystyrene - The Plastic Even Waste Management Doesn’t Want What makes this move by Home Depot award worthy is that most flower pot containers are made of polystyrene (Recycled code #6). Most of us know polystyrene as the foam looking plastic material often used for takeout or left over containers, some “foam” drinking cups and some loose fill packaging materials shaped like shells or peanuts. That happens to be reason #42 why I hate foam peanuts, but that is a sore subject and a different blog post. I am not sure why most floral containers are made of styrene but I am willing to bet it is about cost. Polystyrene can easily be blended with just about any plastic or near plastic trash and is able to be formed into the trays and pots we all take home, empty and discard. What I am certain of is that in our suburban Chicago curbside recycling service provided by Waste Management, is very clear to point out they will NOT take back anything with a #6 recycled code which includes any form or type of polystyrene.
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