Inside Sustainable and Branded Packaging

Industry News and Perspectives

10 Feb 2009 The 1982 Tylenol Murders and the Packaging Industry’s Response

Tylenol and tamper evident packaging Some of our readers may be too young to remember but seeing the Tylenol poisonings back in the news has brought back some very profound, mixed feelings. The Tragedy For those who may not be aware, in September of 1982, seven people in the Chicago area were poisoned and died after ingesting tainted Tylenol. This horrible event literally hit close to home since several of the deaths occurred within miles of where my family and I lived at the time. Investigators quickly determined the product was being tainted and then placed on the retail shelf for innocent people to buy and take home. There was of course an immediate recall and this product was quickly removed from the shelf. From that moment on food and drug safety, and packaging would never be the same.
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05 Feb 2009 Sustainable Packaging Update 2 – Cornerboard

cornerboard Cornerboard is that L shaped laminated paper board product usually placed on the vertical corners and or possibly on the horizontal top corners of a strapped or stretch wrapped pallet. Some may wonder why we chose that particular “ancillary packaging” product to highlight on a blog focused of sustainability but cornerboard is indeed functional, and offers benefits in several key areas. Even though it usually results in a better looking, “squarer” pallet of product, it is anything but decorative or excessive. We believe corner board can be very sustainable in its construction and in its use. Reducing Corrugated with Eco Friendly Cornerboard? Customers are often able to substantially reduce the thickness (and cost) of their boxes by adding cornerboard to their pallets. Board weight of corrugated boxes is usually determined by the “worst case” scenario, even though those challenging circumstances (for example, double stacking of pallets) do not always occur. Why not use a lighter board for your boxes and add the support with corner board when it truly is necessary?
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03 Feb 2009 Eco Friendly Packages through Packaging Automation

shrink wrap machineIf you are shipping any quantity of merchandise it all, packaging automation is worth taking a look at. Automatic corrugated case sealers, shrink wrappers, and stretch wrappers are excellent places to start. Besides the many sustainable packaging benefits of automation, you may find that equipment will -
  • Reduce labor and improve ergonomics
  • Increase throughput
  • Produce more attractive packages
  • Improve tamper evidence
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29 Jan 2009 How to Persuade Prospects to Buy Your Eco-Friendly Products

High speed conveyor with bar code scanner for ...

Image via Wikipedia

These days, it is increasingly difficult to sell products solely on the basis of their "greenness", particularly if the green product in question is more expensive than the non-green alternative. And even when your green product is less expensive, that may not close the sale. Customers are looking for total value. There is simply too much bottom-line pressure in our recessionary market for customers to think otherwise. Are you communicating the total value of your eco friendly product to your prospect? For example, does your product ...
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27 Jan 2009 Sustainable Packaging Update – Inflatable Void Fill Solutions

inflatable void fill The above photo from one of our best vendors, Automated Packaging Systems, is a personal favorite because so rarely does a picture truly demonstrate a product benefit as well as this one. The message of course is that the box of inflatable void fill is the equivalent to the bags of packing peanuts behind the model. Translate that into shipping cost and effectiveness, as well as carbon footprint and you have an overwhelmingly positive advantage for inflatable void fill. Sustainable Packaging Must Be Application Driven Readers, customers and vendors know we offer a wide variety of void fill products because the great range and diversity of applications demands it. What you ship, how you ship, where you ship, and how much you ship are all important factors to consider. I believe however that from a green packaging perspective, the majority of people would agree the most eco friendly void fill solution is probably any form of paper. What’s not to like? It is relatively low cost, dense for shipping and storage purposes, compostable, recyclable, and typically made from recycled materials. There are only three reasons why some customers avoid paper:
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22 Jan 2009 The Sustainable Case for Plastic Box Sealing Tapes

globe guard plastic box sealing tapesCan Plastic Box Sealing Tapes Be Eco-Friendly? From a sustainable packaging perspective, when you manufacture a packaging product made from plastic, you come to market with two - or maybe three - strikes against you. Still, polypropylene box sealing tapes continue to be popular, even if shippers are buying them reluctantly. Here are some key points from an article from the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council that makes the environmental case for its products. Source reduction - It takes less plastic tape material than paper tape material to seal a box, reducing shipping and disposal/recycling costs.
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20 Jan 2009 Sustainable Reasons to Use Paper Box Sealing Tape

globe guard printed paper box sealing tapes We have been very successful recently helping customers convert from plastic to paper box sealing tape, especially custom printed paper tape. These conversions are usually quite painless after the customer invests in a good water activated tape dispenser and concludes that 3” wide paper tape is NOT necessarily more expensive because it is wider, than the obviously narrower 2” plastic tape they are accustomed to using. How to Compare Radically Different Packaging Tapes The normal tendency when comparing paper to plastic tape cost is to determine a common unit of cost for easy comparison. Since plastic tape is sold in cases of rolls that usually specify yards per roll and paper tape is typically sold in cases of rolls that are measured in feet per roll, a little math is required, but very little. It is relatively easy to arrive at a cost per foot for both tapes but that is only part of the story. The real cost is yet to be determined because the person using the products rarely uses the same amount of both products.
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13 Jan 2009 For Staples, Eco Friendly Packaging – That ‘s not easy!

I realize I am negatively paraphrasing their marketing slogan but the change is quite appropriate after reviewing the packaging of an order they just shipped to us. As a customer, I admit I love Staples but as a provider of eco-friendly packaging products, and as a citizen of the earth, they are very disappointing.  I am sorry Staples, but picking and packing an order while utilizing sustainable packaging products and procedures, quite frankly, has never been easier. Complainants Exhibit A and B Staples order overpackaged The photo above shows the three items we ordered whose combined volume is 582 square inches. The box they used was a 16” X 10.5” X12.25” high, which provides 2,058 square inches of packing space. Because the box was almost four times larger than it had to be, 600 (un-inflated) square inches of an inflatable void fill product had to be used to fill the oversized void.  Before you think this is just another story of a packer using the wrong box to fill an order, the green “wanna be” picture gets much worse for Staples.
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06 Jan 2009 Citizen Watches Wins Prestigious 2008 Globe Guard Eco-Consistency Award

Citizen Watch Company OK, I will admit we do not yet have an official Globe Guard Eco Consistency award, but if we did, it would be darn prestigious and we would award to Citizen Watch Company. That has to be worth something, right? The fact is that we, like so many others in the green business, are quick to criticize when companies are inconsistent in their packaging. Therefore, we should also be ready, willing and able to point out when they do something positive. Making Sure the Packaging “Fits” the Product Rightsizing is a given but making sure that the package is sustainably appropriate for the product you are selling is an often overlooked detail. It seems logical doesn’t it that if a watch maker creates a watch series they decide to name “Eco-Drive” it is going to appeal to people like me who believe we all use way too many battery powered items in our daily lives. We are also almost certain to scrutinize the packaging and see if it is consistent with the product it contains.
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