Inside Sustainable and Branded Packaging

Industry News and Perspectives

06 Nov 2008 What is “Eco-Consistency”?

One of our favorite blogs is Sustainable Is Good because they do an exceptional job of exposing examples of over packaging. This photo ran on SISG a couple of months ago, much to the embarrassment of Amazon. Obviously someone at Amazon made a mistake and shipped out an order for ten thin books, in ten separate boxes complete with tape and void fill. That was a plain and simple error on someone’s part and I am sure “inspector #25” or “packer #17” heard about their lapse in common sense. As bad as mistakes like that can be for the companies making them, what is even worse is deliberate lapses in basic concern regarding the importance of secondary packaging, especially when it is done by companies that should know better. I believe that now more than ever, a green company making a green product MUST be consistent throughout their entire customer serving process, including the secondary packaging they ship out. Here are some reasons why.
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04 Nov 2008 All about Industrial Tissue, Recycled Kraft, Bogus, and Indented Bogus Papers

Salazar Packaging carries four varieties of packaging papers, all of which are very sustainable. If you are looking for eco friendly packaging, which paper is right for you? Industrial tissue paper is lightweight and relatively scratch resistant. It's an excellent choice for wrapping fragile or semi-fragile products such as coffee mugs, collectibles, or glassware. Tissue is also excellent for interleaving lightweight items that are susceptible to scratching, such as certain plastics and glass.
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30 Oct 2008 What’s Wrong with this Picture? A Green Packaging Challenge

Even if you are not a regular reader and subscriber to this blog, please accept this as sustainable challenge #1. How quickly and easily can you spot a product or package that that is, let’s call it, “less than innocent” in terms of greenness? You have an opportunity to be the CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) investigator for this possible case of packaging sustainability crime. Please click on the image below for a better view - Catalog and Box
We have blocked out the name of the company to protect the guilty but the company name is really not important. If we look around we can spot countless examples like this on a daily basis. This company is shipping their annual catalog in the box that is shown. Ironically on the catalog cover they boast about offering hundreds of “eco friendly products”. But what about the packaging that is designed to get this catalog in the hands of their eco minded customers? To a certain extent we agree that green is often in the eye of the beholder but we’ve spotted some things that are very likely wrong and some that merit further investigation. Jot down some observations and questions before you read the rest of this story.
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28 Oct 2008 Corrugated Partitions Are a Fine Sustainable Packaging Option

Corrugated Partitions Somewhere along the line, corrugated (and chipboard) partitions fell out of favor as an inner packing material. A lot of it had to do with a desire to reduce corrugated usage and unit cost - both good objectives. However, corrugated partitions can sometimes reduce overall packaging usage and unit cost, while providing a number of other important sustainable benefits.
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16 Oct 2008 Eco-Friendly versus Customer Friendly

Foam peanuts.

Image via Wikipedia

It would be a beautiful and greener world if these two goals could be met as one and the same, but unfortunately life and being green are not that simple. So as a business person, serving a predominantly green customer base, which way do you go? Survey after survey indicates consumers are indeed willing to give up some degree of convenience in exchange for greener packaging but are they willing to forgo safety, security, freshness, or even product cleanliness? In most cases the answer is no, especially if there is a good option available. There is indeed a limit to how much most consumers are willing to sacrifice for the environment. At the risk of further angering packing peanut manufacturers, a perfect example of this dilemma is foam peanuts, shells, or any other shape of this controversial product. I recently met with a customer who proudly proclaimed he was using an eco-friendly foam peanut product that would degrade in water. In over thirty years I have never won an argument with a customer so there was no way I would debate the merits of the product, or the science behind it. I am sure his void fill product will indeed dissolve if exposed to water, and I have no idea on the content of the watery goo that is sure to result in the process or where it winds up in the environment.
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09 Oct 2008 Have Presentation, Will Travel

Dennis Salazar speaks at CP08 One of the sure signs that you are getting old is when you realize you unintentionally and often make references to characters and things that were popular long before younger people you may be speaking to were even born. That may be the case with the above title. When I was a kid, one of the most popular Western series on television (black and white no less) was a series called “Have Gun - Will Travel”. That incredibly cool line (for that time) was neatly printed on the lead character’s business card indicating he was a gun for hire. The lead character was known by the single name Paladin and I think he may have started the one name thing, inspiring others like Madonna, Cher or Sting. As I recall his fee was $1,000, which must have been an enormous amount of money back then, so I doubt he had steady work but always managed to find at least one client in desperate need of his services in time for each weekly, exciting episode.
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07 Oct 2008 The Difference between 200# Test and 32ECT Corrugated Boxes

Globe Guard Certification Stamp Most industries have a standard for measuring or describing the construction of a particular material. However, in the corrugated industry, there are two standards - the Mullen Test and the Edge Crush Test. This leads to quite a bit of confusion in the marketplace. The Mullen Test, which has been used for many years, tests the bursting strength of corrugated board - how much pressure is required to rupture the wall of a piece of corrugated material. Boxes conforming to the Mullen Test standard are identified as 200# Test, 275# Test, etc. The higher the number, the stronger the corrugated box. The Edge Crush Test, which was developed in the 1990's, measures the stacking strength of corrugated board - how much top to bottom pressure a box can withstand before crushing. Boxes conforming to the Edge Crush Test standard are identified as 32ECT, 44 ECT, etc. Again, the higher the number, the stronger the corrugated box.
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02 Oct 2008 The Amazing (and Amazingly Green) World of Newsprint

Auckland 2004 Yellow Pages booksImage via Wikipedia
Unprinted newsprint is (or was - keep reading) widely used for industrial void fill, surface protection, and wrapping applications. You've probably seen it at one time or another when you moved. Moving companies use newsprint extensively, mainly in sheeted form, to protect your belongings before boxing them up. Did you ever wonder where this newsprint comes from? A Good Green Story ... For the most part, industrial newsprint is trim and waste generated by paper mills as they run newspaper-grade newsprint. I was in Montreal once getting a tour of an Abitibi newsprint mill, and the tour guide took us to a building that must have been 750,000 square feet. He opened an immense sliding door and we saw that the building was packed floor to ceiling with trim newsprint rolls -- big, heavy rolls, 40" - 50" diameter, anywhere from 12" - 84" wide.
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30 Sep 2008 Can A Republican Be Green?

Not only can Republicans be green, it turns out a lot of them are. Check out Republicans for Environmental Protection, an organization with this mission statement --
Republicans for Environmental Protection was founded in 1995 to resurrect the GOP's great conservation tradition and to restore natural resource conservation and sound environmental protection as fundamental elements of the Republican Party's vision for America
Image via Wikipedia
Stereotyping Gets in the Way of Green Action One positive message coming from both sides in this year's presidential campaign is the need for change. Our Federal government isn't getting things done because of partisan politics, with each party characterizing the other by its most extreme elements -- in other words, stereotyping. This kind of communication leads people to dig in their heels, become combative, stop listening, and stop communicating. Political discourse has devolved into special interest advocates reciting a familiar litany of charges against the opposition. Not an atmosphere where things get done. Why Is Washington Stuck in the Mud?
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25 Sep 2008 Am I Re-Trainable for Sustainable?, Revisited

Green

Image via Wikipedia

This month represents an anniversary of sorts for me because it was one year ago when I submitted my first, above titled article to Rider Thompson of Sustainable Is Good and he chose to publish it. The article was a tongue in cheek recap of my career in packaging and how it relates to sustainability. Much to my surprise, it was picked up and run by numerous other internet outlets including Reuters and GreenBiz. It seemed like a good time to share with you some observations and what we have learned about sustainability during the last year.
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