Sustainable Products

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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16 Sep 2008 Best Advertising Deal in Town? Printed Secondary Packaging

printed box sealing tape If you are looking for an inexpensive and effective way to advertise your company - and who isn't, these days - consider printing your logo and a sales message on any or all of the following.
  • Corrugated boxes
  • Reinforced paper carton sealing tape
  • Mailing envelopes and padded shipping bags
  • Edge protectors
Depending on how your products move through the supply chain to the end user and then into the recycling stream, a lot more people than you think are seeing those plain old corrugated boxes, box sealing tapes, mailers, and edge protectors. The more your name is seen in the marketplace, the stronger your brand becomes.
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11 Sep 2008 Replace Corrugated Boxes with Mailers

Mailing envelopes It may seem ironic that any company that sells boxes would help you minimize their use, but we are committed to providing application appropriate solutions, not just what we may happen to have on our website or in our warehouse. Brad Shorr recently posted a terrific article titled 7 Ways to Reduce Corrugated Box Usage, and I encourage you to read it. But let's take it a step further and talk about how not only reduce corrugated usage, but eliminate corrugated usage completely. I am amazed at how often people use RSC style boxes when they are not really necessary. Probably because of their popularity and availability, boxes seem to be the standard or "go to" method of shipment, but there are times and applications when they are NOT the best choice. The cost of using a box usually includes the box, tape, cushioning materials or void fill, and a good deal of labor to form and seal the bottom, fill it with product and void fill, seal the top of the box and then label it. An envelope style mailer is typically less expensive from both a material and labor cost perspective, and is an underutilized alternative to standard boxes.
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09 Sep 2008 7 Ways to Reduce Corrugated Box Usage

Label printer applicator applying a label to a...Image via Wikipedia
It may not be possible to completely eliminate corrugated boxes from your packaging, but with a little imagination and design help, you can reduce amount of corrugated you need.
    1. Gap flaps. Regular slotted cartons (RSC) are the most common corrugated box style. RSCs are characterized by outer flaps that meet in the center. Leaving a small gap (1/4" to 1/2") between the flaps can add up to significant board reduction, especially for long length boxes.
    2. Corrugated trays. Trays, with a shrink film over wrap, are widely used in the beverage industry, but work beautifully for many other types of products -- even ones with a high profile. (We specialize in shrink automation and can help you analyze whether and how trays could work in your operation.)
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02 Sep 2008 How to Select an Eco Friendly Void Fill, Part 2

"Bubble Wrap Packaging Material" In the first part of this series, I described five general types of void fill --
  1. Loose fill materials
  2. Industrial papers
  3. Flexible foams and bubble material
  4. Expandable foam
  5. Inflatable air pillows
Now let's look at the qualities you may need from your void fill material, and see how the various options stack up. Surface protection. For glass, metal, and scratch-sensitive plastics, polypropylene (PP) foams are the least abrasive option, followed by polyethylene (PE) foams and bubble. Industrial papers, depending on the grade, may also work. Dust free. Loose fill, whether polystyrene or one of the various biodegradable varieties, are prone to flaking. Industrial papers sometimes contain dust as a result of the trimming process. For shipping things such as pharmaceutical or personal health care products, look in other directions for void fill.
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28 Aug 2008 How to Select an Eco Friendly Void Fill, Part 1

"Inner packing void fill materials" The best thing about void fill is there are so many options. The worst thing about void fill is ... there are so many options. Selecting the right void fill material is difficult -- keeping a few things in mind will help you make the right decision. Void fill can be broken down into several categories. Loose fill materials, commonly called "packing peanuts", are made from a variety of eco friendly and not so eco friendly materials, including polystyrene, corn starch, and paper. The weight of loose fill varies depending on the material, but generally speaking, loose fill is inexpensive per application, but messy and not very effective for cushioning. Industrial papers include kraft paper, newsprint, and tissue paper. Most papers used for void fill have high PCW content, are fairly inexpensive per application, and are easier and cleaner to use than loose fill. Industrial papers are available in sheeted or roll form, making them easy to integrate into most packing operations. Multi-layered papers have become more popular in recent years, mainly due to shippers looking for alternatives to plastic-based packing materials. Multi-layer papers, which are typically made on-site, provide excellent cushioning, but are significantly heavier than plastic alternatives.
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26 Aug 2008 Sustainable Packaging – What Are Slips Sheets?

"Corrugated Slip Sheets" In our efforts to help companies become more green, we often look for what we refer to as "low hanging sustainable packaging fruit". That is those little, easy changes that can be implemented quickly with little or no investment required. In fact the sweetest fruit is that which results in immediate savings -- and with the help of a good customer, we found a terrific area for immediate and easy green savings! Slip sheets are those almost invisible layers of packaging material you usually find between a pallet and a product load or even in between layers of a product load. Many companies will add a second slip sheet to the top of the load, in case the pallet is double stacked. Slip sheets provide some level of abrasion protection and are used primarily to keep products clean. On certain types of product loads, they can even be used to eliminate or avoid a pallet altogether. Slip sheets can be made of plastic, paper board or corrugated. Regardless of material type, what they almost always have in common is that slip sheets are certain to wind up as waste, as soon as the load arrives at its destination. 
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12 Aug 2008 Sustainable Packaging and Branding On a Budget

"Water activated box sealing tapes" In the ever crowded markets we all work to serve we are often challenged with trying to stand out from our competition, while simultaneously working to create a greener, more Eco friendly image by delivering a more sustainable package to our customers.  Oh yes, we would also like to reduce or at least maintain our costs while doing it. Is this an impossible, contradictory combination of goals? I really don't believe so but to accomplish all three objectives, we have to make some well informed decisions and when we do, we are often surprised to find out the way is much easier than we thought. One simple way of answering all three of the above challenges is to utilize custom printed, water activated, gummed tape to seal the boxes we ship out to our customers and prospects.
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07 Aug 2008 Ecoblivious Packaging – Polystyrene Loose Fill

"polystyrene peanuts" Some types of secondary packaging material are far worse for the environment than others. One of the worst, in our opinion, is the old standby for void fill, polystyrene loose fill. Folks who use this material because of its (perceived) low cost and (real) speed, are, well ... ecoblivious. Polystyrene is recyclable, but not easily so. The material is extremely lightweight and therefore expensive to ship to recycling centers, which are often a long distance away. While associated transportation costs have always been high, the economics are now even worse due to the rapid run up in fuel costs.
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29 Jul 2008 Is Your Secondary Packaging Really Green?

"Corrugated Recycles Symbol" I recently met with a large, very eco minded client and I brought up our Globe Guard 100% recycled (PCW) corrugated boxes. She became very interested and indicated she had some doubts about the boxes her current supplier was delivering to her company. The boxes were being touted as "up to 50% recycled content". We agreed that phrase was carefully crafted for maximum flexibility and minimal responsibility. That specific claim really guaranteed nothing in terms of quantity of recycled content and also did not provide any indication of what type quality of waste is being used to make her boxes. Not All Sustainable Packaging Is Created Equal This is not an isolated case. Now that the world is going green, suppliers of packaging products are doing everything they can to put an acceptable if not deceptive green spin on their current products. Being in the business I tend to notice these things and have seen corrugated boxes with large logos printed on them that say something like: "100% recyclable" Don't most people know that all corrugated is 100% recyclable? Is this a statement that is provide to remind the customer of the box's recyclability? Or is it intentionally deceptive because many people assume that "recyclable" and "recycled" are interchangeable terms? I can tell you that numerous times, I have met customers who thought their boxes were made of recycled content and were not.
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