Sustainable Products

09 Dec 2008 Can “Cohesive” Packaging be Green Packaging?

== Summary == Universal recycling symbol outli...

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The world of packaging is changing very rapidly and what was not green a year ago may be very sustainable today. A recent customer project has motivated me to do some research in an effort to update my knowledge base in this rarely used but usually fairly effective and efficient form of packaging. What is cohesive packaging? Unlike an adhesive product that is designed to stick to everything, cohesive material will only stick to itself. Most often a product is “sandwiched” between two layers of the cohesive material forming a fairly secure seal around the perimeter of the product but not sticking to the product. Most often this method of packaging is used to ship books, CDs, DVDs and other relatively flat products through the mail stream.
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02 Dec 2008 High Mileage Peaches and Other Absurdities of our Sustainable Lives

dole peaches dole peaches labelIf you look at the label on the pictured Dole product, you see that it is “natural”. I doubt any of us really understand what natural means anymore, but at least in theory, it’s a good thing, right? Shoppers everywhere just like my wife seek and buy products that are organic, pure and natural, even if the cost is a bit higher than those less healthy product options. I used to think these Dole peaches were delicious but I forever unintentionally ruined the taste by taking a closer look at the package and label. Near the top of the container you see ink jet characters that read “peaches from USA”. (Click on the thumbnail at right for a look.) I can only assume that is imprinted that way to give Dole some seasonal flexibility on where their peaches are grown and harvested. OK, I can buy that but at the bottom of the plastic jar you see that the shrink band label is printed ”Packed in Thailand.”
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25 Nov 2008 Sustainability Is in the Eye of the Beholder

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 04:  Tony Domanski, O...

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I really wish that was not the case but it is. I have written and spoken on this topic numerous times but a recent reader response on this blog from Neil Hunter in the UK has motivated me to address it once again. I think we all hope that eventually there will be consistent and clear definitions, and terms like eco-friendly, sustainable, compostable, biodegradable will all mean the same thing to everyone. But that is not the case today or probably any time soon.
"garden waste bag" When in doubt, claim everything?
There are certain packaging product areas where green has an even greater amount of “gray” and that most definitely includes bio-plastics. Consider the variety of products and applications out there and you will see the obvious problem. To me “plastics” means packaging films for wrapping, shrinking and forming. To our reader Neil, plastics are about disposable cutlery. Can “standards” ever be the same for both of us?
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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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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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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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