Sustainable Products

24 May 2011 Reducing Corrugated Use through Proper Design

Side load FOL boxMany people believe the only way to reduce corrugated usage is by buying and using fewer boxes. While that is certainly one approach, a better and more effective one is making sure you are packing and shipping the best style of container for your product and application. When RSC Boxes Are NOT the Best Design Recently, we have encountered several applications for large, relatively low profile products such as unassembled furniture and picture frames. In each case, people were shipping product in oversized, low profiled RSC style boxes with large overlapping layers of redundant corrugated board. The problem, of course, is that the four flaps on top and bottom of any RSC style box typically do little but add cost. You could almost excuse the extra cost if it delivered better protection to the product, but sadly, in most cases it does not. The two large major flaps coming together in the middle of the box essentially create a weak joint on the box, especially if they are not taped well. The large spans of unsupported corrugated also make the design very susceptible to crushing and corner damage.
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27 Apr 2011 The Great Variety of Custom, Green Interior and Protective Packaging

[caption id="attachment_2547" align="alignright" width="300" caption="PAPER-BASED PROTECTIVE PACKAGING SOLUTIONS"]Paper based protective packaging solutions[/caption] Even though we are best known for the boxes we sell, it’s what we can create for the inside of the box that truly sets us apart in a crowded field of packaging suppliers. Recently, we have blogged about partitions and molded pulp options, and our inflatable and other “stock” void fill options are also quite popular. However, the need for custom packaging continues to grow as companies work not only to minimize packaging but also to completely eliminate unfavorable materials such as EPS foam in favor of greener alternatives. Of course, this all has to be accomplished at minimal cost and deliver the product being shipped safely to its destination.
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12 Apr 2011 Interior Protective Green Packaging – Molded Pulp versus Partitions

Protective partition and molded pulp trayMore than a year ago, Packaging Digest published this article about some protective packaging work we did for Volcano Island Honey to safeguard their glass jars of rare and delicious white organic honey from breakage. Gratefully, since then companies have sought us out to help them overcome their greatest packaging challenges, especially if their objective is to solve the problem in the greenest way possible. In some areas of packaging, there are few green solutions available. Fortunately, however, when it comes to interior protective packaging there are several. Two of the most popular are molded pulp and corrugated partitions, and below is a quick comparison for your convenience.
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05 Apr 2011 Paper Based Packaging Is the Greenest Way to Lower Costs When Plastic Prices Are Soaring

Globe Guard non-plastic mailing optionsA quick look at today’s headlines or the nearest gas pump confirms oil prices are on a steep rise, which ultimately impacts natural gas and plastic resin prices as well as everything we buy or use that contains plastic. Experts tell us there is no end in sight, so as we see plastic packaging going through the roof with some products experiencing multiple price increases in the last six months, it’s a great time to remind our readers that almost any plastic packaging solution has a paper-based alternative.
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30 Mar 2011 Brown Paper Box Sealing Tape Makes a Great and Green First Impression

Custom Water Activated Tape ExamplesReinforced paper water activated tape (WAT) is a great way to brand your packaging without the cost and inventory sometimes made necessary by custom printed boxes. We work with a number of companies who simply don’t have the volume, or perhaps use too many different sizes, to make branded shipping boxes a realistic option. On the other hand, some very large volume shipping box users recognize WAT as a great way to put that finishing touch on a customer’s order. Yet others prefer WAT because it works better and delivers a more secure and greener package to their customers.
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13 Jan 2011 The Globe Guard “Light Rate” Box is Better Than Free

[caption id="attachment_2285" align="alignright" width="297"]Globe Guard Light Rate Box Globe Guard Light Rate Box[/caption] Recently, we’ve had several opportunities to help customers disprove the old adage that “the best things in life are free.” The fact is that for many shippers a free item may NOT be a good deal, for example when it is a USPS flat rate shipping box. The USPS Flat Rate Deal The USPS flat rate program is a marvelous idea, and they do a beautiful job of promoting it. Is there anyone who doesn’t love the TV commercial with the clown doll and the frightened family that is eager to return it? However, what is truly scary is how much that free box can actually wind up costing depending on the weight of the item being shipped. Their program is fairly simple: “If it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for one low flat rate.” The rate for their smallest 8-1/2” long x 5-3/16” wide x 1-9/16″ high box (actual inside dimensions) has recently increased from $4.95 per box to $5.20 per box. That's still a heck of a deal for many customers considering they can ship unlimited weight via USPS priority mail, which is typically a three day service. And don’t forget, the box is free.
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29 Oct 2010 We Sell Boxes!

We Sell Boxes DisplayIt is a common sign we see almost everywhere, just like this one almost directly across the street from our office. They are usually in windows or in front of storage facilities, quick copy centers, pack and ship operations, office supply retailers, moving truck rental operations and even home improvement centers. A Google search of “boxes” produces more than ninety million results ranging from people selling boxes from their home to national companies selling millions of dollars of boxes, each and every day. Everyone has the ability to sell boxes because quite frankly it does not take a lot of expertise or knowledge if you use the “Here is the box and here is our price” approach. Selling Boxes versus Selling Packaging We reached a milestone this year. My wife and partner and I now have a combined fifty years of packaging experience. That experience is not limited just to corrugated shipping boxes; it also includes complimentary and ancillary packaging products such as case sealing tapes, protective packaging, void fill and unitizing, as well as alternatives to traditional corrugated shipping containers. We also know how to combine different products for optimum results and the lowest possible cost.
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27 Oct 2010 Die Cut versus RSC Style Corrugated Shipping Boxes

RSC on left, die cut design on rightIt is not at all uncommon for an application or product to be able to ship out in either a die cut mailer box or a Regular Slotted Container (RSC) style shipping container. Both are quite effective and can be as eco friendly as the corrugated board that is used to make them. In some cases, the choice comes down to customer preference, but there are definitely some distinct advantages to each design. The Advantages of an RSC style shipping box design: 1.    In most cases, unless an RSC is extremely small, it does not require tooling such as a cutting die. 2.    Usually an RSC is less expensive because it consumes less board. 3.    It is easier to erect compared to some complicated die cut designs.
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14 Oct 2010 Minimizing the Unexpected Costs of Green Die Cut Boxes

Stock and custom die cut mailer boxesWe enjoy creating eco friendly printed, die cut containers, but they are not exempt from many of the same potential costs and problems of non-green die cut designs and solutions. During a recent phone conversation with a potential new client, I could hear the disappointment in my contact’s voice when I informed him he would probably have to invest several thousands of dollars in printing plates and cutting dies even before his first box was cut or printed. This situation was unique and extreme because we were talking about an oversized, 12” tall, stackable display tray that would be palletized for a large retailer. The two-color copy the customer wanted printed on each panel of course added some cost, but not as much as you might expect. As I have said many times, ink is cheap, but set up time and plates are not. This unfortunately also holds true for cutting dies for new package designs, whether the container being designed is a counter top display, tuck mailer, tray or special shipping box.
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31 Aug 2010 Small Boxes are Big Problem for Large Retailers

[caption id="attachment_1768" align="alignnone" width="325" caption="Small Size Changes Make a Big Difference"][/caption] We have spent a great deal of time suggesting the idea of “right sizing”, which is essentially only using as large of a shipping container as is truly needed for any product being shipped. Minimizing the size of a shipping box is green and economical because it also minimizes everything that goes along with it such as the necessary void fill and tape used to seal the box. Disturbing Trend – Minimum Allowable Box Size Two months ago we found out about a major electronics retailer who instituted an 8” cube minimum box size. Keep in mind that an 8” cube box is actually EIGHT times larger and eight times the waste compared to a 4” cube box. Then, just a week ago a large ladies accessory retailer notified their suppliers and vendors that they too had adopted a new “minimum allowable inbound shipping container.” It appears this policy is designed to eliminate product loss because smaller boxes have a tendency of becoming lost or damaged in a high volume receiving environment at many large retail operations. This policy is not very positive in terms of packaging sustainability but perhaps it is necessary and important. Greener Options In the spirit of “you can’t fight city hall,” perhaps the best we can do is offer some suggestions to minimize the negative green aspects of this change, as well as minimizing the cost.
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