Posted on August 12, 2008 by Dennis Salazar

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.

The “greener” part is obvious when we compare paper tape to plastic carton sealing tape. Keep in mind, I have no axe to grind here and admit selling both products on a regular basis. Plastic tape tends to be virgin plastic resin and is usually made with synthetic adhesives. The impact it has on the recyclability of corrugated is often debated but let’s agree that plastic tape on boxes probably does not make it any easier for the box to effectively and efficiently be processed and recycled. Paper tape is typically made from recycled Kraft paper, natural adhesives and even when reinforced, will process cleanly and easily during the recycling and re-pulping process.

Printed Corrugated Boxes versus Printed Paper Tape

In an effort to create a recognizable and memorable brand, customers often come to us seeking printed boxes to accomplish it. Certainly a well printed logo is effective in that regard but is it cost effective? The answer is – usually not. Unless we are dealing with large volume (thousands) printed, custom sized boxes are always substantially more expensive than standard, unprinted, stock sizes. It is not about the cost of ink, it is all about the cost of the run. As an example, your order for two hundred, custom size printed boxes would have to run alone so the costly set up time is amortized over that small order. The same order using our stock size, unprinted boxes may have been part of a run of thousands so the set up cost on each box is obviously much lower.

Please don’t misunderstand, about 50% of the boxes we sell are custom sized and printed boxes, and it is often the right way to go. If however your volume does not yet justify and reduce the cost of printed boxes, printed paper tape is a great way to accomplish that unique brand and look at minimal cost. Why? Because tape can be printed at a much lower cost and in smaller volumes.

The general, broad based answers I have provided above are not intended to replace a specific application and needs analysis, but I hope it does provide some food for thought and perhaps will encourage you to seek some expert guidance. As we see the cost of all packaging materials skyrocketing and falling profitability and sales in many cases, it is important to get the most out of each packaging dollar you spend. There has never been a more important time to accomplish this, for Eco and bottom line reasons.