green packaging Tag

15 Oct 2009 Sustainable Packaging and Staples – Still Not Easy!

[caption id="attachment_926" align="alignnone" width="350" caption="Staples Packaging Leaves Much to Be Desired"]Staples Packaging Leaves Much to Be Desired[/caption] Earlier this year, January 13th to be exact, I posted an article complaining about some very eco unfriendly secondary packaging I had received from one of our favorite suppliers, Staples. Large retailers often appear to be leading the green charge so the interest level they create is usually high and this was no exception. The post was soon picked up by Green Biz and other eco focused blogs and I even contacted them on at least two occasions and offered my services at no cost so I could help them determine where Staples' in house fulfillment “eco system” is obviously broken. I was told they were “working on it,” so as a loyal customer concerned about their secondary packaging as well as the environment, I waited, and waited until this week when we received delivery of an order we placed for two boxes of ink cartridges.

Staples Green Update – More Green Packaging Problems

The photo above show the two boxes of Canon ink cartridges which shipped from two different Staples facilities. I appreciate the fact that the order was split-shipped to be filled quickly but I find I hard to believe that neither facility had both items. I am not sure what type of carbon footprint that creates but the worse news is that each facility used a different way of packaging the product and neither passed the green test as far as we are concerned. The term one step forward and two steps backwards comes to mind when we compare it to the packaging described in our January blog post.

Package #1 Shipping from Beloit, WI

At this Staples distribution center the packer opted to use a plastic mailer envelope. Even though I don’t like flexible mailers for crushable product, I am generally a big proponent of mailer envelopes, plastic and paper. I like them because they are light weight, can be made of recycled content and in most areas may be recycled for creating more packaging or other plastic products. However, the mailer that Beloit used did not indicate any recycled content, and did not even offer a recycle code for handling the waste after use. This is a real shame considering some of the new plastic mailers that are available. We offer several that would be better eco options than what was used on this shipment.

Package #2 Shipping from Carol Stream, IL

At this facility they used a 13” long X 10” wide X 5” box (650 cubic inches) to ship a 4” X 2.25” X 2.75” product, or about 25 cubic inches, which is obviously much more box than was necessary.
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24 Sep 2009 Selling Boxes versus Selling Packaging

A good customer friend recently recommended us to a customer of his and referred to us as “a great supplier of eco friendly boxes”. Certainly that description is accurate in that we are probably best known for our unique, Globe Guard 100% PCW shipping boxes. However, there is a distinct and real difference between selling eco friendly boxes and selling eco friendly packaging.

Green Shipping Boxes and a Whole Lot More

When a potential customer calls us or visits our Globe Guard Products web store, they usually have a very good idea of what they want and if they find it there, they are able to point, click and the product they need will soon be in their hands. We are indeed a good supplier of green boxes but we also offer a large variety of other eco friendly products on that same site. This includes a large selection of box alternatives and quite frankly, you are not going to get that from your average box maker or seller. When a box is truly required to ship a product, we also understand the average customer also needs tape to seal the box, void fill to protect the contents and even labels to be able to address the box. Just in the area of void fill alone, we offer one of the widest varieties of loose, molded, paper and eco friendly plastic solutions. Each is in stock and we will gladly and enthusiastically explain the pros and cons of each product for your specific application.
[caption id="attachment_878" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Globe Guard product photo courtesy of Jeffery Levin"]Globe Guard product photo courtesy of Jeffery Levin[/caption] Stock versus Custom Corrugated
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09 Jul 2009 The Natural Abode – A Globe Guard Partner for the Great Pacific Northwest

the natural abodeWe are very pleased to announce the appointment of The Natural Abode as a Globe Guard corrugated box distributor to serve the states of Washington, Oregon, northern California, Idaho, Montana, and Idaho. The Natural Abode is well established, four year old company and is very familiar with packaging from a user’s perspective. They are also a Green America member, very involved in the green community and their facility in Moscow, Idaho makes them centrally located for the geography they plan to cover.

What This Means to You, the Green Packaging Buyer

We know you expect price and quality and we know our Globe Guard products will not disappoint you in either category. We have also learned that your concerns include product availability, shipping costs and of course, carbon footprint. Shipping low cost, commodity packaging products cross country no longer makes sense and our job is to get the product where you need it, quickly at a reasonable cost, and with absolute minimal carbon footprint left behind. Intelligent logistics and distribution is the key and we are confident The Natural Abode will enable us to meet and exceed your expectations. Fast, Economical, and Reliable Deliveries to the Pacific Northwest
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19 May 2009 Sustainable Secondary Packaging and the Third Party Shipper

It may sound like the title to an unusual movie or book, but the fact is that today it is not at all uncommon for an eco conscious e-commerce company (seller) to utilize a fulfillment company, third party logistics (3PL) company, or contract packager to fill, package and ship their customers’ orders. Outsourcing the fulfillment portion of the order process is an excellent way to minimize costs and focus on sales and marketing but it does have a potential down side, especially if the fulfillment company (shipper) does not share the same green values as the seller. The Biggest Risks of Using a Third Party Shipper eco-friendly-packaging-papers-and-corrugated-boxWhat you sacrifice when you turn fulfillment over to another company is control. For example, the people filling your valuable customer’s order are not your employees -  in fact they may not even be the employee of the company you are utilizing. More and more shipping companies use temporary labor services to satisfy their customer’s packaging requirements which can vary greatly with seasonal or other volume surges,  so the phrase “here today and gone tomorrow” certainly applies. In other words, there is little or no accountability for the person actually pulling and packing the order for you and for your customer. Another potential casualty of working with a third party shipper may unfortunately be eco-consistency. The eco friendliness of the packaging materials and the techniques being used, as well as the ultimate appearance of that package shipping to the customer, are completely in someone else’s hands. As a consumer, we all have been on the receiving end of a product that is over packaged, under packaged, or one that uses an excess of packaging materials we hate. For me,  it is foam peanuts of any size, shape or color. The shipper is setting the quality AND green standard for you in the eyes of your customers but remember - while the shipper is invisible to the customer,  you are not. When things go bad, you get the blame whether you deserve it or not. Packaging Sustainability and the Third Party Vendor Can Be a Beautiful Thing scanner-for-order-fulfillmentWe have been fortunate to be the supplier of choice in several of these seller/shipper situations and can tell you that when they work, they work great. One recent situation developed because the customer/seller introduced and recommended us to their fulfillment company. Obviously we had to overcome the relationships the shipper had with their existing packaging suppliers but eventually they saw the many benefits to their customer as well as with other present or potential customers. Today, being a “green fulfillment house” has many advantages as they soon realized when they quickly picked up another, substantial “green” client.
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09 Apr 2009 Sustainable Packaging – When Brown and White Make Green

kundorwahun-1One of the best parts of doing what we do is the opportunity to meet some really neat people doing some terrific things for the world we all share. We were recently contacted by Mark Simmons, one of the co-founders of www.Useless.org a unique company selling very useful products for a very good cause. They donate 10% of their profits to fund water and sanitation projects worldwide. Did someone say “eco-consistency”? Regular readers know that eco-consistency is my mantra, but when I spoke to Mark that was exactly what he was trying to accomplish. He was committed to buying packaging materials that communicated and confirmed his company’s very deep and sincere values of protecting the earth and “using less”. It sounded like a perfect application for Globe Guard 100% recycled PCW content corrugated boxes and it was. Eco friendly corrugated boxes – to print or not to print Even though we heavily promote our stock box unprinted program, we also understand the need for customization and branding. Today, well over half of our Globe Guard box business is custom grade, custom print or custom size. Realizing the importance of branding, especially at this early stage of his company’s development, Mark decided he wanted their logo printed on the box, in white - a most unusual color for box printing. I was not sure how white ink would turn out on a brown box, but the end result is a marvelous shade of green (packaging).
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27 Jan 2009 Sustainable Packaging Update – Inflatable Void Fill Solutions

inflatable void fill The above photo from one of our best vendors, Automated Packaging Systems, is a personal favorite because so rarely does a picture truly demonstrate a product benefit as well as this one. The message of course is that the box of inflatable void fill is the equivalent to the bags of packing peanuts behind the model. Translate that into shipping cost and effectiveness, as well as carbon footprint and you have an overwhelmingly positive advantage for inflatable void fill. Sustainable Packaging Must Be Application Driven Readers, customers and vendors know we offer a wide variety of void fill products because the great range and diversity of applications demands it. What you ship, how you ship, where you ship, and how much you ship are all important factors to consider. I believe however that from a green packaging perspective, the majority of people would agree the most eco friendly void fill solution is probably any form of paper. What’s not to like? It is relatively low cost, dense for shipping and storage purposes, compostable, recyclable, and typically made from recycled materials. There are only three reasons why some customers avoid paper:
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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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