Inside Sustainable and Branded Packaging

Industry News and Perspectives

13 Jan 2009 For Staples, Eco Friendly Packaging – That ‘s not easy!

I realize I am negatively paraphrasing their marketing slogan but the change is quite appropriate after reviewing the packaging of an order they just shipped to us. As a customer, I admit I love Staples but as a provider of eco-friendly packaging products, and as a citizen of the earth, they are very disappointing.  I am sorry Staples, but picking and packing an order while utilizing sustainable packaging products and procedures, quite frankly, has never been easier. Complainants Exhibit A and B Staples order overpackaged
The photo above shows the three items we ordered whose combined volume is 582 square inches. The box they used was a 16” X 10.5” X12.25” high, which provides 2,058 square inches of packing space. Because the box was almost four times larger than it had to be, 600 (un-inflated) square inches of an inflatable void fill product had to be used to fill the oversized void.  Before you think this is just another story of a packer using the wrong box to fill an order, the green “wanna be” picture gets much worse for Staples.
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06 Jan 2009 Citizen Watches Wins Prestigious 2008 Globe Guard Eco-Consistency Award

Citizen Watch Company OK, I will admit we do not yet have an official Globe Guard Eco Consistency award, but if we did, it would be darn prestigious and we would award to Citizen Watch Company. That has to be worth something, right? The fact is that we, like so many others in the green business, are quick to criticize when companies are inconsistent in their packaging. Therefore, we should also be ready, willing and able to point out when they do something positive. Making Sure the Packaging “Fits” the Product Rightsizing is a given but making sure that the package is sustainably appropriate for the product you are selling is an often overlooked detail. It seems logical doesn’t it that if a watch maker creates a watch series they decide to name “Eco-Drive” it is going to appeal to people like me who believe we all use way too many battery powered items in our daily lives. We are also almost certain to scrutinize the packaging and see if it is consistent with the product it contains.
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18 Dec 2008 Why We’re Not Crazy Telling You Not to Buy the Corrugated Boxes We’re Trying to Sell You

CurlyAs a marketing specialist, I myself find it strange that at the same time we're promoting Globe Guard 100% PCW content corrugated boxes, we're writing post upon post telling people how to use less corrugated or no corrugated at all. Well, we definitely want to sell Globe Guard boxes. Being made from 100% post-consumer waste, they are the ultimate in sustainability from a materials standpoint. But at the same time, our experience in packaging tells us this -
The biggest cost saving AND the best environmental consequences come from using less corrugated material in your operation.
That's why we openly encourage corrugated users to use less corrugated, and offer suggestions about how to do it. But the real mystery is this. Why do so many customers fixate on the purchase price of their boxes, when changing their box requirements will produce far greater savings? A couple reasons come to mind.
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16 Dec 2008 “Virgin” Corrugated Board and Other Green Myths

globe guard 100% PCW content corrugated boxes I recently had another “Madonna Experience”, with a potential customer who hesitated to make what he thought was the quantum leap from his current corrugated boxes, ALL the way to our Globe Guard 100% PCW recycled content corrugated boxes. Those conversations always make me think of the pop singer’s infamous hit, “Like a Virgin” because the customer was convinced his current supplier was delivering boxes made of pure, new tree fiber. Not likely. Not even possible. The Truth about Corrugated Board
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11 Dec 2008 Green Packaging: Paperboard versus Corrugated

corrugated flutingBoth materials can be excellent eco-friendly packaging. Paperboard packaging is what you see on a FedEx or USPS style flat mailer envelope, or a typical cereal box. By comparison corrugated board has fluting and is what a standard brown box is made of. The line used to be fairly clear – paperboard was used for primary/retail/display packaging and corrugated was used strictly for secondary packaging such as for shipping boxes simply expected to get products from point A to point B. As paperboard has become thicker, while corrugated has grown thinner, and both materials are engineered better and more visually appealing, you now see paperboard being used often for shipping purposes such as in mailers, tubes and other structures. There is also growing trend to use corrugated for retail packaging for its “greener look” (see image below).
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09 Dec 2008 Can “Cohesive” Packaging be Green Packaging?

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

Image via Wikipedia

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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04 Dec 2008 In a Rotten Economy, Green Packaging Is More Important than Ever

SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 22:  A child's toy and p...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Some fear that a rotten economy will spoil the green packaging movement. The thinking goes, if people must choose between saving the world and saving their business, they'll save their business. That's true. However, the underlying assumption there is that green packaging is more expensive and therefore bad for business. That assumption is incorrect. Green packaging is (or should be) less expensive, and therefore more valuable than ever in times of economic hardship. It's important to distinguish between a packaging product's purchase cost and cost in use. Some green packaging carries a higher purchase cost than the non-green alternative, and some green packaging doesn't. Recycled packaging papers are less expensive than virgin equivalents. Recycled plastic materials can go either way, but are generally lower priced. What's more significant is the cost in use of green packaging. A green packaging strategy (and it's important to think about packaging as a whole, not look at packaging components individually) should reduce overall cost -
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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...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

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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