Inside Sustainable and Branded Packaging

Industry News and Perspectives

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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30 Sep 2008 Can A Republican Be Green?

Not only can Republicans be green, it turns out a lot of them are. Check out Republicans for Environmental Protection, an organization with this mission statement --
Republicans for Environmental Protection was founded in 1995 to resurrect the GOP's great conservation tradition and to restore natural resource conservation and sound environmental protection as fundamental elements of the Republican Party's vision for America
Image via Wikipedia
Stereotyping Gets in the Way of Green Action One positive message coming from both sides in this year's presidential campaign is the need for change. Our Federal government isn't getting things done because of partisan politics, with each party characterizing the other by its most extreme elements -- in other words, stereotyping. This kind of communication leads people to dig in their heels, become combative, stop listening, and stop communicating. Political discourse has devolved into special interest advocates reciting a familiar litany of charges against the opposition. Not an atmosphere where things get done. Why Is Washington Stuck in the Mud?
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25 Sep 2008 Am I Re-Trainable for Sustainable?, Revisited

Green

Image via Wikipedia

This month represents an anniversary of sorts for me because it was one year ago when I submitted my first, above titled article to Rider Thompson of Sustainable Is Good and he chose to publish it. The article was a tongue in cheek recap of my career in packaging and how it relates to sustainability. Much to my surprise, it was picked up and run by numerous other internet outlets including Reuters and GreenBiz. It seemed like a good time to share with you some observations and what we have learned about sustainability during the last year.
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23 Sep 2008 Eco Ed – Humor in Sustainable Packaging

Our marketing director, Brad Shorr, and I are very different in many ways but one thing we have in common is a good appreciation of humor. With all the confusion, contradictions and misinformation in sustainable packaging, it is not always easy to find the humor in it but we work at it. With the help of a very talented illustrator, Mark Hill, Brad and I created “Eco Ed”, a cartoon series about the guy we can all relate to, who wants to do the right thing for the environment but is often not sure what the right thing is. We showed the concept to Joe Angel of Summit Publishing and he immediately decided he wanted to make it a regular feature in their Packaging World magazine, beginning last April.
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18 Sep 2008 Our Comment Policy

At Inside Sustainable Packaging, we welcome comments and conversation about sustainable packaging products, people, and perspectives. We appreciate the fact you have taken time out of your busy day to read our blog and share your ideas. Your comments, as much as our posts, are what will make our blog a useful resource for packaging professionals, packaging users, and concerned consumers.
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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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09 Sep 2008 7 Ways to Reduce Corrugated Box Usage

Label printer applicator applying a label to a...Image via Wikipedia
It may not be possible to completely eliminate corrugated boxes from your packaging, but with a little imagination and design help, you can reduce amount of corrugated you need.
  1. Gap flaps. Regular slotted cartons (RSC) are the most common corrugated box style. RSCs are characterized by outer flaps that meet in the center. Leaving a small gap (1/4" to 1/2") between the flaps can add up to significant board reduction, especially for long length boxes.
  2. Corrugated trays. Trays, with a shrink film over wrap, are widely used in the beverage industry, but work beautifully for many other types of products -- even ones with a high profile. (We specialize in shrink automation and can help you analyze whether and how trays could work in your operation.)
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02 Sep 2008 Green Is Good … Book?

Heliotrope Haven
Since starting our own business almost two years ago, I have to admit we do not get to Sunday service as often as we used to. Ironic that at a time we need more Divine guidance and support than ever before, we are too busy to get there, but that is a completely different problem and story. I honestly would have preferred to sleep in but my wife lured me to church with the promise of a nice breakfast out, which has become an equally rare weekend treat. I sat in church, feeling guilty because my thoughts kept reverting back to my breakfast options. As my mind debated the benefits of bacon and French toast versus a Feta cheese and broccoli omelet, I listened to our pastor talking about the beauty and wonder of God’s work in the great outdoors. Most suburban Chicago guys like me usually get their nature on a flat screen TV, while our pastor is a “hike in the wilderness” type of guy so he really got my full attention when he mentioned that God speaks to him through nature. He also stated that it does his heart good to know that even a non-believing tree hugger has felt God’s presence through the wonder of His work in nature.
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02 Sep 2008 How to Select an Eco Friendly Void Fill, Part 2

"Bubble Wrap Packaging Material"
In the first part of this series, I described five general types of void fill --
  1. Loose fill materials
  2. Industrial papers
  3. Flexible foams and bubble material
  4. Expandable foam
  5. Inflatable air pillows
Now let's look at the qualities you may need from your void fill material, and see how the various options stack up. Surface protection. For glass, metal, and scratch-sensitive plastics, polypropylene (PP) foams are the least abrasive option, followed by polyethylene (PE) foams and bubble. Industrial papers, depending on the grade, may also work. Dust free. Loose fill, whether polystyrene or one of the various biodegradable varieties, are prone to flaking. Industrial papers sometimes contain dust as a result of the trimming process. For shipping things such as pharmaceutical or personal health care products, look in other directions for void fill.
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