Inside Sustainable and Branded Packaging

Industry News and Perspectives

29 Jul 2008 Is Your Secondary Packaging Really Green?

"Corrugated Recycles Symbol"
I recently met with a large, very eco minded client and I brought up our Globe Guard 100% recycled (PCW) corrugated boxes. She became very interested and indicated she had some doubts about the boxes her current supplier was delivering to her company. The boxes were being touted as "up to 50% recycled content". We agreed that phrase was carefully crafted for maximum flexibility and minimal responsibility. That specific claim really guaranteed nothing in terms of quantity of recycled content and also did not provide any indication of what type quality of waste is being used to make her boxes. Not All Sustainable Packaging Is Created Equal This is not an isolated case. Now that the world is going green, suppliers of packaging products are doing everything they can to put an acceptable if not deceptive green spin on their current products. Being in the business I tend to notice these things and have seen corrugated boxes with large logos printed on them that say something like: "100% recyclable" Don't most people know that all corrugated is 100% recyclable? Is this a statement that is provide to remind the customer of the box's recyclability? Or is it intentionally deceptive because many people assume that "recyclable" and "recycled" are interchangeable terms? I can tell you that numerous times, I have met customers who thought their boxes were made of recycled content and were not.
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24 Jul 2008 Gasoline – Another Reason to Stop Using Polystyrene Loose Fill

Foam peanuts.

Image via Wikipedia

A big carbon footprint is an excellent reason to find a new inner packaging material, but not one that arouses passion in most of us. But $5 per gallon gasoline gets everyone's juices flowing (no pun intended), and that's another reason - perhaps the most compelling reason - why polystyrene packing peanuts are the wrong void fill material for 2008 and beyond. Polystyrene packing peanuts are expensive to ship -- in fact, considerably more expensive to ship than just about any alternative product on the market. Peanuts are extremely bulky and lightweight, so freight carriers charge a premium to tote them around. I checked freights cost to ship 5 - 20 cubic foot bags, and the quotes ranged from $110 to $175. Whew! Freight surcharges are a healthy portion of the total, but those aren't going away any time soon. Want to get a freight estimate for yourself? Use this Roadway freight calculator. Class is 250. Figure 4-5 lbs. per 20 cubic foot bag. You'll be astounded.
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18 Jul 2008 Every Day Matters

Here are 25 words of wisdom, for a collection Liz Strauss is putting together. These ideas have been running through my mind a lot lately, perhaps because life has been so hectic in so many ways. Why does time seem to accelerate as we age? It could...

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15 Jul 2008 The Huge Benefit of $200 a Barrel Oil

high gasoline prices
Did my title catch your eye? A few years ago it wouldn't have, because we weren't all that aware of the going price of crude oil. Didn't matter much. But today, it matters a lot, and we know it. And therein lies the huge benefit of astronomically high energy costs. Public awareness. Apathy is the enemy of democracy. For decades, we've allowed our political leaders to hold absurd, grandstanding positions on crucial environmental issues rather than roll up their sleeves and hammer out an actual energy strategy. We can blame our political leaders for shortsighted and misguided policies, but our own ignorance has made it possible.
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09 Jul 2008 What is Secondary Packaging?

I am often asked what secondary packaging is and why I spend so much time writing and talking about it. Before I try to define it, let me say that the reasons I choose to focus on it are because I believe secondary packaging is a major contributor to our waste problem, because it tends to fly below the eco conscious radar, and quite frankly, because no one else is talking about it. Primary packaging products are the ones designed for retail applications and usually make direct contact with the product being sold. It may be a paperboard carton, a glass jar or a plastic bottle. Even though we do some basic primary package design in select areas such as shrink over wrap or bagging, there are scores of excellent eco focused blogs, magazines and packaging designers that are almost 100% focused on the primary packaging you see on the retail shelf. Perhaps it is this high consumer visibility as well as volume, that makes it deserving of all the attention it receives.
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08 Jul 2008 Dennis Salazar – Spreading the Word on Sustainable Packaging

Dennis Salazar is maintaining a busy schedule promoting sustainable packaging on the Web and all around the U.S. Here's a schedule of recent and upcoming activities.
June 24, 2008 - Dennis recently did a podcast on Better Process with Ken Rayment. It includes a brief but informative discussion on Salazar Packaging’s new Globe Guard line of 100% recycled (PCW) content boxes. August, 2008 – “Selling Sustainability”, a new regular column by Dennis Salazar, will debut in the August issue of Contract Packaging magazine, a Summit Publishing publication.
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03 Jul 2008 Why Subscribing to Blogs Is a Great Idea

Are you new to blogs? Dennis and I were thinking lots of folks in the packaging industry aren't reading blogs on a regular basis -- partly because there aren't a lot of them out there (though the number is growing rapidly). Anyway, if you want to follow Inside Sustainable Packaging but don't feel like visiting the site every day, there's a simple solution -- subscribe! Check out the subscription box at the top right of this page. It looks like this -- rss subscription box Just enter your email address in the box, hit subscribe, and you'll be taken to a 5-second verification routine which sets up your subscription. From then on, every time we post new material, it will come to you via email, like a newspaper being delivered to your driveway.
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30 Jun 2008 Five Reasons Why Green is Here to Stay

Reason #1 -This environmental interest is generational. We baby boomers generally have some mild eco interest; the Gen X population is much more involved and concerned, while the Gen Y age group is downright passionate about it. Combined this fact with the green initiatives by big business and the corporate world, and understand we are witnessing a dramatic, decisive and irreversible trend, not a passing fad.
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26 Jun 2008 What Happens to Our Recycled Stuff?

Ever wonder what happens to your aluminum cans, food containers, corrugated boxes, and other recyclables after they are picked up at the curb? We did, and not long ago got a tour of Waste Management's recylcing facility on Chicago's South Side. This facility happens to be one of the largest in the country. Here's an inside look. Recycled materials are delivered in a transfer trailer --
recycled materials transfer trailer
Unsorted materials are dumped into a big pile, which looks surprisingly neat --
incoming recycled materials
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17 Jun 2008 Pitfalls of Hand Me Down Packaging

I have never been shy about speaking my mind and my interest and concern for the environment and how it relates to the packaging industry is no exception. While I sincerely try not to bore friends who may not be like minded, I rarely turn down an opportunity to speak before a welcoming audience and recently I was invited to make a presentation for the green business people attending the Earth Now Expo in Las Vegas. Even though I am usually expected to teach during this type of presentation, I enjoy participating for many reasons but mostly because of what I learn through the experience. This particular audience consisted mostly of new and small e-commerce businesses, some of which did not even have their green store websites in operation yet. Many of these people have sincere and pure eco motives, as well as great business plans but very little experience in the packaging industry where I have literally grown up in, and some would say, grown old in. What I learned is that many of these new entrepreneurs place very little value on one of their most precious resources – their own time and talent.
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