Sustainable Perspective

29 Apr 2013 Salazar Packaging and Globe Guard Products co-sponsor Chicago LOHAS Event

LOHAS is a terrific organization and an acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, a market segment focused on health and fitness, the environment, personal development, sustainable living, and social justice.

LOHAS 2013

Last year, I was fortunate to serve on a panel discussion on packaging at the LOHAS annual conference in Denver, Colorado where they are based. There I was able to meet and get to know the executive director, Ted Ning, and we are thrilled to see him bring the LOHAS message to our hometown of Chicago.

Network with Other Green Minded People and Companies

The gathering with cocktails will be held on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (CDT) at the Metropolitan Group that is at 35 E Wacker Place, in Chicago. You can see more information at this link and even reserve your ticket there.

To learn more about LOHAS, please visit their web site at I think you will find your time well spent at this rare Midwest opportunity to meet people who share your same interests and passions.

Read More

26 Feb 2013 Reducing Shipping Costs by Reducing Shipping Weight

Shipping rate increasesRecently we have had an influx of questions and projects all related to packaging weight. Some customers have experienced substantial increases in shipping cost thanks to a variety of recent price increases and policy changes by the three major shippers, USPS, UPS and FedEx.

There are no “one size fits all” answers because what you ship, how you ship and where you ship can all impact your shipping costs, but here are a few points to consider:

Have you “right sized” your packaging lately?

We recently spoke to a customer who was looking for a less expensive void fill to pack the boxes they were shipping out. A quick review of the situation resulted in our recommendation of using a “non-stock” box which was considerably smaller, less expensive and lighter to ship that the “standard” stock box they were accustomed to using.

Are you using the best shipping container for your application?

There is rarely a week that goes by that we do not hear from someone shipping soft goods (tee shirts, baby clothes, etc.) in corrugated boxes. As much as we enjoy selling boxes, unless the product is fragile, a paper or plastic mailer envelope may satisfy the need at a substantially lower shipping weight. Keep in mind when you eliminate the shipping box, you also eliminate the tape, void fill material and even labels (if you have the mailer custom printed) which all add cost and weight.

If your product does require a corrugated container, remember there are a wide variety of design alternatives to a standard RSC style shipping box. These include end and side load full overlap boxes for low profile products or in some situations a die cut mailer can be a lighter, cost effective solution.

Are you using the correct board weight?

We just helped a customer reduce his shipping weight and cost by reducing the thickness of his board from standard C-flute to slightly thinner B-flute. Incidentally, they also enjoyed a storage and inbound shipping cost savings because they can ship and store 30% more boxes in the same amount of space.

In a lower volume application, a customer using die cut corrugated mailer boxes is reducing shipping costs by switching from “standard” B-flute to light weight, more economical E-flute board. Board weight cannot always be reduced due to application or volume requirements but when it can be, it is a great way to minimize packaging costs and shipping weight. holding brown paper package

Are those “free” boxes costing you a bundle?

Most of our customers are eco minded so re-using is a way of life. This is great except when they end up using packaging that is over sized or just plain wrong for their needs. One of our favorite green customers always prided themselves in utilizing “used” boxes whenever possible. Many of the boxes they reused were considerably larger than really necessary so they compensated for the excessive space by stuffing the boxes full of used newspaper. Unfortunately the box and newspaper were adding considerable cost and weight to the product they were shipping out, offsetting any savings they thought they were experiencing.

Another “free” box that may not be such a great deal are some of those USPS flat rate boxes. Those flat rate programs tend to be a great deal as your product weight rises but a worse deal as the product weight decreases. See the related post listed below for a breakdown and example of how buying a box can prove far less expensive than the free box they offer.

Again, there is no pat answer and every situation can differ. The most important thing to remember is that in MOST cases, there is a cost and weight reduction possible, when you review your needs with the help of an experienced packaging supplier with multiple solutions to offer. Please contact us for a free application review.

Related posts:

Read More

29 Jan 2013 Custom Printed and Branded Packaging FAQ and Tips

Much of the work we do is custom printing and branded RSC shipping boxes, die cut mailer boxes, mailer envelopes, cushioning materials and even plastic and paper box sealing tape. So as a result, we have a number of conversations with potential customers who are interested in custom printing the packaging they use. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions:

Can I save some money if I only print one color?
Yes, but not much. In fact people are surprised that the second color on a print job is really quite inexpensive. My advice is usually if a second color will make your packaging stand out or make your packaging look more consistent with your other branding, by all means, don’t a let a few cents per box or envelope prevent you from utilizing a second color.

Does that also hold true for the third or fourth color?
To some degree yes but it depends on the product you are printing. For example on printed corrugated boxes, there is usually a substantial jump in price between the second and the third color. Why? Because most box makers have two color equipment. Four-color equipment is more expensive and more difficult to set up, so far fewer box makers have that capability. In addition, less competition usually leads to higher prices.

What other costs are involved when doing a multi-color print job?
Again, depending on the product, there could be “per color” art and plate charges which can become quite expensive. Make sure you ask about those up front to help you pick a direction and look.

Can the cost be reduced if I limit the amount of art on my design?
Perhaps a little bit but not much. There may be a slight savings in the cost of the printing plate, or on the product itself but here is my usual response to this question – ink is cheap but set time is not. Whether we use a tablespoon or a cup of ink, the difference in cost is minimal.

Then how can I reduce the cost of branded and custom printed packaging?
The answer is very simple – Increase the order size. As stated above, the real culprit is set up time whether you are printing envelopes, boxes, or tape. Once that set up cost is amortized on an order, the price usually drops significantly. In fact we always quote several price/quantity brackets because we want our customers to realize the savings that can be had by increasing their order size.

What is the cost difference for printing with vegetable based inks?
Even though vegetable (soy, potato, etc.) inks are still used on some packaging products, on many others including corrugated, the more cost effective and environmentally friendly method of printing is by utilizing water-based inks.
The water waste and discharge is completely filtered and monitored by most municipal governments resulting in a very green and efficient print. The end result is better coverage, easier clean up and lower costs for the consumer as well as the manufacturer using an ink that is as eco friendly as the once trendy vegetable inks.
Every product and situation is different but we have the experience to help you select the best option for you. Please contact Salazar Packaging for a no cost, no obligation review of your custom printing and branded packaging needs.
Related posts:

Read More

15 Aug 2012 Branded Packaging Continues to Grow in Popularity

Branded packaging is hot. Our customers are always looking for new ways to communicate their brand message and remain memorable to their customers, and branded packaging is a great way to do that. We are currently custom printing and branding everything from corrugated shipping boxes, mailer envelopes, plastic and paper tape and of course, a wide variety of void fill products including inflatable air pillows.

An area often overlooked in terms of communication potential is that of paper-based void fill. Your interior packaging is one of the first things your customers see and they are likely to form an opinion about you and your company based on that void fill or packing material. If you don’t believe that, recall your first impression when as a consumer, you opened a box and found it to be filled with foam peanuts, or some other form of non-green, non customer-friendly packaging.

Minimums may apply, but we can custom print nearly all of the interior packaging products we sell. Two of the newest and most popular are:

Packaging Paper on Rolls

Virtually every type of paper we stock and many we do not stock are available custom printed. This includes our 30# recycled newsprint; 40# Kraft, 50# gray bogus, and even our 60# indented Kraft. The secret on the indented paper is we print it before it is indented. The end result is a textured finish that has a very desirable natural and rustic look.

See the photo showing an increasingly important “Made in the USA” message on plain (flat) Kraft and also on indented Kraft. The recipient consumer cannot help but see your message or logo as they unpack the box to retrieve the items they ordered.

GreenWrap Ready Rolls by Geami

This exceptionaly versatile product line is already available in nineteen different color combinations but if that still does not make the impression you want, we have a couple of custom options for you:

  • Custom color interleaf tissue. We have a wide variety of colors available that are not “stock” items. A great example is black which looks great on natural brown Kraft. It may be a stock item one day soon, but it is available today as a special or custom order.
  • Custom printed interleaf tissue – your logo or message can be printed on the interleaf tissue as shown on the photo included in this post. Submit your art
    work and we’ll be glad to give you a price.

Please remember, when in doubt, ask. We will gladly provide a no cost analysis of your packaging application and provide you with some experienced feedback on your idea or concept. We are certain we can help you make an immediate, positive, and long lasting impression on your most valuable customers through your packaging products.

Related Posts:

Read More

14 Mar 2012 Good Domestic Solutions for “Bad” Imported Packaging

International packagingAt the recent International Housewares Show, I had several conversations with a number of people who wanted to talk about the “bad” packaging they are getting from their foreign suppliers. Well over 90% of all house ware products we all buy and use are manufactured and packaged overseas, which typically results in substantial savings for the importing USA company. However, it can also lead to major headaches and unexpected costs when the packaging that is also being imported does not satisfy varying domestic requirements. (more…)

Read More

17 Nov 2011 Bartering Organizations – The Ugly Side of Sustainability

Money Down the DrainSustainability, when defined as something that by design reproduces itself indefinitely and never ends, is a worthy objective in almost any facet of life or business. However, I have found absolutely nothing that lives on forever the way a barter dollar does. Regardless of what you are told, this gross and corrupt example of sustainability is not for the benefit of the buyer or seller but for the organization sponsoring the program. I can’t say bartering is not good for anyone, but I can tell you how awful it was for us. (more…)

Read More

21 Oct 2011 Sustainable Packaging Dilemma – When Bad Packaging Gets Worse

Box in need of helpI’ll put it bluntly but politely – most secondary packaging (boxes, tape, etc.) we receive from overseas is not very good. People have shared countless stories with us about boxes that smell funny, are weak, thinner than expected, don’t stack well, don’t hold up in shipment, etc. And it matters little whether the packaging originates in China, India or almost any place else on the globe.

Domestically produced boxes, even boxes like our 100% recycled content Globe Guard® boxes, are better and stronger than the vast majority of corrugated boxes that are used to ship the imported products we all purchase. It is widely accepted that when the US buyer negotiates a lower price with a foreign manufacturer, one of the areas that is most easily cheapened is the packaging used for shipping it here. (more…)

Read More

09 Jul 2011 Innovation is the Key in Sustainable Packaging

Die cut box with built in partitions


“What makes one package greener than another?” It’s a rather simplistic question that does not permit a brief or concise answer. It was recently asked of me by an intern working for a governmental agency, and I began by telling him that my response was only my opinion, but one that would hold up in most circles. I added that when we attempt to answer that question we look at packaging in three critical areas:

  1. SOURCE – What is the packaging product and where does it comes from? For example, recycled content, PCW percentage, FSC certified, etc.
  2. LIFE CYCLE – Where is the packaging material likely to end up after its initial use? Is it reusable, recyclable, biodegradable, compostable, etc?
  3. USE- How is the packaging material used and does it eliminate or minimize the use of a different and perhaps less eco-friendly product?


Read More

17 Aug 2010 Branding and Messaging Goes Way Beyond Sustainability

We are firm believers in branding and our customers notice and appreciate the fact that every Globe Guard box we make has our logo proudly printed on the bottom for all to see. However, every once in a while we are involved in a packaging application that really makes us think about the non-business messaging we communicate to others.

custom printed tape

Sennco Solutions Custom Printed Tape

Chris Marszalek, the president and co-founder of Sennco Solutions, has become a close friend as well as a valued customer. Anyone who has ever met Chris will tell you he is a savvy business man, a loving husband and father, and an incredibly hard worker, but what is most notable is that Chris is a devoted Christ follower. His faith and God are important to him and he does not hesitate to allow his faith to influence his business life, in fact he would be the first to tell you, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

That is why we were not totally surprised when Chris told us he wanted to print one of his favorite Bible verses on his box sealing tape. Proverbs 16:20 – “Blessed is he who trusts in the LORD”. Certainly a request we don’t hear every day but one not totally unexpected from a man like Chris.

custom packaging tape

Sennco Solutions is a leading designer and manufacturer of retail, anti-theft devices so you could say they are in the business of keeping honest people honest. If his new tape was going to communicate a marketing message, he could have easily selected a different Bible verse directed at dishonest behavior or even printed the quite appropriate Eighth Commandment on his tape – Thou shall not steal. That would have been clever and eye catching, but this was not about marketing or being clever, it is about communicating who Chris is and what he believes.


Read More

05 Aug 2010 Canon Printer Packaging – Not Eco Consistent or Up to Date

One of the things I find most interesting about sustainable packaging as well as quite frustrating at times, is that it is constantly changing. We know firsthand that what was considered green just a short two years ago is no longer acceptable as the products, processes and popular thought have all changed.

The packaging for a new Canon desk top printer we recently purchased is a perfect example of this.

What Canon Used in Terms of Packaging

To get the printer from Thailand to us, Canon used a virtual smorgasbord of packaging and unfortunately most of it is not very green by today’s standards. The products they used are shown in the photo below and included:

Cannon's Printer Packaging

• Almost 2,700 square inches of heavy-grade corrugated (4.9 lbs. worth)
• 4 molded poly styrene corner protectors
• 4 paper board tubes
• Various corrugated pads and inserts
• A few flexible foam surface protectors
• A wide variety of high density polyethylene sheets and bags

To their credit, everything that was not a paper based product included a recycle code, even the polystyrene corner protectors. They were clearly molded to show their PS, #6 recycle code. Good luck with that since there are few facilities able or willing to take in polystyrene in any form.

Read More