Sustainable Perspective

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.
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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.
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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.
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09 Jul 2011 Innovation is the Key in Sustainable Packaging

[caption id="attachment_2715" align="alignright" width="300" caption="DIE CUT BOX WITH BUILT-IN PARTITIONS"]Die cut box with built in partitions[/caption] “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?
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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.

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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.
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21 Jul 2010 Hybrids Not Included – What Green Businesses Can Learn from Auto Makers

I could no longer put off a task that I enjoy almost as much as an IRS audit or root canal surgery – I had to shop for a new car. I know for some it is a fun occasion but for most of my life as a salesman, a car is a temporary business tool and shopping for one is the equivalent for me of a carpenter buying a new circular saw or a landscaper purchasing a new lawn mower. Today’s Society and Market Pressures In addition to truly hating the games and negotiating involved in the purchasing process, today we also have to deal with the questions of “hybrid or not” and “ foreign or domestic brand”? I realize the line on imported or domestic has become incredibly fuzzy with foreign car makers doing assembly in the US and we all know American car manufacturers are building their cars in other countries but we still tend to think of some brands as US made and others as imports. Perhaps for us the question of hybrid or not, is a much more difficult decision because we own and operate a high profile green business and because we truly believe we should minimize our own carbon footprint if we are going to guide others in doing so. Late last year I wrote a blog post about my wife’s new Honda Insight and how much she enjoyed it and I admit we really appreciate the mid forties MPG the car delivers. We set out on our car buying trip, with a hybrid as the ideal, likely choice for us. Auto Makers – To Green or Not to Green Our first two stops were at Chevy and Ford dealers because my wife and I had already decided that our preference would be to buy a U.S. brand this time around. However, we were both shocked by the lack of inventory at the Chevy dealer we visited and NO hybrid cars to offer. We went to the Ford dealer across the street and I immediately took a liking to a Ford Escape hybrid model. We were disappointed to determine that we probably knew as much about hybrid autos as the salesman who tried to help us. In addition, the floor model we were looking at was the only one they had in stock and the answer on anything we asked was NO! No deals, no financing, no incentives, no kidding. “We have a lot of great deals and promotions going but our hybrids are not included”.
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28 Jun 2010 Let’s Talk about Sustainable Packaging

[caption id="attachment_1562" align="alignnone" width="325" caption="Dennis Salazar, Sustainable Packaging Speaker"][/caption] Over the course of the last three years I have been privileged to share my, at times, unusual perspective on eco friendly packaging with many audiences ranging from high school students to the International Housewares Show. I...

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23 Jun 2010 Packaging Sustainability and Baby Steps

[caption id="attachment_1551" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Too Much Packaging!"][/caption] The nouveau green packaging industry loves to talk about biodegradability, recyclability, compostability, recycled content, PLA, PCW and a constantly growing variety of green acronyms. They are also just as eager to debate which product or process is best for the customer and for the environment. We ourselves are helping to lead the charge on reusable and recycled content packaging products but often times we all over look the easiest sustainability “R” of all and that is reduce. Packaging reduction opportunities are usually very simple to identify and almost always even easier to correct.

A Perfect Example - A Recent Shipment from Zappos.com

Zappos.com is a terrific company and one of my personal favorites but the recent order (photo) we received from them caught my attention. The box they used to ship our order of baby shoes is obviously more than two times larger than it really needed to be. To be fair, it could have been almost any internet retailer, shipping almost any order and most of them are indeed guilty of this same sustainability crime. I realize it is possible the packer simply selected the wrong size box but having reviewed and assessed many order picking and packing stations; I know the correct size box is usually not available for the packer to utilize. “Use the smallest box available” is the common direction a packer receives but the smallest box available is frequently not the right size for the application and product being shipped. Using an oversized box obviously adds packaging material cost as well as much more difficult to calculate costs such as storage space, shipping cube space, fuel costs, load inefficiencies, etc. Perhaps even more important, it just plain looks wasteful to an ever vigilant eco conscious consumer.
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