Sustainable Perspective

13 Apr 2010 Smart Green Customers Choose Globe Guard Products

A Chicago area clothing retailer had a rather catchy slogan I used to appreciate – “An educated consumer is our best customer”. I believe I related to it as a lifelong student as well as teacher within the packaging industry. I’ve never stopped learning and I truly respect people who also share the same passion, to make good decisions based on study and research, rather than supposition or popular opinion.

We’re All in It Together

If you are a regular ISP reader you know how much I enjoy meeting and interviewing people who are making a difference in this world. I also truly like being on the opposite side of the interview and freely sharing green facts and opinions.

Recently a very smart lady named Mary Kearns, owner of Herban Lifestyle interviewed me for her blog. Mary is a fellow Green America member as well as a fellow 1% for the Planet contributor. She also happens to be a customer but that is never an interview requirement. Mary asked great questions and it turns out, is an excellent writer as well. You can read the interview here – How to Green Your Packing and Shipping. (more…)

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18 Mar 2010 What Is the Greatest Myth in Sustainable Packaging?

Contrary to Popular Opinion, Green Packaging Doesn't Have to Cost More

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to make a presentation and attend the International Housewares Show. It is a great event held annually at Chicago’s lake front McCormick Place and one I don’t miss because of the new products that are usually launched at this industry showcase.

This was my third consecutive year at this show and in terms of packaging sustainability I would have to admit that the Housewares industry has been a little slow to jump on the green bandwagon. I even wrote an article about it for Sustainable Is Good in 2008 that commented on the very mixed reaction the Housewares industry had to sustainability.

I am very pleased to report that two years later they “get it”. I was thrilled to see countless booths showing eco friendly and green products and for the most part, much of the packaging was “eco-consistent” with the products they are making and marketing. I was truly pleased to see how much progress was made in a short two year period.

Back to the greatest myth

However, there is one area where many of the people still lag behind and that is in the realization that green packaging does not necessarily have to cost more.

In numerous conversations I had with people who appeared to have a sincere interest in making their packaging more eco friendly, they commented on the “high cost of green packaging”. In fact many of the inaccurate perceptions and outdated perceptions I have dealt with in the past are alive and kicking in this segment of the market. They include –

  • You can’t find green packaging products
  • The minimums are too high
  • The quality isn’t there yet
  • And of course, the greatest myth of all – green packaging costs too much

Forward to the sustainable packaging truth

We have spent the last three years of our lives exposing and destroying these myths by making eco friendly packaging products available and affordable. The minimums are truly minimal and we guarantee our quality to be second to none. (more…)

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23 Feb 2010 Happy Birthday YouTube!

YouTube logoIn case you are not aware, You Tube will soon be celebrating the 5th anniversary of its launch in April of 2005.

Here are a few interesting YouTube facts you may not know.

  • They now stream a full BILLION videos each and every day.
  • According to some industry sources, YouTube now adds twenty HOURS of new content, every minute of the day.
  • If they stopped adding content today and you devoted your life to watching videos on YouTube, you would not live long enough to see them all.

YouTube and Business

In October of 2006, Google paid a whopping $1.65 BILLION for YouTube and even though it has never turned a profit for them, I suspect it will eventually prove to be money well spent. What we do know already is that it has the amazing ability to make worldwide internet stars out of some people who ordinarily would not been noticed in their own neighborhood.

YouTube is also proving to be a tremendous asset to business because it provides a simple, inexpensive way to potentially share something with the world.

The Globe Guard Reusable Box – “You Have to See It!”

If you are a regular reader you know we recently created a new patent pending box design we call the Globe Guard® Reusable Box. Essentially we made it easy to invert a previously used box inside-out, creating a like new box that can be used again.

We could have written a lengthy description of the inverting process and possibly included several still photographs, but the best way for us to help others understand how easy it is to invert our new box design is to actually demonstrate it for them. By witnessing the process in real time, it is easy to fully appreciate its speed and simplicity.

Happy Birthday, YouTube … and thank you!

eco-friendly-packaging-storeVisit the Globe Guard ® Green Packaging Store for –

Green Shipping Boxes
Eco Friendly Packaging Materials
Special Deals on Eco Friendly Shipping Supplies

See our revolutionary, patent pending Globe Guard® Reusable Shipping Box!

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04 Feb 2010 Eco Power – The Selling of Green

eco friendly rayon socks display at sams club

How Eco Friendly Are These Rayon - Bamboo Socks, Really?

When you think of the term “eco power” what do you think of? Perhaps wind mills or some type of naturally produced energy. Or maybe an all natural, organic energy drink to be consumed while working out? What you almost certainly don’t think about is socks.

Eye Catching Eco Display

A few weeks ago I noticed this display while shopping at Sam’s Club. Products being promoted in a green manner always capture my attention but I guess that is the purpose of using green catch phrases like “eco power”. It leads consumers to believe that there is something uniquely green about the product being offered. I took a closer look and realized the product on display was cotton socks so of course I had to determine how Burlington was able to make any green claims about their product.

I discovered the socks were made of “rayon made from bamboo” which supposedly gave them some terrific properties to combat moisture and odor. I also noticed that the rayon made from bamboo was a mere 2% of the overall composition and the primary material being used is cotton, the non-organic variety. The labeling and display proudly proclaimed the socks were made domestically but no real indication where the cotton came from, how it was grown and how the people who harvested it were treated. Yet, that tiny bit of “natural” composition made these socks a green product?

Is Rayon Even Natural?

According to everything I have read, rayon is neither a natural or synthetic product. It is a “semi synthetic fiber”. Any number of different naturally growing plants and trees including bamboo can produce the cellulose from which you can make rayon but in my mind, that does not necessarily make the end result bamboo, or even make it green.

I had no idea that last August the FTC came to the same conclusion when they released this bulletin.

Why Is This Product Still on the Shelf?

I took this photo on Tuesday when I re-visited Sam’s Club to pick up a few items. Right in the middle of one of their main aisles was the greenest retailer in America, Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club, selling a product that at best is questionably green and at worst, possibly intentionally misleading. (more…)

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31 Dec 2009 2009, The Joy of Creating Green Moments

My wife, Lenora, and I are fast approaching our third anniversary as entrepreneurs. During the Christmas break we reflected back on how far we have come, not only measured in sales numbers but just as importantly, in terms of friends.

Sure there are headaches and disappointments in owning and operating your own business, but we have also enjoyed the privilege and extreme pleasure of working with some pretty incredible people. We agreed our favorite part of the experience is being able to help create and share some unforgettable Green Moments.

What Are Green Moments?

Green Moments: When a committed green minded individual realizes they can have what they want and that is usually a packaging solution that is as green as the products they are promoting. We call it eco-consistency but our customers usually call it, “problem solved”.

Here are some great examples.

  • The lady in Maryland who realized she could have her boxes printed with her very attractive logo and it would NOT cost her an arm and a leg to do so.
  • (more…)

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15 Dec 2009 Plastic Bag Recycling – Another Step Forward in Sustainability

Learn Where to Recycle Your Plastic Bags

Learn Where to Recycle Your Plastic Bags

We all like to talk about products that are recyclable but we often forget that where and how to recycle a specific item varies greatly from one geographic area to another. It isn’t just about city versus rural or California versus the rest of the country, it often differs greatly from one neighboring community or county to the next.

A friend who lives in Minneapolis recently informed me that St. Paul, the other “Twin City,” has a greatly different recycling program compared to residents of Minneapolis. This confuses the heck out of the consumers who usually want to do the right thing but are often not sure what the right thing is.

Recyclable Plastics – The Source of Much Confusion

First let me say I am not a pro or anti plastic bag person. I simply try to deal with the reality that until they are completely outlawed, people are going to use plastic bags.

I know many people hate them, ironically many of the same people who utilize a woven polypropylene (plastic) reusable bag when shopping. Much like plastic water bottles, the biggest problem I have with plastic bags is what people do or don’t do with them after they are done with them. Obviously, plastic bags should be recycled, but where?

A Terrific Sustainable Resource!

I recently found a great web site,, that makes it easy to find a place willing to take in clean, used plastic bags. I have no idea who is behind it, it may be the plastics industry or even large retailers who would prefer to continue using plastic bags but I really don’t care who owns or operates this site. What I do know is that it makes it easy for anyone who wants to recycle plastic bags to do so and I think that is great. (more…)

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08 Dec 2009 Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Un-Green Packaging

Customers Will Judge You by Your Packaging

Customers Will Judge You by Your Packaging

Sure, our company sells eco friendly packaging supplies but my interest goes beyond the potential business. In an industry measured in billions, there is probably enough for everyone to get what they need and what they earn. No, my concern is more about the environment and “eco consistency” which is making sure your packaging is as green as the product you are selling and shipping.

Sustainability – Doesn’t End at the Door

loosefill packagingIn fact, we believe that is where it begins. As green business people we have to hold each other accountable and fortunately I have several die hard, green friends who will let me know if our green marketing ever begins to get ahead of the green facts. It is easy to get carried away or take things at face value as opposed to doing the homework and asking the tough questions of our suppliers. I appreciate it when a friend gives me corrective advice because if they see an inconsistency, it is a sure bet our highly intelligent, skeptical, eco minded customers will as well.

Especially if you are an internet based green company, when your product arrives at its destination, that is likely the first real contact you have with your new customer. The quality, cleanliness and yes, the greenness of your packaging is instantly evaluated.

Sustainable Packaging First Impressions

  • Is the packaging intact and did it do a good job of containing and protecting the contents? “My goodness, did this get dragged behind the truck?”
  • Is it excessive? “I ordered a DVD and this box could hold two basketballs!”
  • Is it attractive, is it branded and does it represent you well? “Who are these people”?
  • Is it eco consistent externally? “I can’t believe they shipped my baby’s organic cotton clothes in a plastic bag!”
  • Is it eco consistent internally? “I did not even realize they still made packing peanuts.”
  • Is it recycled content and/or recyclable? “Darn, this paper / poly mailer is going to wind up in a land fill.”

Packaging and the Contradictory Message

Simply put, if our product says “we care about the environment” then our packaging should communicate the same concern. If not, we are contradicting ourselves and our customers will spot it from a green mile away.

eco-friendly-packaging-storeVisit the Globe Guard Green Packaging Store for –

Eco Friendly Shipping Boxes
Green Packaging Materials
Special Deals on Green Shipping Supplies

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25 Nov 2009 An Attitude of Gratitude

In our household and business we really try to maintain a grateful spirit but like most people, we are no where near perfect and always fail to maintain that thankful mindset for a whole week, let alone an entire year.

The photo included in this post is of a print that is displayed in our office conference room and serves to remind us of our need to be thankful. However, since we don’t use that room on a daily basis, it is relatively easy to take our many blessings for granted.

Thanksgiving Day

For most people Thanksgiving is more than over eating, over drinking, football games and planning the crack of dawn assault at the local mall for the annual shopping ritual we’ve come to know as Black Friday. That is the beauty about Thanksgiving is that it creates a time and day when all of us pause for just a moment to give thanks and appreciation to whomever or whatever we believe deserves the credit. I sincerely try to speak to my God on a daily basis but I admit on most days it is praying for what I want and need, rather than giving thanks for what He has already provided.

Prosperity Is All Relative

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15 Oct 2009 Sustainable Packaging and Staples – Still Not Easy!

Staples Packaging Leaves Much to Be Desired

Staples Packaging Leaves Much to Be Desired

Earlier this year, January 13th to be exact, I posted an article complaining about some very eco unfriendly secondary packaging I had received from one of our favorite suppliers, Staples.

Large retailers often appear to be leading the green charge so the interest level they create is usually high and this was no exception. The post was soon picked up by Green Biz and other eco focused blogs and I even contacted them on at least two occasions and offered my services at no cost so I could help them determine where Staples’ in house fulfillment “eco system” is obviously broken.

I was told they were “working on it,” so as a loyal customer concerned about their secondary packaging as well as the environment, I waited, and waited until this week when we received delivery of an order we placed for two boxes of ink cartridges.

Staples Green Update – More Green Packaging Problems

The photo above show the two boxes of Canon ink cartridges which shipped from two different Staples facilities. I appreciate the fact that the order was split-shipped to be filled quickly but I find I hard to believe that neither facility had both items. I am not sure what type of carbon footprint that creates but the worse news is that each facility used a different way of packaging the product and neither passed the green test as far as we are concerned. The term one step forward and two steps backwards comes to mind when we compare it to the packaging described in our January blog post.

Package #1 Shipping from Beloit, WI

At this Staples distribution center the packer opted to use a plastic mailer envelope. Even though I don’t like flexible mailers for crushable product, I am generally a big proponent of mailer envelopes, plastic and paper. I like them because they are light weight, can be made of recycled content and in most areas may be recycled for creating more packaging or other plastic products. However, the mailer that Beloit used did not indicate any recycled content, and did not even offer a recycle code for handling the waste after use.

This is a real shame considering some of the new plastic mailers that are available. We offer several that would be better eco options than what was used on this shipment.

Package #2 Shipping from Carol Stream, IL

At this facility they used a 13” long X 10” wide X 5” box (650 cubic inches) to ship a 4” X 2.25” X 2.75” product, or about 25 cubic inches, which is obviously much more box than was necessary.

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08 Sep 2009 Eco Ed Has a New Home

Eco Ed #1 – April, 2008

Eco Ed #1 – April, 2008

We are very glad to announce that as on this month, our cartoon series “Eco Ed” will be appearing in Packaging Digest’s digital and print versions.

Is Sustainability Funny?

Over a year ago, Eco Ed co-creator Brad Shorr and I agreed there was way too much humor in the green world to let it go to waste. We talked about how often we both felt confused by the volume of often conflicting information that is out there regarding sustainability.

That led to the creation of our character, Eco Ed, a regular guy who is sincerely interested in doing the right thing, but is rarely sure what that might be. Or perhaps at other times, Ed grabs a good, green idea and takes it way too far to be practical. In any case, we can probably all relate to Ed to some degree or we may even know someone that is much like Ed.

Packaging Digest and Eco Ed

The good people at PD agreed sustainability could often use a laugh or at least a chuckle so Eco Ed will be appearing monthly. On the print magazine version, look for it on the page opposite the inside back cover and on the website as well.

We hope you will enjoy it!

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