Sustainable Perspective

08 Jun 2010 The Green Get Greener with Reusable Packaging

[caption id="attachment_1508" align="alignnone" width="350" caption="You Can't Reuse Poor Quality Packaging"][/caption] Eco Bags is one of our newest customers but I think most would agree they are not band wagon jumpers in the area of reusable or sustainable packaging. In fact, they are often credited as having helped to build the wagon for others, because they’ve been suppliers of reusable shopping bags and other green products for over twenty years. They know green and live it on a daily basis including reusing packaging as often and in every way possible.

Reusable Green Products Deserve Reusable Green Packaging

A quick look at the Eco Bags website shows a wide variety of reusable and eco friendly products designed to help heal and preserve our planet. They offer beautiful stock and custom products in many shapes and colors from domestic manufacturers as well as other parts of the world. Importing product makes the reuse of factory packaging a challenge because the quality and standards in other parts of the world of some packaging products such as corrugated shipping boxes, are not high as ours. Importing also means the product and packaging have to make a long trip by boat with additional handling at both ends of the voyage. The end result is that in some cases (photo shown above) the poor quality packaging does not hold up nearly as well as the high quality products Eco Bags imports. Keep in mind that even when the foreign packaging survives the trip to Eco Bags, it will likely require additional shipment to a distribution point, fulfillment house, or even to a retailer. The product may also be custom printed which typically results in additional handling, shipment and repacking.

When Reusing Packaging Is Not Possible

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27 Apr 2010 Sustainable Packaging – It’s a Thing of Beauty and Health

[caption id="attachment_1396" align="alignnone" width="425" caption="Globe Guard Box Customers Making the Right Eco Statement"][/caption] Everything today is being scrutinized for its impact on the environment and on each of us as human beings. The old adage of “you are what you eat” is proven true and in terms of cosmetics, people now realize your skin is indeed your largest organ and what you apply on the surface has a way of working its way inside. I applaud this awakening and focus on external and internal health, and whether it is pure, organic, or simply just good for you and tasty, this is a very good thing. And in terms of a market, it is growing rapidly and growing skeptical even faster thanks to the prevalent green washing and outright deception we see in the market.

Eco Consistency Is Not Optional

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22 Apr 2010 Happy Earth Day!

To all of our vendor friends who help us design and deliver the green packaging products our customers want and need. To all of our shipping and logistics friends who help us get the products to our customers on time, at a reasonable cost and with...

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

[caption id="attachment_1288" align="alignnone" width="432" caption="Contrary to Popular Opinion, Green Packaging Doesn't Have to Cost More"][/caption] 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.
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23 Feb 2010 Happy Birthday YouTube!

In 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...

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04 Feb 2010 Eco Power – The Selling of Green

[caption id="attachment_1180" align="alignnone" width="425" caption="How Eco Friendly Are These Rayon - Bamboo Socks, Really?"]eco friendly rayon socks display at sams club[/caption] 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.
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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.
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15 Dec 2009 Plastic Bag Recycling – Another Step Forward in Sustainability

[caption id="attachment_1070" align="alignnone" width="275" caption="Learn Where to Recycle Your Plastic Bags"]Learn Where to Recycle Your Plastic Bags[/caption] 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, PlasticBagRecycling.org, 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.
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