The market research report "Flexible Packaging Market by End-Use (Food, Beverage, Personal Care & Pharmaceutical), Material (Polypropylene, BOPP, CPP, Polyethylene, EVOH, PA, BOPET, PVC, Aluminum, Paper, Cellulosic) - Global Trends & Forecast to 2018", is published by MarketsandMarkets. According to this report, the flexible packaging market is estimated to grow from $73,825.3 million in 2012 to $99,621.9 million by 2018 with a CAGR of 5.1 percent from 2013 to 2018. Asia-Pacific led the global market followed by Europe and North America in terms of revenue in the year 2012.
Flexible packaging market is a mature sector that has various stake holders such as raw material suppliers, processors, packaging manufacturers, and end-user industries such as manufacturers of food, beverage, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals. As opportunities to grow in these end-use markets are saturating in developed markets, players are struggling to diversify their product portfolio. The end-use products and their packaging are two interdependent markets. Any shift in one will directly influence the other market. Rise in the consumption of packaged products offers a strong customer base for the global flexible packaging market. Packaging is essential to preserve the quality of the product and it also prevents it from chemical reactions endangering the consumer's health. Hence, an efficient and suitable packaging is imperative for every product.
Polyethylene: Important Material Type; Cellulosic Shows Promising Growth in the Flexible Packaging Market
The important materials used in flexible packaging market are polyethylene, polypropylene, BOPET, EVOH, polyamide, paper, aluminum, cellulosic, and PVC. This raw material is converted into films that are further converted into pouch, sachet, and bags in which the products are packaged. Consumer preferences, product characteristics, and material compatibility are essential in determining the type of packaging for the products. Food dominated the flexible packaging market and pharmaceutical segment promises a healthy and fast growth in the market.
Asia-Pacific: Significant Market Share Holder and Driver
Asia-Pacific has the highest market share and is estimated to grow with a CAGR of 7.1% during the period under review. Europe is growing with a CAGR of 3.9%, and is driven mainly by the East European markets. ROW is also expected to experience growth in flexible packaging market in the future. The CAGR for ROW is 6.0% from 2013 to 2018. The four most potential nations for flexible packaging market are India, China, Russia, and Brazil which are poised to exhibit the fastest growing trend
Food Packaging: Biggest Market by Applications; Pharmaceutical Packaging Shows Promising Growth
In the flexible packaging market, pharmaceutical packaging is the fastest growing market with a CAGR of 7.1% during the forecast period. Due to the increased awareness for public health, increasing product processing units, convenience packaging, and rising consumption of generic drugs, the pharmaceutical packaging industry is exhibiting strong gains. Following it, the food packaging is estimated to be the second fastest growing market in 2013, due to the rise in consumption of packaged food. Growing health concerns and knowledge about the nutrition value is driving the market for packed products to preserve the end-products.
The report also studies various other important aspects pertaining to the market such as Porter's analysis, competitive landscape, price analysis of raw materials, and supply chain. In addition, 20 key players of this market have also been profiled.
Wayne Wegner, director of sustainability, Bemis Co. will be discussing enhancing the sustainability of products through flexible packaging innovations at Sustainability in Packaging 2014.
Wegner directs Bemis' environmental sustainable efforts on a global basis. With more than 35 years in the packaging industry, he serves as the primary contact for flexible packaging sustainability initiatives with customers, suppliers and industry associations. Wegner acts as a resource and catalyst to help all business units deliver Bemis Co.'s long-term sustainability goals by monitoring and evaluating new technologies, sustainable products and next generation packaging opportunities within the company and the global marketplace.
As part of the Sustainability in Packaging 2014 agenda, Wegner will address optimizing the package to protect the product throughout the supply chain; new developments in active packaging to control food degradation and extend shelf life; renewable feedstocks with the potential to enhance sustainability and more. He shared some insights with us before we head to Orlando this March.
In your opinion, what are the main packaging innovations that have happened in the last year for flexible packaging? What are the main areas for development and optimization improvement?
Wegner: Over the last few years, innovations in what we call "active packaging" have been driving new product development in flexible packaging. Products are being developed to absorb food odors, retard oxygen migration and preserve food longer.
Working closely with food scientists and packaging engineers at consumer packaging companies to incorporate new materials into flexible films has led to improved product quality, longer shelf life and expanded distribution channels.
There are some challenges for handling end of life for flexible packages; can you tell us what role sustainable innovation has in addressing those challenges and what are the opportunities to improve the sustainability for flexible packaging?
Wegner: Clearly, the use of multiple materials and light weighting of flexible packaging has challenged the current infrastructures and technologies of our municipal solid waste streams. Incorporating more post-consumer recycled materials into flexible packaging is a trend and opportunity for improving the sustainability of flexible packaging.
There have been various flexible products that have been designed for recyclability that we believe can be more efficiently managed through existing recycling facilities. Also, as polymers sourced from renewable feedstocks become more cost competitive and their performance is improved, preliminary life cycle assessments have shown that these will improve the sustainability of the package.
You're going to be discussing Renewable Feedstocks in your presentation; can you give us a little teaser of what you will be covering?
Wegner: Well, in my opinion, the near term opportunities are for conventional plastics that are manufactured from monomers sourced from renewable feedstocks such as sugar cane, corn and perhaps biomass. What we are calling "drop in" polymers. In general, these plastics can be manufactured using existing reactors and processed using existing equipment. Therefore, the barrier to entry is minimized and the time to commercialization is shortened.
What are you looking forward to hear at Sustainability in Packaging 2014?
Wegner: I am looking to hear what opportunities branded companies are seeing for sustainable packaging and what trends consumers are looking for in packaging. Without better understanding our customer's needs and expectations, opportunities for growth in the packaging industry will be limited.
Sustainability in Packaging 2014 will take place Mar. 5-7, 2014 in Orlando, FL. More than 300 leaders in the sustainability and packaging supply chains are expected to come together to discuss the opportunities, challenges and solutions that will lead to packaging innovations that improve sustainability and the bottom line. Nearly 50 experts from diverse organizations like Waste Management, The Coca-Cola Co., the NRDC, Aveda, P&G, Otterbox, the U.S. Department of Defense and more will engage and inspire you through presentations, workshops, networking events, panel discussion, Q&A and more.
Source: Smithers Pira
Wegmans Food Markets is the newest participant, and the first grocer, to join the Sustainable Packaging Coalition's How2Recycle Label program. With the addition of Wegmans, the How2Recycle Label surpassed its 2013 goal of 20 participating companies.
Wegmans is the fifth How2Recycle participant and first retailer to receive a sponsorship from the American Chemistry Council's (ACC) Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG) for use of the Store Drop-off Label on its plastic carryout bags. FFRG sponsorships remain available.
"Wegmans has accepted used plastic bags and wrapping material for recycling at our stores since 1994 as a way to help make a difference in the communities we serve. Our adoption of the How2Recycle Label is a step in the right direction as we try to clear up the confusion surrounding recycling," says Jason Wadsworth, sustainability coordinator for Wegmans.
Wegmans customers will initially see How2Recycle's Store Drop-off Label on plastic carryout bags, with plans to expand to various flexible plastic materials throughout its stores, including deli and produce bags.
Furthering its goal to educate shoppers about plastic film recycling and to direct them to the correct bin, Wegmans is also displaying a prominent educational poster near store entrances. The FFRG designed a similar poster that retailers and grocers are able to download for free.
"We have enjoyed our collaboration with Wegmans. Their well-rounded approach is exactly what we hoped for when we developed the How2Recycle Label program," says Anne Bedarf, senior manager at GreenBlue. "Wegmans' strategy will provide benefit not only for their own stores and customers, but also for How2Recycle's larger goals, by acting as a positive example for the grocery and recycled film industries overall."
How2Recycle is a program of GreenBlue's Sustainable Packaging Coalition. GreenBlue's goal is for the How2Recycle Label to appear on the majority of consumer goods packaging by 2016 and to provide participating companies with detailed information regarding the recyclability of their packaging. Any company interested in joining How2Recycle or obtaining a fee sponsorship should visit www.how2recycle.info/how2join and contact Anne Bedarf at email@example.com.
Fee sponsorships remain available and are made possible through the support of the Flexible Film Recycling Group (FFRG) of the American Chemistry Council and sponsorships remain available for companies using How2Recycle for plastic bags, wraps and films.
Celebrating 65 years of packaging solutions, this comprehensive packaging resource makes its return to the Anaheim (CA) Convention Center on Feb. 11-13 where, over the course of three days, show-goers will get an opportunity to have hands-on access to the newest packaging equipment, machinery, materials and services from more than 2,000 leading suppliers in the packaging sector.
One badge, all access
Co-locating again this year with seven other events, WestPack will be one of many happenings at the Anaheim convention center that week. The other events include Automation Technology Expo (ATX) West, Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, Pacific Design & Manufacturing, Sustainability in Packaging and AeroCon.
New and improved
• Peer-to-peer speed networking event: Take advantage of this new highly effective, efficient and entertaining event to gain industry knowledge, establish new alliances, learn about new processes and build relationships with industry peers to help advance your objectives.
This high-impact, structured event enhances networking opportunities by matching you up with relevant professionals according to your preferences. It's easy, it's fun, and it's free.
Events are scheduled for Wed., Feb. 12 at 2:00 p.m.—reception to follow—and Thurs., Feb. 13 at 10:30 a.m.—coffee social to follow.
• Learning Labs: Another new addition this year are 2-hour Learning Labs tackling critical concepts. This educational program has been designed for expo attendees across all seven co-located shows to create their own flexible schedule with over 60 hours of educational content.
Select from 30 Learning Labs across various topics including: Medical, Packaging, Automation Design & Manufacturing. More than 80 speakers have been selected for the labs. See details on these programs in the "Conference Program" article on p.6.
• The Golden Mousetrap Awards: Ceremony recognizes excellence with new products and innovative business practices. Design News, in partnership with Mouser Electronics, brings you a Rising Engineering Star. A Lifetime Achievement Award will also be presented. Ticket proceeds go to FIRST, providing youth programs and scholarships in science and technology.
Winners will be announced in conjunction with the show on Tues., Feb. 11 at 5:15 p.m. in the Anaheim Marriott Ballroom. Price of admission includes drinks and appetizers, networking opportunities, and an evening of celebration. Tickets are $45.
• WestPack mobile app: Connect with other attendees and find the suppliers you are looking for with our digital event planner. The "Find People" tool, for example, allows you to search by keywords, areas of interest or company and send them a message or request a meeting at the event. Additionally, you can search exhibitor listings, making it easy to find what you're looking for and make the most of your time.
Before the event, be sure to download the companion mobile app to your smartphone at www.MobileAppAnaheim.com so you can have your plan in hand when you are onsite.
• MD&M West Executive Summit: New this year is an exclusive forum designed to meet your executive-level needs. Gathered together are some of the most respected voices in the medical device industry for just two days to share their invaluable insights into the business side of this ever-evolving field. This event kicks off on Mon., Feb. 10 at 9:00 a.m.
Special show-feature areas
• Contract Packaging: This feature area offers solutions to implement fixed cost recognition in design, manufacturing, packaging and distribution and increase your speed-to-market and overall efficiency.
• Health & Beauty Packaging: See stylized bottles, jars, pouches and tubes; specialty labeling; innovative design services; coatings, colorants and finishes; closures, valves, pumps and sprayers; and ties, ribbons and other accessories.
• Supply Chain: Enjoy hands-on access to conveying equipment, palletizers, racking systems, robotics, and warehouse and inventory management systems.
• Pharmaceutical, Medical & Nutraceutical Packaging: Source specialty equipment; medical grade materials and supplies; disposables packaging; trays and kits; blister packs; tamper-resistant/evident containers; labeling and bar coding equipment; QA/QC; and testing, inspection and sterilization services.
•Sustainability in Manufacturing: Meet with suppliers who offer solutions on how to reduce your carbon footprint and energy costs while meeting supply chain requirements.
Sign up today
Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to optimize your packaging operations with creative solutions. Visit www.packagingdigest.com/WP2014register and we will see you in Anaheim.
GENERAL WESTPACK INFO
Tues., Feb. 11: 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Wed., Feb 12: 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Thurs., Feb 13: 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Mon., Feb. 10-Thurs., Feb. 13
9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Complimentary shuttle service will run to and from the Anaheim Convention Center at 10-15 minute intervals on the following schedules:
Route #1: Angel Stadium parking lot - Amtrak/Metrolink Station - Anaheim Convention Center
*Not available on Mon., Feb. 10
Route #2: Embassy Suites (also serves guests from the Hampton Inn and Hilton Garden Inn) - Hyatt Stop - Crowne Plaza (also serves Homewood Suites and Marriott Suites) - Anaheim Convention Center
Route #3: Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel - Disney's Grand Californian - Anaheim Convention Center
Continuous service on the following schedules:
• Mon., Feb. 10 (Routes 2 & 3 only) 7:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
(NOTE: No service between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.)
• Tues., Feb. 11: 7:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
• Wed., Feb. 12: 7:30 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
• Thurs., Feb. 13: 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Each year, thousands of new products of all types are introduced. Since no brand owner wants a new product to look like everyone else's, every new product likely represents a new package, whether it's in design, material or manufacturing process. It is this imperative that drives a steady stream of innovation, making packaging such an exciting field of work.
Each day, editors at Packaging Digest receive notices about new packaging. Time will tell which products can become sales superstars and which packages will propel these products to lofty heights. However, the editors enjoy comparing this multitude of packaging—some amazingly innovative and others retreads of overused ideas.
In this article, Packaging Digest's editorial team looks at packaging, materials and equipment that caught our eye during 2011. These are just a few items commercialized in the last year that we feel have the potential to score big in the market. Some already are having an impact.
See if you agree. If you disagree, or feel there is other packaging that deserves consideration, please let us know by posting talkback to this story at www.packagingdigest.com or a tweet at www.twitter.com/packagingdigest.
Detergent packaging molded around sustainability concerns
When the highly concentrated, yet gentle, detergent was developed, the eco-conscious company wanted packaging that would convey the brand message of personal and environmental health along with sustainability, according to Peter Swaine, Seventh Generation director of global strategic sourcing.
Swaine says the company receives all kinds of ideas for products and packaging. In fact, he says, Ecologic's idea was not adopted immediately. However, it was felt that the idea of using a molded shell made of recycled and compostable paper materials with a liner that reduces the uses of plastic by 66 percent would draw the consumer into the packaging recycling process. Ecologic's ability to apply the spout in a way that would help prevent leakage was a major factor in Seventh Generation's decision to use it.
The response since the product was introduced in March 2011 has been strong among both retailers and consumers, Swaine says, adding that, "The molded fiber bottle has been a very differentiating factor." He points out that Seventh Generation is just filling its retail pipeline with the new product, and time will tell how successful the new product and package will be. It already is available in more than 7,000 stores operated by companies such as Target and Kroger.
Meanwhile, Julie Corbett, CEO of Ecologic, says the use of paper in rigid containers is "a seismic innovation" that consumers have been wanting for a long time. "Consumers don't see a difference between a 10-g plastic bottle and a 15-g plastic bottle, but they see the difference with a molded fiber paper bottle."
Corbett, originally from Canada, says the eco.bottle packaging was inspired by her family's involvement in the paper industry and Canada's sales of milk in thin-walled plastic bags that are then poured from reusable pitchers.
Corbett says nobody takes packaging changes lightly, and she praises Seventh Generation for the courage to adopt the new bottles. Since the molded-fiber containers have begun appearing on retail shelves, Ecologic has received a "ridiculously high" number of inquiries about the eco.bottle.
She says Ecologic is a small company that is scaling up its operations and building a new manufacturing facility in the western U.S. The company also will begin offering three stock bottles in a 50-oz size with a detergent-style dosing cap or twist cap, a 32-oz size with a detergent-style dosing cap or twist cap, and a 64-oz size with a 38mm spout suited for orange juice and dairy products. The eco.bottle is available through container distributors Berlin Packaging and TricorBraun.
— John Kalkowski, Editorial Director
Integrated control systems optimize packaging operations
Automation suppliers are introducing integrated control systems that enable OEMs and end users to control all of the functions of their packaging lines from one controller and using one software system.
Omron Industrial Automation has released a new class of controller, the Machine on Controller (MAC), which is supported by Sysmac Studio machine automation software. Omron's NJ-Series MAC was created to integrate multiple, specialized controllers—motion, logic, sequence, vision, operator safety and RFID tracking—with exacting system synchronization to deliver high performance throughput on a single controller. Sysmac Studio software, which was created to provide full control over an automation system, integrates configuration, programming and monitoring into one software.
Beckhoff Automation LLC has introduced The Power of One , which can integrate high-performance PLC, motion control and robotics on a streamlined PC- and EtherCAT-based control platform. Multiple expensive controllers and specialized hardware can be replaced with a powerful centralized system. The system features one controller for motion, sequencing, HMI, safety and data; one high-speed network (EtherCAT) for I/O, safety and drives; one powerful and modular I/O system for all controllers; one programming configuration tool for all controllers, drives and safety devices; and one drive for servos, VFDs and motion control.
Rockwell Automation's Integrated Architecture provides an integrated platform to create motion and machine control using a single programming environment. It has expanded its Integrated Architecture portfolio for smaller applications with a series of scalable, Allen-Bradley CompactLogix programmable automation controllers (PACs), servo drives, I/O, and visualization and simplification tools. With features such as integrated motion, safety, EtherNet/IP connectivity and re-usable development tools, Rockwell Automation gives users the ability to standardize on a single control platform for small to large-scale applications.
B&R Automation Studio is an integrated software development environment that contains tools for all phases of a project. The controller, drive, communication and visualization can all be configured in one environment thus reducing both integration time and maintenance costs. An integral component of Automation Studio is the real-time operating system, the software kernel that allows applications to run on a target system. This guarantees the highest possible performance for the hardware being used.
Siemens has introduced automation software called the Totally Integrated Automation Portal (TIA Portal) that features one engineering environment and one software project for all automation tasks. Designed for high efficiency and user-friendliness, TIA Portal will be the basis of all future software engineering packages for configuring, programming and commissioning automation and drives products in the Totally Integrated Automation portfolio. Examples of this include the new Simatic Step 7 V11 automation software for Simatic controllers, and Simatic WinCC V11 for Simatic HMI (human machine interface) and process visualization applications.
The new WinCC V11 engineering software includes configuration of machine-level applications using HMI operator panels with support for current Simatic TP and MP model panels, support for the new Simatic HMI Comfort Panels and for larger PC-based SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) process visualization systems. Configuration and commissioning of the Sinamics inverter drive family is planned in future TIA Portal enhancements.
— Jack Mans, Plant Operations Editor
B&R Ind. Automation Corp., 770-772-0400. www.br-automation.com
Beckhoff Automation LLC, 952-890-0000. www.beckhoffautomation.com
Bosch Rexroth Corp., 800-739-7684. www.boschrexroth-us.com
Omron Industrial Automation, 800-556-6766. www.omron247.com
Rockwell Automation, 414-382-2000. www.rockwellautomation.com
Siemens, 800-743-6367. www.usa.siemens.com
Fun, functional packaging makes snack really pop
"Consumer research and insights indicated that traditional microwave popcorn had some shortcomings," says senior principal packaging engineer David France. "Consumers wanted a package that allowed them to enjoy Orville Redenbacher's delicious popcorn without getting their hands messy, without spilling or having to use their own bowl to share it conveniently."
ConAgra conducted consumer research in focus groups and in-home studies; went through several rounds of brainstorming, prototypes and consumer tests before arriving at the Pop Up Bowl. The bag closely resembles a conventional microwave popcorn pouch—it unfolds, then lays flat in the microwave, but instead of merely inflating as the kernels expand, the pouch is topped with a translucent tinted PET film that gives the consumer a clear view of the popping action. When popping is completed, the bag is placed on its end; the clear film layer on top peels back, safely releasing the steam and allowing easy access to the freshly popped corn. The bag also acts as a serving container that's primed for sharing the snack.
According to France, more than 60 ConAgra Foods employees, multiple equipment vendors and various raw material suppliers lent input and insight in the two-year effort to bring the Pop Up Bowl to market. "The package is the most complex high-speed lamination ever produced for a microwave popcorn package," he says. "It is a horizontal form/fill/seal structure formed from a unique lamination of PET film with continuous laser scores, tear strips, paper sidewall strips, three different adhesives, inks and susceptor patch for microwave heating." The Pop Up Bowls are produced and filled at ConAgra Foods facilities.
France says retailers and consumers have responded well to the new packaging format, which hit the shelves in March 2011; Orville Redenbacher's flavors that have been converted to the Pop Up Bowl have since seen double-digit sales increases.
To see a video of the Orville Redenbacher's Pop Up Bowl in action, visit www.packagingdigest.com/popupbowl.
— Jenni Spinner, Senior Editor
On-demand hot melt system is ‘Turbo' charged
What's a hot melt adhesive system without heat? It's one of the coolest innovations of 2011, according to the editors of Packaging Digest.
The company commercialized the idea of making adhesive on demand right before it is dispensed. The new concept became a system with the invention of the TurboActivator equipment component to help dispense specially formulated adhesive material that was developed by company chemists. Dave Mancuso, business development manager at H.B. Fuller, says this is a key point: "The Liquamelt system is a unique combination of equipment and adhesive working together." Both equipment and material are patented.
The material is a liquid dispersion until it's heated, mixed and processed with the TurboActivator technology, at which time it transforms into a thermoplastic adhesive. Active ingredients are high-molecular-weight ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) polymers, polyolefins, a small amount of water and soy oil. During development, Liquamelt adhesive chemists looked at a variety of oils. Soy bean oil seemed the most plentiful and cost competitive. It worked with the formulation, too, and has an environmental edge: about 40 percent of the product is renewable material and replaces petroleum-based alternatives.
Material savings are often above 50 percent with excellent bonding performance on a variety of fiber substrates (corrugate or paperboard, even coated stock) across a temperature range from -40 deg F to 140 deg F, which Mancuso indicates is a wide range for a single adhesive product.
The "cool on delivery, hot on demand" Liquamelt system offers a number of benefits:
• Sustainability: The material's organic component (soy bean oil) reduces use of petroleum-based materials typically used in adhesive formulations. Plus energy usage is reduced during material manufacturing, as well as during use on the packaging line.
• Safety: Because there are no hot hoses or tanks, there's less chance of employees getting burned than with traditional hot melt adhesive equipment systems.
• Productivity: With a simpler design, the system starts up in less than 20 minutes (sometimes less than 10 minutes) to improve uptime, compared to standard hot melt adhesive delivery systems which may take from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours to heat up and melt traditional hot melt adhesives. The closed-loop system helps to keep contaminants out and material in. If there is a spill, clean up is easy for two reasons. One, the material is not an adhesive until it goes through the TurboActivator component. Two, once it's activated, the adhesive doesn't stick to metal, plastic or rubber, so build up can be removed easily from packaging machines.
• Efficiency: Without tanks and hoses, the small-footprint system integrates into customers' existing packaging machines easily.
• Costs: According to Mancuso, the premium Liquamelt product offers lower overall operating costs (measured as cost per part) than traditional hot melt. Comparatively, density savings add up: Foaming may save up to 50 or even 60 percent of material, and lowering bead size (without affecting the integrity of the bond) can save up to 10 to 30 percent. Becausee customers only have to buy half as much material, shipping and freight costs may be cut in half. Then add in lower energy and maintenance costs and, Mancuso says, the Liquamelt system equates to a pretty attractive value.
Liquamelt material is packed in a 33-lb bag-in-box carton, which mounts on a packaging machine (such as a case erector) and gravity feeds it into the dispenser unit. Or H.B. Fuller can supply it in larger bulk-feed containers (drums, barrels or totes) using piston or diaphragm pump unloaders for high-volume operations.
While the entire system is supplied by H.B. Fuller, the company partnered with Graco to develop the complete delivery system including pump, reservoir, delivery hose and TurboActivator. Graco started by supplying pumps to Liquid Polymer Corp. and H.B. Fuller chose to continue and expand this strategic relationship.
The Liquamelt system has been field tested. Nearly a dozen of H.B. Fuller's customers are already using it, either with a hand gun or an automatic applicator. Most of the business is retrofits, but a couple OEMs—A-B-C Packaging Machine Corp. and Wepackit 2009 Inc.—have incorporated it into their case erectors. Liquamelt had its market debut at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011, and was demonstrated on A-B-C Packaging Machine's new Model 450 case erector.
Mancuso says there's plenty more to come. "The H.B. Fuller market philosophy is to build a platform around the Liquamelt system and, as we develop more technology, to expand it into new markets," he says. "The idea of the Liquamelt on-demand processing is appealing for many different markets. With some changes and variations in formulation, we feel we can increase the sustainability and increase the breadth of the market penetration with this type of technology. Packaging is just the beginning."
— Lisa McTigue Pierce, Editor
Click here to read about these other significant developments:
• Automated robotic truck loader optimizes shipping space;
• Digital print creates art directly on cylindrical packaging;
• Dell serves up a market for organic cushioning.
Designing packaging for second life implies reuse in a very permanent sense, rather than just refilling a plastic water bottle a few times before tossing it. This concept has the potential to entirely change the game for reusable packaging-as long as the trend can gain some momentum. Some concepts, explored as early as the 1970s, already have faded, but design for reuse is picking up steam once again and I am excited to see if it can reach its potential. Here are a few cool examples:
The Heineken WOBO: This beer bottle was designed to be reused as a brick; with a square instead of a cylindrical build, the bottles could be stacked together, and with circular ridges on the sides, they wouldn’t slide off each other. Instead of being called a beer bottle that could be used a brick, it was dubbed “the brick that holds beer.” It’s no longer around, but it was certainly ahead of its time and led the way for reusable packaging design.
PUMA’s Clever Little Bag: The bag is actually a shoebox that doubles as a shopping bag to carry the shoes out of the store and, later, tote around whatever else you’d like- groceries, books, clothes and more. It also reduces the amount of cardboard required and makes a plastic shopping bag obsolete.
Twist sponges and towels: Twist makes sustainable and reusable sponges and towels to wash dishes, and the packages can be made into bird feeders and other items. Nothing goes to waste. The instructions for transformation are included.
Celery Design and Lemnis Lighting Light bulb Lampshade: When you take your light bulb out of the packaging, you can turn the cardboard packaging into a trendy, modern lampshade. Design for reuse, and design for your home or office.
I find these inspiring for the packaging world, and I really hope this trend gains more ground and stays, because it could make quite an impact in the area of waste and reuse, especially for plastics that are harder to recycle because they aren’t as widely accepted by municipal recycling. Think: #3-7 plastics; items like plastic tubs and containers (yogurt cups, spreads tubs) are great for recycling and reuse because their plastic is generally quite strong, but it’s not so easy to find a place that will take them.
TerraCycle already has upcycled tubs with Clearwater Nursery by using spreads tubs as planters. Once people were done with the small planters (if ever), they could send them back to TerraCycle for upcycling once again. We’ve also made children’s plant and herb kits with Stonyfield yogurt cups.
It is partly up to manufacturers and product designers because consumers need to know that they can reuse the packaging and how to do it. People can easily reuse these rigid plastic containers at home by collecting coins in them, using them for crayons, for food, buttons-hundreds of items.
But how can we make people more likely to do this? What is standing in the way for reuse, making so many containers appear in the trash? Brands like Method www.methodhome.com have been designing sleeker packaging for their products so that people are more likely to want to keep them around the home. While this may seem to be a problem for branding, the consumer may start to recognize your packaging by the cool shape or the cool artsy design instead of the brand name plastered everywhere, and it also can lead to a new, more positive form of brand recognition.
Putting instructions on the box could be one of the most blatant reminders of all-not only does it give some help for reuse, it also essentially instructs the consumer to not throw out the packaging at all.
I know there are more ways to integrate reuse directly into packaging design. What neat packages have you seen? From a manufacturing perspective rather than a recycling perspective, what does this challenge look like? What are the considerations for integrating this?
Disregard the packaging!
Okay, perhaps I’m being a bit too reductive, but it still stands to reason that, even though thinking outside the box is crucial in modern business, thinking about the box is also quite important. How was it made? Who made it? Where will it wind up after being used? Consumers are beginning to ask these questions with increasing urgency, and with good reason; according to the EPA, containers and packaging made up the largest portion of municipal solid waste generated in 2010, 48 percent of which was recycled. Additionally, half of the participants in a 2011 study done by Perception Research Services (PRS) said that they were willing to pay more for eco-friendly packaging. Furthermore, a March 2012 Nielsen study showed that recycling was the most important environmental aspect of a product across both genders and all age groups.
With consumer awareness on the rise and traditional resource availability in decline, I believe that a sustainable business model will be the only successful business model in the not too distant future. Take Coca-Cola’s new PlantBottle, for example; up to 30 percent plant-based and 100 percent recyclable, the PlantBottle boasts a reduced ecological footprint without sacrificing functionality or performance. Additionally, initiatives in sustainability have been shown to substantially improve brand equity and forge strong ties with consumers.
Let’s back up for a moment: what exactly do I mean when I say “sustainability”? Expressions like “eco-friendly” and “going green” have certainly made their presence felt, even on a day-to-day basis, but they have been applied to such a wide range of products and practices that their definitions have become a bit ambiguous. For me, sustainability has always been just as much a process as it is a quality; it entails the entire life cycle and supply chain of a product, which I believe should be cyclical and not a linear straightaway to the landfill (i.e. cradle-to-cradle, not cradle-to-grave).
For others, however, the definition remains unclear; in the aforementioned PRS study, a full fifth of the shoppers polled complained of packaging that lacked both enough content and clarity regarding environmental information. Judging a book by its cover doesn’t seem so unreasonable now, does it?
By conceptualizing sustainability as a process rather than simply as a fixed value, you can broaden your (and your consumers’) perspective of a given product. To put it bluntly, pulling information from every aspect of your product - from gathering raw materials to production to post-consumption - will facilitate creating a clear and comprehensive sustainability statement to satisfy your customers - not to mention attract new ones. One in four of the PRS study participants admitted to having switched brands for more eco-friendly packaging. Want to attractive new costumers, don’t tell consumers that your product IS eco-friendly, tell them WHY it is eco-friendly.
Sustainability is a multifaceted attribute, to be certain, and it benefits a multiplicity of parties, but is it realistic to give it this much precedence?
Of course it is. In fact, it would be unrealistic not to. A good business will consider the short-term implications of its actions; a great business will also plan ahead. Products and profits are of obvious significance, but the process of generating them is also crucial. And as far as waste disposal goes, well…
The next time you see an empty box or a discarded wrapper, don’t just walk on by. Instead, pick it up and ask yourself not only where it came from, but also where it can go. I believe that waste can go a long way with the right mindset and the right opportunity.
It’s a fact of life that we, as social beings, look for common ground when building relationships. Companies are no exception to this rule. Often, people seek out brands and companies that reflect their values. For instance, whether a company is charitable or not will influences its ability to attract a consumer that values this trait. With this I ask, do consumers really care about and value sustainable packaging? While some may be quick to answer “Yes”, it should not be forgotten that there are far more personal factors that consumers may care about other than the packaging of a product. Of course those familiar with my business know I am “all-in” that people do care about sustainable packaging.
Surprisingly, factors pertaining to the environment rank among the top issues consumers care about, with clean air the second- highest issue -only out ranked by safe drinking water as shown in a 2007 study by BBMG. Consumers, now more than ever, are becoming aware of the importance and benefits of sustainable packaging and realizes its relation to issues such as clean air and renewable energy. This, in essence, explains the growing rate of consumers supporting and participating in our programs at TerraCycle.
Yet, more important than social issues are the product’s attributes the ultimate driving factors in consumer sustainable behavior participation. As expected, the price and quality of a product outweigh the attribute of energy efficiency or recyclability. Consumers are not willing to sacrifice the convenience of a product even if the packaging of the product is excessive and wasteful. Despite price being the leading attribute, consumers are willing to pay a small additional cost if it ensures the packaging is environmentally friendly. It’s completely understandable. While it is nice to be environmentally conscious, consumers do not want to break their budgets in the process. In addition to this, the 2012 Regeneration Consumer Study states the performance of the product must meet or exceed that of the previous product for consumers to entirely embrace the more sustainable option.
Without a doubt, consumers are becoming more and more demanding. A good amount of consumers expect companies to already participate in principles that better the environment. In fact, according to the Perception Research Services (PRS), more than 80% of consumers across the U.S., U.K., China, and Germany believe it is the manufacturers’ responsibility and expect manufacturers to produce sustainable packaging, without demanding consumers to pay for the cost of the production. Fortunately, there is also a considerable amount of consumers that realize sustainable packaging is the responsibility of both the consumer and the manufacturer. If you don’t demand something better, companies are unlikely to make improvements.
In all, sustainability is slowly integrating itself in mass consumer culture. Consumers are beginning to identify themselves with the terms “conscious consumer”, “socially responsible”, and “environmentally-friendly” at high rates. In fact in the same 2007 BBMG study I previously mentioned, 88% of consumers said they were a “conscious” and “socially responsible” while 86% believed themselves to participate in “environmentally-friendly” behavior. If this is any indication, it is that consumers do value sustainable packaging, as they believe they are individually responsible for what happens in society.
Therefore, the demand to make sustainable packaging affordable and up-to-par with other packaging options is rational from the standpoint of a consumer. Even if there is a miniscule rise in cost, the prized value of sustainability will see more and more companies actively engaging in sustainable packaging for consumers.