Sustainable packaging tops best-read chart for September

Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

October 3, 2018

5 Min Read
Sustainable packaging tops best-read chart for September

We saw a clean sweep in September, with our top five articles of the month all related to packaging sustainability news and trends—from a cube-efficient square pizza to an A to Z overhaul of ecommerce packaging.

Based on page views at, here are the five articles our global packaging community found most interesting during the month of September 2018—starting with the fifth in line and ending with the No.1 article of the month (which I predict will also be the No.1 article of the year).


5. 8 sustainable packaging hits of 2017

Talk about staying power…This is the seventh time our review of the best-read sustainable packaging articles in 2017 has appeared in our monthly “top articles” list this year. One reason for its popularity is its vast number of ideas and potential solutions for today’s sustainable packaging challenges.

Here are the sustainability stories you continue to find useful:

1. 5 exciting, emerging sustainable packaging materials to watch in 2016

2. How sustainable are biodegradable and plant-based plastics?

3. Are refill stations the answer to packaging waste?

4. Ahh…Coke refreshes its sustainable packaging strategy

5. Sustainable packaging is more important than ever

6. Is 100% recyclable flexible packaging possible?

7. McCormick’s recipe for packaging that’s more sustainable

8. First fully recyclable shampoo bottle made with beach plastic points to new plastics economy

NEXT: How flexible packaging trends are shifting and why


4. How flexible packaging trends are shifting and why

Packaging Digest wrote another chapter in the saga of flexible packaging’s meteoric growth in America with thorough insights on today’s trends from industry leaders up and down the supply chain.

Here are highlights from the experts:

“Our industry can and must do a better job of helping consumers see the benefits of plastics in the context of the total lifecycle environmental footprint.” — Jonathan Quinn, performance films market development manager, Nova Chemicals

“In the future, it is possible that all machines installed in a plant will be connected to a cloud system that will help them to improve their efficiency and performance.” — Raúl El-Fakdi, flexo brand manager, Comexi

“Continued work in using renewable resources is yielding new materials, and easier ways to use recycled materials make it more viable to increase the amount being used…” — Louis Piffer, senior sales engineer, Davis-Standard

“We also see a reduced demand for legacy large packaging format products as consumer demand shifts to private label offerings in smaller package formats.” — Tarun Manroa, evp and general manager, engineered materials division, Berry Global

“I see the biggest growth for SUP packages, and single-dose packaging in over-the-counter pharmaceutical—mainly due to convenience and safety of the single-dose unit.” — Troy Snader, svp, flexible packaging, Pro Mach

NEXT: Totino’s pizza and packaging: Square, hip and supply-chain optimized


3. Totino’s pizza and packaging: Square, hip and supply-chain optimized

Cube efficiency in packaging can add significant savings to shipments, which is what General Mills realized when it started making Totino’s frozen pizza in a square shape instead of a round one. It saw a 17% reduction in film and a 15% increase in the number of pizzas per pallet, which allowed it to use 42,000 fewer pallets and 700 fewer truck trailers.

It’s hard to tell why this article, which was posted in July 2016, had so many page views in September 2018. But the sustainability and efficiency lessons to be learned are just as relevant now.

NEXT: Most food cans no longer use BPA in their linings


2. Most food cans no longer use BPA in their linings

Am I pushing it to categorize this as a sustainability-related article? I don’t think so when you consider the social and health/wellness aspects of sustainability.

Due to the vehement backlash against the controversial chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) used in plastic liners for metal food cans, can makers have been systematically replacing the liners with alternative materials, sans BPA. This conversion happened quietly over the years that it came as a surprise when the Can Manufacturers Institute announced early this year that at least 90% of today’s food cans have replaced linings that previously contained BPA.

So why did this article get so many page views seven months later? Because BPA is back in the spotlight with results from a multi-year research project by the Food and Drug Administration—the FDA CLARITY Study—in which the principal investigator concludes,“[i]n the study authors’ judgment of the results from the CLARITY-BPA 2-year core toxicology study, BPA did not elicit clear, biologically plausible, adverse effects…”

So…BPA is safe! It is! But somehow I doubt can manufacturers will go back to the old BPA-containing liners. What do you think?

NEXT: Amazon is on top of it…sustainable packaging for ecommerce, that is


1. Amazon incentivizes brands to create Frustration-Free Packaging

News about the Frustration-Free Packaging incentive program broke on Sept. 18 when Amazon sent letters to thousands and thousands of its vendors—product manufacturers selling to consumers in the U.S. and Canada. What did the letters say? To help reduce packaging waste and improve efficiency of ecommerce shipping for its vendors, Amazon will require that select products being sold and fulfilled by Amazon arrive in its fulfillment centers in certified packaging under its Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) program. Early adopters will receive a one-time credit; packages that aren’t certified by the Aug. 1, 2019, deadline will suffer an ongoing chargeback.

Within 24 hours of posting our article the day after the announcement, the story vaulted to the top for the month. The spike of page views created a chart that looked like the Washington Monument among the flatlands of D.C.’s National Mall.

Our follow-up piece, posted late that same week—“Packaging analysts applaud amazon’s new incentive program”—nearly made this top list, too. It was our No.8 article for the month of September.

If you haven’t already, take our quick poll to let us know what you think of the new FFP incentive program: CLICK HERE NOW. We really want to hear from you.


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About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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