3 steps brands can take in the wake of the China recyclables ban

This is a time of uncertainty for recycling in the U.S. But consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and brands can seize this opportunity to revitalize recycling in the U.S. and make lemonade out of lemons.


When China announced in July that it would no longer be accepting PET, PE, PVC, PS* and “other” post-consumer recovered plastics, as well as mixed paper, many in the recycling industry predicted that the ban may have far-reaching effects on recycling in the United States.

China imports 53% of the world’s waste, much of which comes from the U.S., and has recently begun to crack down on smuggling and concerns about quality of waste imports with their Green Fence and National Sword initiatives. This new import ban, however, is driven more by a desire in China to improve environmental pollution and human health, as well as build domestic recycling capacity.

The ban will not take full effect until Dec. 31, 2017, so it remains to be seen exactly how much impact it will have on those recyclers who have relied on China as a viable end market for post-consumer recyclables. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries has already said that the ban will have a “devastating impact” on the global recycling sector, while other U.S. organizations, such as the Assn. of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and recycling and waste hauler Waste Management, express optimism that the ban may help improve the quality of recycling streams, and potentially incentivize the creation of greater domestic recycling capacity in the U.S.

In short, all anyone really knows is that this is a time of uncertainty for recycling in the U.S. But there are ways consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and brands can seize this opportunity to revitalize the recycling industry in the U.S. and make lemonade out of lemons.


1. Communicate recyclability to consumers

One of the primary reasons why China wants to ban imports of post-consumer recyclables is because of the high rates of contamination. While some of this contamination can be attributed to improper sorting in material recovery facilities (MRFs), it’s also key to remember that much of that contamination comes from consumers improperly recycling materials in the first place. And no wonder—recycling instructions on packages can be confusing and conflicting, if they exist at all, and every community varies on what they will and won’t accept. Many consumers are confused about what they can and can’t recycle, and how to recycle it. In the wake of the ban, it will be critical for both municipalities and brands to increase recycling education and stress the importance of reducing contamination.

The How2Recycle program helps brands do just that—it’s the only U.S.-based standardized on-package recycling labeling system that can be applied to any and all material types.

The How2Recycle label allows brands to communicate to consumers what can be recycled, and if there are any special actions that the consumer needs to take before recycling, such as rinsing a jar of peanut butter or removing a sprayer with a metal spring from a plastic bottle. The Store Drop-off label lets consumers know which polyethylene (PE) bags, wraps and films can be taken to collection points at local stores to be recycled, keeping them out of curbside bins where the films make their way to MRFs and get tangled in the equipment. These instructions help empower consumers to reduce contamination, as does the Not Yet Recycled label, which tells consumers exactly what they should not be putting in their curbside bin, therefore cutting down contamination.


2. Design packaging for recyclability

In addition to educating consumers, brands can reduce contamination by designing packages for optimum recyclability. If more materials, including lower-quality materials, are staying in the U.S. rather than being shipped abroad, the end markets for those materials may be able to demand higher quality.  

The Assn. of Plastic Recyclers (APR) provides guidance to its members to help them optimize the recyclability of their plastic packaging via the APR Design Guide for Plastics Recyclability, which details everything from preferred labels, closures, inks, additives and more. How2Recycle has worked with APR to synchronize its feedback on recyclability, and is launching a new online platform where members can not only request How2Recycle labels for their packages, but they can also track, measure and improve the recyclability of their packaging portfolio. 


3. Commit to using PCR

The most critical and impactful step companies can take in light of the China ban is to commit to using post-consumer resin (PCR) wherever possible. Using PCR stimulates demand for the materials that are impacted by the ban, creating vital end markets that make the domestic recycling stream viable. Without end markets for these materials, it won’t matter if the volume and quality of the collected materials increases because they won’t be effectively recovered. Stronger end markets will also allow the U.S. recycling industry to build capacity and recover more of the materials that would have previously been shipped to China.

There is already an initiative for companies that want to commit to increasing their use of PCR—APR announced its APR Recycling Demand Champion Campaign on Oct. 18, 2017, at its fall meeting in Pittsburg. The campaign asks companies to commit to increasing their use of PCR in “Work In Progress” items used in manufacturing such as crates, pallets, totes, drums and trash cans. So far, Berry Global, Campbell’s Soup, Coca-Cola North America, Envision Plastics, Keurig Green Mountain, KW Plastics, Merlin Plastics, Plastipak/Clean Tech, Procter & Gamble and Target have all joined the campaign, and APR anticipates that number will grow.

The Chinese import ban may pose some major challenges for the recycling sector globally, but it also gives brands and CPG companies an opportunity to take the lead on recycling. Effective communication to consumers will be crucial when it comes to mitigating the effects of the ban, not only to reduce contamination, but to impart the importance of choosing items and packages made from PCR to keep recycling viable. This will allow brands to build sustainability stories that help connect with consumers in a positive way and increase brand loyalty.


* PET = polyethylene terephthalate; PE = polyethylene; PVC = polyvinyl chloride; PS = polystyrene

Images above designed by Freepik: China map; Hand


Jessica Edington joined GreenBlue in May 2017 as a project associate for the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s How2Recycle program. Previously, she worked as a consultant for Green Strategies in Washington, DC, where she assisted corporate clients with developing strategies to engage consumers, business partners and other stakeholders in improving the environmental impact of their products and services. Edington also has experience in environmental education and sustainable agriculture, and worked on a residential solar campaign in the Hudson Valley. Her dual passions are writing and the environment, and she received her B.A. in English with a minor in Environmental Science and Policy from the College of William & Mary.



A magic kingdom of packaging solutions! For packaging engineers, executives and designers—WestPack 2018 (Feb. 6-8; Anaheim, CA) delivers leading technologies, free educational presentations, hands-on demonstrations, exceptional networking opportunities and expert-led Innovation Tours. Register now!


Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/3-steps-brands-can-take-in-the-wake-of-the-china-recyclables-ban-2017-11-17

Valvoline’s new motor oil package addresses users’ pain points

To make life easier and less messy for drivers who change their own oil, Valvoline Inc. has redesigned its 5-quart, retail motor oil packaging. The packaging design makes do-it-yourself (DIY) oil changes as quick, easy and clean as possible, with consumer-friendly features built into the bottle, closure, spout and labels.

A foil seal across the mouth of Valvoline’s Easy Pour Bottle incorporates a pull ring for easy removal, and an internal Anti-Glug Tube lets air into the bottle while pouring. The tube assures a smooth pour, and the package’s spout has been redesigned for precise pouring and clean cut-off. The bottle’s easy-to-grip, no-slip overcap has a threaded, snap-lock design for secure resealing.

Additionally, Valvoline has redesigned the product’s labeling system to make shopping easier. Product benefits and oil grade appear on the front label, and a comparison chart is on the back label. Color-coded bottles and spouts help shoppers quickly identify the product they need for a specific vehicle.

Michelle Allen, director of retail marketing at Valvoline, provides insight into the redesign of the package.


Who is the target customer for Valvoline’s Easy Pour Bottle? Does gender matter?

Allen: Our target consumer is the do-it yourselfer (DIYer) who likes to change his or her own oil but is desiring a more optimal pouring experience in the garage.


Do DIY oil changers, regardless of gender, value no-glug, mess-free pouring?

Allen: Yes. We tested with both males and females in focus groups, and the bottle was very well received by both genders. They put a tremendous amount of value on the cleaner, easier experience.


How much does the filled Easy Pour Bottle weigh?

Allen: The bottle weighs approximately 9.5 pounds.


What percentage of Valvoline’s sales are for this large package size? Why focus on the 5-quart size for packaging innovation?

Allen: The average crank case holds around five quarts, and more than 80% of Valvoline’s retail sales are in a 5-quart container, which is why Valvoline decided to innovate beyond formula and innovate its packaging.


Tell us about the consumer research and feedback that went into this package design. What research did Valvoline conduct, and what did the results show?

Allen: We tested multiple iterations of the bottle design in both quantitative and qualitative research to ensure we were launching a version that would meet consumers’ needs. The results showed that the redesign was worth the investment from Valvoline, to help differentiate our brand from the competition and provide a game-changing experience for consumers.


Why do you need an easy-grip/no-slip feature on the overcap, if this package delivers mess-free pouring?

Allen: Changing your oil can be a messy job from start to finish. Pouring oil is only part of the process, and beforehand, it is very likely that consumers’ hands will be messy after draining the oil prior to replacing with new oil. This no-slip overcap that locks back into place is intended to be one more added benefit to the experience and to eliminate one of the pain points in the process.


Was it difficult to develop the anti-glug feature?

Allen: The anti-glug functionality was not an easy task, as we were trying to maintain our existing footprint to not cause a pain point for retailers. We went through multiple design iterations to get the perfect pour.


Did your packaging suppliers contribute to the redesign?

Allen: We partnered with suppliers that were subject matter experts and could bring this expertise to the table to design an innovative new bottle alongside Valvoline, delivering a value-added experience for consumers.


The spouts are color-coded for the product. Isn’t it expensive to have different stock-keeping units for the spouts?

Allen: Color is an important element for consumers to understand that there is a formula/flavor change occurring across our portfolio. We approached the color-coded shrouds (spouts) similarly to our cap approach in our old bottle, to help consumers shop the category. For example, red has been an important color to indicate a high-mileage product within our product line.


Tell us more about the new, simplified label design. Was this done in-house, or did Valvoline work with a design firm?

Allen: We partnered with an agency to develop the new, simplified label to help consumers shop our portfolio. We tested multiple designs with thousands of consumers, both qualitatively and quantitatively, to net out on a label that improved shoppability in the category. Using these insights, we have optimized our approach on both front and back labels, which have been well received across the trade.


How are the packages color-coded?

Allen: The packages are color-coded by using colored shrouds and label accents to highlight product family. For example, red equals high mileage regardless of synthetic-blend or full-synthetic formula.


When did the new packaging launch into the market?

Allen: The new package rolled out across our major retailers in September 2017 in our synthetic line. The rest of the portfolio will be phasing into the market over the first half of 2018.


Where is it sold?

Allen: The package will be sold in all major [motor oil] retailers across the country—for example, Walmart, AutoZone, O’Reilly and Advance.


How has consumer response been so far?

Allen: It is still early in the rollout phase, and we are pushing out old inventory currently within the supply chain. Based on the consumer feedback we have gathered along the journey, we anticipate an extremely positive response in improving the experience of the DIYer.


Valvoline has quite a lot of information about the new packaging on its website. Why would consumers would be interested in so much detail?

Allen: The information was designed for consumers to go and learn more, because the website is our call to action on all our media executions and point-of-sale tactics. Many consumers will be curious to understand more around the innovation, and we want to give them more reasons to believe in choosing Valvoline over other branded competitors. We are excited to offer consumers a quality package that meets the quality that’s inside the bottle, and the website is designed to reinforce this point.



A magic kingdom of packaging solutions: For packaging engineers, executives and designers—WestPack 2018 (Feb. 6-8; Anaheim, CA) delivers leading technologies, free educational presentations, hands-on demonstrations, exceptional networking opportunities and expert-led Innovation Tours. Register now!

Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/packaging-design/valvolines-new-motor-oil-package-addresses-users-pain-points-2017-11-17

A ‘green’ sweep in October

Sustainable packaging trends—along with a unique package for new Green Giant frozen veggies—scored high last month with our online global audience of packaging professionals. All of our top five articles in October 2017, based on page views at PackagingDigest.com, share an element of green.

Working our way to #1, we start our list with…

#5. “Rethinking premium packaging from a recycling viewpoint

Premium products often use upscale, elaborate and excessive packaging that is often unrecyclable—creating a disturbing amount of waste. But sustainability leader Tom Szaky reminds us that packaging can—and should—say “special” in sustainable ways, too.

“Innovating out of the box with packaging that is both impressive and recyclable reduces waste and creates value by standing out from competitors,” he says. Just look at his examples of how Puma and Boxed Water differentiated their brands by designing sustainability in (click article link above).


NEXT: 7 ideas on how to succeed in the fourth industrial revolution

Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/a-green-sweep-in-october-2017-11-16

Paper option increases food packaging sustainability

Skog for Food launched this fall in the U.S. combines FSC-certified paper with double-sided coating that provides barrier properties and permits production on f/f/s machines.


For Swedes, “skog” means wood. And for those in the United States as of fall 2017, Skog for Food represents a new paper-based food packaging option for brands that offers sustainable packaging benefits. According to Mondi Extrusion Coatings, Skog for Food saves up to 70% plastic while retaining all the required barrier properties.

Notabloy, the material is engineered to be run seamlessly on all horizontal and vertical form/fill/seal machines. Michael Strobl, managing director, Mondi Coating Zeltweg, tells Packaging Digest that “the only adjustment that may be needed would be require minor such as sealing temperature, but no investments are necessary to run paper instead of plastic.”

Presented for the first time in North America at Pack Expo in Las Vegas in September, Skog for Food combines FSC-certified paper with double-sided coating, giving the bag the required barriers and sealing properties needed for f/f/s machines.

“The new liner complies perfectly with our sustainability strategy,” explains Jan-Willem Kleppers, managing director, Mondi Extrusion Coatings. “Skog is a natural product especially designed to fulfill ecological needs while protecting customers’ goods.”

For added sustainability, the bag can also be coated with Mondi’s biodegradable barrier Sustainex. The coating is derived from renewable sources and fully compliant with internationally accepted standards for biodegradability and compostability and fits into organic recovery, energy recovery and material recycling schemes.

Skog for Food is produced in a Mondi facility in Austria and printed and converted by a partner in Poland.


European import and targeted foods

The material has been in use in Europe since 2013, reports Strobl. “Since then, a number of European brand owners and supermarkets have changed part of their portfolio to our paper based packaging,” he tells Packaging Digest.

A windowed version is available from a European partner and has been tested for potatoes.

“We’ve packed up to 20 kg [44 lb] of animal feed pellets using Skog,” Strobl reports. “However, this construction does not have a window. With Skog for Food window packaging, 2 kg [4.4 lb] of potatoes has been tested successfully in windowed skog packaging.”

For conventional packaging, the window is a polymer film, while in the biomaterial version the window material is also biodegradable.

Strobl believes the material is especially suitable for fresh vegetables such as potatoes, onions and carrots.  “On the other hand, a Skog construction without a window and tailor-made barrier would also allow filling of dry and greasy food stuff,” he adds.

The material’s introduction stateside aligns neatly with increased brand interest in sustainable packaging, according to Strobl.

“Most brands in the U.S. have very clearly defined sustainability goals,” he explains. “The timing is great for packaging solutions that help brands achieve these goals while differentiating the consumer’s brand experience. Skog suits the growing niche for sustainable packaging and we’re excited by the initial market feedback.”

Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/paper-option4food-pkg-1711

How to expand recycling of PET thermoform packaging in Europe

What is the state of PET thermoform recycling in the EU and what can brand owners do to help advance it? Sustainability champion Chandler Slavin provides an update.


My most popular blog post “How clamshells became recyclable and recycled”  describes the journey of post-consumer PET thermoformed packaging in North America from landfilled in 2009, to collected for recycling in 2013, to recycled in 2015. Today, a handful of reclaimers reprocess post-consumer PET thermoforms into second- or third-generation material and products.

Several months ago, a friend asked me about the end-of-life management of post-consumer PET thermoforms in the European Union (EU). Recently hired by an international consumer packaged goods (CPG) company, he was now responsible for the sustainability of the packaging he put on store shelves around the world. Were PET thermoforms recycled in the EU, he wanted to know?

Petcore Europe is the EU’s NAPCOR. Both associations champion the sustainability of the PET industry and have working groups dedicated to PET thermoform recycling. In October 2017, Petcore Europe released “New Developments in the recycling of PET thermoforms in Europe,” which details the state of thermoform recycling abroad. These developments mimic those undertaken by NAPCOR and its industry partners, laying the foundation for the successful recycling of PET containers in the EU.


Supply/demand situation

In America, for a packaging material to be collected for recycling, there has to be “enough” generated in the waste stream to economically justify the collection and reprocessing costs associated thereto. And, there has to be a demand for the recyclate.

In the EU, there are a handful of deposit schemes—Germany, Switzerland, Denmark—and other programs that manage the collection of all plastic packaging via Green Dot fees and other financial contributions.  

According to Petcore Europe: “The market for PET thermoforms is growing as it continues to replace other materials. Currently, the total EU, Switzerland and Norway market for PET thermoforms is estimated to be 1 to 1.1 million tons of PET virgin and rPET, including imports.”

Considering demand, Petcore Europe reports that PET thermoforms is the No.1 end market for post-consumer recycled PET. This demand has reached higher numbers than the PET bottle to bottle and fibers end markets.

According to Paolo Glerean, co-lead of Petcore Europe’s Thermoform working group, the reasons for this are twofold: (1) PET bottle-to-bottle usually requires an additional reprocessing step and, at the price virgin PET reached, the cost of food-grade rPET is more expensive than virgin; and (2) quality hot washed flake is good in the EU and can be used to produce sheets for thermoforming. Consequently, it’s easier and more economical to recycle rPET into thermoforms than bottles.

In 2016, a total of 490 kiloton of rPET was recycled into new thermoforms, which means an average recycle content in PET thermoforms of more than 45%. The report concludes, “The most obvious market for rPET coming from thermoforms is to use them for the manufacture of new thermoforms.”


PET reprocessing

When I began PET thermoform recycling research, the intrinsic viscosity (IV) of the material was a concern to some people; that is, it’s “give” or ability to withstand force without cracking. The business-as-usual case was every time the material was recycled and the intrinsic viscosity (IV) was sheared off, thus resulting in a more brittle, lower quality, material.

This concern has since been resolved with the advent of reprocessing advancements. Petcore Europe echoes overcoming this reprocessing barrier: “PET is a type of plastic which can be ‘renewed,’ the loss of mechanical properties caused by processing can be repaired by a recycling process with a poly-condensation step. This step also takes care of the removal of any volatile contaminants in the polymer and makes it suitable for new food contact packaging.”

Thus, technology exists to reprocess post-consumer PET thermoforms into high-quality second- and third-generation lifecycles.


Design for recycling

Stateside, the Assn. of Plastics Recyclers (APR) and others developed design-for-recyclability guidelines for PET thermoforms. These look to remove the obstacles to PET thermoform recycling via design considerations, like replacing aggressive label adhesives that compromise the plastic flake cleaning process with approved, for-recycling labels.

The Petcore Europe thermoform working group is doing the same thing. The report isolates the glues used on thermoform labels and soaker pads as two areas for design improvement. In both cases, the glues are not suitable for easy removal at recycling plants.

Thus, potential improvement in recyclability of thermoforms is offered by new combinations of glue/labels on PET trays and redesigned soaker pads. Collaboration is encouraged between packaging designers and recyclers via design for recycling guidelines to produce PET thermoform containers that would not compromise the existing PET recycling processes.


Collection, sorting, recycling

Stateside, industry advocated for the inclusion of PET containers in the municipal recycling infrastructure. It had to be demonstrated that PET containers would not compromise the integrity of the PET bottle flake if recycled together, and that thermoform containers could be easily separated from other look-alike thermoforms, like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) clamshells.

In the EU, as recycling targets go up, so does collection. Petcore Europe reports, “even in countries where today PET thermoforms are not yet collected, this will happen in the future.”

A large test in France showed that recycling PET trays with bottles can work under certain conditions, though issues with yield were reported. Another approach is to sort all PET trays from bottles, then sort monolayer from multilayer, and develop outlets for the sorted fractions. Dedicated recycling lines for PET thermoforms are under development in Belgium and look to be online in 2018. The Netherlands is collecting and sorting PET trays, but at the moment, there is no buyer for these materials.

In summary, EU developments in PET thermoform recycling echo those executed stateside. From leveraging reprocessing technologies capable of converting post-consumer PET to quality regrind and developing design for recyclability guidelines, Petcore Europe is laying the foundation for PET thermoform recycling. Because several reclaimers now reprocess thermoform/bottle bales in North America, we can hope that Petcore Europe isn’t far from achieving its goal of PET thermoform recycling in the EU.

For international brand owners wanting to aid Petcore Europe’s efforts:

• Encourage post-consumer content in new thermoform packaging. Providing the demand for the recyclate will provoke the supply.

• Work to design thermoform packaging for recycling that doesn’t hinder the existing reprocessing methods used.

These efforts will position PET thermoformed containers for recyclability, allowing for a more circular PET economy.


Chandler Slavin is the sustainability coordinator and marketing manager at custom thermoforming company Dordan Manufacturing. Privately held and family owned and operated since 1962, Dordan is an engineering-based designer and manufacturer of plastic clamshells, blisters, trays and thermoformed components. Follow Slavin on Twitter @DordanMfg.


Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/how-to-expand-recycling-of-pet-thermoform-packaging-in-europe-2017-11-14

New Veggies to Go offers retailers customizable packaging

Mucci Farms’ new Veggies to Go packs hit the sweet spot for consumers and for the company’s retail customers, offering parents an easy, healthy option for their kids’ away-from-home snacks and providing retailers with multiple package configurations.

The food packaging concept is simple but elegant (see the one-minute promo video above). The basic package is a 9-oz “EZ Snap” package comprising three 3-oz trays that can be snapped apart. The recyclable trays are made of PET.

Film lidding, featuring an easy-open tab, is sealed to the rigid package. Holes in the film allow the produce to breathe.

Retailers can choose to sell the 9-oz package and/or the individual 3-oz packs. For club stores, Mucci offers a tiered package comprising three 9-oz packs bundled with a paperboard sleeve. Retailers can customize the vegetable selection in the packages, choosing from snack-size cucumbers, mini peppers and two varieties of grape tomatoes.

Fernanda Albuquerque, packaging development manager at Mucci Farms, answers Packaging Digest’s questions about the new packaging.


How did Mucci Farms come up with the Veggies to Go packaging concept?

Albuquerque: Based on market trends, our own market research and feedback from our retail partners, we’ve learned that the snacking and convenience category has been steadily growing across every food category. Up until recently, the snacking segment has been dominated by unhealthy products, so as a company focused on healthy eating, we took on the task of finding a way to offer our snack-sized fruits and vegetables in a convenient, cost-efficient and sustainable package.

The idea began a few years ago, and our original concept was a single bag containing our Sun Drops Grape Tomatoes, CuteCumber Cocktail Cucumbers and Sweet To The Point Pointed Mini Peppers. Due to ethylene that emits from tomatoes, we knew putting tomatoes next to cucumbers would impact shelf life. So it was on our radar to develop packaging that addressed the ethylene issue. The product went on the back burner until top-seal technology impacted the market. Seeing a top-seal package version at a tradeshow allowed us to revisit this project. We realized we could separate multiple compartments while keeping them in the same package. From there, we looked at prototypes offered by a variety of packaging companies, ran a ton of tests for ventilation and shelf life, and we were off to the races.

In terms of pack styles, we develop every product and package with every type of retailer in mind, so having multiple options was a given. Retail supermarkets generally take smaller packs, and club stores take larger, family-sized packs. With this particular product, because we could snap each compartment off, it was easy to offer in individual 3-oz packs, as well.

Please describe the graphics on the lidding of the single packs. Does each 3-oz pack have all required product information?

Albuquerque: This is correct. If retailers choose to buy the 3-oz version, each individual pack will have all the product info and UPC on it. If they purchase the one-unit, 9-oz pack, it’s one single film with info and UPC. For the club pack, the product info and barcode are on the paperboard band.


Where is the UPC on each of the package configurations?

Albuquerque: On the 3-oz and 9-oz packs, the UPC is on a label placed on the bottom of the tray. On the club pack, the UPC is on the paperboard sleeve, on the bottom of the band.


How do retailers customize the packs? For example, could a retailer put the same product in all three of the 3-oz trays?

Albuquerque: Yes. Retailers can customize the pack however they like. We have a recently launched club pack in which the customer asked for three different commodities but with each packed in the same tray.


Are custom-designed graphics required for the lidding film, to accommodate customization?

Albuquerque: No. We have standardized graphics for individual 3-oz trays and a standardized graphic design for the 9-oz tray. For individual 3-oz packs, we use a thermal transfer printer to type out the commodity on the lidding film. Same with the 9-oz tray, based on the product configuration. Because we print the information, we don’t have to order multiple sets of lidding film.

Do you perforate the plastic between packs so it is easy to snap the three-pack into individual packs?

Albuquerque: Yes, the film and the tray are both perforated to provide our EZ Snap convenience.


What is the shelf life of the vegetables?

Albuquerque: Seven to 10 days.


Please tell us about the holes in the lidding. Are the holes optimized for the type of product in the tray?

Albuquerque: The holes are pre-punched by the manufacturer of the film. They are punched the same way on each unit, as our tests showed that it was the right ventilation for each product. The tray itself is also hole-punched for additional ventilation and for convenience, so consumers can rinse the product right in the container.


When did Veggies to Go roll out in stores?

Albuquerque: We’ve been trialing it in a variety of retailers over the past year, but full production started in October. The launch is now underway.



For packaging engineers, executives and designers—WestPack 2018 (Feb. 6-8; Anaheim, CA) delivers leading technologies, free educational presentations, hands-on demonstrations, exceptional networking opportunities and expert-led Innovation Tours. Register now!

Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/packaging-design/new-veggies-to-go-offers-retailers-customizable-packaging-2017-11-13

Paper pouch-bowl empowers breakfast portability

Gluten Free Bar Power Breakfast in an ingenious paper pouch-bowl adds a major boost of convenience for on-the-go hot breakfasting at work and elsewhere.


Gluten Free Bar (GFB), Grand Rapids, MI, has extended its on-the-go healthy snack products into a new meal-time occasion for the brand: a protein-packed breakfast that’s “like oatmeal, but better.” The gluten-free formulation includes oatmeal along with beneficial, flavor-enhancing ingredients such as hemp, flax, fruit, seeds and nuts.

What further separates it from the competition is the proprietary packaging that cleverly marries a standard packet with a paperboard sleeve to deliver a “pouch-bowl” that redefines prepackaged convenience that serves up a hot, healthy breakfast.

The GFB Power Breakfast is available in 5 varieties, Coconut Cashew; Fruits, Nuts, and Seeds; PB+J; Apple Cinnamon; and Maple Raisin, at natural health food stores nationwide with a suggested retail price of $2.49 per 2-ounce package.

“We are stepping outside of the box with this packaging and we think this brings some sorely needed innovation to the oatmeal category,” says Elliott Rader, co-founder and partner at GFB. “We wanted to provide our consumers with a healthy breakfast option without compromising on taste or convenience. Power Breakfast is easy to make at the office, at home or out in the wilderness while camping. We like to say Power Breakfast is like oatmeal…but better…better ingredients, better taste, all in a portable and convenient package.”

The packaging consists of an inner poly-lined packet glued within a wraparound paperboard sleeve that has a foldable bottom gusset. The consumer bends in the sleeve’s ends to reform the packaging as a boxy-shaped bowl. The sleeve has special scores and die cuts plus a bottom panel that unfolds as a platform to support the inner pouch.

GFB’s cofounding partners Elliott and brother Marshall Rader address Packaging Digest’s questions.

Was the GFB Power Breakfast and packaging developed in concert with the recent introduction of Grab-and-Go-Bites?

GFB: The launch of Power Breakfast is separate from the introduction of our Gluten-Free Bites, but the goal remains the same: create fun and flavorful, better-for-you gluten-free snacks that people will look forward to eating!

For Power Breakfast, it is typically sold individually as single pouches. They do come in a 6-pouch carton with a tear-away top that is intended to be used to display them on shelf.


Is forward-thinking packaging part of the company’s DNA?

GFB: We started out with a very simple product, gluten-free protein bars. We wouldn’t say that the Bar packaging was particularly forward thinking, but customers really responded to that product and we soon thought about creating that same type of product in a different format and packaging. So, a couple of years after launching our bar products, we launched GFB Bites. We took all the good things about our Bars and put them into a bite-size format in a resealable pouch. At the time, the pouched snack category for protein bites didn’t really exist and we do believe we were a pioneer in terms of packaging in the category.

Whenever we evaluate a potential new product concept, it has to meet certain criteria—great taste, gluten-free, non-GMO, plenty of protein, etc. One of those criteria is innovation in packaging and/or product and we’ve built that into our DNA so that we won’t come out with another “me too” type of product. We think what has driven that is a combination of the competitiveness in the space, but more importantly, consumers have come to expect, and even demand, innovation in food. We’ve seen a rapid rise over the past decade or so of food companies that are innovating and grabbing market share away from the traditional food companies—large companies are just not able to react quickly enough to trends and consumer expectations and we expect to see that continue.


Front side view of the packaging that also shows the end creases for folding into a bowl.

What specific consumers are you targeting?

GFB: With all of our products, our first responsibility is to provide fun and flavorful, better-for-you gluten-free snacks to our customers that eat gluten-free out of necessity or choice. Due to cross-contamination issues, oats are a particular concern for those on a gluten-free diet. Power Breakfast is one of the very few “instant oatmeal” products to actually use certified gluten-free oats. Just by doing that we are opening up this market to a historically underserved segment.

Apart from that, Power Breakfast competes in the hot cereal space, with the added benefit of targeting people that will benefit from a more portable solution for instant oatmeal. By adding fruit, nuts, and seeds along with plenty of protein, we believe Power Breakfast is a great solution for anyone, gluten-free or not, that is looking for a better breakfast experience.


How did the pouch-bowl idea originate? And which came first, the product or the packaging?

GFB: The packaging actually came first. The breakfast space was an area where our products have always played in, to some degree, but Power Breakfast allowed us to create a product truly geared towards the breakfast space. We believe we are innovating in the “oatmeal category” by creating a better oatmeal, but the packaging truly makes Power Breakfast an innovative product on all fronts.

[Ed. Note: GFB declined to identify the packaging supplier.]

Backside view of the Power Breakfast packaging.

What were the packaging requirements?

GFB: Creating something food safe and durable was our top requirement. Being a Certified B Corp, recyclability is a huge concern for us so we love the fact that most of the Power Breakfast packaging in recyclable. While not a requirement, ease of filling and being able to pack out into cases and making them easy to display in-store are other areas of concern that we are continuing to improve.

[Ed. Note: On-pack instructions inform consumers to discard the inner poly-lined pouch and recycle the paperboard sleeve.]


What were the graphics design goals?

GFB: The current packaging design was all done in-house and, like with our other products, we use a fair amount of craft packaging to convey the natural and simple characteristics of our products. Since consumers may not fully understand what the product is, we made efforts to communicate that this still is an “oatmeal” product (we say “like oatmeal but better”).

Another packaging goal was to communicate how to actually use the product (how to open, how much water to add, how to prepare) so our packaging has several areas that address that and we are working to make that information even more clear in future iterations.


The paperboard sleeve’s scored gusset that folds open on the package bottom provides structural strength and supports the inner pouch.

Is this easy opening via a tear strip or perforation?

GFB: The opening is via a laser perforation; there’s a heat seal above the perforation.


What was the biggest challenge?

GFB: The biggest challenge so far has been in the filling of the pouches. Machinery that can auto-fill this kind of pouch is very limited right now so we’re currently evaluating our options. The other biggest challenge is communicating to customers exactly what this is, but we feel that the unique packaging will get customers to pick it up and figure it out!

Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/food-packaging/paper-pouch-bowl-empowers-portable-breakfast-1711

Surprise! We’re trashing less packaging now

More people on the planet. More products being sold. But Americans are throwing away less packaging today than they did more than a decade ago. How can that be? Eco-packaging expert Bob Lilienfeld does the math for us.

In the September 2017 The ULS (Use Less Stuff) Report, editor and publisher Bob Lilienfeld tells us “10 Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About Packaging”—the first of which is that “We’re throwing away less packaging today than we did 15 years ago.”

He looks at population growth and gross domestic product (GDP) to calculate the data that backs up his claim. “Between 2000 and 2014, the amount of packaging thrown away grew by only 1.1%. This is impressive, given that the U.S. population grew by 13.0%, and real (inflation adjusted) per capita GDP grew by 14.0% during this same period.

“These statistics mean that productivity per person increased over $6,000, while the amount of packaging needed to do so declined by almost 57 pounds.

“Thus, more goods (and services) are being produced with less packaging.”

Certainly a focus on sustainability, especially in this past decade, has helped. But where was the greatest gain? “The primary strategy for achieving this very positive result has been source reduction(the first ‘R’ in reduce, reuse and recycle)—needing less packaging to deliver the same or a larger amount of products,” Lilienfeld writes.

He concludes, “And, when it comes to minimizing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the primary environmental focus by nations large and small, source reduction is the best way to do so. After all, it’s better to not use materials and energy than to figure out how to reduce the effects of doing so.”

Download a free copy of the September 2017 The ULS Report below to read about his other nine surprising facts:

#2. Packaging can actually save resources.

#3. Your favorite products won’t make it home without packaging.

#4. Most rigid plastic packaging can be recycled.

#5. Even juice boxes and plastic grocery sacks can now be recycled.

#6. Compostable packaging may not actually reduce waste.

#7. Even if not recycled, packaging plays a positive environmental role.

#8. E-commerce packaging serves a valuable purpose.

#9. Packaging can actually reduce food waste.

#10. There are better ways to reduce waste than to simply ban certain packages.



See a host of new ideas in packaging machinery, materials and more at MinnPack 2017 (Nov. 8-9; Minneapolis). Register today!

Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/sustainable-packaging/surprise-were-trashing-less-packaging-now-2017-11-07

Dual unit cleans and dries packages before coding them

A common reason for a bad inkjet code on a package has nothing to do with the coder but everything to do with the package. When water or dirt covers the surface, the ink cannot latch on—and the code becomes compromised. The new SureCode dual unit solves this.

Two stainless steel air knives from JetAir Technologies are combined with an Ax-Series continuous inkjet coder from Domino. This integrated surface preparation ensures consistent code quality on all types of packages in a small footprint—and at line speeds of more than 2,900 containers per minute. One human-machine interface (HMI) controls both operations, drying and coding.

Rob Miotti, JetAir general manager, provides more details on SureCode:


Why combine the two systems into one unit? Why not just install both on the packaging line?

Miotti: There are a number of reasons to integrate. First, we’re building in quality assurance. Whether you’re planning a new line or retrofitting one, you know you’ve put the right surface preparation in place when you buy a SureCode. That ensures consistent, clean, quality coding every time. Beyond that, integration saves line space and money. The SureCode is both smaller and more cost effective than a drying system and a continuous inkjet printer purchased and installed separately.

All too often, people install their printer only to realize they need a clean, dry surface for coding after the fact. Trying to free up the line space to squeeze something in is never ideal (or cheap). With a SureCode, you’re eliminating that possibility for headache and unexpected expense.


Who supplies and services the dual system, JetAir or Domino?

Miotti: Both JetAir and Domino are able to supply and completely service the system. You have our two teams—both with global reach—standing behind it to make sure that the SureCode gives you what you need.


What is the footprint of the integrated system?

Miotti: The SureCode takes up less than 50-inches of line space. It’s also worth mentioning that it comes fitted with lifting eyes and stainless steel levelers so installation is a breeze.


What are lifting eyes?

Miotti: Lifting eyes are mechanisms we install on the corners of the SureCode so it can be lifted by a crane and placed over the line. As a result, customers don’t need to break their line to install it.


How much does the combined system cost? Is there an upcharge? Or a discount?

Miotti: The combined system is much more cost effective than buying a drying system and continuous inkjet printer separately. Additionally, we’re offering introductory pricing for the first year.

And to make sure you’re getting just what you need and nothing you don’t, we offer two tiers of control options:

1. Integrated Workstation: An ergonomically placed, PackML-compliant HMI that offers a single point of operator control for both your printer and dryer.

2. Onboard Controls: An economic option that separates push button drying function and full printing capabilities using a Domino-designed HMI.


Can the system accommodate any other inkjet coder other than an Ax-Series printers?

Miotti: JetAir has partnered with Domino to bring their cutting edge Ax-Series printer to our customers. While the SureCode could theoretically accommodate another printer, we chose Domino because we believe in the quality of their product and wanted to make their best-in-breed technology available to our network.



See a host of new ideas in packaging machinery, materials and more at MinnPack 2017 (Nov. 8-9; Minneapolis). Register today!

Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/coding/dual-unit-cleans-and-dries-packages-before-coding-them-2017-11-07

Using HDPE liquid fillers for packaging corrosive products

Corrosive or acidic liquids can potentially cause serious damage to packaging machinery if the systems aren’t designed to handle these products. However, production lines can avoid these issues through the use of specialized liquid filling machines for acids and other corrosives, preventing breakdowns.

While many packaging systems rely on stainless steel liquid packaging machines, acids and corrosives will easily eat away at this material over time, causing systems to shut down and resulting in costly downtime. Liquid fillers that handle corrosives and acids are normally made with high-density polyethylene, or HDPE, and use volumetric filling methods for consistent accuracy. These HDPE systems can prevent machine damage and subsequent breakdowns, helping maintain the efficiency of production while saving money.

HDPE machines can work with a range of corrosive and acidic liquids, including certain foods and beverages, oils, cosmetics, cleaning fluids, bleaches, and other acids or harsh chemicals. You can customize HDPE filler setups based on the size of the application and the physical space requirements in the facility.

HDPE liquid fillers function the same way as other filling machines, including the same features such as digital interfaces and high-speed filling capabilities. The only core difference between HDPE and stainless steel liquid fillers is the base construction materials. Packaging systems that use this machinery won’t experience any hindrance in the efficiency of the packaging process.


Supplementing with other HDPE packaging equipment

Typically, the liquid filler is the only machine to come into direct contact with the product, while the rest of the packaging line handles the packaged product. However, certain packaging operations may require the use of other equipment made of HDPE, including conveyors that carry the package along, helping avoid damage in the event of spills, drips or tips.

To determine the type of HDPE liquid packaging system your business needs, consult with a packaging expert who can recommend the type of system you need to keep your packaging system functioning optimally. With the implementation of a complete HDPE liquid filling system, businesses can more effectively maintain their production lines and maximize profitability.


Krys Beal oversees the inside sales and marketing department at E-PAK Machinery Inc., an industry leading manufacturer of in-line liquid packaging machinery. 



MinnPack 2017 (Nov. 8-9; Minneapolis) celebrates its 15th year to bring you the latest developments in filling systems and all things packaging as part of a comprehensive advanced manufacturing event. Register now!

Source Article from http://www.packagingdigest.com/fillers/using-hdpe-liquid-fillers-for-packaging-corrosive-products-2017-11-07