Justice is served by low-cost, compostable cushioning






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Posted by Rick Lingle, Technical Editor — Packaging Digest, 9/18/2013 11:18:57 AM





 

Justice Design Group packagingJustice Design GroupAs with any customized product, the lighting fixtures manufactured by Justice Design Group are made-to-order. So when the president and the plant manager of the California-based designer of residential and commercial lighting began considering new packaging solutions, product protection was a top priority. 

“Our products are highly customizable, which means we have to manufacture them again if they are broken in-transit,” explains Brandon Levin, president of Justice Design Group and grandson to the factory’s original founder. “While damage can be particularly costly to our business, the state of the construction and building industry means that we had to find a protective packaging solution that offered premium protection at the greatest value.” 

The company’s Sealed Air sales representative, Ann Regan, introduced Justice Design to Sealed Air’s new PakNatural loose-fill solution. Made from non-food renewable materials, PakNatural loose fill not only met his company’s criteria for product protection and value, but also offered environmental sustainability as a certified compostable packaging solution.

 

Hundreds of SKUs

With more than 250 different shapes and 30-plus different finishes, Justice Design fixtures are sold through a network of approximately 1,500 distributors in the U.S. and Canada that display and stock the product. The business requires a packaging solution that will protect the company’s unique and fragile ceramic light fixtures as they are shipped across the U.S. and Canada.

Before, Justice Design used an interlocking corrugated solution for blocking and bracing the fragile products. “We found that our employees had a hard time handling the previous packaging solution, which required them to wear gloves for protection against the sharp edges of the interlocking pieces,” says Levin. “We already had an existing relationship with Sealed Air from the installation of PackTiger paper packaging systems that create paper cushions for blocking and bracing our retail-facing boxed items during shipping. When [Regan] approached us about a new sustainable loose-fill solution that could reduce our costs, we told her to bring it in for testing.”

“We found that PakNatural loose fill was the best fit for their products and operations for a number of reasons,” adds Regan. “The fixtures have a lot of curves and pressure points, and this product can easily get into those areas to protect and support them.”

“I’ve described Sealed Air’s PakNatural loose fill as the ‘next generation of packaging peanuts,’” remarks Levin. “It does a great job preventing our products from moving around in the box and is lighter than the interlocking corrugate material we were using before. On top of that, the product is environmentally sustainable, which is increasingly important to many of the architects and designers we’re working with.”

 

Solution shines in tests 

The Justice Design Group conducted initial drop tests internally and then sent product to Sealed Air’s Packaging Design Center in City of Industry, CA, for additional drop and vibration tests. From there, Regan worked with the local Unisource Worldwide representative to perform drop tests and cost analyses, the results of which were presented to Levin.

After two to three months of tests, Justice Design began integrating the solution slowly into its shipping by the end of 2011. It continued to track shipments to ensure the new material was protecting their products. By the beginning of 2012, the company completely switched over to Sealed Air cushioning products.

Changes were minimal because Justice Design’s packaging operations were already set up for loose-fill packaging in the form of two overhead supply bladders, which hold approximately 60 cubic feet of PakNatural loose fill. When packing fixtures, employees first fill the boxes with about two inches of material dispensed from a bladder. Once the product is added, the remaining space is filled with at least another two inches of material before the case is tape-sealed for shipment. 

“Depending on demand, our packaging operations will pack 300 to 900 packages a day,” explains Justice Design’s plant manager Natividad Urrutia. “While demand isn’t highly seasonal, shipments do tend to pick up in the spring and again around October.” She notes that the supply bladders are refilled about twice a day. 

Urrutia reports a positive employee reaction to the changeover: “The old solution involved a machine that would fold the interlocking corrugate material, and employees reported that it was very noisy when packaging a particularly large item. Now they no longer have to wear gloves.”

The external reaction to the changeover was positive as well. “Our shipping partners are very favorable to Sealed Air packaging solutions from an insurance standpoint,” says Levin. “We included cards in our boxes to educate our customers about the new solution and the sustainable characteristics as a compostable material. 

“It can be difficult to get all of our products packaged and shipped from the West Coast to the East Coast in one piece, so we’ve been very impressed by the performance. The fact that Sealed Air’s PakNatural loose fill is an affordable, sustainable material that can keep our costs down by maintaining low claims rates and reducing the weight of our shipments is huge to us.”

 

Sealed Air Corp., 800-648-9093
www.sealedair.com

 

Unisource Worldwide, 800-864-7687
www.unisourceworldwide.com

 

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Walmart highlights Sustainability Index progress






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Posted by Rick Lingle, Technical Editor — Packaging Digest, 9/16/2013 5:17:57 PM





 

Walmart logoIn front of an audience of associates, suppliers and nonprofit organizations at its Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting, Walmart highlighted on Sept. 12 its progress with the Sustainability Index, a measurement system used to track the environmental impact of products. The company also outlined key initiatives where it can use its size and scale to help address “hot spots” and accelerate progress in supply-chain sustainability.

 

“We’ve reached an acceleration point where we are moving from measurement to results. We’re starting to really drive progress with the Index,” Walmart president and CEO Mike Duke says. “This is about trust and value. Using less energy, greener chemicals, fewer fertilizers and more recycled materials – all of this – is the right thing to do for the planet and it’s right for our customers and our business.”

 

As of today, the Index has been rolled out across 200 product categories, and to more than 1,000 suppliers. By the end of this year, Walmart expects the Index will expand to include more than 300 product categories and as many as 5,000 suppliers.

 

Consistent growth


Since the Index rolled out broadly to Walmart product categories in August 2012, it has shown a consistent trend of improved product sustainability. For example, Walmart’s general merchandise department has improved its Index product sustainability score by an average of 20 percent; grocery department by an average of 12 percent; and consumables and health and wellness by an average of 6 percent.

 

“With the Sustainability Index, Walmart is applying the science and research that we’ve developed to create a more sustainable supply chain globally,” says Kara Hurst, CEO of The Sustainability Consortium. “We’re excited about the significant progress Walmart and its suppliers are making and value their partnership with us to address big issues and drive real social and environmental change.”

 

Based on the insights and data from the Index, Walmart has been working with suppliers, nonprofits, industry experts and government to develop and implement solutions that address critical “hot spots” and opportunities across the global supply chain. As part of the progress update at today’s meeting, executives, merchants and suppliers shared progress on five major initiatives underway:

 

Increasing the Use of Recycled Materials. More than 29 million tons of valuable plastics are sent to landfills every year in the U.S. at a cost of about $6.6 billion annually. Walmart aims to grow both the supply and demand for recycled plastics so they can be diverted from landfill and get a second life. The company is working with cities to increase plastic recycling and with suppliers to increase the use of recycled content and make packaging more recyclable. Changes in packaging are already being implemented in product categories such as beverage, over-the-counter drugs, dairy creamers and berry containers.

Earlier this week, Walmart and Sam’s Club also announced a smartphone trade-in program in the U.S. that goes into effect on Sept. 21. The company will not send these trade-ins to landfills, domestically or internationally, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of smartphones from landfills annually.

 

Offering Products with Greener Chemicals. Walmart provided an overview of its new Consumables Chemicals initiative, describing how it is working with suppliers to reduce or eliminate the use of priority chemicals used in consumables products in favor of greener alternatives. It will begin with household cleaning, personal care, beauty and cosmetic products, asking suppliers to transition to greener substitutes for priority chemicals.

 

In addition, starting in Jan. 2014, Walmart will begin to label its private brand cleaning products in accordance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended Design for the Environment (DfE) Safer Product Labeling program, and will continue to assess the applicability of DfE as Walmart expands it to broader product areas.

Reducing Fertilizer Use in Agriculture. Walmart is requiring suppliers who use commodity grains, such as corn, wheat and soy in their products, to develop a fertilizer optimization plan that outlines clear goals to improve performance based on Index research.

Improving Energy Efficiency. The Index has uncovered the importance of energy efficiency in several product categories, such as televisions, plastic toys, small appliances and greeting cards. By working with suppliers to improve energy efficiency through the supply chain of these products, Index energy scores have already improved 23 percent in general merchandise categories. Walmart is now providing tools for suppliers to help track and reduce the energy used to produce these products.

 

Source: Walmart

 

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Sustainability in Packaging 2014 event set for March






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Posted by Rick Lingle, Technical Editor — Packaging Digest, 8/27/2013 10:13:47 AM





 

 

 

Sustainable Packaging 2014 logo

 

Smithers Pira, in association with Packaging Digest and Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News, will be returning to Orlando, FL, in March 2014 for the 8th annual Sustainability in Packaging conference and exhibition. This year’s event will take place March 5-7, 2014, at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. 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.

 

Planned sessions at Sustainability in Packaging include key sustainability and innovation trends around flexible packaging for better end of life scenarios; success stories and developments in fiber packaging; sustainable packaging sourcing security; and developments in extended producer responsibility. This year’s program will include a number of new topics including marine debris case studies and policy; sustainability in frozen and the cold chain; and an investor’s forum (Shark Tank) to find the next great idea in sustainable packaging.

 

“Sustainability in Packaging 2014 is on track to deliver our most comprehensive discussion ever, with more real life case studies than ever before,” says Barbara Fowler, conference director at Smithers Pira. “Our advisory board – including Alan Blake, Consultant – Packaging & Sustainability, Alan Blake Consulting and Executive Director, PAC Next; Laura Rowell, Director, Sustainable Packaging, Sonoco Packaging; Lisa Pierce, Executive Editor, Packaging Digest; Saskia van Gendt, Captain Planet, Method; Jeff Loth, Senior Manager, Packaging Engineering, Microsoft and Betsy Dorn, Director, USA Consulting, Reclay StewardEdge – have been hard at work recruiting brand owners, converters and packaging innovators to share their latest triumphs and challenges with an eye to creating truly sustainable and profitable packaging.”

 

“Because of the expertise of each board member, we are able to develop an agenda that tackles hot topics from a variety of perspectives,” said Pierce. “Not only is there something for everyone on the program, but it’s the right ‘something.’ This conference looks at a holistic view of how packaging sustainability impacts business and presents specific solutions, year after year.”

 

Sponsorship and exhibition opportunities are available. America’s best known consumer brands, materials suppliers and packaging converters and manufacturers will be in attendance to focus on the ongoing sustainability challenge and the latest packaging innovations. Contact Heather Adams at 207-781-9632 about crafting a custom-designed sponsorship or exhibition package.

For more information about Sustainability in Packaging 2014 or to attend, visit www.sustainability-in-packaging.com.

 

About Smithers Pira
Smithers Pira is the worldwide authority on packaging, paper and print industry supply chains. Established in 1930, the company provides strategic and technical consulting, testing, intelligence and events to help clients gain market insights, identify opportunities, evaluate product performance and manage compliance. For more information, visit www.smitherspira.com.

 

 







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Summary version of recycling design guides unveiled






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Posted by Rick Lingle, Technical Editor — Packaging Digest, 8/26/2013 4:08:50 PM





 

APR guideThe Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, the leading trade organization representing the plastics recycling industry in North America, has published an executive summary version of their recyclability design guides for packaging and containers.

 

Steve Alexander, APR’s executive director, stated that while the organization has published its Design
Guides for the past 14 years, recently many non-technical audiences, consumer product companies, marketing and brand managers, as well as packaging design experts have expressed the need for a quick reference summary version of the guidelines.

 

“As one of its core missions, APR has always sought to provide packaging designers with specific information to allow for informed decisions,” says Alexander. For the past 14 years, the APR Recyclability Guidelines, which are based on actual industry experience, have provided that guidance to industry. These guidelines describe how a package design might impact conventional mechanical plastics recycling systems, be improved to avoid recycling problems, and be optimized to make plastic packages more compatible with current recycling systems.

 

P&G: Focus is on the most common items

 

Steve Sikra, Procter & Gamble’s global leader for packaging material science & technology, and a member of the APR board of directors, adds that “the APR Design for Recyclability Guidelines Executive Summary has been prepared by the APR as a quick reference tool for package designers, engineers, brand managers, and decision makers. It is focused on the most commonly reclaimed post-consumer packaging items: PET, polyethylene, and polypropylene bottles and containers. It contains key points to consider from the APR Design for Recyclability Guidelines.”

 

Alexander points out that the summary version of the guidelines will help to provide a broader audience with an understanding of how the technical aspects of container and packaging design will have an impact on the ability of the package or product to be recycled. “Recyclers tend to be the last to know about the impact of a new product or package design on the ability of the package to be recycled. Hopefully, this summary will help a broader audience consider the downstream implications of the recyclability of a package during the conceptual development stage.”

 

APR will present a web seminar Thursday, September 19th at 1:00 pm EST explaining how to utilize this valuable tool to aid in the design process when considering the recyclability of a bottle or container. Please visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/443533447537141504 to register for this informative webinar.

Please visit http://www.plasticsrecycling.org/technical-resources/apr-design-for-recyclabilityguidelines to download a copy of the Executive Summary as well as the full version of the Design guideline.

 

Source: The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR)

 

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Study shows efficient crop use for bioplastics






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Posted by Rick Lingle, Technical Editor — Packaging Digest, 8/12/2013 6:04:03 PM





 

EuBP Land Use 500

 

The nova-Institute has recently published a paper on agricultural feedstock use in industrial applications shedding light on the controversial public debate surrounding the industrial use of food crops or so-called first generation feedstock. The core finding asserts that efficiency and sustainability assessed on a case-by-case basis should be the sole criteria in judging the choice of feedstock used. The institute further stresses that the real issue is land availability for growing biomass for different purposes.

 

The paper refers to studies asserting that, even after satisfying food demand of a rapidly growing world population, enough arable land would remain available for purposes other than food production. The best usage of these areas is achieved by considering the land-efficiency of different crops. Studies show that many food crops are more land-efficient than non-food crops. According to the paper, they require less land to produce the same amount of e.g., fermentable sugar (commonly used in biotechnology processes) than non-food crops or so-called second generation feedstock, e.g., lignocelluloses.


Crops could be reallocated to food use in crisis

 

“Efficiency and sustainability should be the leading criteria when selecting renewable feedstock for industrial purposes, such as the production of Bioplastics,” says Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics, embracing the paper as a welcome contribution to the discussion. “If the industry was to neglect the use of first generation feedstock at this point in time, it would do a disservice to society and the environment. In addition to being currently more efficient, the use of food-crops for industrial purposes has the major advantage that,

in times of food crisis, these crops could be reallocated to food use.”

 

Fact: 0.006 percent of land used for bioplastics

 

European Bioplastics is in favor of promoting the use of second or even third generation feedstock for industrial purposes. However, as long as food crops continue in many cases to represent the most efficient feedstock by far, discrediting their use would be misguided and a step in the wrong direction in achieving the European Commission sustainability targets. “This often very emotional discussion needs to be steered into a more fact based direction”, continues von Pogrell. “Only two percent of the global agricultural area is actually used to grow feedstock for material production and only 0.006 percent is used in the production of bioplastics, compared to 98 percent used for food, feed and as pastures.”

 

These findings echo the conclusion of a study recently published by the World Bank, according to which an increase in food prices is largely influenced by the oil price. Biofuels and, by extension, bioplastics play a negligible factor here. The study looked at food commodities such as corn, wheat, rice, soybeans and palm oil and compared commodity prices to energy prices, exchange rates, interest rates, inflation, income and a stocks-to-use ratio to determine which of these drivers had the most impact on food prices.

 

For more information, refer to the European Bioplastics’ “facts & figures” brochure by clicking here.

And/or ownload nova-Institute paper : Food or non-food: Which agricultural feedstock are best for industrial uses?

 

European Bioplastics is the European association representing the interests of the industry along the complete bioplastics‘ value chain. Its members produce, refine and distribute bioplastics i.e., plastics that are either biobased, biodegradable, or both.

 

Source: European Bioplastics.

 

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Foodservice dispenser






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Posted by Rick Lingle, Technical Editor — Packaging Digest, 8/8/2013 6:24:00 AM





Smart DispenserThe Smart Dispenser from SIG Combibloc and Server Products is easy to use and allows precise dispensing of products such as flavored syrups or base mixes for smoothies and cocktails with every stroke. The use of the dispenser makes it easier and cost effective for restaurants to innovate their menus by offering new beverage creations.

 

The dispenser consists of a lidded box into which the carton pack is placed inside. Then the pump is inserted directly through the overcoated hole, opening the package. With a simple pump action, the product is dispensed in precise amounts, with no mess. The product is safely and hygienically protected—there is no need to transfer the product into another container. The dispenser yields up to 98 percent product evacuation to minimize waste.

 

The beverage category is the initial focus for the Smart Dispenser. The dispensing unit has been developed for use with products that are used in cafes, coffee shops, bars, bistros and fast-food restaurants, such as fruit purées, smoothie bases and cocktail preparations, flavored syrups and concentrates.

 

SIG Combibloc Inc., 610-546-4200
www.sig.biz/sig-global/en/teaser-global/smart-dispenser/

 

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Miracle-Gro ‘plants’ Gro-ables Seed Pods in market






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Posted by Rick Lingle, Technical Editor — Packaging Digest, 7/8/2013 3:11:14 PM





 

Group 4 worked with The Scotts Company to develop a breakthrough product for the edible gardening market. Miracle-Gro Gro-ables Seed Pod’s make seed gardening fool-proof with the exact combination of nutrients, enriched soil and seed packed into every easy-to-plant pod.

 

Scotts Pods

Gro-ables Seed Pods were specifically developed to create an ideal growing environment through a uniquely designed “pod” that contains:
• Superior quality seed placed at the proper depth
• All natural growing material to protect and release moisture to the seed
• Premium Miracle-Gro plant food to deliver continuous nutrition to the seed

 

Extensive research with gardeners and non-gardeners provided valuable input to design direction. Consumers consistently expressed delight at the developing product form, which to them was indicative of something entirely new and different. The final design was built upon a tapered “acorn” shape for easy handling and intuitive planting in a biodegradable, sanitized and sturdy pod material.

The Seed Pod design also features:
• A custom packaging solution that provides secure pod shipping and storage
• A wide pod “brim” to mark the ideal planting depth

 

“Helping Scotts visualize and bring the breakthrough Gro-ables concept to the market embodies the essence of our core capability and demonstrates the results of our proven process of innovation,” says Frank von Holzhausen, president of Group 4. “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to work once again with The Scotts Company on such an exciting project.”

 

About Group 4
Group 4 is a highly regarded research-based design consultancy that has helped develop hundreds upon hundreds of products, packages, brands and communications over its 40+ years working with clients from all corners of the U.S. economy. Other current and recent clients include: Abbott Labs, Sherwin-Williams, Nestlé, Lenovo, Insight Pharmaceuticals, Electrolux, Wagner Spray Tech, UPS, Eli Lilly, Hershey and the Robert Bosch Tool Corp.

 

Source: Group 4 

 

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Ice-cold Coke: World’s first bottle made of water?






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Posted by Rick Lingle, Technical Editor — Packaging Digest, 6/26/2013 4:49:07 PM





As the mercury rises, so increases the desire to reach for an ice-cold Coke. But what if that Coke literally came ice-cold?

 

Coke Ice ImageIn Colombia, it does, with Beachside Cokes being served in bottles made from ice. The frozen vessels are true to their glass counterparts, keeping with Coca-Cola’s uniquely shaped contour bottle that includes the iconic Spencerian script lettering etched in ice.

 

To make the special edition Coca-Cola bottles a reality, teams created a new packaging design and production process to manufacture the ice bottles and transport them to hot Colombia beaches. The process starts with pouring micro-filtered water into silicone molds, then freezing the water to-25 °C and filling the molds with Coke.

 

Promising “Fria hasta la ultima gota” or “Cold to the last drop,” the frozen bottles continue to make quite a splash in South America and throughout the advertising world. Beachside, drink servers have sold on average 265 frozen bottles an hour. Ad Week, Mashable and other media outlets have melted for the idea, highlighting the Ogilvy & Mather Columbia innovation for its “cool” factor. In Bilbao, Spain at the Sol Awards, which celebrates the best creativity in Ibero-America, the “Botella de Hielo” or “Ice Bottle” took top honors, winning a Golden Sol Award.

 

Reusable, insulating ‘label’ band

 

Putting aside the accolades, the experiment is meant to delight fans with a refreshing Coca-Cola experience. To ensure those ordering up the iced Cokes don’t walk away with frozen fingers, each bottle is wrapped with a rubber Coke-logoed red band that allows the drinker to hold the sparkling beverage with comfort. Once the bottle is liquefied, the band doubles as a keepsake bracelet fans can wear.

 

No word yet on where the bottles may show up next, but with Coke Open for Summer, introducing new ways of sharing happiness with shareable cans that split in two and personalized 500- and 375-mL PET bottles that call you by name, the next innovation is anyone’s guess.

 

To view a video on this development, click here.

 

Source: The Coca-Cola Company

 

 

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Miracle-Gro ‘plants’ Gro-ables Seed Pods in market






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Posted by Rick Lingle, Technical Editor — Packaging Digest, 7/8/2013 3:11:14 PM





 

Group 4 worked with The Scotts Company to develop a breakthrough product for the edible gardening market. Miracle-Gro Gro-ables Seed Pod’s make seed gardening fool-proof with the exact combination of nutrients, enriched soil and seed packed into every easy-to-plant pod.

 

Scotts Pods

Gro-ables Seed Pods were specifically developed to create an ideal growing environment through a uniquely designed “pod” that contains:
• Superior quality seed placed at the proper depth
• All natural growing material to protect and release moisture to the seed
• Premium Miracle-Gro plant food to deliver continuous nutrition to the seed

 

Extensive research with gardeners and non-gardeners provided valuable input to design direction. Consumers consistently expressed delight at the developing product form, which to them was indicative of something entirely new and different. The final design was built upon a tapered “acorn” shape for easy handling and intuitive planting in a biodegradable, sanitized and sturdy pod material.

The Seed Pod design also features:
• A custom packaging solution that provides secure pod shipping and storage
• A wide pod “brim” to mark the ideal planting depth

 

“Helping Scotts visualize and bring the breakthrough Gro-ables concept to the market embodies the essence of our core capability and demonstrates the results of our proven process of innovation,” says Frank von Holzhausen, president of Group 4. “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to work once again with The Scotts Company on such an exciting project.”

 

About Group 4
Group 4 is a highly regarded research-based design consultancy that has helped develop hundreds upon hundreds of products, packages, brands and communications over its 40+ years working with clients from all corners of the U.S. economy. Other current and recent clients include: Abbott Labs, Sherwin-Williams, Nestlé, Lenovo, Insight Pharmaceuticals, Electrolux, Wagner Spray Tech, UPS, Eli Lilly, Hershey and the Robert Bosch Tool Corp.

 

Source: Group 4 

 

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