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Sustainability Takes Center Stage At Packaging Summit

I was at the Packaging Summit, presented by the IOPP, in Chicago last week. “Sustainability” was present in nearly each and every booth. Here are some highlights from the show.

An honorable mention goes to The Drake Company who developed a way to reduce the amount of plastic is in packaging in their new Lite-Pak. I would have liked to have seen a smaller footprint on the actual pack and there have been environmental disposal issues with the compact fluorescent light bulbs they were using as a packaging example.

MeadWestVaco was there displaying a similar product called “Natralock,” but with a goldfish instead of the light bulb in the package. Their literature is full of the new math that will get you props at Wal-Mart (see my blog from April 10).

By far the coolest thing that I saw at the show was a device (actually pictures of the device) made by Recycletech that grinds up and melts down Styrofoam waste 90:1. Here is a video of it in action. I know that Styrofoam is a huge problem in landfills and I took the brochure to my local recycling center for consideration.

Another company that had a neat product was KW Plastics that makes paint containers directly from recycled plastic drinking containers.

MonoSol makes hot and cold water soluble bags that are edible. (Or may be edible in the near future, I didn’t get a clear answer). Imagine dropping a sealed teabag into hot water or some kind of iced tea mix directly into your beverage,  then you drink it all. Even the non edible bags are being used right now for dishwashing soap. The best packaging is packaging you don’t throw away, no?

Something that I really never considered was having a company build a leased packaging plant right next door to your factory. What’s sustainable about that? Well, zero trucking for one and less factory waste. Also, you could design this new factory to be energy efficient from the beginning and help the local economy to boot. Aldelano Packaging Corporation Can do just that.

The Outlook Group (a label printer) was showing pressure sensitive labels that are supplied on a ultra thin “microliner.” This liner claims to be 100% recyclable and allows the label roll to hold up to 30% more labels. Since the label liner is wasted 100% after application, this is a good way to minimize this waste stream.

Barry Sanel is the Principal of  Barry Sanel Packaging Advisors

Barry Sanel
Barry Sanel is the Principal of Barry Sanel Packaging Advisors.
 
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