Going Green Means Green When Reduction of Packaging Is Implemented
|Standup pouches, like this one, are increasingly capturing market share from numerous retail sectors, like pet food.|
Much is made these days about the impact man has on the environment, especially regarding the effects our packaging choices have on the state of our air, water and land/landfills; concern about the environment is on the rise.
Some issues are beyond the ability of any single company to influence; others, like packaging, are not. In fact, thanks to technological advances in manufacturing and packaging materials alike, it’s easier than ever to employ environmentally friendly packaging for many, if not all, of your brand's products.
While many retailers and companies are enamored with fancy, cutting edge materials that will protect the contents and keep them fresh yet still biodegrade, these solutions just don’t exist yet…and if they do, they are price prohibitive. The rule of thumb that still rings true is the 3R concept…Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
Without question, the most effective way to help our environment is to reduce the amount of packaging that is used, sent to a landfill, stored.
Standup pouches are an excellent example of environmentally friendly packaging. These packaging bags are the product of an energy efficient manufacturing process that laminates together multiple layers of the most advanced, scientifically-formulated film available. These layers provide the strength for the pouch to stand effectively while protecting from moisture, vapor, odor, sunlight or any other negative element. Although multiple sheets are required, standup pouches need less material to make than most other packaging bags. Not only does this ultimately generate less waste after disposal, less fuel is required to transport standup pouches because they weigh less.
Traditional standup pouches are used for packaging food, spices, candy, snacks, etc., and that segment of the packaging industry continues to percolate along. However, the retail landscape has seen the revival of spouted standup pouches for items that aren’t necessarily liquid drinks. Baby food and baby formula are two of the hottest sectors in the industry for spouted pouches replacing glass jars and metal cans. Semi-liquids like crushed fruit and even syrup and honey have started to switch. Look for wine and alcohol to embrace spouted standup pouches, too, which is happening overseas in Europe and Asia, and soon, in North America. Another overseas trend is major retailers are reducing the size of stores and available shelf space, so big plastic canisters with a screw top holding 5-10 pounds of a product simply won’t fit, thus new packaging is needed.
However, let’s not stop there. Let’s see what would happen if we applied the 3R concept to the flexible packaging business. Would there be an environmental benefit to switching from a traditional round bottom standup pouch design to a flat bottom standup pouch? I’ll let you decide and I’ll give you a hint, Reduction of plastic still trumps Reuse or even Recycle.
Treasure Valley Packaging Solutions took their client from a bottom gusset standup pouch to a flat bottom standup pouch and the results were stunning. Because flat bottom standup pouches use up to 15 percent less film than traditional ones, over the course of a year, the company’s frozen food client used 1.2 million pounds less packaging film. Even further, because this new style is more efficient to pack inside a master carton, they fit more pouches, which led to 27,000 pounds of less corrugated used. This, in turn, meant less pallets used for shipping, less truck shipments and fuel used along with fewer labor hours and even better efficiency with merchandising on the retail store level. The end result was over $7 million dollars and 3.5 million pounds of greenhouse gases saved.
One little switch was all it took and the results were incredible:
- Less film was required
- Pouches packed more effectively in a master carton
- Fewer cases led to fewer pallets
- Fewer pallets meant less trucks and less weight shipped
- Less weight shipped meant less fuel used
- Greater pack out on the retail store level
For these reasons and more, it's clear that standup pouches are environmentally friendly packaging.