Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Waste Not, Want Not

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

      by Greg Kishbaugh

     The USDA reports that 36 million tons of food is wasted each year in the United States alone, worth $162 billion. Per family, that comes to 654 pounds worth more than $936. Wasted food and consumer items is an enormous problem and one that consumers are beginning to recognize more.
     In a recent survey conducted by an industry tech company, nearly 90 percent of respondents felt that the average amount of food and consumables a typical person throws away is a “huge waste,” while 85 percent resent the fact that they are not getting their money’s worth. Additionally, 57 percent believe it is the manufacturer, and packaging producers, that are to blame for the waste.



     Respondents hate wasted consumer products so intensely that when asked to rate their dislike for certain activities on a scale from 1 to 10, wasting consumer products received an average score of 4.8, which is the same rating as doing taxes.
     In these days of increased environmental awareness, it is a bit surprising that only 15 percent of respondents cited environmental concerns as the main reason they dislike waste. Most respondents seemed much more concerned with the monetary impact.
     So intent were respondents in getting every drop of consumer goods from their packaging, that 13 percent reported having injured themselves in trying to do so.
     The average consumer aversion to waste is an undisputed opportunity for converters. An average of 70 percent of respondents said they would be willing to change brands if it had more efficient packaging.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Timeline Of Innovation

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

      by Greg Kishbaugh

     The history of the flexo industry is intriguing not only for how far it has progressed, but for the odds it needed to surpass in order to attain its current status as a world-class printing process.
     A new infographic released from Anderson & Vreeland celebrates the history of flexo while also turning an eye toward flexo’s future.
     The industry began somewhat inauspiciously. The infographic explains the origin of the industry lies in the first patented press being built in Liverpool, England by Bibby Baron and Sons. It came, sadly, to be known as “Bibby’s Folly” because the ink smeared so badly on the original model.


To dowload the infographic, click here.

     In time, aniline dyes come and go, rubber plates are introduced, followed a decade and a half later by liquid photopolymer.
The infographic breaks down the modern market into several interesting statistics, not least of which is that flexo, having overcome a host of liabilities over the past century, now controls a 60 percent market share in the printed packaging market.
     Of the $260 billion that flexo accounts for in the printed packaging market, approximately $125 billion of the market share comes from corrugated, followed by flexible packaging with $81 billion, labels and tags with $56 billion and folding carton with a very distant $1.5 billion.
     A&V also takes a snapshot of future developments that will influence the industry, including digital printing and complete digital workflow.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Well-Being Of Packaging

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

      by Greg Kishbaugh

     One of the key drivers of the sustainability movement  comes from consumer goods companies committed to reducing packaging. Mondelez International, an American multinational confectionery, food and beverage conglomerate that comprises the global snack and food brands of the former Kraft Foods, has issued its first sustainability report entitled The Call for Well-Being, 2013 Progress Report. The report details steps Mondelez has made to meet its well-being metrics in the areas of mindful snacking, sustainability, communities, and safety.


     Mondelez had earlier made a commitment to eliminate 50 million pounds of packaging by 2015. The company reports that it is on target having eliminated 48 million tons between 2010 and 2013.
     “Packaging is part of the joyful experience people have with our brands,” said the report. “It is why we are always looking at new ways to use fewer materials while increasing the amount of recycled content in our packages.”
     A number of initiatives have aided Mondelez in achieving its goals to this point. Just two such moves have elimnated nearly 13 million pounds of packaging.
     In Australia, Cadbury Dairy Milk bars converted to a new single-layer flow wrap that eliminated 2.8 million pounds of packaging.
     Jacobs Velvet coffee was relaunched in new packaging that eliminated more than 10 million pounds of packaging weight.
     The company utilizes a proprietary Eco-Calculator™ to aid in its sustainability efforts. “The tool helps us create more environmentally conscious packaging by determining the percentage of post-consumer recycled materials, as well as the amount of energy and greenhouse gas emissions associated with creating and disposing of a pack,” says the report.
     The Eco-Calculator is web-based allowing teams worldwide to access the information.
     “Our business success is directly linked to enhancing the well-being of the people who make and enjoy our products and to supporting the communities where we grow our ingredients,” said Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO. “It’s this belief that inspired our Call For Well-being.”

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Surge In Labels

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

      by Greg Kishbaugh

     World demand for labels looks to remain strong in the coming years, increasing 4.9 percent annually to nearly 58 billion square meters in 2018 with a value of $114 billion, according to World Labels, a new report from Freedonia Group.
     “Renewed vigor in global manufacturing output will be the primary factor driving growth,” noted analyst Mike Richardson. Additionally, the report suggests that the global economic expansion that continues to develop in the wake of the recent economic downturn will drive consumer spending on packaged goods.



     Growth in spending, unsurprisingly, will remain highest in the world’s developing regions where consumer spending is growing most rapidly.
     The Chinese and Indian label markets will fuel expansion in the Asia/Pacific region at a faster rate than the rest of the world. The blistering pace of China’s economic growth will slow a little in coming years, but the country’s enormous market for labels will still account for nearly one third of label demand through 2018. The Indian market is smaller in scope than that of China but it is projected to grow at a faster rate.
     Gains will not be as dramatic in the developed markets of the United States and Western Europe but the growth will be a marked improvement over that of the 2008-2013 period. During the economic decline, many countries experienced slowdowns in label demand and even the best performing economies struggled. But, according to the report, growth in manufacturing, especially in food processing, will lead to a revitalized label market in the future.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Gardening Waste

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

      by Greg Kishbaugh

     One of the most compelling and interesting components of the sustainability movement is that it has forced companies to think far beyond the normal parameters of their standard operating procedures.      
     Case in point, Garnier, the beauty and skin care products producer, has figured out a way to turn its packaging waste into gardens. Teaming up with TerraCycle, an upcycling and recycling company that collects difficult-to-recycle packaging and repurposes the material, Garnier recently launched an initiative called the Garnier Green Garden.      

     
The Garnier Green Garden campaign creates community gardens made from non-recyclable post-consumer beauty waste.
The campaign began by transforming more than 1,500 pounds of recycled personal care packaging waste into a  Green Garden in Harlem. Garnier and TerraCycle then overhauled a garden at a special needs school in the Bronx.
      
     To further the scope of the program, Garnier and TerraCycle introduced a “Where Should Our Garden Grow?” campaign to award one recipient with a new community garden. After a public voting period, The ReFresh Project of New Orleans was named the winner. The ReFresh Project’s ReFresh Community Farm is a new teaching farm located in Treme/Mid-City New Orleans. The new garden will reportedly be capable of yielding more than 2,000 pounds of vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers.
      “The plastic components of the garden, such as raised beds, picnic tables, and trash receptacles are made from recycled beauty-care packaging waste collected through Garnier’s Personal Care and Beauty Brigade®,” said the company. “The Brigade is a free fundraising program that donates money to a charity of the collector’s choice for every piece of beauty and personal care packaging waste returned to TerraCycle for recycling. The collected waste, which would otherwise be destined for landfills, consists of non-recyclable hair care, skin care, and cosmetic packaging.”      
     No question that innovation continues to rule the day in terms of the impact of packaging upon the environment.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Money On The Table

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

      by Greg Kishbaugh

     Last week, DiTrolio Flexographic Institute in Broadview, Illinois, held an open house focusing on the myriad ways in which converters and machinery manufacturers in the flexo industry can take advantage of government funding for the training and education of their employees.
     The scope of the programs that are available are unimaginable and there’s no question that a vast majority of converters have no idea of the depth of assistance that is available to them.
The Open House featured speakers from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity; Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership; the Alliance for Illinois Manufacturing; the Chicago Federation of Labor; and SERCO.



     Because DiTrolio is based in the Chicago area, the agencies represented at the open house were all based in Illinois but the presenters were quick to point out that every state in the union has similar programs in place.
     A representative from the Federation of Labor summed up the agency’s philosophy as follows: “We have money and we really want to give it to you.”
     As surprising as it was to hear such a bold statement it was no less surprising to find out just how closely the various state agencies work together to try to assist small businesses. Every participant stressed just how hard they try to work with each individual company to meet their needs.
     One has to wonder just how many converters are fully aware of the sheer volume of assistance programs that currently exist.
The truth is, there is money on the table to help converters better train their workforce but it is being left untouched in many cases because converters simply do not know it exists.
     Vince DiTrolio, the Owner of DiTrolio Flexographic Institute has a wealth of experience and knowledge in this area. Converters looking to improve the efficiency of their workforce (and save thousands of dollars) would do well to ask his advice by calling the school at (708) 343-4334.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Environmental Stewardship

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

      by Greg Kishbaugh

     The Label Printers, Aurora, Illinois, has long been a champion of sustainability. The company has won back-to-back Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Awards and TLMI Environmental Leadership Awards, as well as an honorable mention from the FTA for its Environmental Excellence Awards.     
     In keeping with its commitment to this increasingly important topic, the company’s Director of Human Resources George Tommasi was a presenter at the recent Sustainable Waste Management Conference, hosted by the Lake Michigan States Section of the Air & Waste Management Association. He discussed the success of The Label Printers’ sustainability program, providing a ‘small business” perspective.      
     Presenters included municipal and state governments; the Environmental Protection Agency; large corporations; and “green” technology innovators.      
     Tommasi discussed The Label Printers’ “Go Green, Save Green and Earn Green!” program, which revolves around the premise that being a sound environmental steward is not only a moral imperative but that it is also good for business, lowering costs and generating new revenue streams.      
     Tommasi, who is a team leader for TLMI’s L.I.F.E. sustainability program, discussed the company’s “Take Stock for Education” program and its employee electronic recycling day. “I wanted to show how you can combine company initiatives with ways to help the community and employees, and I also wanted conference attendees to see that even a small company can make a big difference,”  Tommasi said.