Stung by criticism that its ink-jet print cartridges were packaged to excess Hew-lett-Packard Co. recently embarked on an aggressive campaign to minimize the amount of packaging the cartridges require. For its efforts the Palo Alto CA firm won a 1994 Gold Star Award for Environmental Improvement in the Ameristar Packaging Competition sponsored by the Institute of Packaging Professionals. The project netted a 35% reduction in the weight of packaging required. It also yielded a 47% reduction in storage density illustrated nicely by the photo on p. 58 showing "before-and-after" pallet loads. And although source reduction was the main objective material cost savings of 35% was an added bonus. According to packaging manufacturing development engineer John Wilson the savings helped pay for design costs and necessary equipment. Perhaps the most notable change in the package was the use of flexible packaging in place of an aluminum tub with a heat-sealed foil lid. The backbone of this new flexible material is a 48-ga polyester reverse-printed by gravure in three or five colors that is extrusion laminated to a .00028" foil. The final layer is polyethylene for heat-seal purposes. Total thickness is in the range of 3.5 mils. General policy at H-P is to withhold names of suppliers so the name of the flexible film converter can't be provided here. H-P did however make an exception to its policy in the case of Doboy (New Richmond WI) the maker of the J-Series wrapper on which the lamination runs.