Made by Glenroy Inc., the innovative pouches hold a variety of products ranging from hull cleaner, to bilge cleaner, to leather and vinyl conditioner. They’re sold exclusively at West Marine stores for $14.99 to $19.99. The pouches’ shaped design along with vivid graphics make these packages stand out among the sea of rigid containers typically found in this particular category.
The full line of nine products includes six sprayer pouches and three flip-top pouches. Sizes include 16-, 24-, and 32-oz. Precise details on the composition of the film used to make the pouches are not available, but Glenroy indicates it is a metallized polyester adhesive lamination and that the eight-color reverse printing was done on a central impression flexo press. Spouts are affixed in a second operation by Glenroy. Great care had to be taken so that the structure would have sufficient puncture resistance and would be able to withstand the salt water environment commonly encountered on watercraft.
Glenroy sends the pre-made pouches on rails with 35 pouches per rail to contract manufacturer Specialty Lubricants Corp. There the rails are fed into a Karlville machine that picks pouches one at a time and sends them through subsequent stations for filling and application of sprayer or threaded closure.
The overall benefits of the pouch when compared to a rigid bottle are numerous:
• Space is at a premium on a boat. Once in the hands of the consumer, the space needed for a rigid package stays the same. But with a pouch, the space needed to store product is reduced with every use.
• The 16-oz pouch weighs 17 g and the 24-oz pouch weighs 20 g. (sprayer not included). This compares to 34 g for a typical 16-oz plastic bottle and 51 g for a typical 24-oz plastic bottle.
• One truckload of pouches holds 364,000 packages while the same quantity of like-sized rigid bottles will require nine truckloads. The additional eight truckloads traveling 1,000 miles will require an additional 2,000 gal of fuel and emit nine times the amount of greenhouse gases.
• Nine truckloads take 18 man-hours to load/unload compared to two hours for the single truckload of pouches.
• Warehouse space is a challenge, as 234 pallets are needed for bottles but only 26 pallets for pouches.
Glenroy acknowledges that because there is no existing infrastructure for the multilayer pouches to be recycled, they’ll wind up being land-filled. “However,” says Glenroy in its FPA Awards entry form, “even considering the recycling rate of 31% for rigid PET bottles, the municipal solid waste going to a landfill is still higher for rigid bottles than it is for flexible pouches.”
Jim Hampel, who is COO at For Life Products, says that Berlin Packaging’s Studio Eleven played a big role at the front end of the launch where design is concerned. He adds that one of the more remarkable things about the package is how quickly it went from concept to store shelf. “We started serious conversations with Berlin and Glenroy in October of 2016 and the pouches were reaching store shelves by July of 2017,” notes Hampel.
He says the pouch format is more expensive than the more traditional rigid container approach, but that the upcharge is well worth paying in return for the many benefits enumerated above. In addition to all of these, he adds, there’s the added benefit of being able to now analyze how the novel packaging format performs in the marketplace. “Who knows what applications it might have in other product categories?” he says.