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Here's where innovation hangs its hat

By the time I left Ice River’s plant, I knew I’d just seen not only one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen in the sustainable packaging arena but in packaging overall.

Last December I trekked to a part of Ontario where a common road sign is the kind that says, “If this light is flashing and you’re not driving a snowmobile, you’re in big trouble.” (Okay, that’s a loose translation, but you get the idea.)

Bringing me to the Ontario town of Feversham—where, thankfully, it wasn’t snowing—was Ice River Springs, a bottled water company that had recently completed its own closed-loop, bottle-to-bottle PET recycling system. By the time I left Ice River’s plant, I knew I’d just seen not only one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen in the sustainable packaging arena but in packaging overall (for the story and video, see So I marched straight into the office of Anne Marie Mohan, editor of Greener Package, and told her that Ice River Springs would most assuredly win a 2011 Greener Package award. I’m happy to say the judges of that competition were equally impressed by what Ice River Springs has accomplished, and so they have indeed honored the environmentally conscious bottled water company with an Environmental Impact award and named it the Innovator of the Year in the FDA-regulated category. Be sure to look at the other nine winners in Mohan’s report.

Now in its third year, the Greener Package awards is just one in a string of innovations that Packaging World and Summit Media Group have come up with in the past few years. Let me introduce you to our most recent innovation (, which we call the Flexible Packaging Innovation Gallery.

Who knew there could be such an easy way to quickly eyeball dozens and dozens of packaging innovations without having to click on a bunch of web pages. And why are you able to do this in our Flexible Packaging Innovation Gallery? Because we’ve created an online tool that allows you to horizontally scroll through a veritable wall of images, stopping on any that catch your visual interest so that you can zoom in and check them out more thoroughly. We’ve taken the Web out of the way and left you with nothing but pure flexible packaging innovation.

We’ve exercised our editorial judgment by including only packages that we have written about, or that have some unique aspect to them. We’ve even reached out beyond our borders, forging relationships with select global package design blogs on the Web to cull from them the best of the best. New packages, selected for their visual and/or structural design innovation, are added to the gallery monthly.

Another great feature is the ability to quickly home in on specific types of flexible packages. You can drill down by package type (pillow, shaped, stand-up, flat-bottom, etc.), package feature (easy open, fitment, barrier, reclosable, etc.), or application (food, healthcare, beverage, etc.) with a click of the mouse. Extremely powerful.

I want to extend special thanks to our friends at Ampac, who had the vision and foresight to underwrite this gallery. Ampac has its own section on the gallery, and I encourage you to visit. We’re pleased to be able to provide this research tool, and we look forward to growing this go-to source for flexible packaging ideation in the months and years to come.

By the way, our upcoming September issue will showcase yet another breakthrough innovation in B2B publishing brought to you by our merry band of brainstormers. Be sure to stay tuned...

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