The multifaceted benefits of sustainable packaging

The demand for sustainability in packaging has affected every aspect of packaging.

We all know that sustainable packaging practices benefit the environment by reducing waste, recycling materials into new packaging and controlling the energy costs of production. Many of us also recognize that sustainability benefits us with smaller package sizes, lighter-gauge flexible films and other measures that reduce material costs. Finding new ways to package goods with these new materials can be costly, but the long-term benefits are there. We also need to recognize that those new costs are an investment that will have future returns.

The demand for sustainability in packaging has affected every aspect of packaging, from inspiring the development of new primary package materials, inks and adhesives to inspiring studies of our energy use and the creation of forums where we can discuss new ideas and techniques. We see our customers actively seeking out sustainable packaging, often as a way to market themselves better to environmentally conscious consumers. We can learn a lesson from them.

Sometimes we tend to think of this new emphasis as a burden imposed on us by outsiders, forcing us to change how we work and creating additional (and perhaps unnecessary) costs. It is easy to see those requirements for change as intrusive, but not see the advantages of sustainable packaging to us as packagers as well as to the environment and our customers.

Just as a new piece of equipment can give you a competitive advantage over your rival contract packager, an increased focus on sustainability and “green” packaging can also give you a competitive advantage. In both areas, he who takes the risk and leads the way by investing in new technology will usually be the winner.

The contract packagers who adopt sustainability as a primary company focus and promote their capability to produce sustainable packaging will gain a powerful marketing advantage. Just as being able to teach our customers about the latest packaging techniques, equipment and materials reflects on us as knowledgeable specialists and sets us above the competition, so, too, will being able to do the same with sustainable packaging practices. It will be another way to strengthen our bond with customers as their partners.

It is also important to recognize that these environmental issues––and the changes they are making in the packaging industry––are here to stay. The government can no longer ignore the monumental task of cutting waste and conserving resources. That means that in the future it is likely that more incentives will be provided for manufacturers that do master eco-friendly measures such as sustainable packaging.

Contract packagers have always been the commandos of the packaging industry: tough, resourceful, adaptable and able to move quickly to adopt innovative technologies to let them gain new customers. Given the increasing emphasis on environmental protection, embracing sustainability fully and becoming proficient in new environmentally sound packaging techniques may become our strongest marketing tool for the future and create even further differentiation for us from larger, more traditional competitors.

Save the dates:
New!  Fall Contract Packaging WorkShop
The Contract Packaging Association will host a Fall Contract Packaging WorkShop on November 7 and 8, 2011 at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare Hotel. Details of the event agenda will be sent to CPA members as they are finalized, but clear the dates on your calendar now so you can attend this exciting new event.

This is a CPA members-only event!
The CPA 2011 Fall WorkShop is an ideal opportunity for managers within your organization to acquire knowledge specific to the contract packaging industry, to reach suppliers of quality goods and services, and to network with industry peers in a hands-on educational environment.
The WorkShop will be especially useful to:
•    Operations Managers
•    Procurement
•    Quality Control
•    Human Resources
•    And . . . anyone wishing to “reload” their packaging “toolbox.”

This exclusive event will include multiple educational tracks with presentations focused on the hottest contract packaging topics, allowing attendees to build their own WorkShop learning experience. Suppliers to the packaging industry will also be exhibiting their newest and most innovative products and services. Attendees will have ample opportunity to meet with suppliers and learn about their latest technologies.

Member costs to attend:
$249 per person for companies with 1-3 attendees
$189 per person for companies with 4+ attendees
CPA has also negotiated reduced Marriott room rates and parking fees for the event.

CPA Annual Meeting, 2012
Join fellow members at he CPA 2012 Annual Meeting, which will take place at the Gran Melia Hotel and Resort in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico from February 22 to 26, 2012. The theme of the meeting will be “Sail Beyond All Limits.” Details will be posted on the CPA web site as they become available.

The association would like to welcome new members and associate members that have joined since the printing of the March/April edition of Contract Packaging magazine:
•    Archway
•    AWDC, Inc.
•    Hewlett Packard Company (associate)
•    Innovative Labeling Solutions (associate)
•    M-Tek Incorporated (associate)
•    R&D Manufacturing and Assembly

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