Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Politically Packaged Packaging

Packaging News You Can Use
Tip Of The Week
Issue #1266 - January 10, 2007
Publisher: JoAnn Hines ,
© Packaging News You Can Use
By JoAnn Hines The Packaging Diva

ASTM International Packaging Committee Reactivates Subcommittee on Recycling/Disposability
ASTM International Committee D10 on
Packaging is reactivating Subcommittee D10.19 on Recycling/Disposability. All
interested parties, particularly those who are concerned and knowledgeable
about worldwide packaging and recycling issues, are invited to join in the
standards developing activities of D10.19.

For further technical information, contact Jan Gates, Abbott Vascular,
Temecula, Calif. (phone: 951/914-4048; Committee D10
meets April 15-18, 2007, at the April Committee Week in Norfolk, Va. For
membership or meeting information, contact Kevin Shanahan, manager, Technical
Committee Operations, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9737;

More on the environment.....
Recently quoted by Angie DeRosa at Plastics News on her feature article
Packaging Taking An Environmental Swing.

"I Hate Packaging" by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva
MARK PATINKIN: The Bad Invention Hall of Fame
(SH) - I had a traumatic thing happen to me this week. I received a big box packed with plastic foam peanuts.

Extreme anger caused by product packaging that is difficult to open... is called "Wrap Rage". Freeing the toys, electronics and other gifts of the holiday season from their bulletproof packaging can require the strength of Superman and patience of Job.

"The Death Of The Plastic Clamshell" by JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva
How to open blister packs / clamshell plastic packaging
But, while some plastic packages are near impossible to open without bringing out heavy duty scissors, first consider your cutting technique. I used to cut straight across the packaging and then try to rip it open like so: However, ...

Unwrapping Plastic Packages
... The News on 6 talked to people about how tough it is to unseal the deal. Janet Polin got perfume for Christmas, but the packaging stunk. ...

I know I promised my trends piece this week, but I just read an article about polar bears and how they may be placed on the endangered species list. Do you know that there are more polar bears now than there were 20 years ago? You wouldn't know it if you listened to the news. According to the media, polar bears are on the brink of extinction. That premise got me thinking about political spin and how it relates to what happens in the packaging industry. How packaging initiatives with the right spin can become "political" issues.

"Global warming" is a hot ticket right now. Anything relative to the topic moves to the top of the media list. That's where the polar bears come into play. Their supposed loss of habitat is due to global warming; ergo: we need to protect them. If you take a cause or issue and make it politically correct and then give it enough media play, it becomes a mandate. Just look at Wal-Mart and its new-found green initiatives.

Every week there is something in the news about their green initiative forcing companies to scramble to meet proposed deadlines. Although in this case, there is as much negative publicity as positive. Additionally, there are those that intimate that this green position on environmental responsibility is a way to counteract all negative publicity swirling around Wal-Mart.

It's sort of like the current frenzy over "green" packaging. "Green is good." That’s the current buzz phrase that has all the packaging manufacturers and consumer goods companies all a titter. Eco-friendly, bio resins, bio plastics, environmental sustainability, and green packaging are all "trendy" media friendly words. After all, packaging is the root cause of global warming or so they would have you believe. So how can you jump on this bandwagon? Or should you?

Here is a surprise. When I gave the keynote at PolyPack last May, I popped in on a colleague’s presentation. He queried the audience as to the amount of packaging currently in landfills. I, like my other media brain washed participants, thought is was 70-80 percent. The truth is it's around 30 - 35 percent! SURPRISE. So, packaging isn't the bane of landfills that we think it is. Will all of this hubbub around packaging saving the environment be a flash in the pan?

You may not be aware that consumers are on their third wave of environmental awareness. The last two waves died out once the reality set in that it cost the consumer more to be "green." In fact, now the hue and cry is "what's it going to cost?" There is a point of diminishing return. Consumers are willing to pay for "saving the environment," the question is just how much.

Additionally, there have been numerous recent articles about forcing manufacturers to use less packaging. The media purports protests on packaging at grocery stores and the like. Too much packaging they say. Well, where would they be without it? Squashed, broken, inedible or whatever. Ever see the IT commercial for EBay? Well, packaging is IT. You can't have a product without a package and IT is everywhere.

And another new buzz phrase is "polluter pays." And just who might that be? Packaging anything is a complex equation. Just where does the buck stop? Consumers want more convenience because of their busy lifestyles, yet when products demand more packaging to make it happen consumers are frenzied about excess packaging.

Here's another example. It is the Wal-Mart "packaging scorecard" to be unveiled in February. This is causing much consternation among manufacturers. Is it political to spin "green" because of their commitment to the environment? Or is pledging to cut packaging in products by five percent over five years, beginning in 2008 (an estimated will saving to the company 10.98 billion in related costs throughout the supply chain) a "green" move or a smart one?

Whatever your product and whether you decide to package it "green" or not, it is imperative that what you do behind the scenes validates throughout the company goals, initiatives and mandates. Make sure your package is not just spin for an issue that may be perceived to be politically correct. You don't want your brand to be portrayed in the negative light of politically "packaging greenwash" for a profit.

Need insights on packaging trends that can impact your business? Get the Packaging Diva on your team. Email me at or call me at 1-678-594-6872.

Remember I wrote about Beneful in my article is Your Packaging Going To The Dogs?
PMMI News: Nestle Beneful Receives PACK EXPO Selects Award
Arlington, VA, January 8, 2007 – Packaging professionals attending November’s PACK EXPO International voted the sleek package developed for Nestlé Beneful® Prepared Meals™ as the winner of the inaugural PACK EXPO Selects™ awards program. PACK EXPO Selects™ was the newest addition to The Showcase of Packaging Innovations™, a special pavilion sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company. PACK EXPO was held from October 29 – November 2, 2006 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois.

Sealed Air Acquires Majority Interest in Biosphere Industries
Business Wire (press release) - San Francisco,CA,USA
... Sealed Air expects to bring Biosphere sustainable packaging products for food and industrial packaging applications to the market during 2007. ...

Demand For Dairy Packaging Expected To Reach $4.3B By 2010
Dairy packaging demand is projected to expand 4.1% annually to $4.3B in 2010, according to a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland, OH-based industry market research firm...


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