Sustainable Packaging (Part One)

June 30, 2019 2 minutes

When we founded Highcon in 2009 it was obvious to us that one of the many advantages of digitizing the finishing process was the positive impact on sustainability. In fact, we wrote a white paper about it, that after careful rereading today, was pretty close to the mark!

Packaging is designed to protect the contents, to promote the brand and at the same time to provide a positive unboxing experience that supports the brand owner. Meanwhile, today’s young people are more and more aware of the need for sustainability. Witness, for example, the Climate Strike movement that has spread across Europe and worldwide, with schoolchildren in the UK, Belgium, France, Kenya and Uganda foregoing school. These kids are pushing brands to be more socially and environmentally responsible too.

One of the first brands to promote the concept of sustainability was Walmart, who as early as 2006 revealed 7 R’s of sustainable packaging which was then shortened to 4 – reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink!  Nestlé have an incredibly broad commitment covering all aspects of their production, including the packaging, and Mondelēz have set ambitious targets too.

In short, major brands have joined the drive to ensure our children’s future by encouraging, as part of their global commitment, sustainable packaging. Many of them have set targets of 2025 for completion of implementation.
An interesting blog article points out that the path to sustainable packaging includes many facets:

  • Ingredients: Using raw 100% recycled or raw materials
  • Production process – by minimizing the production process, supply chain and carbon footprint
  • Reusability – creating a circular economy

The production process is exactly where Highcon digital cutting and creasing technology fits into the picture. The actual process is reduced from 12 steps to 4…

(To learn more about the Highcon technology, click here)

At the same time, the digital process speeds up immeasurably the planning and launch process for the brand owner, removes the need for transportation of the physical dies, eliminates the requirement for minimum order quantities, and enables on-demand production of customized packaging regardless of job run size.

Sustainability is a huge undertaking – and the packaging part may only be one small element – but it’s complex enough to warrant a second part to this item – watch for the next one, which will talk about the effect of corrugated board on the supply chain, particularly in this era of online ordering, the circular economy and branding of packaged goods.

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