Can a green package be an effective one that’s also efficient, high-quality, and profitable?
Sustainability is currently the front-running concern in the United States packaging industry. The trend has many packagers scrambling to find ways to respond to the need for eco-friendly packaging while minimizing disruption to their manufacturing infrastructure and production costs. Can a green package be an effective one that’s also efficient, high-quality, and profitable? Some European companies seem to have already discovered ways to achieve simultaneous quality, ecology, and cost-effective production.
There are a few decorating contractors in Europe and the U.S. who enjoy a solid reputation as innovative packagers, committed to leading the industry in effective packaging methods that produce high-quality results. These companies have always been direct-bottle branders who view labeled bottles as an inefficient and inferior quality product. With the burgeoning ecological trend overtaking the industry, this label-less production has put them at a great advantage.
Direct branding: ecological, economical, and aesthetic
The direct-printing trend has been in full force since approximately mid 1980s due to the simplicity of the production process and the growing environmental concerns associated with the labeling process. Several companies have committed to direct bottle printing (Figure 1) since it entered the packaging market, in part due to the fact that the brands prefer direct bottle packaging to labels. The reasons are clear.
Label-less bottle equals clean scrap. Glass is lauded as the one true cradle-to-cradle, or endlessly recyclable product, as it is the most easily processed recycled container. Deterioration is rare, even when the glass is consistently recycled. Adding a label, however, will render the glass un-recyclable if the label can’t be completely stripped, rendering it dirty scrap. Direct-to-glass printing solutions using eco-friendly lead-free inks ensure that the glass can be completely recycled indefinitely.
Direct printing also allows plastic molders to practice green manufacturing. The same recycling advantages of the direct-to-glass bottle-printing process can be applied to the market for plastic containers. Plastic molders practice green manufacturing by grinding rejected or scrap bottles in-house and then recycling the material. If the label can’t be stripped off the container, the dirty scrap is usually sold to an outside vendor instead of being recycled in the plant.
Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.