Recycling Thermoformed Packaging

For good reason, retailers and companies are increasingly concerned with the re-usability of packaging. Using materials that can be recycled and reused is not only good for the environment, but a selling point to eco-conscious customers. Recycling thermoformed packaging is one reason Sunrise Packaging loves promoting our thermoforming processes, but not the only one.

We turned to the current industry analysis and trends on industrial thermoform packaging material market to find out why this style of customized inserts and packaging is rapidly increasing in popularity.

Reasons to Love Recycling Thermoformed Packaging

It’s good for the globe.

Recycling plastic leads to a robust second life for a variety of products (see what kinds of plastics can be recycled). With the majority of thermoformed materials meeting the requirements for recycling initiatives, it allows consumers to buy with confidence. On a grander scale, it reduces greenhouse gasses and pollution, as well as the waste filling up dumps and natural environments. 

It’s good for the consumer.

And in more ways than you might think. It takes less energy to make products from recycled plastic than it does using virgin materials. It saves on oil, which in turn makes more oil available for heating homes and other uses. That’s just one example of how recycling thermoformed packaging helps the collective and not just individuals.

It’s good for your organization.

Thermoforming has a lot of advantages. It’s ligthweight but solid. It’s environmentally-friendly while providing stiff storage for products. Additionally, more and more products require the versatility offered by custom plastic packaging. Wood and glass can’t promise a moisture-free, odor-free environment that also blocks light. Oh, and while keeping weight and shipping costs down. 

Upcycling For The Greater Good

Upcycling‘ is becoming an increasingly popular term to further clarify recycling. It means taking a product and reusing it for a new purpose. But in such a way that creates a product of higher quality or value. It’s not exactly a new idea–there must have been some inventive upcycling going on through the Great Depression, right?–but it’s gained traction in our eco-friendly society. 

Choosing packaging that can be re-purposed is more than just a fiscal decision. As people become more educated about making choices, trends show that the demand for recyclable packaging will grow. Get ahead of the game by working with Sunrise Packaging to create recyclable thermoformed packaging!

Organic Tea and Eco-Friendly Packaging

Rishi Tea has introduced a new organic and caffeine-free herbal tea line that is using eco-friendly packaging. What makes this new line unique is that the new package design has a label that can be peeled off which will allow consumers to reuse and recycle the tins. Rishi Tea also promotes saving the environment through daily operations by reducing their waste, conserving energy, and reducing their ecological footprint. Some examples of how they do this include: printing all marketing materials on 100% post-consumer waste paper,  composting used tealeaves, and using soy ink for labels.

Tea Forte is an award winning specialty tea company that is enjoyed worldwide. Recently they have also launched a new line of organic herbal teas. They decided to package their different kinds of teas in recyclable, air-tight EnviroTins. Each tins contains biodegradable full-leaf sachets made from GMO-free corn silk. They hope their new eco-friendly packaging will re-define the tea experience.

8 Ideas to Make “Green” Packaging More Green

Whether you call it green, eco-friendly, or sustainable, this type of packaging provides many benefits to the environment. It has the ability to reduce waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and our dependence on oil. What may surprise you is that green packaging is also an effective marketing solution. By using sustainable packaging, sales have the possibility of increasing and costs are cut. Although sustainable packaging has many benefits, there is always room for improvement and innovation.

Here are 8 ideas to make green packaging more green:

1. Innovation in design: Just because something is eco-friendly doesn’t mean creativity and design gets thrown out the window. Packaging still needs to keep customers satisfied and enticed to purchase. Creative designs can have sustainable solutions, while still keeping the customer in mind.

2. Corrugated fiberboard: Also called cardboard, corrugated materials are the most recycled on the planet. They are mainly made from recycled newspapers and boxes, and then are reused for storage and shipping. These materials are a great way to incorporate sustainability into packaging.

3. Recycled plastics: Plastics tend to have a bad reputation for being harmful to the environment. But recycled PET (RPET) is a sustainable material that is made from recycled water bottles. This a sustainable alternative for incorporating plastic into packaging.

4. Molded fiber materials: These fibers are made entirely from recycled fibers. They are versatile, durable, and environmentally responsible. Molded fibers are often used for food products, wine bottles, and toys.

5. Compostable solutions: Composting is becoming a popular way to dispose of waste and is an environmentally friendly way of doing so. By producing packaging that can be thrown into the compost pile after use is a great way to decrease waste build up. As our landfills become more and more packed with waste everyday, composting allows for those materials to be put back into the earth.

6. Automated packaging: Manual packaging takes a great deal of man power and can result in errors. Automated packaging allows for accuracy and precision.

7. The H-Loc trapped blister: What is blister packaging you ask? It has the reputation of being the frustrating and hard to open packaging. On the other hand it keeps products safe and secure. The H-Loc is a replacement to the traditional style of blister packaging. A trapped blister is an effective sustainable option because it uses mainly corrugated materials and a minimal amount of RPET.

8. Glass Packaging: As weird as this may sound, glass is a sustainable alternative for packaging. The material can be reused as well as recycled, and never uses its quality, purity, clarity, or image.

Just Add Water

Replenish, the creator of the patented, Reusable Bottle System, has designed a way to transform how cleaning products are packaged. This new invention consists of two components. The first one is the pod. The pod is full of a non toxic, safe for the environment liquid that is readily biodegradable and has a PH balance of neutral. The second component is the bottle. The bottle comes empty and the only requirement is that it gets filled with water.

How it works: First you attach the pod to the base of the bottle. It screws on like a garden hose. Then you flip it upside down and squeeze it. A built in measuring cup allows you to squeeze the right amount. Water is then added and the two mix together, resulting in your very own household cleaner. Every pod contains enough cleaner to make four full bottles of cleaning solution. Pods are sold separately, so when the pod runs out, simply replace it with a new one, without having to buy a whole new bottle.

60 billion pounds of plastic is discarded annually and only 7% is recycled. Replenish wants to cut back on that amount by creating packaging that can be reused and recycled. By mixing the Replenish pods at home, 90% less plastic and oil are being used. The bottle’s spray head is 100% recyclable and contains no metal springs and has been tested to last more than 10,000 trigger pulls. The plastic bottle is also eco-friendly and is made with 100% PET recyclable materials. The cleaner is also environmentally friendly in that the ingredients are 98% plant derived.

Sustainable Packaging Emerging in Beauty Products

Beauty products are saying goodbye to old plastic packaging and focusing on sustainable packaging. This is because two major players- Whole Foods and Procter & Gamble – are passing new regulations for sustainable and recyclable packaging.

Whole Foods’ new regulation goes in effect this month and requires suppliers to use packaging materials that are easily reused or recycled, are non-toxic, and call for a switch from plastic to glass whenever possible. Strengthening their commitment to reducing, reusing, and recycling waste is the main objective. Whole Foods has switched to post-consumer recycled bottles for most of their store-brand personal care and nutritional supplement products. They have also implemented responsible packaging guidelines for all of the company’s personal care product suppliers (more than 1,300). The new regulations will cause many brands to adapt to their sustainable packaging objectives regardless of wherever else they are sold.

Over the next few years, Procter & Gamble will switch to sustainable packaging made from sugarcane produced in Brazil. P&G employed Brazilian supermodel and Pantene endorser Gisele Bundchen to announce the switch. The initiative will help meet the needs of women around the world who have been demanding more environmentally friendly products with no trade-offs in performance, aesthetic, or value.

Brands like The Body Shop and Stila have had a longer history of using green packaging but with the new changes from a giant like Procter & Gamble, it’s a sure sign of change in the mainstream marketplace.

Do RFID Tags on Products/Packaging Affect Recycling?

radio-frequency-identification-RFID-tags-harm-recyclingRadio-Frequency Identification, or RFID tags, are very helpful for automatic store checkout, simplifying warehousing, and preventing theft.  Some say RFID tags may even completely replace the barcode, which is most commonly used today.  They are able to store more information on minimal space and can be read quickly by readers.  Although RFID tags are very helpful for these purposes, The Blog of Packaging pointed out that RFID tags could interfere with recycling.

The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) performed a study that showed when melting waste glass, it could become less shatterproof or discolored if the recycled glass contains trace amounts of aluminum and silicon from RFID tags.

Something needs to be done to make RFID tags more eco-friendly, such as making them metal-free, easily removable, or stuck to the bottle labels instead of the glass.  Otherwise many losses will be seen from not being able to recycle these materials, which would increase the input of extraneous materials needed.

2009 Greener Package Awards

With the growing concern for sustainable packaging, Greener Package decided to recognize the green efforts of companies moving in the right direction with environmentally-friendly innovations.  The winners come from a range of different industries, including food, pharmaceutical, personal care, and household care.  Here is the list they came up with:

Greener Package Award

  • sustainable-packaging-awards-greener-2009Entropy Solutions–Greenbox thermal management (Winner of Innovator of the Year)
  • Estee Lauder–Aveda Vintage Clove Shampoo & cap collection program
  • Bryce Corporation–SunChips bag from 33% PLA
  • Robbie Mfg.–Hot N Handy Bio-Pouch
  • ConAgra-rPET in CPET trays for Healthy Choice
  • Ampac–Patch Perfect
  • Rexam PLC–rPET in APET drug ovals
  • Unisource Worldwide–recycled toys with 100% recyclable packaging


Retail Leadership Award

Clean Manufacturing Award

All of these companies are setting the mark for their competition.  If they want to stay in the game, they must follow suit with their green efforts, or go above and beyond, because eco-friendly packaging is here to stay.

Eco-Friendly Cell Phone

As consumers are being educated and motivated to become more environmentally-friendly, we are seeing more and more eco-friendly products being introduced.  One of these areas is the cell phone industry.

One example is the Samsung Reclaim that was recently offered for Sprint users.  Not only is this phone a more environmentally -friendly option, but it is also Sprint’s first 3G QWERTY phone to get down to only $50 after rebates with a signed contract.

80 percent of the material used are corn-fed and recyclable.  They skipped the paper manual, so less paper would be wasted.  They also used recyclable packaging printed with soy-based inks.

You don’t have to gibe up quality cell phone features to be environmentally-friendly.  This phone still has  a 2MP camera, GPS, and Bluetooth.  Better yet, with each purchase, a few dollars are donated to a land conservation  charity.  This phone proves once again, that you can have a quality product at a low cost, while still being eco-friendly.

Microsoft’s Windows 7 – Reducing Packaging Waste

Microsoft is rolling out their latest window’s upgrade. So, of course we were curious about the packaging and checked out the Windows Blog to see what they had to say. One of the challenges Microsoft was facing in designing its packaging was the stigma of the Vista packaging which almost needed dynamite to open it.

A quote from Microsoft about their packaging reveals, “We approached the packaging for Windows 7 the same way we approached the product – by listening to what our customers told us they wanted: make it a simple clean design, easy to open, and reduce waste.” So, rest assured, Microsoft listened and has improved the packaging.

Their theme is: Simple, Clean and Easy To Open…

Reduced Packaging Windows 7

The graphics are clear and bold. They text font is larger and easier to read. Each version has its own distinct color which makes it easy to identify which version of the operating system you are picking up.

The cover graphics are simple and minimal which gives the packaging a fresh and clean feel.

Easy To Open:
The upgrade disc comes in an easy opening, recyclable, frosty clear DVD style case. The case is shaped with the iconic curve on the upper right corner. For security reasons, there will be a seal on the top of the case which is claimed to be removable with little effort.

Reduced Packaging Windows 7 CaseReducing Waste:
So how green is it? The entire package is 37% lighter than previous packaging. They accomplished this by using less material to make the case. And the case is recyclable. In fact, the entire package consists of only 3 elements:

  1. The upgrade disc
  2. A “Getting Started” manual
  3. And the recyclable case

So, we give kudos to Windows for listening to consumers and giving them the packaging they want.

Like you need another reason to go green…

We decided to continue on our “green” theme, since today is Arbor Day.  This time, with reasons to go green.  The environmental, social and political reasons to go green are very real and valid. By making environmentally friendly choices you can reduce carbon emissions, reduce energy waste, make more efficient use of resources and reducegreen environmentally-friendly recycling earth the amount of waste and pollution that is damaging our environment. This is the most important reason to go green and this is the information that proliferates in the media landscape. With all the focus on the environmental reasons to go green, you may have missed the business-savvy reasons to go green, a complimentary perk to environmentally-savvy intentions. The following are the top three reasons for small businesses (or any business for that matter) to go green:

  1. “Save on costs”: Through buying fewer materials, creating lighter products and utilizing other green business methods you retain more savings for you and your business by cutting down on purchasing, energy, and transportation costs.
  2. “Establish a reputation for ethical business practices”: Going green is good PR. Polishing your image through green business practices can improve your reputation in the eyes of stakeholders, including current and potential customers.
  3. “Take advantage of green marketing benefits”: If you haven’t noticed, “green” has been a marketing buzzword and a powerful message and trend that your business can capitalize on if you are truly participating in “green” business practices. Going green can help you to truly grow your business.*

Going green may be intimidating at first,eco-friendly binders cardboard but there are a lot of small things that you can do to get started and changing the way that products are packaged can be a great first step because results can easily be seen and measured.

Lighter packaging reduces the amount of space that is necessary for transportation and also reduced weight, creating fewer emissions, and less money spent on gas and shipping. Packaging can also be created with biodegradable, recyclable or recycled materials, making it easy to go green without changing your packaging too dramatically.

*These top three reasons for businesses to go green were inspired by