6 Eco Friendly Ideas for Post-Consumer Corrugated Cardboard

 

cardboard-boxes1

So What Do You Do with Your Custom Corrugated Boxes After They Serve Their Purpose?

 

Recycle them, of course. That’s obvious. We all know that generating post-consumer waste is nearly unavoidable in the retail market, but corrugated cardboard is an eco friendly post-consumer fiber that is easily recycled. And it’s place in retail as light-but-durable packaging is widely celebrated.

 

But how are you going to recycle it? I’m not talking about the route you take to the recycling center. I’m talking about the step in between. You know about that step, right? The part where your post-consumer corrugated cardboard becomes the key to crafting? The doorway to imagination? I mean, you’ve heard about that, right?

 

Custom corrugated boxes are eco friendly. But they’re also kid friendly. You’ve seen it before: some birthday or Christmas where the box gets more mileage than the toy inside. Kids love cardboard. Parents: don’t be discouraged by this–embrace it! Get that kid a box and let them go hog wild!

 

Recently, I wrote about how corrugated cardboard has been vital to prototyping my own board game. Yes, the cardboard box has become coveted in my household. Brown Gold, we call it. But it got me thinking: there’s a lot of awesome ways for kids to use corrugated cardboard boxes that can be quite beneficial to their creativity (and the environment). Here’s a few, just off the top of my head.

 

Make a Puzzlepost-consumer corrugated cardboard for custom board games and puzzles

Puzzles are one of the most timeless toys in history. Going to the store to pick one out is fun…but how about making one? Take a piece of corrugated cardboard and either draw right on it, or glue on a picture. Flip it over and sketch out the pieces. The cutting part might need a little supervision–or maybe an adult with an Exacto knife–but at the end, you’ll have a thick, sturdy puzzle made to your exact specifications. Definitely a good project for a rainy afternoon.
 

Make a “Layer Sculpture”

Keep those scissors handy. Break down some corrugated cardboard boxes and cut out a base for your sculpture. Essentially, you’re going to become a 3-D printer, crafting your little statue layer by layer from the ground up. Stencil out the next piece so that it fits within the confines of the base, and so on and so on. Eventually with a little stacking and glue, you’ll have a layer sculpture. A castle spire, the Statue of Liberty. You can even make yourself that Academy Award you’ve always deserved.

 

Make a Giant Interactive Board Game

Now this use for corrugated cardboard will really get you moving around! Breakdown a repurposed cardboard box or two. Or three, or four, or five. (A good old B-Flute RSC Box would be perfect.) Use the flaps as spaces for a giant board game. Get out the markers and crayons to add rules and regulations to the spaces. Collect 200 Pennies or Win a Candy Bar or whatever! Half the fun of making a board game is making up the rules. And making a giant, fully-interactive board game that can go around the house, through the yard, or all of the above will definitely getting the creative motors running. And don’t forget the giant cardboard box dice! 

 

Make Room!

Sure this is fun for kids, but it’s also good for parents, right? Use some repurposed cardboard boxes to create a den of storage cubbies. Or turn existing shelving a little more personal and private by creating custom drawers for each member of the family. Everybody needs more space. Stack’em up and see that precious floor space you’ve been missing!

 

Make Stencils

I use this a lot in my board game design when I need to draw a particular shape or symbol over and over again. Take a sturdy piece of corrugated cardboard and cut out a cool shape. Now you have a template for drawing shapes again and again, and the best part is they’ll be personalized to what you like drawing! Maybe you’re a 5-leaf clover fan, or partial to crescent moons! The options are endless!

 

Make a Robot

box bot, eco friendly idea for post-consumer corrugated cardboard

 

 

I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t suggest making a robot to someone. But a custom box made of corrugated cardboard makes the perfect robot parts. 5 or 6 of them stacked together make for all the components of a robot. With very sizes and shapes of boxes, you can make a pretty unique bot. Make it a mini, or life-sized. Just try not to give it artificial intelligence–I’ve heard that ends poorly.

 

 

 

 

Whew! That should hold you for awhile, right? Two rainy saturdays, at the very least. These ideas are all fine and well, but it’s important to remember what it means for the environment. Every time you get a little more use out that custom packaging or corrugated box before the recycling bin, you’re contributing to the fight against post-consumer waste. Granted the eco friendly nature of corrugated cardboard plays its part in that battle, but why not get something creative out of the deal while you’re at it? After all, it’s a lot easier to utilize something than figure out how to properly dispose of it.

 


 

Luxury Packaging Afterlife: The Post-Consumer Purpose

Post-Consumer Waste. What does it mean?

 

Simplified, it means what you do with the box after you’ve opened your purchase. Do you toss it in the trash? Or do you find a way to utilize it, repurpose it.

 

At Sunrise Packaging, we try to use recyclable materials whenever possible. Eco-binders made from recyclable material and utilizing eco friendly, vegetable-based ink. Aqueous print coatings preserve paper from yellowing, making products more reusable, and they’re water-based. Using grades of plastic for thermoforming that can be recycled. In fact, RPET (Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate) is a polymer made using reclaimed post-consumer material.

recyclable corrugated cardboard cuts back on post-consumer waste

When you think about it, our packaging lends itself quite well to the fight against post-consumer waste. Even though they are on opposite ends of the spectrum, luxury packaging and corrugated cardboard boxes can both cut back on post-consumer waste. How? Well, with a little imagination for starters.

 

Let’s start with luxury packaging. The brilliance of luxury packaging is that it’s not only eye-catching, it adds value to the product itself. The same upscale element that makes it attractive in stores, makes it somewhat of a keepsake in the post-consumer market. Fine packaging can be used and reused as gift boxes and storage long after they’ve served their purpose. I use a magnetic cigar-style box to hold the components of a board game I’m designing. It feels like an heirloom. That magnetic strip, the soft–touch lamination–that’s something I can proudly display on my bookshelf. Not meant for refuse.

repurposed magnetic cigar style box for board game design, turned edges, upscale, post-consumer

On the other side of the coin, rugged, durable corrugated cardboard–still a staple of modern packaging–is designed to be used again and again, and yet is recycled and recyclable. Now that’s eco friendly! Think of the last time you reused a corrugated cardboard box. I bet it wasn’t that long ago. Something always needs moving, lifting, or transporting. And cardboard, with its varying flutes, was there for you. While custom cardboard boxes don’t always have the flash of, let’s say, a rigid two-piece setup box, or the stiffness of a chipboard, but they are lightweight, disposable, and endlessly reusable.

 

 

Corrugated Cardboard and Rigid Chipboard: The Eco Friendly Odd Couple

 

Two different materials, used in different ways, both contributing to the fight against post-consumer waste. One with staying power, and one that bows out gracefully when the time comes. It might take a little imagination–heck, it might take a lot of imagination–but there’s always an eco friendly (re)purpose for packaging, luxury or rugged. All things to consider for your next custom box or packaging project. Do you want to be the heirloom? Or the bottom of the bin?


 

 

New Holiday Packaging for the Elf on the Shelf

Summer is over and it’s time to start discussing Christmas! Okay, maybe not yet. But some holiday packaging markets are already preparing for the snowy season ahead.

One yuletide tradition you can expect to see a little early is the Elf on the Shelf thanks to a little help from Sunrise Packaging.

An Old Tradition Gets a New Look with Corrugated Holiday Packaging

If you’re not familiar with Elf on the Shelf–well, where have you been? Apparently not on Facebook. According to just about any family’s photo uploads, the seemingly timeless tradition of a rambunctious Elf (hailing from the Shelf) carries on year after year. This mischievous little critter appears to be the scapegoat for a wide variety of good-hearted, Toy Story-esque pranks around the house. But how exactly does the Elf get on one’s shelf? That’s where holiday packaging comes in.

Elf on the Shelf custom boxes, corrugated cardboard, b-flute

The (in)famous history of the Elf on the Shelf can be traced back to 2004. Over a cup of tea, an erstwhile mother-daughter duo decided to make a time-honored family tradition into a global phenomenon. Legend has it that Santa dispatches helper Elves around the world come December to keep an eye on families and make sure that the holiday magic is running high. This is the reason the Elf is often caught off the Shelf in a covert location. What results is a month-long game of hide and seek and, more importantly, a tradition the whole family can take part in.

 

But the Elf has to get delivered somehow and apparently Santa thinks holiday packaging is the best vehicle (other than the sleigh, of course). This beautiful custom box crafted by Sunrise Packaging. A 4-color printing finished with Custom Holiday Packaging from Sunrise Packaging, MNan eco-friendly aqueous print coating displays the warm colors of the season. These custom RSC boxes are made of B-Flute corrugated cardboard for a combination of durability and cushion, holding up in transit as well as storage between holiday seasons.

 

Sunrise was able to deliver on this holiday packaging just a week after art approvals. At that rate, Christmas could almost come twice a year! In any case, the Elf on the Shelf custom box was a pleasure to work on. A truly lovely piece of holiday packaging that will hopefully be a part of your family’s traditions this Christmas season. You can almost taste the eggnog, can’t you?

Retail Ready Packaging (RRP) and the Five Easies

plastic retail packaging, retail ready packaging, shelf ready packaging, customized thermoformed product packaging

 

It almost sounds like a rock band, doesn’t it? “RRP and the Five Easies.” In actuality, RRP stands for Retail Ready Packaging and it’s only about the biggest growing development in custom packaging marketing–and it’s still growing. Projections put RRP demand to increase by 70% in 2016. But RRP isn’t the new kid on the block: Smithers Pira Research reported a total market volume of 27 million tons–$54 billion worth–back in 2011 alone.

 

So what is Retail Ready Packaging?

 

Retail Ready Packaging (or Shelf Ready Packaging, SRP) is difficult to define. The ECR generalizes it as a “term used for mechanisms to merchandise product on shelf, on display, on retail store floor on its own base, or at aisle end.”

 

RRP and SRP might be more clearly defined by their guidelines, their motivating factors. Which is where the 5 Easies come in.

 

retail ready packaging, five easies, rrp guidelines

Image: Retail Ready Packaging Toolkit

 

Easy to Identify

 

Clear-cut, straightforward packaging is good for both consumer and staff alike. If your staff can tell what it is right from the box, they’ll be able to get it on the shelf faster while stocking. On the flip side, your customer will be able to get it off the shelf that much faster too.

 

Easy to Open

 

Ever struggle with a package or envelope? Seems like the more you want it, the harder it is to open. A corrugated box with perforations is one of the simplest solutions, able to tear open with ease. Even better if the overall packaging for the product can tear open into the display itself. Again, easy for the stocker as well as the consumer.

 

Easy to Shelf

 

Shelf Ready Packaging means the product is ready to be put on the shelf. Thus, your package design needs to ride the line between marketable and eye-catching, but also sturdy and secure. The right custom packaging can solve both of those issues and get your product to your buyer much quicker.

 

Easy to Shop

 

This relates back to “Easy to Identify”–the easier it is for a customer to know what they’re getting, the more likely they are to choose your product. Transparency in product via the packaging print. Making sure there are no roadblocks between the product and the hands of you potential customer.

 

Easy to Dispose

 

It’s the cold hard facts–eventually your Retail Ready Packaging will have served its purpose. At which point, it needs to “go on to a better place.” This plays a factor in deciding what material to use. Something easily recyclable is the best case scenario. However, this guideline isn’t just preaching an eco-friendly song, it also relates to easily identifying the recycling information. Is it recyclable? Is it made from recycled paper? What type of plastic is it? All of this should be taken into consideration in today’s market.

 

Bottom Line

 

When choosing your custom packaging, RRP needs to be at the forefront. There are a lot of hands on your product between you and your customers. The more confusing–or crushable–your Retail Ready Packaging, the longer the time is before they actually purchase it. And that lost time can mean lost dollars.
So remember: Easier for your stockers. Easier for your buyers. Easier for your wallet.

What’s Trending in High-End Custom Packaging

Custom mag box with softtouch lamination for presentation packaging and sales kits

We’re reaching the back nine of 2015. It’s time to paint the shed, so to speak. If you haven’t had your finger on the pulse of custom packaging, now’s the time to catch up.

Earlier this year, Andrew Gibbs, well-known CEO of The Dieline, highlighted some of the trends in custom packaging. In an article written for the Creative Bloq, Gibbs points to 4 emerging hot spots in the world of package design:

 

  • Visual authenticity a revival of raw, freeform, or handdrawn graphics
  • Luxury of lesssubtle, texture-based iconography and design
  • Ultra-purea simple, clean look, perhaps most notably used by Apple
  • Bio-basedpackaging that’s sustainable, or “environmentally responsible”

 

 

Rigid-set-up-box-11.02.14

Are these trends mutually exclusive though? While Gibbs tends to point to these as separate entities, perhaps business owners can glean a singular lesson from this list. It would appear that clients and consumers alike are looking towards a clean and simple look. They are looking for transparency, integrity, and a product they can feel good about dispersing. Luckily these elements go hand in hand.

But make no mistake: these elements, though subtle and simple and interconnected, are still design choices. Turned-edge packaging, soft touch laminated surfaces, foil stamping and embossing are more important now than ever in establishing that clean, clinical look. And, more importantly, the quality in which these processes are completed needs to be sharper than ever. Making something look handmade is an overlooked artform. Looking sloppy and being sloppy are two different things–and yet immediately recognized by today’s consumer.

 

Customers Unhappy with Wasteful Packaging

retail packagingHermes, a delivery company, conducted a study concerning packaging by online retailers. The reality is that online retailers that overdo packaging for their product are putting themselves at risk of backlash from consumers. About 67% of consumers admit to receiving a delivery from a retailer with wasteful and excessive packaging. Also, 70% of respondents felt that retailers should be doing more to minimize the environmental impact of home delivery. The majority of respondents also struggled to name a specific retail that they believe to be excelling in sustainable shipping practices. The results of this research shows that the use of inappropriate packaging has an adverse affect on the overall online shopping experience. Consumers are unhappy about the amount of waste, as well as having to deal with disposing of the packaging.

Keep in Mind for Package Design

Developing a package design takes a lot of careful consideration and research. The key is to implement creativity but hold true to standards that will enable you to measure success or failure of the package. The following are elements that when properly executed will drive successful packaging and allow you to attain your goals:

1. First things first- visibility. Especially in retail packaging, your item will be sitting on the shelves with its competitors for all the world to see. The biggest challenge you will face with any package design is to break through that clutter and remaining relevant to shoppers. Research packaging trends and make yours different!

2. Make your package sell the product. In other words, shopability is a huge factor in driving success. Now that you’ve got their attention with the first step, let your package do the talking for you and make your item the easy choice.

3. Choose a single, clear, message. Eye-tracking studies have told us that you only have 5 seconds to persuade a shopper. Consumers do little to no research when they shop, so keep the message clear and concise when you explain the benefits of your product.

4. They chose your product! Good for you, but the work isn’t over. In order for them to choose you again, it has to be easy to use. When you design packaging, think about how easy it is to open, reopen, and how long is it going to stick around. Many retailers forget that where the package is stored makes a huge impact on the consumer’s decision to repurchase.

5. Finally, sustainability. Now don’t change the record, I promise it isn’t broken. This element is just a reminder of the increased awareness of environmental impact that consumers exercise when they shop. Design for sustainability, and make sure they know.

Read more at Imagemme

Comprehensive Design Encourages Curious Consumers

custom packagingTraditional Medicinals has decided to refresh its packaging design to target a broader audience. There is a rising interest in natural herbal products and the California company wanted to capitalize on this demand. The organization has a commitment to educating the community on the power of plants which prompted the new design of the cartons. By improving on their package’s graphics, the products and information became more approachable for consumers new to the concept. After extensive research, the push for a revised design came from the discovery that products are more accessible through warmer, friendlier, and easier to understand packaging. The new graphics include icons and colors that logically represent the product line and their respective segments; detox, digestive, green, herbal, laxative, relaxation, seasonal, tonic, and women’s. Through color and imagery these design elements are intended to evoke trust, demonstrate care, and cue flavor. After the change, the company has seen a nearly universal positive response to retailers. In 2011, the herbal supplement market grew to an estimated $5.3 billion, and with the new design the company estimates that this growth will carry over to wellness tea and show vast increases.

Source: PackWorld

Biodegradable Plastics Made from Natural Resources

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed a new plastic capable of being thermoformed. The material is biodegradable and because of this, is best for disposable food packaging. To accomplish this development, the Agricultural Research Service incorporated biodegradable sugar beet pulp- the leftover residue from sugar extraction. They took this substance and incorporated it with a biodegradable polymer. The combination resulted in thermoplastic composites that retain mechanical properties similar to polystyrene and polypropylene which are extremely common plastics for thermoforming products. Processors of the sugar beet pulp produce tons of the substance annually, making it a viable, long-term product of agricultural business.

Source: Packaging Digest

28th Annual MSU Packaging Jamboree

2013 Packaging JamboreeMichigan State University’s Schoolof Packagingwill be hosting the 28th annual Student Packaging Jamboree this March 21 through 23. The school was established in 1952 and is on of the premier programs in its field. This event gives students the opportunity for packaging students nationwide to network and learn more about their prospective field. The University anticipates 250 students to attend this 3 day event. Throughout the conference, industry experts will be available to interact and speak with students in a panel format, showcase display, and a design competition of the products presented. The theme for this year’s Jamboree is Innovation in Design and Sustainability.

Source: PackagingDigest