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FLEXO Magazine : November 2008
PLANTS & PROCESSES Q: In its earliest form, what did it encompass or include? The earliest policy came about with our inception in 1964. Our owners started a recycling company and focused all their energies on starting a recycling mill. It was then we started producing 100 percent recycled paperboard products. The main push then was for the environment. When we got into folding cartons, over the last 15 years we focused on packaging reduction and modifying the design to make it more functional both for the retailer and the consumer. The largest push came five years ago, when customers needed to show cost reductions. We showed them cartons with an increased structural strength that allowed us to reduce the size. Q: What goals do you have to further improve your green policy? Over the last nine years, we developed a bag-less box. Imagine a cereal box which, like a potato chip bag, is a lot of air. So we de- veloped a box that does not require a bag. This allows us to reduce the size of the box. We reduced transport cost 15 percent or more. That box has never been able to make it in the marketplace because marketing personnel did not want to be responsible for reducing the big billboard space that a cereal box has on the store shelf. Only in the last two years have the cereal companies been ask- ing us to present this idea again, now that Wal-Mart is rattling their cages. That’s—packaging reduction—the biggest and most important concept out there. Q: When did you devise your current slogan? Has it attracted additional customer interest? Every year we change our slogan. For a while, we used to say, “You make it. We package it. They (consumers) love it.” The fol- lowing year, it was, “You make it. We package it. Nature loves it.” That came about shortly before Wal-Mart came out with the Scorecard. The next year we went with “You make it. We package it. Retailers love it.” This was because retailers started really taking control of packaging. But this year, we went back to the environ- mental side with “Green before green was trendy.” Our sales pitch has always been the same. We are the environ- mental choice as well as the flexible, integrated company. The slogan just re-emphasizes it. For the newer companies, it makes a difference. But our existing customers know what we are about. We really are cradle-to-cradle and our customers know that. Q: 52 What was the original impetus for establishing a green policy as early as you did? Our founders were three brothers. Their father had started a recycling company because he had a vision that we, as a society, F LEXO create a lot of waste. He knew there was a lot of cotton and paper waste being generated and he started collecting it. He then used the used cotton and paper that you need to create the pulp to make paper. From there, the family bought more and more mills, and eventually decided to get into co-generation. The mills use a lot of steam, and the company wanted to use that steam. The brothers bought a jet engine and started power- ing it to make energy and sold the energy to the city. Now almost all of the mills have co-generation using wind, steam or biomass. All the material that the mill cannot use will get sold as fertilizer to farmers or used in some other fashion, with little, if any, end- ing up in landfills. Other portions get sold to the plastics division, which blends paper and plastic materials to make the hybrid decking that you can find at hardware stores. All this ensures that we produce as little waste as possible. We also try to make sure that the water goes out cleaner than it comes in. We have been doing that since the start. We never use chlorine to bleach our paper, so we use hydrogen peroxide instead. There are other benefits, because the government helps you out and we are known to the government and communities as an environmentally conscientious company. Q: Are you aware of the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership and its SGP certification? If so, are you interested in becom- ing an SGP-certified printer? Our mills are FSC certified. There are a lot of groups popping up who want to “certify” sustainability. But we have been listening to see which one makes the most sense to be a part of. FSC wants to come in and certify our printing plants. Our customers and the retailers are on the fence to see whose logo to adopt. No one wants to go with the “flavor of the day.” I am looking for someone worthwhile who is saying, “This is what we should be doing as an industry” and encompass more than just green credits, or fo- cusing on one area like inks, etc. So this is interesting and worth looking into. ? NOVEMB E R 20 0 8 www. f l e x o g r a p h y. o r g