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FLEXO Magazine : March 2009
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES The social third of the sustainability bottom line focuses on the responsibility and engagement the industry has to go beyond the products. It includes creating, managing, and maintaining safe and healthy environments for workers, as well as creating pack- ages that maintain a product's integrity and safety. GREEN, AS IN LEAF Of the three factors that determine sustainability, environmen- tal is certainly the one with the most information readily avail- able. Paperboard, made from harvested trees, is inherently sus- tainable. In the u.s. fiber industry, five trees are planted for every one that is harvested. Combined with the tree's natural carbon sequestration benefits and inherent renewability and recyclabil- ity, paperboard readily meets this third of the sustainable bottom line. And, while recycling is certainly more of a mediafconsumer- friendly word when it comes to discussing materials. The reality is a responsible combination of recycled and virgin fiber is need- ed to ensure the continuation of the substrate lifecycle balance. When considering paperboard as your sustainable choice, fiber's natural qualities fit hand-in-glove with sustainability's BlisterGuard, manufactured by Colbert Packaging Corp. for Gillette, replaces a traditional plastic clamshell with tear-resistant paperboard. The switch makes the package more renewable, recyclable, and reduces overall packaging weight, product-to-package ratio, and the need to have ad- ditional printed insert cards. The new more-sustainable, lower-cost package still provides a high level of pilfer and puncture resistance and increased shelf appeal. - environmental goals. But, remember, when choosing paper- board, there also are plenty of options available to expand on the industry-standard environmental claims. First, get certified. It's one thing to talk about the environmental benefits, and it's another thing to get a stamp of approval. Many times, these certification programs will includes aspects of environmental, economic, and social sustainability, which can open up the con- versation with your end-user or customer about the true realities of sustainability. Your first step in finding a certification that is right for you and your business is research. It's probably your second and third steps two. With the onset of sustain ability as a hip trend brought about a variety of certification options. And, as is the nature of sustainable packaging today, new certifications are being added and established ones are being revised-almost constantly. Use the Internet for your first wave research. Industry trades are a good source as well. GREEN, AS IN WASHING It is with certifications that greenwashing is most likely to pop up and cloud your bottom line. If you think about actually separating the wheat from the chaff, greenwashing is the chaff. Qr, more to the point, it is the weeds that get mixed in with the 'heat and eventually discarded with the chaff. Before I get us all too lost on the farm, let's bring it back to basics: greenwash- ing is when environmental benefit claims are made that aren't true. It thrives on the idea that a good headline will keep the consumer from reading below the fold. Like all good smoke and mirror shows, there was a time when greenwashing was enough to get you through. But, as sustainability moves from trend to standard, so comes the scrutiny with which your claims will be examined. It's important to research which certification you'll go after and what it means. Don't greenwash your sustainability claims. Choosing paperboard ensures that, even without certification, your package will have some sustainability legs to stand on. Beyond its inherent sustainable qualities, paperboard can be your link to a sustainable packaging future for another important reason: innovation. Developing sustainable packag- ing means that oftentimes, you are responsible for making an already existing package sustainable. As the pictures and exam- ples throughout this article demonstrate, paperboard naturally lends itself to helping you create an innovative, effective, and more sustainable package. . The above was submitted by the Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC). Now in its 80th year, the PPC is a leading trade association serving suppliers and converters of all ßJrms of paperboard packaging. PPC works to grow, promote, and protect the paperboard packaging industry while providing its members with resources and tools to compete ef- fectively and successjùlly in the mar- ketplace. For more information, call 413-686-9191 or visit www.ppcnet.org. MARCH 2009 www.flexography.org FLEXO
Sustainable Winter 2009