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FLEXO Magazine : September 2011
Industry Indicators Green Gift Cards Paper Proves Environmentally Friendly, Economical alternative to Plastic By Mike salerno Paper or PVC? That may not be the first question that comes to mind when you think credit cards, but Min- neapolis, MN-based The Meyers Printing Companies, Inc. is thinking otherwise. The long-time FTA member and award-winning Shopper Marketing Solutions provider recently announced its latest, refortified foray into a new field: paper credit cards. After years of struggling against traditional plastic cards, this innovative printed piece is finally making waves in the industry. Introduced in 2004, Meyers’ Greencard offers an environ- mentally-friendly and more economical alternative to PVC cards. However, like many other new products, it faced many challenges at first. “Plastic cards have been around forever. They ’re widely accepted and everybody likes them,” said Meyers Label and Card Group President Gregg Temple. “ We’re really fighting market acceptance and perception. People think, ‘Plastic: good, durable. Paper: cheap, flimsy.’” Many companies are now capitalizing on the advantages of utilizing the Greencard. They see it as a benefit to their business. As a result, Meyers has seen the operation grow into a substantial portion of the company ’s Label Group. In fact, it even warranted a name change. “ We’ve been doing this for about six or seven years now,” said Temple. “It’s gotten to the point where we’ve changed the name of our division to the Label and Card Group instead of just the Label Group. It’s about 30 percent of our business in the division.” HIDDEN PERSUADER “Durability is a challenge,” claimed Temple. Retailers have a difficult time believing that this paper product can hold up and still be attractive to the consumer. “In fact, we’ve been very close with a number of retailers where they were excited about this from an environmental standpoint and a cost standpoint. There were multiple pluses here, but at the end of the day, they did not make the decision to change.” Ever the persuader, Temple does not hesitate to pull out samples. “I’ve got three cards I’ve been carrying around in my wallet for over two years, and they ’ve held up really well.” T hat, he maintained, says a lot for the product. Meyers has seemed to corner a significant portion of the market for cards designed for one-time use. The perfect storm of environmental and economic advantages, coupled with a growing penchant for one-time usage, has allowed the Green- card to flourish for prepaid phone cards and activation codes. “A lmost all of the business to date is for digital downloads and activation codes,” said Temple. “ We really think the gift card market could be profitable, because there are a lot of people who are using plastic cards for gift cards where they really don’t need it.” The patented production process of the card provides options of unique barcode, serial number, concealed autho- rization code and magnetic stripe verification systems. It also offers capabilities for pre-loaded value, POS valuation or on- line activation for products such as, prepaid cellular phone credits, music downloads and store memberships. To better reach these companies, Temple commissioned a study to examine the advantages, both environmental and economical, of using his product as opposed to PVC cards. The results have helped sway companies who may be AdvAntAges to CApitAlize on • Cards are produced in 15-20 days versus 18 weeks. • The paper product offers 42 percent energy savings over PVC. • GHG emissions are cut 69 percent from PVC. • Water-use savings are estimated at 89 percent. • Enhancements to the look, feel and lifespan accom- modate the pickiest retailers. 18 FLEXO sEPtEMBEr 2011 www.flexography.org