By Katelynn Thompson-Scapple
Two almost identical label face sheets are sitting in front of you. You need to make the seemingly easy decision of which one to order. One is a standard face sheet and the other is post-consumer recycled. Not being able to see any physical differences you think about the other deciding factors: price and environmental impact. Monetarily, recycled face sheets costs more than the standard. The difference in price could even put you over budget. On the other hand, when choosing the standard the process of creating the paper pollutes the air and contaminates our water. From an environmental standpoint, the obvious choice is recycled face sheets. By doing so, more forests are protected and less waste is sent to landfills. Overall, choosing recycled face sheets helps preserve our ecosystems…but what do you decide? Back to this question in a minute…Read on…
Consumers, now more than ever, are demanding sustainable products and packaging. It is not enough for companies to say that that their product is sustainable. More than 80% of consumers claim that sustainability is an important factor in their purchasing decision and want the package to define the correct way to use and dispose of it1. These pressures have led to regulations for manufactures and suppliers. The regulations consist of banning the use of certain materials and having a maximum weight for packaging. For example, in Ontario the maximum weight on a 750ml wine bottle is 420 grams. The weight is important because as the weight decreases less greenhouse gases are emitted and less fuel will be used. Pouches are the most efficient when it comes to transportation because they require less film and can be packed more effectively leading to fewer cases, pallets, and trucks being used.
With the high consumer demand for sustainable products it’s no wonder that the global market for sustainable packaging is estimated to reach $244 billion by 2018. One great innovation is plant-based plastics that are derived from feed stocks such as corn and sugar cane. This is ideal because 50 billion plastic bottles were used last year by Americans and only 23% of those bottles were recycled. Another innovation is transitioning the convenient single-serve coffee pods to become more eco-friendly. Currently most of the coffee pods are difficult to recycle because they are made of plastic, aluminum lining or lids, and a filter. Companies are partnering up and designing the coffee pods to be composted. This means that the pods will eventually decompose and can be used as fertilizer.
Back to the earlier question the answer to what face sheet to choose, or any product, should rely on how you want your customers and prospects to perceive your company. Your decision should also be in line with your current standing on sustainability. If your business is just getting by, then you’ll probably go for the lowest cost solution. However, if your places a high value on sustainability you’ll probably go for the post-consumer recycled product.
Here are a few ways we (at AWT) minimize our impact that you can follow or keep in mind when purchasing printed products:
• We provide compostable label material options which are designed to compost quickly, completely and safely without leaving residues.
• Use acetate, a clear film, which is made from wood and natural liners, eliminating the bleaching process
• Use water based non-toxic inks.
• We design and implement reusable shipping cartons.
• We are a 100% landfill free facility. We recycle or ship burnable waste that helps power Target Field and the surrounding office spaces.
• Our PET liners are recyclable therefore considered sustainable.
AWT is recognized as a “Great Printer” by Printing Industry Midwest. As a “Great Printer” we are dedicated to minimizing our impact on human health and the environment while producing high quality printed products. We go beyond the mandatory environmental, health and safety principles and continually find ways to minimize waste, recycle waste, maximize energy efficiency, and create a healthier and safer work environment.