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Engineering Materials

Packaging Replaces Plastic With Pulp

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Beth Stackpole
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No more pulp fiction
Beth Stackpole   2/21/2012 6:43:36 AM
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I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments, Ann, of more power to P&G and the other CPG giants who can pour R&D dollars into sustainable packaging design research. I'd be happy to see the elimination of those bulky plastic clamshell packages (not sure if that is what you are describing as PVC) that are always impossible to open and seem indestructible. Every time I throw one out, whether it's from a small toiletry product or a kids' toy, I always lament how long it will likely be sitting in a landfill. This moldable wood pulp packaging material is a good thing!

Dave Palmer
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Innovative research
Dave Palmer   2/21/2012 10:15:08 AM
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When I was an undergraduate, I went to see a presentation by Keith Grime, who at the time was Procter & Gamble's vice president of research and development.  I was amazed by just how much innovative research P&G does.  It made me see the whole world of consumer packaged goods in a totally different light.

TJ McDermott
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Not pretty, but worth it
TJ McDermott   2/21/2012 11:13:25 AM
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The marketing department is problaby crying rivers over the loss of their crystal-clear clamshell packaging.  I can understand their woe; the image included with the article shows packaging that draws the eye away from the product.

Tough on the marketing department; this is a good step.  Marketing will simply have to work at finding new ways to draw our eyes to the right place.

Charles Murray
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Re: No more pulp fiction
Charles Murray   2/21/2012 11:26:27 AM
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Beth: I agree with you about the plastic clamshell packages. This isn't really relevant to the sustainability aspect, but many of these plastic clamshell packages have sharp edges and have a propensity to cut hands. I'd be glad if that problem could be resolved.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: No more pulp fiction
Ann R. Thryft   2/21/2012 11:28:36 AM
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Beth, PVC is a material used in the clamshell package design, not an integral part of that design. I agree with you and Chuck--they are not easy to open and are for made for manufacturers' convenience, not consumers'. One of these days there will be a lot of older people unable to open them. Personally, I boycott hard to open packaging. In any case, I always (rather hopefully) put that type of hard plastic into my recycle bins.


Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Innovative research
Ann R. Thryft   2/21/2012 11:42:54 AM
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Dave, I keep being surprised and amazed by what big companies like Ford, P&G and DuPont are doing with their commitments to sustainability, especially materials, and with the reach that those changes can make all the way down the supply chain. The fact that P&G is targeting replacements for not only its products but their packaging is pretty neat. And that represents a lot of plastic.


DuPontPackaging
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Re: Innovative research
DuPontPackaging   2/21/2012 2:00:45 PM
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Thank you for the comment.  Great article.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Not pretty, but worth it
Ann R. Thryft   2/21/2012 2:05:01 PM
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TJ, I don;'t understand your point. The clamshell design of the new packaging still has a clear top "shell." I believe the main material replacement was in the bottom, colored "shell," the color of which changes with the model based on what ever the package designers--presumably in league with marketing--have decided. 


What do you see is drawing the eye away from the product?



Rob Spiegel
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More than greenwash
Rob Spiegel   2/21/2012 2:42:37 PM
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Nice article, Ann. I'm impressed that P&G would commit 57% of packaging to sustainable materials for one of its major products. That's more than greenwash. Given that P&G is the largest consumer packaged goods company this should have some impact -- both in actual sustainability and by leading others in the industry.

TJ McDermott
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Re: Not pretty, but worth it
TJ McDermott   2/21/2012 2:45:27 PM
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Clamshell packaging has usually been clear top and bottom.  This permits good visibility to the product from front or back, OR, permits a single clamshell to provide multiple "packaging" options by changing the inexpensive interior cardboard.

The design shown in the image has an opaque back shell.  This will place limits on the marketing department.

Frankly, I'm surprised the marketing department bought into it.  They are usually VERY reluctant to change anything that might impact the product's "image".

I know of a company that offered a machine which would provide 10% savings in packaging material for industrial bread bakeries, AND at the same time be easier to maintain than the current machinery.  The marketing department for the bakery testing the prototype eventually said "no thank you" because they were concerned the minor change in packaging would turn away consumers.

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