The increasing focus on sustainable packaging is more than just a "hot" socioeconomic topic. Depending on the priorities and business strategies of the brand owner, it can include:
WS Packaging Group supports the efforts of brand owners to improve their long-term push toward sustainability by offering cost-effective packaging solutions. To that end, we have established a formal environmental policy built around protecting our environment, conserving energy, and conserving natural resources. Our goals are to ensure our facilities and business operations are in compliance with or exceed federal, state, and local environmental standards and to provide products that are environmentally compatible throughout their lifecycles.
Increasingly, major retailers are asking, or even mandating, suppliers to evaluate themselves relative to other suppliers, based on the sustainability of their packaging, including material value, recycled content, recovery value, product/package ratio, and innovation. Directives such as these are pushing brand owners to search for sustainable solutions. WS Packaging is able to help in a variety of ways.
We can source and print on certified recycled materials or alternative materials from renewable resources. Exciting new developments are taking place all the time in this area, enabling us to recommend alternatives, such as solvent-free thermal transfer ribbons, as our suppliers develop and bring them to the marketplace. We can also provide the documentation on sustainable raw materials to meet your "chain of custody" requirements or restriction of hazardous chemicals compliance.
By minimizing the amount of material needed to package products, and often eliminating excess packaging components, we offer sustainable packaging options that help brand owners reduce their environmental impact but still maintain overall effectiveness, meet regulatory requirements, and enhance brand presence.
Products such as our patented MultiVision® line of extended text labels allow companies to include extra label panels of instructions, drug facts, or multiple languages and apply them to bottles or tubes – without the need for additional packaging, such as a unit carton, blister pack, or insert.
On retailer request, Insight Pharmaceuticals LLC, eliminated the unit carton for its new Anacin® Advanced Headache Formula. As an over-the-counter drug, Anacin Advanced is required to meet stringent regulatory labeling requirements. We solved the problem with our patented EasyTab® extended text label from the MultiVision® label line. Removing the chipboard box for 219 million units resulted in saving 16.9 million square inches of paperboard. Total cost savings were $.50 per package.
Our Lean Manufacturing initiatives focus on improving production areas directly related to sustainability. And one of the most critical areas we evaluate is waste.
We measure all waste produced and take calculated steps to reduce it. We even deliver profit sharing based on its reduction—in this way, everyone is responsible for eliminating waste. We pay to have over 800 tons of matrix waste, which was produced in the printing process, converted into fuel pellets each month. This allows the waste to be reused as a fuel source and keeps it out of the landfill. We also have recycling programs in all of our plants for office paper waste, recycled plastics, aluminum, and other materials.
Our sustainability efforts to reduce waste have also created a paperless ordering process that includes electronic quoting, order acknowledgment, and invoicing. With WebFlex™, our online asset management system, customers can upload artwork, manage inventory, place orders, track shipments, and reconcile invoices. WebFlex is efficient, paperless, and convenient.
We recycle over 1,200 tons of paper, corrugated, and other materials per month.
We have dramatically reduced VOC emissions at our plants by switching from analog to digital plate-making. In fact, all our plate-making facilities have been converted to this environmentally sound practice. In addition, we use water-based inks in almost all of our applications, a practice with much safer cleanup and disposal options than solvent-based inks.
This state-of-the-art process was acknowledged by the state of Wisconsin when WS Packaging won a TLMI's Environmental Award for VOC reduction. One of our plants reduced VOC output by 40,000 pounds annually.
Printed material is one component of a label or packaging project—how it is shipped is another. We have manufacturing facilities across the U.S. and in Mexico. In most cases, we produce our customers' projects near their filling and production facilities to reduce the amount of fuel needed for transportation.
As a way to further reduce waste and packaging costs, we use our customers’ corrugated shipping boxes to ship them products we manufacture for them. They in turn re-use the boxes to ship their finished product. In one instance, two million boxes were eliminated from the waste stream. We also offer a "box-free" pallet system, incorporating corner guards and core plugs to eliminate the use of corrugated boxes altogether.
We're committed to innovation that delivers sustainable packaging solutions that impact your brand and your bottom line, while helping protect the environment.
We were awarded the 2009 Business Friend of the Environment Award for Environmental Innovation for setting the standards for environmental innovation and stewardship to protect our communities and the 2009 Manufacturing Awards of Distinction: Innovate 360 Award for our outstanding sustainable products and business practices.
We've been recycling and removing waste long before it was popular. We continue to measure our energy use reduction and pursue renewable energy options through our utilities providers. We adhere to responsible environmental practices at all our manufacturing facilities and invest in sustainable initiatives as we work toward additional formal certifications of LIFE: Label Initiative for the Environment, which was awarded to our Algoma, WI facility in October 2010.
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