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Flexo Sustainable : Winter 2008
sustainable by Design A Guide For CPCs Offers Insights For Printers/ Converters By Christian R. Bonawandt S ince 2005, “sustainability” and “sustainable packaging” have been hot buzzwords among flexographic printers/ converters. Today, the concept is a top priority at some of the world’s leading consumer products companies (CPCs). Although the idea has been around for some time, emphasis on responsible use of materials conflagrated in October 2005, when Wal-Mart determined it would reduce the consumption of, and increase the sustainability, of packaging (See FLEXO® July 2006, page 14). Not long afterward, other retailers jumped on board. The mission of achieving more sustainable packaging falls in the hands of the CPCs. Proactive printers/converters can assist their customers—making themselves more reliable and valuable business partners—by understanding more about the concept. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), a non-profit organization founded in 2003, recently unveiled what it calls Design Guidelines for Sustainable Packaging. 10 Sustainable FLEXO WInteR 2008 According to SPC’s project manager, Martha Leflar, the guidelines offer strategies and questions that CPCs can ask themselves and their packaging supplier partners during the design process to help them design better packaging. What follows are insights gleaned from the document, intended to aide printers/converters in becoming experts in sustainability. What is sustainable? The concept means more than just recyclable. SPC defines sustainable materials as being “sourced responsibly, designed to be efficient and safe throughout its lifecycle.” More so than that, the material must meet market criteria for performance and cost, be made entirely of renewable energy, and, once used, can be recycled efficiently for generations to follow. Truly sustainable materials should also be manufactured using clean production technologies. www. f le xomag.com