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We asked Jeff Boothman, CEO of FoldedPak, makers of ExpandOS Protective Packaging, to talk a bit about void fill solutions and sustainable packaging.
True story – I was on a call with a potential Customer several years ago who made the comment that he “would ship boxes with burning tires as packaging” if it was the cheapest option. Now, this wasn’t a crazy person running some scam operation out of his basement but rather a senior leader from a company you would probably know by name.
Things have changed since then, a lot. And no, we won’t name the company or person that said this.
We are in the “in the box” packaging business. We sell packaging that is used to protect items shipped through the parcel or postal system (think UPS/FedEx, USPS). Our solution, ExpandOS, is made from paper and can be used to replace of foam in place, air bubble packaging, and packing peanuts – pretty much any in the void fill packaging solution.
Aside from our ExpandOS product, there are other good paper based protective or dunnage packaging options available. Paper solutions are universally recognized as the most sustainable protective packaging option available and we expect that it will be the preferred packaging material (at least for parcel shipments) into the future. Our solution has the ability to handle the heaviest shipments – adding a paper alternative to some of the toughest package protection challenges.
The scale of the challenge of recycling packaging material is growing every year as ecommerce sales continue to grow. In short, the plastic recycling challenge is growing every day. We have worked with a home center retailer that uses foam in place for a very small part of their shipments resulting in over 25 truckloads of foam entering landfills every single MONTH.
Enter big cities around the USA. Tired of landfills at capacity, contaminated recycling streams, polluted waterways and trash in the streets - cities now are the ones pushing companies to a more sustainable future. How? They are starting by banning EPS in packaging (think packing peanuts, foam cups and the like). The pace and scale of these bans are accelerating and now spans over 100 municipalities in more than 10 states. A few municipalities have asked that biodegradable packing peanuts (starch-based) NOT be dissolved into the water system, because they don’t fully dissolve and can harm the water system machinery. There is a real cost to using unsustainable packaging options, and it's growing every day. This doesn’t even take into account the environmental aspects and damage caused by may foam or plastic-based packaging materials.
We live in the real world wouldn’t expect that you return all of your plastic packaging tomorrow and switch to all new paper solutions. What you SHOULD do is to at least evaluate your use of plastic packaging and determine if it’s consistent with your company goals and views on sustainability. If you think you want to look at transitioning to paper solutions, start looking at options, get a few samples and see how it works. Costs should be the same or less in some cases. Make sure you can answer the 'What problem am I solving?' question when comparing alternative packaging options.
For us, we have worked with several very large companies recently who add a card that goes out in every box that highlights the use of sustainable packaging. Your customers actually care, if you bother to ask them.
Shop ExpandOS systems and packing materials. (ExpandOS are also able to be customized with your branding or logo.)
Contact Rocket Industrial to stay ahead of regulations and continue to become a more sustainable company. Whether you are looking for a more eco-friendly and cost-effective void fill solution or looking for ways to reduce your overall packaging waste. we can help! Reach out to our team today and start your journey to sustainability.