Fall Issue is now available

Posted October 5, 2011 by pbpobm
Categories: new issue


OPaperboard Packaging Fall 2011ur Fall Issue’s digital edition is now live — or look for the print issue in your mail box.


Converters are gearing up for growth

Posted May 18, 2011 by pbpobm
Categories: new issue

Paperboard Packaging's Summer 2011 IssueDespite the fact that we’ve barely seen the sun yet in Cleveland this year, the Summer Issue of Paperboard Packaging, is now available online. The print version should be hitting your desk any day now.

This issue features our annual Exclusive Census report. Each year we hire an outside researcher to survey corrugated converters, folding carton converters and suppliers to get a sense of how the industry’s feeling. Although it’s fair to say the board converting industry as a whole isn’t exactly booming, the encouraging thing is when you look at individual responses and when you speak with people in the industry, there’s a sense of calm about what they’re working on and how their individual businesses are doing. Do you agree?

Let us know what you think by posting a comment to the blog or by e-mailing me (click on my name below).

Also, be sure your free subscription is up to date HERE.

–Marisa Palmieri

Packaging predictions: good news and bad news

Posted May 18, 2011 by pbpobm
Categories: business, packaging design, sustainability

I knew the global population was poised to pop in the next few decades, but I didn’t realize it’s predicted to reach about 9 billion people by 2050. (We’re just under 7 billion right now.)

At the Sustainable Packaging Symposium earlier this year, Tony Kingsbury, executive-in-residence, Center for Responsible Business, UC Berkeley, and an executive with Dow Chemical, talked about how such an explosion will put pressure on critical resources and how, in turn, this circumstances will affect packaging.

GreenerPackage.com reports on his “Seven packaging predictions for a resource-strapped future.”

For packaging converters, there is good news and bad news. The good news is a growing population demands goods , which need to be packaged. The bad news is, big changes will be required. “We have to figure out how to do things differently,” he says.

What do you think? Which of these predictions seems most daunting to you?

–Marisa Palmieri

The complexities of sustainable packaging

Posted May 4, 2011 by pbpobm
Categories: packaging design, sustainability

Environmental groups and activists tend to get a bad rap as being anti-business. But that’s not always the case, and this blog post from a staffer with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) suggests that getting out there — visiting trade shows, manufacturing plants, etc. — can offer a healthy does of perspective for any of us.

EDF newbie Jenny Ahlen had the opportunity to attend Walmart & Sam’s Club 6th Annual Sustainable Packaging Exposition last month, where packaging suppliers display their latest sustainable methods and products to Walmart employees and consumer packaged goods companies.

It was refreshing to see her take-away, which acknowledges that packaging converters are working as hard to anyone to get to the bottom of the “what’s sustainable?” conundrum:

There are no clear, easy answers where packaging is concerned.  Instead, there is a myriad of packaging options, each with different attributes in terms of performance (i.e., properly protecting the product), raw-materials sourcing, post-consumer waste, etc.

For example, is it more important for the packaging to be light weight or easily recyclable?  Is it better to promote packaging that may be manufactured from GMO corn but has terrific recycling properties, or “compostable” packaging that requires virgin raw materials?

Jenny, when you find the answers, please let us know.

–Marisa Palmieri

Viagra and how to see the world differently

Posted April 19, 2011 by pbpobm
Categories: business, packaging design

An Atlantic article from last week piqued my interest and made me think twice about how we all think about things.

Did you know that Pfizer discovered Viagra during trials for a heart medication? As the article’s author, Luke Williams, points out, “If everyone at Pfizer had stayed focused on finding an angina drug, it would have stopped the trials and dropped the drug. But, by shifting the focus from the obvious to the unexpected — from primary effects to side effects — it was able to come up with Viagra, one of the most successful drugs ever.”

Last month at the Paperboard Packaging Council’s Spring Meeting, a panel of three converters discussed how they foster innovation in their businesses. An anecdote from Mark Graham, president and ceo of folding carton converter Bell Inc., stuck with me.

Bell provides the U.S. Postal Service with its paperboard envelopes. These are the only ones in their class where the paper that covers the adhesive strip is offset from the edge of the board, making it easier for a user to remove the paper strip. The USPS didn’t originally order the envelopes this way, and it wasn’t an intentional innovation Bell brought to the table. It was an error in the production process. But the staff at Bell was savvy enough to know it was a good insight that would be beneficial to their customer’s customer.

“When something fails, always be prepared to see it as an opportunity,” Graham said at the PPC meeting.

Or, as Williams suggests, “Get comfortable with the belief that insights don’t come from looking at the obvious.”

–Marisa Palmieri

Interstate Container gets some ink

Posted April 4, 2011 by pbpobm
Categories: converter news, industry pr

The Reading (Pa.) Eagle profiled Interstate Container’s Reading box plant a few weeks ago.

The article discussed the company’s growth mentality — “It’s grow or go,” said General Manager Curtis Perkins — and mentioned the monthly “fireside chats” management has with each shift.

View the full article here.

–Marisa Palmieri

No mention of paperboard?

Posted March 29, 2011 by pbpobm
Categories: packaging design

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on sustainable food packaging. It’s a good overview of how “green” food packages are a good idea, but they can be difficult to produce and/or cost prohibitive.

I’m just shocked there’s no mention of paperboard. Look through the frozen foods aisle at any grocery store and you’ll see a number of cartons that promote the fact that they’ve reduced their packaging (often without reducing food amounts).

Kashi — with its frozen entrees and pizzas — is one that comes to mind that’s recently reduced packaging. Ben & Jerry’s is another company that’s struggled with how define and source “eco” materials — something that definitely fits the article’s theme. There are many more. Surely the reporter could have found one paperboard example?

(Stay tuned to the Summer Issue of Paperboard Packaging for more on how a Caraustar folding carton plant worked with Kashi to change over some of its frozen food packaging to a new recycled board grade.)

–Marisa Palmieri