Thursday, September 26, 2019

Can Packaging Solve the Food Waste Problem?

According to the United Nations World Population Prospects report, the current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to surpass 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 11.1 billion in 2100. These numbers show that by 2050, we’ll need to feed over 2 billion more people. According to National Geographic, some experts say that we’ll need to double crop production by 2050 to meet the demand. An increase in food will mean an increase in food waste if action is not taken.

What many consumers don’t realize is food waste is the largest single material in landfills across the US and is a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) states that an estimated one-third of all food produced globally is either lost or wasted and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that in the U.S. over one-third of all available food goes uneaten through loss or waste. Governments are looking for ways to reduce food waste. In 2015, the USDA and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first ever domestic goal to reduce food loss and waste by half by the year 2030Twenty-five corporations, including Ahold Delhaizem Yum! Brands, Conagra Brands, Sodexo, Walmart, Blue Apron and Pepsico have signed onto the government program, "2030 Champions Program," committing to reduce food waste created by their operations by 50% by 2030.

“Grocery store meal greenhouse gas emissions are 33% higher than meal kits.” (TWEET THIS)

In order to meet these goals, solutions to reduce food waste must be utilized. These solutions include standardized date labeling, consumer education, packaging adjustments, and spoilage prevention packaging. Current date labeling can cause confusion as there are a variety of phrases used. Consumers’ misunderstanding of date labels is estimated to account for 20% of consumer waste of safe, edible food. Educating consumers is another was to reduce food waste. If consumers understand how to properly store perishable foods, and more, they can take responsibility for the food waste they produce.

Education may also lead to consumer acceptance of increased packaging to reduce food waste. With current technology, one of the best-known solutions to food waste is optimizing, and potentially increasing packaging. The American Institute for Packaging and the Environment (AMERIPEN), published a report of their study on food packaging as a strategy to prevent food waste in America. One of the key conclusions from this work is that packaging is an under-utilized solution that could significantly reduce food waste. The study shows that globally, the more food that is packaged, the less food that is going to waste. However, consumers have a growing awareness and desire for sustainable products and packaging. So, the material used for packaging foods could matter in reducing food waste. This can also present a problem in attempting to prevent food waste, but some companies are looking for solutions.

Meal Kits Could Be the Answer

The meal kit industry is one where education about increased food packaging and packaging adjustments could lead to a great decrease in food waste. A meal kit includes pre-portioned and sometimes partially-prepared food ingredients with a recipe that the consumer prepares at home. Giving the consumer the exact amount they can consume means that no food should go to waste.

IPG's eco-friendly Chill-R insulated packaging
A study published in the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling compared various aspects of grocery-store versus meal-kit dishes, including food waste, energy requirements, emissions from transportation and more. They found that each meal kit significantly cut down on food waste because each ingredient was precisely measured and, “on average, grocery store meal greenhouse gas emissions are 33% higher than meal kits.”

Now, it is also important to think of the meal kit packaging, which can be harmful to the environment as well. Meal kit companies need to choose the correct environmentally-friendly cold chain solution to appeal to the increasingly-aware consumer. There is curbside recyclable and repulpable paper insulated packaging that can be used to create less packaging waste from meal kits overall.

Other Packaging Solutions

Tackling the problem of food waste is no small feat, but solutions are being developed. The meal kit industry is not the only one looking for solutions. The Eurpoean Union is funding multiple projects to reduce food waste: NanoPack is developing an active packaging film with antimicrobial properties and YPACK is currently developing a fully recyclable flow pack film and a fully biodegradable packaging tray using by-products that would usually go to waste such as unpurified cheese whey and almond shells. Grocery chain, Kroger, is also looking to reduce food waste by partnering with Apeel to bring longer lasting avocados and other produce to its stores. With a rapidly growing population and the need for more food, companies and governments are looking to packaging for solutions to the food waste problem.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Get Productive and Efficient for the Holidays with WAT

If you oversee a packaging and shipping operation, you know that even though we’re still enjoying early fall, the holiday season will be here in the blink of an eye. You also know that the key to profitability in the busy months ahead will be shipping efficiency and operations productivity.

This is true for a number of reasons, including that:
  • ✔ The more efficient your team is, the more orders they ship each day.
  • ✔ Prompt shipping makes customers happy and can lead to repeat sales. 
  • ✔ Greater efficiency means fewer expensive overtime hours needed to reduce shipping backlogs.
  • ✔ Being more efficient means you have less need to bring in costly seasonal labor.

Simple Ways to Improve Shipping Efficiency and Operations Productivity

So, how can operations managers help their shipping teams increase shipping efficiency and operations productivity? There are many ways.
For example, you can analyze your packing stations to ensure they are optimized. (And you don’t even have to wait until the new year!)
You can also develop a training manual or classes for your team members that cover your packaging and shipping procedures, if you don’t have these resources already.

WAT: A Quick Fix with Long-Term Efficiency and Productivity Benefits

While the initiatives described above are certainly worthwhile, they can be time-consuming, and time may be something that feels like it’s in short supply with the holidays fast approaching.
Fortunately, there is an enhancement to your shipping operations that is both easy to implement and will provide long-term shipping efficiency and operations productivity benefits. 
That enhancement is switching to water-activated tape (WAT). Also known as gummed tape, Kraft tape, paper tape, brown paper tape, or reinforced gummed tape (when fiberglass is embedded).
WAT provides many advantages over other shipping tape options, including:
  • ✔ WAT is stronger than other tape. Rather than simply sticking to the surface of a shipping carton, WAT’s adhesive sinks into the material, creating a tight bond and an extremely strong seal. 
  • ✔ WAT is secure. The strong seal created by WAT can help deter "press-and-grab" thefts
  • ✔ WAT is brandable. Having your logo and other branding pre-printed on your rolls of WAT allows the tape to turn shipping cartons into mobile billboards that spread the word about your company to everyone who sees them as they make their way to customers.
Also, and most importantly for managers wanting to give their shipping teams the tools they need to succeed, WAT increases packaging efficiency and productivity
Making the switch from hand-held tape dispensers and plastic tape to electric water-activated tape dispensers results in huge improvements in productivity.
And those gains aren’t hearsay—they have been documented.

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Employee Retention Improves Efficiency

Employees who are well-equipped to do their jobs tend to appreciate that fact and stay with their current employer. So, in an indirect way, water-activated tape helps promote employee retention.
And since a stable workforce means that team members don’t have to spend time training new hires, they are able to get more work done. Ultimately, less churn means higher productivity.

Switching to WAT is Easy

Not only is WAT easy to use, making the switch to WAT is simple as well.
All it takes is ordering some manual water-activated tape dispensers or electric water-activated tape dispensers and rolls of water-activated tape, and your shipping team is good to go. 

Get More Information on WAT Today

The time to prepare for the busy holiday season is now, and we can help. 
We’re also happy to answer any questions you have about WAT or water-activated tape dispensers. Please contact us at your convenience.

Packaging Tape Download Offer

[This post republished from the 
Better Packages Blog]

Thursday, September 12, 2019

What If My Gummed Paper Tape Dispenser Is Not Functioning Correctly?

Well-engineered gummed paper tape dispensers are built to last. With preventative maintenance and care, they can provide you with years of useful service.
Water-activated tape (also known as gummed tape, gum tape, Kraft paper tape, reinforced tape and WAT) and easy-to-use WAT dispensers, provide customers with quality carton sealing solutions.
However, if your machine isn't functioning properly, there might be an easy fix requiring only simple troubleshooting techniques.
A complete discussion of troubleshooting techniques is detailed in the operating manual for each specific machine, but this article will discuss a few simple tips that can quickly get your dispenser up and running.

Troubleshooting WAT Dispenser

My Electric WAT Dispenser Will Not Turn On 

This can be a frustrating issue, but it doesn't always mean that your electric water activated tape dispenser is broken. 
If your dispenser will not turn on it can be as simple as a loose plug. If the power light is off, try unplugging the machine and immediately plug back in and see if the light turns on. 
If the problem persists, contact your tape dispenser manufacturer for tape dispenser maintenance.

The Gummed Paper Tape Is Not Dispensing

Tape failing to dispense can be due to several small issues that are fairly easy to troubleshoot. In this situation, try fixing the issue by doing the following: 
  • ✔ Make sure there is tape loaded in the machine. Someone may have used the dispenser beforehand and didn't realize that they used the last of the paper tape roll.
  • ✔ The tape may be loaded incorrectly. This is a common mistake that can be easy to do but also easy to fix. Check to verify that the paper tape path is correct and loaded properly. If it isn’t loaded correctly, the machine will not dispense tape.
  • ✔ It’s possible that there are small tape particles blocking the dispenser's functions. To remedy, remove the upper tape plate and remove any small pieces of tape.
  • ✔ Check that the water brush(es) and the water tank are properly inserted so they don't block the tape path. You will find step-by-step instructions in your dispenser manual that display how to install and insert each tape machine part if you are experiencing an issue related to this. 

The Packaging Tape Is Not Wet When Dispensed 

Why is your water activated tape not wet when dispensed? If the tape is not wet, it will not adhere to your corrugated carton. Here are some quick and simple troubleshooting tips for this specific issue: 
  • ✔ Check the water level in the tank and make sure it has enough water to moisten the paper tape that is dispensed.
  • ✔ Check to make sure the water brush(es) and tank are properly inserted. If they are not, they will not properly wet the tape.
  • ✔ Remove the brushes and see if there is excess glue build up that can be hindering dispenser performance. Excess glue builds up over time and needs to be cleaned from brushes on a regular basis. To clean them, all that is needed is warm water and a mild dish soap.

The Paper Tape Isn't Sticking Like It Should 

Perhaps the tape is moist when dispensed but isn't providing the strong and secure seal that it should. 
For optimal carton safety, the paper tape should form a permanent bond, which creates a tamper-evident seal. If you notice you are having an issue with the gummed paper tape not sticking properly, try some of the following troubleshooting techniques: 
  • ✔ Check the water level in the tank and make sure it has enough water to moisten the paper tape that is dispensed. Also, make sure that there isn’t too much water being delivered to the tape. You may need to go to your owner’s manual to learn how to raise or lower the amount of water flowing to the tape.
  • ✔ Check the heater operation and make sure that it is working correctly; adjust if necessary.
  • ✔ Make sure that the brushes do not have excess glue build-up or excess wear that may be hindering the dispenser. If so, try washing with warm soapy water. If wear is the issue, you may need to replace the brushes.
Want to know more about tape dispensing packaging solutions? Download the free e-book below to learn more about water-activated tape dispensers and what they can do.

A Guide For Tape Dispensing Performance Solutions

[This post republished from the 
Better Packages Blog]

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

6 Reasons to Make the Switch to Water-Activated Tape

Are you using packing tape (also known as plastic, pressure-sensitive tape) for sealing and shipping cartons from your warehouse? 
Read on to learn six good reasons to consider switching from plastic, pressure-sensitive tape to gummed paper tape (also known as water-activated tape or WAT).

1. Improved Productivity

Applying pressure-sensitive tape using a hand-held tape gun on multiple cartons can get very tiring for employees. The hand-held tape gun becomes heavy after repetitive use, causing productivity declines or even a repetitive stress injury. An alternative is to use water-activated tape with a water-activated tape dispenser. An independent research study demonstrated that the use of electric water-activated tape dispensers with WAT is 21% more efficient than the use of handheld tape guns. This productivity improvement can make a significant difference in your bottom line.

2. Tamper Deterrence

Using pressure-sensitive tape can leave your shipments susceptible to tampering and theft. Unless multiple strips of tape are used to seal the carton (expensive), it is easy to penetrate the carton by applying a bit of pressure on the top of the carton next to the tape to create a gap through which some of the content can be retrieved. The box can then be resealed leaving no indication that any pilfering has occurred.
Unlike pressure-sensitive tape that merely sits on top of the box, water-activated tape bonds with the carton. Any attempt to compromise the seal will tear the cardboard, making it readily evident that someone has tampered with the shipment. Customers who have made the switch to gummed tape and electric tape dispensers have seen a significant drop in product theft during transit.

3. Increased Security

Has your packing tape ever given way, or the bottom of your cardboard box opened because the contents were too heavy? One cause may be that standard packing tape is no more than a single ply of plastic, which isn’t very sturdy. Many packers will use multiple strips of pressure-sensitive tape, trying to better secure heavy cartons. There are several downsides to this approach; it is time consuming, it’s not cost efficient, and “mummifying” makes your packages look unprofessional and jeopardizes your branding.
Thanks to its permanent bond with the cardboard fibers (even with recycled corrugate), gummed tape is much sturdier. Further, reinforced gummed tape, which is made with fiberglass crossing strands between two layers of paper, results in even greater strength. This helps reduce breakage or damage during transit.

4. Cost-Effective

A superficial cost analysis of standard, pressure-sensitive tape will indicate that it is less expensive than water-activated tape. Look a bit deeper and the cost differential reverses.
Most packers use several strips of plastic tape to try to truly seal the carton and if the decision to use plastic tape is based on a cost saving per roll, that saving can be lost the instant a second piece of tape is used.
With water-activated tape only one strip of tape is needed to securely seal a carton. This material savings plus the savings gained from increased productivity, reduced theft and tampering makes water activated tape a cost-effective alternative.

5. Branding & Messaging

Your corporate brand image is one of the most important investments you can make in your company. In this environment of message overload, it is challenging to keep your brand front and center. Using gummed paper tape allows you to print your logo or a message directly onto your packaging tape. Cartons will have a clean, custom and professional look that elevates your branding and creates a positive customer engagement moment.

6. E-Commerce

Water-activated tape closes more e-commerce packages than packing tape. The fastest growing e-commerce companies are seeing the value in water-activated tape and are making the switch. They like gummed tape’s security, strength and branding potential.

Try WAT for Yourself

Ensure that your business is one of the growing number of companies who can benefit from moving away from plastic, pressure-sensitive tape. Try water-activated tape today by ordering a free sample for your warehouse. Simply click the image below.

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[This post republished from the 
Better Packages Blog]

Monday, August 26, 2019

How WAT Helps Prevent Theft in Luxury Shipping

Theft Prevention in Luxury Shipping

If your company sells luxury goods like cosmetics, handbags, higher-end apparel and other costly items online, you face unique shipping challenges. In particular, theft is an issue that can take a bite out of your profits.

While theft insurance is available, having it for every shipment drives up your shipping costs. Fortunately, there are other steps you can take to protect your valuable products in the shipping stream and maintain a great reputation with customers.

Luxury Goods: A Market Experiencing Tremendous Growth

The luxury goods market is one that is growing at a healthy pace, and there is no end in sight. According to Statista’s Luxury Goods Report, online luxury sales are “projected to grow at twice the market rate and capture 18% of all sales revenue by 2023.”

Want to know more about the benefits of water-activated packaging tape? Check out this guide:

One of the groups driving this growth is millennials. Forbes reports that millennials are not just the most powerful consumers right now, they are also luxury goods shoppers, noting that “millennials and Generation Z account for nearly 50% of Gucci’s total sales.” Much of that buying occurs online. AEuclid study revealed that “almost half (48%) of millennials shop in-store at least once per week.” But those in-person shopping sessions do not always lead to the checkout counter. Instead, they spur online buying. 
To ensure that they are able to offer a seamless multi-channel shopping experience, luxury brands must boost their ecommerce investments. One way to do that is to offer fast and free shipping. That is not a revolutionary idea, but it is an important tactic, as unexpected shipping costs are one of the main reasons people abandon their shopping cart.
In order to provide that benefit, it is important to avoid the significant expenses associated with product theft.

How Water-Activated Tape Helps Luxury Product Companies Address Security Concerns

Theft from packages and theft of packages are both major concerns for American consumers. The first often occurs as what is sometimes referred to as a press-and-grab theft. The criminal presses down on the top of the shipping carton, the weak tape yields, and the criminal pulls products out of the box. The box flaps then spring back up, leaving the theft undetected until later.
So-called “porch pirates” are responsible for the second type of theft. Millions of Americans every year have packages stolen off their front porch or out of their mailbox. Porch pirates tend to target packages that appear to contain high-value items.
What’s the best way to prevent a press-and-grab theft? Ensure that the shipping carton is securely sealed. Some types of tape create a very surface-level seal that is easy to break. Water-activated tape (also called WAT, Kraft paper tape, or brown paper tape), on the other hand, actually fuses with the carton material to form a theft-deterring bond. Make no mistake: thieves always look to take the “path of least resistance,” and a WAT-sealed package definitely is not it!
How can you reduce the risk that a shipment will fall victim to porch pirates? That involves a decision about how important it is for your company to display branding on the external packaging.

To Brand a Carton or Not to Brand a Carton?

One of WAT’s many benefits is that it can be printed with branding that promotes your company. However, that beautiful branding may not only catch the eye of consumers, but thieves as well. Consequently, if your company sells luxury products, you have a decision to make. While you want to provide a premium shopping experience for your customers, you want to be sure that they receive your shipments. 
One way to achieve both your security and marketing goals is to address them sequentially. First, ship your products in plain packaging with no visible branding. This forces thieves to make a guess about which packages to grab and increases the odds that yours will be ignored. Second, focus your marketing efforts on what your customers see when they open the outer packaging. Create the “Wow!” factor they’re looking for by making the internal packing a feast for the eyes. 
This two-step approach helps luxury goods companies both avoid theft-related costs and impress customers.

Learn More and Try WAT for Free

Wondering if brown paper tape can help your organization make luxury product shipments more secure? Learn more about WAT, request a free WAT sample, and contact us at your convenience.
We’re happy to talk with you about your shipping requirements and ways to meet them.

Check out our new guide below to ensure that your business is using the proper shipping and packaging tape for your needs. 
Packaging Tape Online Guide

[This post republished from the 
Better Packages Blog]

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Bubble: Benefits & Strength

Bubble Comes in Two Primary Categories:

Void fill is filling in excess space around products in a box or container, protecting them against damage.

Typical applications:
– Shipping giftware
– Shipping books
– Shipping small appliances
– Shipping multiple items in the same container

Blocking and bracing is securing products in a box or container to prevent them from shifting, sliding, moving, or colliding.

Typical applications:
– Shipping books
– Shipping jewelry
– Shipping fragile Items
– Shipping computer monitors
– Shipping precision gears
– Shipping sculptures
– Shipping Un-assembled furniture

These two categories go hand-in-hand as all empty space should be filled in order to block and brace effectively.

Pack station using Polyair AirSpace G6 machine and bubble-on-demand

Pros of Bubble

✔ Comes in different sizes and film thicknesses.
✔ Comes in different forms like bags, sheets, and rolls.
✔ Offers protection against shock and vibration.
✔ Easy-to-use, reusable.
✔ Versatile: interleaving, wrapping, and cushioning.

Cons of Bubble

✘ Designed for short periods of use (days or weeks).
✘ Can be difficult to recycle (explained below).

The Use of Nylon Vs. 100% Polyethylene

Some bubble film companies use Nylon in their bubble manufacturing process. Nylon lowers the recycle number from a #4 to a #7 recycled product (where facilities exist), and also makes the bubble much less pliable. This lack of pliability, particularly evident when wrapping around corners or other sharp edges, causes some bubble products to puncture and tear much easier than products that are 100% polyethylene. With consumers becoming ever more aware of their environmental impact, but not wanting to sacrifice performance, a bubble product made with 100% polyethylene is the smartest choice.

How Do I Know Which Bubble is Best/Strongest?

Below is a graph detailing Polyair 1/2" Bubble against two Nationwide competitors. The bubble burst strengths were measured by observing the pounds of force needed to break the bubble.

5-10 tests were completed for each product. The averages are charted here:

[This post republished from the Polyair Blog

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Why Water-Activated Tape Is an Ideal Fit for E-Commerce

E-commerce in the United States is projected to hit $735.4 billion by 2023, which means that a lot of packages are landing on front porches all across America.
The increase in e-commerce revenue and shipping volume amplify the importance of making sure quality is paramount in all areas of the fulfillment process - especially when it comes to sealing cartons before shipment. 
We recommend water-activated tape for companies shipping valuable products, in large or small quantities. 
Water-activated tape (also known as gummed tape, Kraft paper tape, reinforced paper tape) is designed to create a superior seal on your corrugated cartons while providing advantages other carton sealing methods do not.
Quality packaging is paramount in the e-commerce fulfillment process

Proven Increase in Efficiency
With the surge of e-commerce, industry-leading companies have been making the switch from pressure sensitive tape (PST) to water-activated tape (WAT). 
Companies typically make the switch for a number of reasons, with productivity being high up on the list. 
One large customer made the switch to increase productivity and shipped millions of packages this past holiday season. As you can imagine, packers physically sealing that many cartons using a hand-held tape gun would be exhausted. 
Studies prove that carton sealing productivity is 21% higher when using gummed paper tape and a gummed paper tape dispenser versus pressure-sensitive tape being applied via handheld dispenser. 
Further, just one strip of water-activated shipping tape is all that’s needed to seal a carton properly. This can translate into financial savings when considered against plastic pressure sensitive tape, which requires more than one strip of tape per package to provide a reliable seal.

Theft Prevention
Unfortunately, Comcast reports that roughly 1 in 4 people have been a victim of package theft, resulting in a lot of uncertainty when ordering online. 
While your packaging and shipping choices can’t stop “porch pirates” from snagging delivered goods, you can choose materials that prevent would-be thieves.
When sealing a carton with regular plastic packing tape, the tape just sits on top of the box. This creates a weak seal that makes the tape easy to remove. 
Theft during the transport process is far too common with packages sealed this way. 
One can simply press down on the box and slide a hand in to remove contents from the carton without any visual damage being done to the carton itself. 
This is where the security of water-activated tape comes in. 
Each strip of WAT literally bonds to the carton. If someone tries to tear or open the package, tamper evidence will be easily detected.

Better Packages® and Central® Brand Water-Activated Tape
IPG manufactures a full line of Better Packages water-activated tape dispensers and Central brand water-activated tape. Both brands have been in business for over 100 years, satisfying loyal customers by fulfilling their packaging needs. 


[This post republished from the Better Packages Blog]