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]