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The proposed UK plastic tax 'positive' but not without challenges

Bailer Image

In the October 2018 budget, Philip Hammond announced a plastic tax to help tackle plastic waste. The government proposed to introduce a new tax on the manufacture and import of plastic packaging which contains less than 30% recycled plastic in the hope to transform the economics of sustainable packaging.

Zoe Brimelow, Brand Director at Duo UK was asked to give her view on the government's plans by Packaging News "The announcement of a plastic tax is a positive step towards making the polythene packaging industry more sustainable. However, it's not without its challenges for manufacturers.

"Plastic is resource-efficient, flexible, hygienic, durable and lightweight, and other materials don't match those functional properties, but there is growing concern surrounding its impact on the planet. As an industry, before the new tax law was introduced, positive changes had already started to make packaging more sustainable. At Duo, we have our own polythene closed loop recycling facility where we recycle waste polythene scrap created in our manufacturing process and also waste from our customers sites. The recycled content is used to manufacture new products reducing dependency on virgin products used. Together with our clients we have re-engineered products, eradicated excess material and a vast number of our clients have started to segregate waste polythene on-site and return it to us to be recycled and made into new packaging through our closed-loop-recycling programme.

"A challenge we're facing is that much of packaging waste is heavily contaminated which makes it difficult to recycle. For example, paper labels can result in a low-grade recycled pellet which limits what new product it can be used for and the inclusion rate without effecting the performance of the product.

"As a leader within the industry, we're doing all we can to keep valuable material in the economy and out of the environment. We are already geared up for this change - we've invested in the relevant equipment to ensure that we can keep waste material to a minimum and recycle where possible. The stumbling blocks will be contaminated plastic and whether the industry can source enough good quality feedstock to consistently meet 30 per cent inclusion in all new products."

*Featured in Packaging News November 2018

Are Re-usable Shopping Bags really reducing the Environmental Impact?

In October 2015 England introduced a single-use plastic carrier bag charge to reduce the amount of single use bags in circulation and encourage people to reuse bags,

Since the introduction of the charge the number of 'single-use' plastic bags given out by retailers has dropped from 140 to 25 for the average person each year*. In response to the introduction of the charge many retailers have introduced 'bags for life' in a range of styles and prices at till points.

But just how many times does a 'bag for life' need to be re-used to provide the same environmental performance of the average (LDPE) single use carrier bag?

RECYC QUEBEC, and The Danish Environment Agency have carried out independent studies to assess how many times a 'reusable' bag should be reused to provide the same environmental performance of the average LDPE carrier bag and the results have proved very interesting.

According to their findings, a non-woven polypropylene bag must be 6 times, woven polypropylene 5 times and cotton bags 52 times to equal the environmental impact of an average 17-micron carrier bag used just once. How many times do you re-use your 'bags for life'?

Shopping Bag Infographic

The conventional 'single use' plastic bags have several environmental and economic advantages; they are thin, light and the production requires little material and energy. Not only that, conventional 'single use' plastic bags can be re-used and are commonly re-used for bin liners. This second use avoids the production and purchase of bin liners reducing overall material use.

Top take always from the research:

  • Re-use all styles of carrier bags (even the ones dubbed as single use!) as many times as possible before disposal.
  • Prioritise functionality when designing your packaging product. The main aim is to maximise volume and weight holding capacity whilst minimising the amount of material needed and minimise the final weight of the carrier bag.
  • Recycle where possible at the end of use.

Source:

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/the-science-is-clear-the-conventional-plastic-bag-is-the-best-for-the-environment-682165391.html?ispopup=y

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/05/drop-in-plastic-bags-littering-british-seas-linked-to-introduction-of-5p-charge

https://monsacintelligent.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/ENGLISH_FINAL-Quebec-LCA-Highlights.pdf

Closed-loop nappies and bio-microbeads: the best new green innovations

Edie Image _May 2018

As featured on Edie.net on 11th May 2018

A number of eye-catching and potentially transformational innovations have emerged that could help businesses and nations deliver on resource efficiency, low-carbon transitions and combat climate change. Here, edie rounds-up six of the best.

Companies like AB InBev and Unilever have highlighted how sustainable products are creating value and opportunities for those willing to embrace them. Innovation is a difficult area to navigate, but as this round-up highlights, the benefits could usher in an unprecedented transition to the low-carbon economy.

With this in mind, this week's round-up covers a variety of ideas, concepts, products and systems that could help nations and businesses accelerate sustainability commitments.

Brick by Dirty Brick

Away from his Tesla and SpaceX escapades, Elon Musk has been investing in high-speed electric transport infrastructure. Musk's Boring Company has outlined plans to dig tunnels below Los Angeles to enable this transport, and it seems the construction of this process will lead to some low-carbon benefits.

On Twitter this week, Musk noted that the Boring Company would use the dirt from the tunnel digging to create bricks for low-cost housing. The plans have since been confirmed by Bloomberg, with a company spokesperson claiming "there will be an insane amount of bricks".

While Musk has outlined the plans to sell the bricks, he also noted the future Boring Company offices and even some part of the tunnel could replace concrete constructions with the bricks - delivering a lower carbon footprint while creating a second life for the construction waste of the tunnel. No information is available on how many bricks could be created.

Marine micro-miracles

As of January 2018, UK companies are prohibited from producing products that contain " rinse-off microbeads", due to the damage they cause to marine life. Now, researchers at the University of Bath believe that a biodegradable alternative could not only halt this damage, but actually reverse some of it.

As described in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering,  the researchers have developed microbeads made of cellulose found in plants, algae and even shellfish. Despite originally testing how cellulose could be used to make electronics more recyclable, the researchers soon found that by dissolving cellulose and forcing the solution through pores in glass membranes, they could create a microbead alternative.

Some of these biodegradable beads could be used to absorb pollution or the chemicals in sunscreen, according to the journal, both of which impact marine health. The research team are now investigating how the beads interact with ingredients in washes and creams.

You got mail!

Single-use plastic packaging is undoubtedly a hot topic at the moment, having been the focus of this year's Earth Day and the subject of much government debate. In a bid to help big-name online brands phase out flexible plastic bags, packaging firm Duo UK is has created mailing bags made from sugarcane as a sustainable alternative.

The Manchester-based company, which makes mailing bags for brands including JD Sports, Tesco and JD Williams, claims it is the first UK manufacturer to produce mailing bags from GreenPE. While traditional plastic bags are made from polythene derived from fossil fuels, GreenPE is a biopolymer produced using renewable sugarcane. It is chemically identical to traditional plastic and, because sugarcane captures and stores CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows, it is technically carbon-negative.

Duo UK estimates that if all mailing bags produced in the UK were made of GreenPE, the nation's carbon footprint could be reduced by 46,000 tonnes of CO2 annually - the equivalent of the average passenger plane flying around the world 10,000 times.

Nappy Hour

The global market for nappies is booming and is set to be worth more than £55bn by 2020 - but biodegradable nappies can take up to 50 years to decompose in landfill sites, while their non-biodegradable counterparts may require 500 years to fully break down.

A team of researchers at Taiwan's Chung Hua University have created a machine capable of recycling almost 100kg of used nappies per hour using less water than the average toilet. It works by cleaning the nappies in disinfectant before splitting them into plastic, fluff fibres and absorbent material. The used water is then recycled onsite while the clean materials can be sent away for re-incorporation into new household items like plastic bags, sanitary towels and cardboard boxes. The estimated daily carbon emission from this process is 35.1 kg of CO2.

The researchers are now planning to build a larger machine, capable of processing 10 tonnes of nappies each day. If this prototype is successful, it could be rolled out at hospices, care homes, hospitals and nurseries across Taiwan.

Drink your food waste problems away

Supermarkets have been criticised for contributing to the UK's food waste mountain by sticking rigidly to quality specifications, and routinely rejecting "ugly" or misshapen, but edible, fruit and vegetables grown by suppliers. What's more, research suggests that most supermarket customers are only willing to buy imperfect fruit and vegetables at a significant discount.

So, in a bid to reduce the amount of 'ugly' produce going to landfill, two of Tesco's major suppliers have created a range of new juices made from apples, beetroot, strawberries and watermelons that fail to meet produce specifications.

The range is launching this month and will be sold in 350 Tesco stores across the UK, with Waste Not estimating that the juices will save around 3.5 tonnes of produce from being wasted within the first 12 weeks of sale.

House of virtual cards

Of the many plastic items going to landfill, credit cards are often overlooked. They are typically made from PVC and outlive their usefulness after three years, so lending startup Affirm has created a plastic-free credit card alternative which only exists online.

The startup, founded by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, is targeting millennials with its new card-free micro-lending programme, which sees customers either signing up on the Affirm website for financing or applying for it at the checkout on some online stores before making monthly repayments.

Affirm recently announced it was making the programme available through Apple Pay - a step which essentially makes it a credit card provider without physical cards as it enables customers to tap their iPhones for their payments in brick-and-mortar stores. This could help reduce the amount of PVC credit cards produced worldwide each year, which currently stands at roughly six billion according to the International Card Manufacturers Association.

 

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How to avoid costly packaging mistakes and become an unboxing hero

#Packaging Fails

 

Packaging plays a vital role in all online businesses, from protecting the products when stored in a warehouse through to providing protection in transit to its final stage, arriving with the customer. Products come in many different shapes and sizes and couple that with endless basket configurations, selecting the right packaging range can be tricky. If a customer's order is sent out in what they deem as unsatisfactory packaging this could result in them taking their frustration out by sharing the #packagingfail on social media.

We've researched the top #packagingfails making online shoppers blood boil on social media and have compiled a list of our top tips to help you deliver an Instagram worthy unboxing experience every time.

#1 Excess Packaging

According to eDelivery the biggest constraint for online retailers regarding their delivery packaging is cost with 74% of respondents saying it's a major or vital concern. The majority of #packagingfails relating to excess packaging show parcels comprising of at least three packaging items; a box, parcel tape and void fill. Three packaging items that have been sourced, stored, compiled and contribute to the final shipping cost. The packaging itself is just one strand of the total cost.

Packaging is a necessary spend for all online retailers and getting this right can save time, money and positively influence sales. A new packaging innovation developed to tackle the issue of excess packaging is the polythene bubble mailing bag. This packaging product offers a fast to pack compact alternative solution to boxes and void fill. Gone is the box assembly time, pesky costly void fill is avoided and as the outer material is polythene it can be branded. Your customers delicate purchase is inserted into the mailing bag where it is encased in bubble protection, the glue strip offers tamper evident security whilst the polythene outer protects from all weather conditions. An extra bonus for your customer is that they will only have one packaging item to recycle or dispose of.

#2 Unfit for Purpose

Packaging that is too big, too small, an unsuitable material or is not fit for purpose are just some of the common reasons why a customer deems their experience a #packagingfail. To help get your packaging back into shape answer these questions to assess the fit-ness of your packaging range:

  1. Does your packaging design represent your brand?
  2. What delivery options do you offer to your customers? Is this the delivery location the end destination?
  3. What percentage of your sales are returned?
  4. What are the most common basket combinations?

The answers to these question help to identify what functionality you need from your packaging range and provide the starting point to create your perfect range of packaging items for your brand. As your SKU's and customer buying trends change its good practice to evaluate the performance of your packaging regularly. Duo offer a free packaging audit to find out more click here.

#3 Single Use Packaging

According to the Royal Mail's annual tracker study, 49% of e-retailers believe a good returns process will make a consumer more likely to be satisfied with their service. Helping customers to re-pack and return any unwanted items can increase the likelihood that they will make a repeat purchase in the future.

The solution is simple: doubling the use of your mailing bags by adding a second glue strip. The second glue strip provides your customer with a ready to use bag eradicating the need for them to purchase an additional packaging item, enables them to quickly send their products back to your inventory and you can rest assured that your item is adequately protected in its journey back to you.

But what do you do with the packaging that has been returned to you? Polythene is as easy to recycle as cardboard and it can be recycled in the UK. Demand for products containing recycled material has soared in recent years yet there is a lack of scrap in circulation. To incentivise businesses to save this precious material from a life in landfill Duo offer to collect polythene scrap and pay a price per tonne.

Recycling your polythene waste makes economic and environmental sense. Find out more about Closed Loop Recycling click here.

Be a #Packaginghero. We can help you find a perfect packaging product for your product range. To arrange a free packaging audit, send an email to enquiries@duo-uk.co.uk or contact our team on 0161 203 5767.

Download and share this article here


7 eCommerce Shopping Days You Can't Afford to Ignore

The Christmas Holiday season is fast approaching. Whilst the sun is shining many are busy thinking about the impending (and much colder) peak season.

Planning for peak season is currently top of mind and the key to a successful (and stress free) season starts with understanding when peak season is going to hit. According to ecommerce consultancy Salmon this year we could see November overtake December as the year's peak trading month.

78% of ecommerce businesses say that meeting the additional demand for orders at peak times was an ongoing challenge in 2016 and with expectations of next day/same day delivery becoming the norm for customers delivery failures are a big no no!

Managing peak trading is dependent on efficient planning and getting forecasting right. It's never to early to start planning for peak and to kick start your planning we've created a peak season calendar featuring the 7 key shopping dates for 2017.  

To avoid the issue of insufficient stock hampering your productivity and profitability can be tackled by using Duo's free stock management tool which monitors usage against projections and provides you with an insight led delivery schedule. For more information about how we can help your brand maximise productivity and profits during the peak season contact Duo on 0161 203 5767 or email enquiries@duo-uk.co.uk

 

7 Ecommerce Shopping Days You Can 't Afford To Ignore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download 2017 peak season key shopping dates here so you're not lastminute.com

Delivery & Returns: Are you meeting customer expectations?

Drapers Image

As featured in Drapers Report Chapter 6: Getting Sustainability Wrapped up

The only consistent thing in fashion retailing is change. Today retailers find themselves being led by, rather than leading, the consumer, who dictates how they want to browse, buy, receive and return. You might be meeting customer expectations now, but are you looking ahead and asking, 'how will I meet those needs tomorrow?'

Duo were asked to share their expertise in Drapers exclusive report which identified some of the business critical trends online retailers need to know about, here are the highlights:

Consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their purchases. A 2015 study by research company Nielsen of 30,000 consumers in 60 countries revealed that a brand's commitment to the environment has the power to sway the likelihood of a purchase for 45% of consumers.

As scale of distribution of online orders grows, online retailers are under pressure to try to reduce the environmental impact of their online order packaging - as required by their corporate social responsibility commitments. Aside from the volume, type and durability of the packaging needed for home delivery and returns, they are also concerned with the potential waste produced by each order. Consequently, CSR action plans and changes to online order packaging are being put into force.

At the beginning of the supply chain are the packaging companies, who work closely with online fashion and lifestyle retailers to ensure their packaging is sustainable and reaches environmental goals, without impacting processes and productivity.

"Environmental goals differ, depending on the brand's goals, whether reducing waste to landfill, reducing carbon footprint, encouraging customers to re-use packaging, or reducing the volume of packaging used to distribute their products," says Zoe Brimelow, Brand Director for packaging company Duo UK. She adds that a defined environmental target or focus and a team engagement plan often attribute to goals being achieved.

Packaging for online orders should be functional and durable and now thanks to innovations in packaging materials it is possible to also minimise an etailer's environmental footprint. 

Zoe Brimelow explained,"Key innovations in the packaging industry are those that don't pollute the waste stream and [are] easy innovations for companies to adopt. The environment is an emotive topic that can create deeper, loyal relationships between consumers and brands"

Here are the latest innovations in sustainable packaging which will help your brand achieve its sustainability goals.

GreenPE - A sustainable alternative to oil-based polythene, created from sugarcane, can be manufactured in the same way as polythene and is 100% sustainable, 100% renewable and 100% recyclable.

100% Recycled Packaging Material - Made using UK scrap polythene that would otherwise be sent to landfill, the recycled product range is completely odour neutral meaning it can be used to distribute porous products like clothing

Closed Loop Recycling - There is a huge demand for recycled polythene but there's also a shortage of waste material so we've made it easier than ever to reduce, reuse and recycle using our UK - Based closed loop recycling system.

Delighting today's shoppers is no mean feat, but retailers who transform their delivery and returns processes - with convenience at the heart - are those who will have the most success.

 

For the latest innovations in sustainable packaging visit DuoGreen

Drapers, the number one source for breaking news, business advise and expert analysis for the fashion industry.

To read the full report, Delivery & Returns: Are you meeting customer expectations click here

 

Source * http://guides.drapersonline.com/4341.guide

5 Steps to a more successful & profitable online business

5 Steps To A More Successful And Profitable Online Business

UK ecommerce sales are expected to top £70 billion in 2017 helped by a strengthening economy and growth in smartphone-based buying. For growing online businesses, keeping on top of the game requires constantly re-evaluating end to end business processes.

The packaging selected to pack and ship the customers order in is the final impression. We've listed the 5 key steps to deliver a great brand experience end-to-end.

Step 1 - Selecting Your Packaging Range

Packaging selection on many occasions falls solely to procurement buyers, however, the role packaging plays and its catalytic properties to improve profitability and customer satisfaction, deciding on the specification is best not decided in isolation. The inclusion of representatives from CSR, logistics and warehouse and marketing to ensure the final range performs functionally, in-budget, on brand and ethically. 

Step 2 - Optimising Packing Performance 

Product lines and customer buying habits frequently change. To check if you packaging range is performing at its optimum, conduct an end of packing line audit. Seeking the views of the packers on the front line about the usability of the packaging, reviewing the presentation of the outbound parcel, assessing the range and number of items packed per order plus reviewing the design of the outer packaging helps to understand areas where your range could be improved. 

Step 3 - Consistent Customer Journey

Customers engage with retailers across a number of channels, consistently reinforcing the brand message across all touch points enhances the customers overall experience.

The increased visibility of postal packaging outside of the home bolsters their power as a marketing tool. Take advantage of this cost effective and versatile product by changing the design in line with current marketing promotions or trends. 

Step 4 - Delivery is not the finish line 

Returns are an inevitable part of online shopping and a good returns process can amplify customer satisfaction and repeat sales. Packaging plays a huge part in making this process convenient for both the customer and retailer. For example, including a twin-glue line to outbound mailing bags makes it easy for the customer to return the product and for the retailer to process it ready for resale as quickly as possible. 

Step 5 - Building Brand Equity 

Consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of their purchases. Helping them to re-use and reduce their packaging waste using simple on-pack messaging is one way to create a deeper relationship with your brand.

Visit DuoGreen for more tips on how to achieve optimum performance in a sustainable way. 

Feeling inspired to take action to grow your online business? Take advantage of Duo's free end of line packaging audits by calling our team on 0161 203 5767 or email enquiries@duo-uk.co.uk

Download this article here.

 

Make your business more successful and profitable online

How To Sell Online Blog Image

Packaging is a valuable marketing tool. Treating this particular spend as an investment can improve business performance and increase customer satisfaction, lending to loyalty and repeat sales. The packaging that protects a product in transit plays an important role in the customer's journey and may be their first tangible experience of the online brand. Considering the purpose, design and branding of the postal packaging used has a significant influence on the customer's first moment of truth.

Packaging acts as a communication tool between the brand and the consumer and has the ability to influence satisfaction levels. Its function is to complete the practical 'protection' duty as well as act an enabler to satisfy a customer's expectations of the brand.

For an ecommerce business, packaging to protect a product in transit from the warehouse to the delivery destination is an unavoidable spend, although this 'Goods Not For Resale' (GNFR) item has vast potential to maximise sales success and influence customer loyalty.

Converting this necessary spend into a business asset requires some clever planning and collaborative thinking. This starts at the end of the packing line understanding the customers average basket size per order and trend of items purchased together. This data will help you to create a range of packaging products to optimise the performance of your outbound deliveries. Having the correct size packaging range will;

  • Improve presentation
  • Reduce on outbound delivery costs (if using volumetric weight delivery option)
  • Save time in the pick and pack operation

The brands that come full circle, from simply wanting the cheapest and most practical packaging products to understanding how smart packaging, whilst an initial investment, is cost-effective in the long term, have a greater competitive advantage.

Download this article here

As featured in 'How to Sell Online' by Christer Holloman 

Ready, Steady, Pack

Essential tips to keep your fulfilment operation performing at its optimum during the Madness of Black Friday

Black Friday Madness

 

In 2015 the UK spent a phenomenal £1.1 billion online. This was a huge increase compared to 2014 spending of £810 million.*  Retail Week have predicted a soaring £5billion will be spent over the Black Friday weekend* which this year is on 25th November.

As shoppers get ready to splurge, we've compiled our top tips to help your fulfilment operation perform at its optimum before, during and after the Black Friday madness.

Pre-Black Friday

Accurate stock management of your outbound packaging items is vital to avoid having non, or the wrong packaging to ship your customer's orders. During the Black Friday sales, it is imperative that your customer service level remains consistent, orders are delivered on-time and presentation remains unchanged with other times of the year. Running out of a size or style of packaging item may reduce presentation of the outbound parcel and could incur additional costs per unit to ship.

Reviewing your projected order schedule in advance of Black Friday and ensuring your packaging stock levels correlate with expected volumes help to reduce the risk of any shortfalls and avoid disappointing customers. At Duo we offer a free stock management service to help manage this process for our customers. The stock management tool is an easy to use, clear way to track your packaging stock levels, usage projections and forward planned deliveries so you can rest assured that you always have the right packaging at the right time. Find out more about our free stock management service here or speak to your Account Manager today.

Black Friday Madness

With £5billion expected to be spent during the Black Friday Sales and previous years' predictions totally exceeded, we have a sure fire back up plan to keep your packers packing and customers happy. If sales outstrip all predictions Duo have a buy-now, next day delivery range of mailing bags specifically designed for online retailers. This range of mailing bags are made from 100% recycled polythene so as well as avoiding packing lines coming to a stop they are also stopping valuable waste polythene from a destiny in landfill.

From small individual items to large oversized uglies, this range has a size that will protect and perfectly present your product ready to ship.

DR Range

Request free sample pack of the range by emailing enquiries@duo-uk.co.uk

Black Friday - the aftermath

Ideally customers would love all their Black Friday purchases but many shoppers go 'deal crazy' and impulse buy. In fact, in 2015, 1 in 3 customers returned the goods they purchased on Black Friday.*

Returns are an inevitable part of online shopping and such an important part of the customer experience. Avid online shoppers can spot a previously returned item and may even return an item on this basis so achieving consistent outbound items is key. Guarantee all outbound and returned products are consistently protected and presented using our range of clear, high clarity, retail returns bags. The size range has been created to pack and present retail garments from lingerie to oversized coats so they are all packed quickly and present the item ready for resale.

Free samples of the clear retail display bags are available, to order, simply email enquiries@duo-uk.co.uk with your name and address.

Clear Retail Display

Source:Making sense of the online shopping day phenomenon Retail Week Whitepaper 13.10.2016

 

 

 

What do you get when you cross Social Media with Packaging?

Packaging that includes brand icons taps into the heart and minds of consumers. 

Social media and packaging may not seem in any way related but together they form a powerful marketing force that can really bring a brand to life! 

For brands, packaging is an important marketing tool to engage consumers and persuade them to buy a product.

Smart brands are using packaging concepts to increase online exposure, a great example being the use of hashtags on packaging to spread a social message. 

But the key to grasping the power of packaging and social media is to make the shopping experience personal to the customer in every way possible.

A great example of this is Coca-Cola's campaign #ShareACoke, where the company replaced its logo with first names. 

 Share A Coke

Coca-Cola's personalised packaging helped to make a personal connection with customers and certainly increased motivation to share on social media! 

Coca-Cola then went a step further to ensure everyone was included in the campaign, adding a feature on its website where customers could personalise their own bottle.

The campaign went down a storm on social media, especially on Twitter, with 235,000 tweets shared throughout the campaign, from 111,000 fans, using the #ShareACoke hashtag.

By using unique social media icons on branded packaging, businesses aren't just creating something to look good - they are selling and engaging people into the brand itself.

Social networks are used by 2 billion people worldwide and more than two thirds of the UK are active on social networks. This huge audience provides the perfect channel to promote a brands personality and values and connect with customers on a more personal level.

Packaging is a really versatile and powerful marketing tool. Packaging items such as mailing bags used for ecommerce deliveries and luxury paper bags used for retail store sales, can be printed with anything from bold designs to intricate images. With small print runs available, it is now possible to order specific packaging to coincide your social media campaigns. View our full range of packaging products that can be personalised for your brand.

This is also featured in The Juice Academy Blog

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