[Jump to main content]

Home > Blog

Latest News RSS Feed RSS

Archive for tag: Packaging Innovation

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.

 

edie.net is a trusted and integral part of the workflow of more than 69,000 energy and sustainability professionals. It delivers daily news and commentary, expert advice and business tools, downloadable industry reports and guides, exclusive research, access to video, webinars and podcasts, opt-in daily and weekly newsletters and a unique content distribution hub for product and service suppliers.

www.edie.net


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


Discover the DUO difference for yourself,
call us on 0161 203 5767 or email enquiries@duo-uk.co.uk

Find us on:   Follow DuoPlastics on Twitter DuoPlastics on Facebook Duo Ltd on LinkedIn

© Duo 2018. Duo is the trading name of Duo Plastics Limited.

About Us | T&C's | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy | Site Map | Design by TIA