Within the jewellery and accessory markets in which we specialise, our clients have traditionally chosen injection moulded plastic packaging for their product ranges.
Belts, scarves, gloves, earrings, even footwear, is displayed on plastic hangers and carding throughout the high street stores of our favourite brands across the globe.
The last few years has seen a definite shift in our client’s thinking about their long term plastic packaging strategies. Client briefings centre around options for making a multi-staged move to more environmentally friendly options as and when individual ranges come up for renewal.
However, the announcement of a UK tax on plastic packaging made from virgin plastics has brought these longer term strategies firmly into the here and now.
In order to meet our customers’ newly urgent needs, our primary challenge was to develop a material that was strong enough to replace plastic packaging with no compromises on display quality in store.
Injection moulded plastic has a relatively high tensile strength. This means that it is capable of withstanding pretty high amounts of weight before it stretches out of shape, or even breaks.
When considering the weight of a pair of earrings, this was not a concern. However, as previously mentioned, many of our clients display heavier items, such as footwear, in store.
So, how to replicate the strength of plastic packaging using environmentally friendly materials. The answer lies with using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified products.
The FSC is arguably the most rigorous and credible forest certification system. As a result, companies choosing FSC certified materials are proving their commitment to environmental protection, whilst also benefiting from access to markets which prefer FSC-certified products.
In order to use the FSC logo on packaging, and provide a guarantee to markets and consumers that the products are from responsible sources, the materials to make the packaging must come from a certified supply chain.
Another key benefit of using FSC-certified materials to create cardboard packaging is that most products still come from virgin tree fibres via sustainable forests.
As opposed to post-consumer recycled paper materials, virgin tree fibres are considerably stronger, a lot more durable, and far more resistant to humidity.
This means we were able to achieve the required strength without needing to add too many layers to (and consequently vastly increase the thickness of) the jewellery carding and accessory hangers.
Adding thickness means more material usage and, therefore, more weight. This pushes up the unit price and increase shipping costs; as well as the carbon footprint of those shipments. Pretty counterintuitive when your primary goals are environmental protection and protection of the bottom line.
We were able to find a great solution to the plastic packaging problem, with minimal price uplift from our customers’ previous injection moulded plastic packaging ranges.
This will help them, and our future customers, improve their environmental impact AND avoid the upcoming plastic packaging tax. Win win!