Many of our customers are overwhelmed by the number of paper packaging products out there that claim to be ‘Eco-Friendly’, ‘Green’ or ‘Sustainable’ and end up asking us, “What is sustainable packaging?” The truth is more complex than you might imagine! We’ve been in the packaging business for more than 30 years and our paper packaging experts still have trouble figuring out if products are the real deal or if they’re just throwing a lot of ‘Green-Wash’ at us.
Finding Sustainable Paper Packaging Products
To help clear up this confusion we’ve boiled packaging sustainability down to three simple requirements that a product needs to fulfill if it wants to be on our list of sustainable packaging products:
- The product needs to be made from significant amounts of recycled material.
- The product needs to be easily recyclable (think curbside recycling programs).
- The product must be produced in a facility that uses clean, responsible manufacturing processes (it’s a big plus if it’s made in the U.S.).
At Howard Packaging, the core of our stock and custom printed packaging product lines are three product groups that satisfy all of these requirements: Paper shopping bags; white, kraft and colored tissue; natural kraft gift and apparel boxes.
Here’s a summary on how these products have managed to make our sustainable packaging list.
Paper Shopping Bags
Our paper shopping bags are produced in two factories—one in Tulsa, OK and the other in Portland, OR. These are modern printing and converting facilities that use only water based inks…no Volatile Organic Compounds (solvents) are used.
The natural kraft shopping bags produced in both of these facilities are made from 100% recycled paper with a minimum of 90% post consumer recycled content. Other paper substrates (white kraft and VersaKraft) are also available with a minimum of 50% post consumer recycled content.
All of our paper shopping bags can be recycled in any community recycling program making this a ‘closed loop’ packaging product—a shopping bag made from 100% recycled paper that can be easily recycled and made into another shopping bag.
White, Kraft and Colored Tissue
Almost all of our tissue products are produced by the Seaman Paper Co. in Otter River, MA. All of Seaman’s tissue grades are made from significant amounts of recycled paper:
- White- 80% recycled paper, 70% post consumer content.
- Kraft- 100% recycled paper, 10% post consumer content.
- Colors- An average of 70% recycled paper, 10% post consumer content.
But the best thing about this factory is their commitment to sustainable manufacturing practices. The list of the things they do is too long for this writing, but here are a few of the highlights:
- They have their own biomass power generating facility that has reduced their SO2 emissions by 97%.
- They have their own waste water treatment facility that removes 99% of the solid waste. The water they put back into their local river is cleaner than the water they take in.
- They have Chain of Custody Certifications from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
If you’d like to see all detail on all of Seaman’s practices, just follow this link.
All of our tissue is recyclable in your community program.
Natural Kraft Gift and Apparel Boxes
Our natural kraft gift boxes are produced in Cleveland, OH in factory that employs more than 200 people and has been producing gift boxes for more than 80 years. Our natural kraft gift boxes are made from 100% recycled material with a minimum of 30% post consumer recycled content.
All of our natural kraft gift boxes are recycled in all curbside recycling programs.
Looking for the Perfect Design for Your Business? Request A Free Sample Kit and Catalog Today!
Hopefully you found this rundown of what sustainable packaging is and which of our products fit the bill helpful. These are not the only products on our list of sustainable packaging products, but they will give you a good start if you’re looking to start building a sustainable packaging program for your business. And maybe down the road we’ll talk about how to find sustainable plastic packaging products for your business.
Find out what we can do for your business. Request a Free Catalog and Sample Kit Today!