Packaging – Ensuring That Holidays are Happy

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Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope you are able give and receive plenty of wonderful presents. While admiring all those beautifully wrapped packages on display waiting to be opened at your chosen gift staging hub, please take a moment and think about how they would have been displayed, or better yet, arrived at their intended destination without the benefit of packaging.

The most obvious role a gift package serves is to disguise the actual contents. It is perhaps of equal importance that the package also helps convey a higher perceived higher value, and demonstrates the personal care that went into selecting the intended gift. What can be easily forgotten is that the gift was most likely produced at a distant locale and that it had arrived safely and securely at its end destination. As a producer of primary packaging, the carton that comes in contact with the end product, I can elaborate for days on the importance of that type of packaging. For this entry, though, I am helping to celebrate the Holiday season by celebrating the role of secondary packaging. Holidays are a time for reflection. This holiday, I am reflecting on the importance of packaging.

With the rapid rise of ecommerce shopping, outer, or secondary packaging has become more noticeable than ever before. In the past, bulked goods were packed in containers and then sent by truck or rail to arrive at the destination where they were unpacked and put into their displays out of site from the intended consumer. All of the outer cartons were then broken down, flattened, and sent off for recycling. I know all this because I did it as a job while in college.

A co-worker of mine just happened to have in his office a present he ordered for his wife from Amazon. Out of curiosity I asked if I could break open the corrugated carton to see how close in size it was to the primary package. Upon opening on the outer carton I was disappointed to find the final product was packed in a second corrugated carton within the shipper. Other than some Kraft wrap in the top of the package, there was no other packing material contained within. The present –a fragile and expensive household item- can almost certainly be assumed to have arrived at its final destination in proper order. Although at first glance it may seem as though there was some unnecessary packaging, if the product had arrive broken just think about all the additional waste that would have been generated to repack and send everything back to the retailer, have the broken product disposed of, and then a replacement product shipped in its place.

I just received a package of mixed nuts from a supplier this past week. For those of you who unaware of the variety of crops grown in Minnesota, be assured that nuts are not one of them so I am positive that the original nuts came from some farm far away. The actual packaging was quite typical for this product: a primary package – the tin- with festive holiday designs to hold the product; a shrink wrap around the tin for freshness and tamper evidence; and an outer corrugated carton for labeling, stacking, and shipping. The weight of the actual product inside the tin – 5.5 lbs; the weight of the corrugated shipper – .5 oz. A pretty good ratio.

The .5 oz shipper has been flattened down and placed into a recycling bin where I hope to see it again as fiber for a recycled paperboard sheet. Old corrugated containers are highly desirable for recycled pulp. Although not as fun or interesting as the primary carton, secondary packaging is a good and necessary part of bringing us all Holiday joy.

Happy Holidays.

Author: Nicole Hannover

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