Private Brands Make A Sustainable Difference

This month packaging trade magazine “Brand Packaging” presented its annual sustainable package design review. The goal or the review was to identify brands that are thoughtfully incorporating their equities and the needs of consumers into their environmental efforts. This collection of packaging, introduced from March 2010 through April 2011, is an indication of the decisions and choices brands are making. This year’s selection includes three sustainable Private Brand selections from eBay, Waitrose and Whole Foods. As the economy improves sustainable has the potential to be a truly sustainable and uniquely profitable advantage for retailer owned brands.

USA: The eBay Box, eBay inc.

Designed to be used multiple times to ship goods between eBay sellers and buyers, the eBay box is simple yet impactful. The durable box, which comes in three sizes, is made from 100 percent Forest Stewardship Council-certified recycled material, is printed with water-based inks and minimizes tape use.

The text on the outside of the eBay box highlights the package’s environmental benefits, while graphics and text on the interior give users space to write a personal message and tips for greener shipping techniques.

The company calculates that reusing each box at least five times will save 2.4 million gallons of water, protect almost 4,000 trees and conserve the energy needed to power 49 homes for one year.

Package Design: Office

UK : Waitrose Snip and Slide Pack, Waitrose

UK grocery retailer Waitrose continues to put sustainability at the forefront of its package-development efforts with the snip and slide meat pack. The oriented polyester pouch, a flow pack similar to those used for bagged salads, eliminates the tray typically used in meat packaging.

The snip and slide concept uses 50 percent less packaging than conventional meat packs, which means less plastic and less energy to produce. In addition, more of the slim-line packages can be packed onto trucks, reducing fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. From an end-of-life perspective, the switch to the flexible package will reduce non-recyclable post-consumer waste by 90 tons per year, by Waitrose’s calculations.

Package Design: Dovecote Park

FILM: Flextrus

USA: Whole Foods Pizza Box, Whole Foods Market

Last August, Whole Foods Market began rolling out an innovative, environmentally friendly pizza box. The concept, called GreenBox, features unique perforations, which allow the top to be separated into plates. To store leftovers, the bottom of the box folds into a smaller container.

By using 100 percent recycled material, rather than virgin or a mixture of recycled and virgin fiber, the box generates profound environmental benefits: Data from the US Environmental Protection Agency shows that recycling one ton of paper saves three cubic yards of landfill, 4,100 kilowatt hours of electricity, 7,000 gallons of water and 17 mature trees.

The package also reduces waste by eliminating the need for disposable or ceramic plates, as well as food wrap or foil for leftovers — and it can be recycled or composted in communities with appropriate commercial facilities.

Package Design: William Walsh, Ecovention LLC

Converting: Pratt Industries (USA), Inc.

See all of the selections.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.