Paper packaging: once hunter, now the hunted one

Paper packaging: once hunter, now the hunted one

Thomas Reiner | 09.07.2020

With new packaging solutions made of flexible corrugated board, eBay wants to offer its 187 million buyers and sellers worldwide new possibilities for more sustainability. The 14 tailor-made storage units are designed to reduce material consumption and empty volume while improving the shopping experience.

eBay’s push comes against the backdrop of growing pressure on online retail to manage its waste. Currently, an average mail order parcel is only half full. The rest is filling material or air. Online retailers are therefore looking for new answers worldwide.

The problems facing e-commerce are its very wide range of required package sizes and solutions. The variety and heterogeneity of the products offered and to be shipped is gigantic. The size, weight and need for protection of the goods vary greatly and often fundamentally.

eBay has approached its solution by determining the required box sizes and material qualities among its sellers. On this basis, 14 tailor-made storage units (SKU) were created, which cover the widest possible range of required packaging solutions, while meeting specific cost, quality and quantity requirements.

To underline the sustainability of the eBay-branded box SKUs, the company ensures that its packaging is FSC-certified and emphasises its recyclability.

According to the platform, the new solution is well received by sellers and buyers alike. In any case, it is a good and right step to address consumers’ concerns about too much packaging and to reduce material consumption.

After all, consumers’ increasing sensitivity to packaging waste does not stop at plastics. Consumers are less and less willing to accept the excessive and unnecessary use of material that they have to dispose of in the end. Fibre packaging is thus increasingly going from being the hunter to the one being hunted.

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Corrugated cardboard: Few sectors show winners & losers of the corona crisis as clearly

Corrugated cardboard: Few sectors show winners & losers of the corona crisis as clearly

Thomas Reiner | 03.07.2020

On the one hand, serious growth in consumer goods packaging, on the other hand a dramatic decline in industrial packaging. In no other industry are the winners and losers of the corona crisis as clear as in the corrugated cardboard sector.

For the first quarter of 2020, the companies of the German Corrugated Cardboard Industry Association (VDW) report a sales increase of 1.4 percent compared to the previous year. The decisive factor was March with a plus of 4.7 percent.

According to the VDW managing director, the corona-related special economic situation in food retailing is responsible for the growth. Since almost two thirds of all transported goods are packed in corrugated cardboard, the peaks in demand from consumer goods manufacturers are directly transferred to the packaging industry.

It is also true, however, that around 30 percent of all corrugated board packaging used is used in industry and its logistics. This important market is often forgotten when considering the corrugated board industry.

Accordingly, the demolition of industrial production since Corona has had a serious impact on the manufacturers concerned. Price-adjusted industrial production fell in March by a total of 9.2 percent compared to the previous month.

As many companies in the industry specialise in certain user sectors, the developments triggered by Covid-19 are transmitted in very different ways. Those who are active in the food sector benefit disproportionately. On the other hand, those who have concentrated purely on packaging for industry and logistics may find the situation dramatic.

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Covid-19 makes weaknesses visible and accelerates trends

Covid-19 makes weaknesses visible and accelerates trends

Thomas Reiner | 01.07.2020

For many manufacturers, increased business in Corona times turns out to be more of a curse than a blessing. The reason is the rising costs. Virtually every item in the calculation quickly rises, whether production, personnel, raw materials, packaging material or logistics. There is talk of freight surcharges of up to 200 percent. The brand Frosta speaks of higher costs in the entire supply chain. The production costs alone would have increased by 5 percent.

Even if some of the costs remain above the pre-crisis level, the bottom line is that too often little remains. And the cost pressure will not decrease.

In logistics, for example, we will see further increases in burdens and costs. The logistics chain was already at the limit of Corona. The pandemic has given an additional boost to this trend and clearly demonstrates it.

Weaknesses and backlogs in agility and digital transformation can now hardly be hidden. The lack of agile skills is becoming just as obvious as a lack of strength and competence in the area of digital transformation. All this hurts much more today than it did five months ago.

Developments, trends and necessities are becoming more apparent in the Corona crisis than we are used to. We should make use of this “new” transparency. It allows us to see things more clearly and helps us to recognize them.

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Covid-19 drives hygienic packaging design

Covid-19 drives hygienic packaging design

Thomas Reiner | 24.06.2020

G & S Business Communication conducted a representative survey of 1,058 US citizens aged 18 and over on 17 April 2020. The focus was on the topic of food safety. The results show that consumers are significantly more concerned about the hygiene and safety of their food than was the case before Covid-19.

The results in detail:

  • 54 percent of the respondents are concerned about becoming infected with the coronavirus through the consumption of food.
  • 66 percent fear that they could become infected through the surface of food packaging.
  • 44 percent therefore clean food packaging with a disinfectant before opening.
  • 66 percent expect the players in the food packaging industry to communicate proactively about measures to ensure a hygienically reliable and high-quality supply of food.

It can be stated that the corona pandemic has led to a new awareness among consumers of the importance of hygiene and food safety. As a consequence, the demand for and the importance of hygienic packaging designs is increasing.

Hygienic packaging design can not only relieve consumers of concerns about infection via the surfaces of food or food packaging. It can also be a powerful tool for the players involved to differentiate themselves from the competition and to stand out from customers and consumers.

This is all the more true as consumers expect not only appropriate precautions from industry, but also proactive and transparent information about risks and measures to eliminate them.

Especially in the times of Covid-19, the old rule “do good and talk about it” therefore applies. Those who can now stand out from the competition with hygienic packaging design and meet consumer concerns with proactive and transparent communication will emerge from the crisis stronger than before.

For the packaging industry, this also offers the opportunity to fundamentally demonstrate the vital services of packaging and to provide valuable, image-enhancing information.

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The pressure’s rising: France to completely ban disposable plastics by 2040


The pressure’s rising:

France to completely ban disposable plastics by 2040

Thomas Reiner | 13.05.2020

As part of an anti-waste law, France recently passed a law to completely ban disposable plastics – including disposable plastic packaging – by 2040. The gradual implementation is divided into four five-year plans; 2020-2025, 2025-2030, 2030-2035 and 2035-2040.

The process is subject to parliamentary control and sets clear targets for the reduction, multiple use and recycling of plastic from 2021. The targets are reviewed and updated at the start of each five-year phase.

The first phase of implementation began at the beginning of 2020, since when disposable cups and dishes and cotton swabs made of plastic have been banned. From 2021, the ban will be extended to products such as straws, plastic cutlery and plastic confetti. By 2025, 100 percent of the plastic used is to be recycled.

France has a traditionally poor rate of recycling plastic. In 2018, only 25 percent was recycled, while the European average was 30 percent.

The adopted law is only the latest example of national solo efforts to regulate the use of plastics. The increasing, uncoordinated, national measures show how great the pressure on the material has become. And this pressure will continue to increase as long as we do not succeed in closing the recycling loops for plastics.
At the same time, national go-it-alone measures are leading to a patchwork of parallel regulations. This makes the challenges even more complex than they already are.

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