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Embracing the Future: Elevating Sustainable Packaging Design

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Beyond being just a trendy term, "sustainability" encompasses much more than environmental concerns. Prioritizing sustainable packaging is not only ethically responsible but also smart for businesses, as it leads to a host of practical and tangible economic advantages. In 2020, over 60% of consumers actively sought out environmentally friendly products and recycling options, as reported by McKinsey.

While many associate sustainable packaging solely with reducing plastic usage, it represents only one facet of a comprehensive sustainable packaging philosophy. Our commitment to sustainability goes beyond mere certifications like FSC® (Forestry Stewardship Council®) and PEFC™ (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). We integrate waste reduction into every aspect of package engineering and design, benefiting all our clients with a sustainable approach. The outcomes are twofold: ensuring sustainability while also satisfying customer needs.

Our design teams have seamlessly transitioned from replacing plastic with innovative paperboard engineering to efficiently using paper resources. Now, we’re venturing into the next-level challenge of “premium sustainable packaging.

EcoLux Packaging: Elevating Sustainability in Packaging

Our profound knowledge in sustainable packaging design extends to catering to the discerning needs of high-end clientele. We employ various methods, such as embossing, die-cutting, and the use of environmentally friendly inks and coatings, to add creative flair to paper packaging. The outcome is a luxurious appearance that not only meets clients’ desires but also aligns with consumers’ preferences for eco-friendly solutions. Our approach ensures reduced waste, recyclability, and minimal environmental impact, without compromising the package’s overall appeal and quality.

In 2021, Four Roses approached our team with a special request: to craft an exclusive limited-release bourbon package commemorating the grand opening of their expanded Visitor Center in Lawrenceburg, KY. Entrusting our factory with this prestigious project, we set out to create a high-end showcase presentation that would match the significance of their $200 Private Selection commemorative whiskey. The run was strictly limited to 2,000 bottles and, as expected, sold out within a single day.

Crafting an unforgettable consumer experience was our priority for the fortunate few who acquired these collectibles. The exterior design boasted a simulated leather finish, adorned with touches of gold and a red rose, exuding elegance and sophistication. Inside, we opted for a red-wrapped triple-black E-flute to securely hold the bottle, ditching the conventional plastic vac tray.

To make the package both premium and sustainable, we utilized text weight paper for the wrapper and liner, combined with a 60pt chip made from 90% post-consumer waste paper. This thoughtful choice not only delivered a visually pleasing branded look but also eliminated the need for a traditional vac tray.

The result was a showcase of our factory’s top-tier capabilities, achieving the perfect balance between elevating the brand’s image and fulfilling our customer’s sustainability and cost-control objectives.

Among the package’s stunning embellishments were dull varnish and spot gloss UV coatings, creating a subtle yet striking effect. We also employed printing and embossing/debossing techniques to simulate the luxurious texture of leather. Moreover, the red stock laminated over triple black E-flute further enhanced the package’s overall allure.

In addition to the brand advantages and consumer preference for sustainability, our factory’s waste reduction approach yields a plethora of tangible benefits. A fundamental aspect of our strategy involves constant attention to making packaging smaller and lighter, all while incorporating environmentally friendly materials and minimizing plastic usage whenever possible.

The positive impact on costs is significant, spanning the entire production process:

Reduced cost per package throughout the production run due to decreased material requirements.
Reduced cost for package fulfillment as our meticulous design engineering streamlines the assembly of paper trays.
Smaller and lighter packages result in a higher number of packages per skid, leading to surprisingly substantial gains.
Lower transportation costs thanks to fewer skids, allowing for more packages to be shipped at a lower expense.
These cost savings are far from negligible. For instance, we recently revamped a package for a major global entertainment brand, reducing plastic usage by over 50% while introducing other efficiencies. The new, smaller version trimmed the package weight by three ounces, enabling double the number of units to fit on a standard 50″ shipping pallet. The cost-effectiveness of this single packaging improvement is remarkable.

The environmentally conscious hair care brand, Skp, is dedicated to providing top-notch products while taking a stand against plastic waste to protect our planet. With the beauty industry generating an alarming number of plastic packaging pieces in landfills annually, Skp’s commitment to using paperboard cartons for both primary and secondary packaging plays a pivotal role in their sustainability mission.

For the holiday season, Sk*p enlisted our expertise to design packaging for their hair care kits, featuring full-size products. The objectives were clear:

All packaging must be crafted from FSC-certified paper and be 100% recyclable, staying true to Sk*p’s brand promise of sustainability.
Targeted towards big box retailers, the packaging needed to be tamper-proof while ensuring optimal shelf visibility.
The secondary packaging should allow the gable-top primary packaging’s beauty to shine through.
Sk*p provided initial concepts, which we refined alongside our internal structural design team to enhance the vision and breathe life into it. Utilizing die-cuts without plastic windows, the packaging aligns perfectly with their gable-top branding, offering sustainability and portability while elegantly showcasing the products in retail settings.

Our factory’s journey begins with a rich legacy of innovation and a domestically integrated business model. Nestled in the heart of the Midwest and privately owned, our entire setup is strategically designed to deliver ingenious solutions and options with unrivaled accountability right here on our home soil.

This unique approach empowers our structural engineering and creative teams to go beyond the norm, enhancing clients’ artwork and design concepts with unexplored possibilities. We pride ourselves on offering not just one, but four different sustainability approaches for clients, which often expand into an impressive array of ten options for their consideration.

However, our true strength lies in the amalgamation of cutting-edge, technologically advanced pressrooms and our factory’s core values—teamwork, talent, unwavering commitment, and unwavering passion. We continually push the boundaries to revolutionize package design with a deep-rooted focus on sustainability. Our secret sauce lies in the perfect blend of the finest minds, top-notch tools, and exemplary practices—all dedicated to surpassing expectations.

For more insights, we invite you to explore our comprehensive “Repackaging Sustainability” guide, encompassing everything from structures to embellishments. If you’re ready to explore sustainable solutions for your premium packaging design, schedule your Innovation Consultation today. We are here to help!


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