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Domestic PET Packaging Recycling Rates Break Records

Once again, plastic is demonstrating its high level of sustainability. According to a new report issued by the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), the gross recycling rate for PET bottles in the U.S. is now at an all-time high. More consumers in the U.S. are recycling PET packaging than ever, and it doesn’t stop there—more plastic packaging companies are making the most of the trend with their own sustainable production practices. PET Packaging Recycling Rates According to NAPCOR, the recycling rate for PET jumped from 29.3 percent to 30.8 percent between 2011 and 2012—a difference of about 100 million pounds. That brings the total collected volume of PET bottles up to 1.718 billion pounds, the largest volume ever. And what’s happening to all of that reclaimed PET packaging? It’s being put to good use. The NAPCOR report reveals that in 2012, U.S. reclaimers/plastic packaging companies also produced a higher volume of RPET than ever, coming in at 930 million pounds. (RPET, of course, is the reprocessed PET that it used to turn postconsumer plastic packaging like bottles into...


Posted in Custom Packaging | Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 | 0 comments

Pack Expo 2013 Recap: Takeaways & Trends

This September, Pack Expo 2013 shattered records as the biggest and most-attended show in the expo’s history. With attendance well over 42,000, the show gave us the perfect opportunity to reflect on some of the biggest challenges faced by packaging companies today. From creative technology like our own revolutionary new coining technology to experimental concepts in packaging design, we noticed a few common threads among the thousands of attendees and exhibitors. Innovation Creative and unusual packaging design continues to push the envelope as the fight for retail shelf space and consumer attention grows more competitive than ever. Pack Expo was a place to see the unconventional in action, and did we ever.  As we already know, though, there’s a difference between packaging that commands attention and packaging that is practical for consumers and retailers. It’s exciting to see the limits of practicality tested, but packaging companies have to be careful not to sacrifice usefulness for novelty. Sustainability As recycling rates rise and consumers increasingly prioritize eco-friendliness, more and more packaging companies are focusing on sustainability. This isn’t only limited to working...


Posted in Design | Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 | 0 comments

Design Considerations: Packaging for Cosmetics

The world of cosmetics is fast-paced and highly competitive, presenting unique challenges when it comes to packaging for cosmetics. At PI, our relationship with the cosmetics industry has taught us how to adapt to its demanding pace and need for innovative packaging solutions—here are just a few things that deserve special attention. Visibility and Security Cosmetics are unique because they must be highly visible in their packaging while remaining highly secure. They can’t be obscured by their packaging, but because they are generally small and high-value, they must be tamper-resistant. This is why plastic packaging is generally the standard for cosmetics—it can be extremely tough without sacrificing clarity. Of course, this means that the designer must know which type of plastic provides the best packaging solution for the job. Certain plastics are highly shatterproof, but scratch and compromise the product’s aesthetic appeal. Others may be strong, but risk losing their clarity during manufacturing. There is no room for error in packaging for cosmetics, so it takes a designer with encyclopedic plastics knowledge as well as experience in this particular industry....


Posted in Design | Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 | 0 comments

Will Liquid Coating Catch On with Plastic Packaging?

Here at PI, we know that plastic packaging design has everything to do with how people interact with the products they use every day. The expert minds at MIT, now, seem to have developed a new coating for plastics that could shake things up. Packaging World reports that LiquiGlide, a patent-pending “structured liquid,” can be used to coat glass and plastic, creating a super-slippery surface that lubricates whatever it touches—ketchup stuck at the bottom of the bottle, for example, could be a thing of the past.[1] Of course, the question we have to ask is, can this solution stick? Why Use It? LiquiGlide purports to be a solution to an age-old question across industries: How do you get everything out of the package? Even wide-mouth jars for condiments like mayonnaise tend to leave globs behind. LiquiGlide wants to lubricate the inside of your plastic packaging, so those condiments slip and slide right out. The demo videos show viscous substances effortlessly pouring out of bottles, which raises a question of its own: What about the times when you don’t want the...


Posted in Custom Packaging | Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 | 0 comments

Consumers Changing Their Tastes—Literally

You know that we’re always watching the trends here at PI, and this month, a few food-and-drink-related studies should be catching the eye of every packaging company in the industry—whether they make plastic food packaging or not. Packaging World has broken down the latest consumer research, which shines some light on how consumer attitudes may be changing—and we have ideas about what a packaging company like us can do about it.   Mamelle Soy Packaging, Courtesy of Packaging World Convenient Drink Options Grab-and-go drinks like bottled water, soda, iced tea and energy drinks are growing in popularity, but that doesn’t mean consumers are shopping indiscriminately. For example, consumers have indicated that they care about sustainability, particularly in single-serve bottled drinks like these—they have even indicated that they’d be willing to pay slightly more for plastic packaging that they knew was sustainable. Similarly, consumers are also gravitating more and more toward beverages labeled as “organic” or “natural,” meaning bottle and label designs should save some real estate for advertising these benefits.[1] Getting Adventurous with Food Other research has shown that consumer...


Posted in Food Packaging | Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 | 0 comments

The Art of Over-the-Counter Pharmaceutical Packaging

Between issues of sustainability, compliance and security, over-the-counter pharmaceutical packaging is always making headlines. Since this is an industry we’re familiar with here at PI, we wanted to focus on some of the major factors that go into crafting plastic packaging for OTC pharmaceuticals. What are the aspects that get overlooked? What should more packaging companies focus on? Let’s take a closer look. Critical Areas of Focus When designing pharmaceutical packaging for OTC medications, there are a number of factors that are easy to overlook. Here are just a few of them: Color—From clear and yellow to white, amber and more, pharmaceutical packaging comes in a wide range of colors. As we’ve said on this blog before, nothing is accidental in the hands of experienced packaging companies—especially what the color says about what’s inside. Texture—You shouldn’t overlook the tactile sensations of plastic packaging, especially in something as frequently handled as a pharmaceutical package. Even a simple variable, like whether the cap is flexible or stiff, can make a considerable impact on how easy it is to open and close.  ...


Posted in Custom Packaging | Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 | 0 comments

Pepsi’s Scented Bottle Cap Strategy

Earlier this year, Pepsi announced that its soda bottles would be changing their shape for the first time in 16 years. It looks like the changes won’t be stopping there, though, as a recently reported patent could be introducing a new sensory experience to their plastic packaging. So what’s Pepsi’s plan, and what does it mean for the future of plastic packaging design? The Olfactory Focus Pepsi’s latest packaging design isn’t meant to appeal only to the eyes, but to the nose, as well. Recent reports in Plastics News and Packaging News show that the company has filed a patent for what they call an “aroma delivery system,” which could be incorporated into their plastic bottle packaging. This curious system essentially consists of small capsules filled with aromatic vapors, which would be released into the air when the bottle is fist opened. Not all packaging companies and consumer trend analysts may immediately see the appeal to this sort of idea—after all, who ever really wished that their soda bottle gave off a puff of aroma when it was opened? The...


Posted in Custom Packaging | Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 | 0 comments

New Study: Plastic Food Packaging Influences Product Choice

As much as the designers and engineers here at PI like to be creative when coming up with new packaging solutions, a packaging company like us can’t ignore data. After all, we’re not creating solutions for us—we’re creating them for consumers, and brands that market themselves to consumers. So what does the latest data reveal about what people look for in their plastic food packaging? A Study in Transparency In a recent study, participants were placed in an environment common for snacking—in front of the television, of course—and provided with a wide variety of snack foods in different types of plastic food packaging.[1] Some of the packaging was transparent and some opaque, and the study’s authors rotated which snacks were in which bags over the course of the experiment. So what did it all prove? According to the study’s data, the type of snacks that participants chose depended on the types of packaging they were in—for example, they chose baby carrots more when they were in opaque packaging, and smaller candies more when they were in clear packaging. It wasn’t...


Posted in Custom Packaging | Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 | 0 comments

Why Packaging Companies Should Think Disruptively

With Pack Expo Las Vegas 2013 right around the corner, you can expect to hear plenty about packaging companies trying to create disruptive innovations. These are the game-changing packaging solutions that do more than look good on a shelf—they allow the entire industry to evolve. What does it mean for plastic packaging in general, though, and how much should we push for extreme innovation in our field? Our Changing Industry When you work in the industry as long as we have at PI, it can be easy to forget that while plastic packaging is highly advanced, it’s still a relatively young field—and we’re pioneering innovations all the time. Just look at how much the industry has reduced waste over the last decade, or how our continued focus on increasingly sustainable packaging solutions has improved other industries, like food and beverage. Innovation doesn’t always happen in the form of major, disruptive turning points, but that doesn’t make it any less beneficial. The Benefit of Thinking Disruptively This is why it’s so important for packaging companies like us to push ourselves for...


Posted in Custom Packaging | Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 | 0 comments

What Packaging Solutions to Expect at Pack Expo Las Vegas

Pack Expo Las Vegas 2013 is coming up, and it’s going to be a big one. The expo is going to be bigger and better-attended than ever—and PI will be there, of course, showing off some of our latest packaging solutions. But what else can you expect from this year’s expo? Plastic Food Packaging Innovations Plastic food packaging has been a hot topic in the industry lately, and with good reason—issues of sustainability, durability, product protection and more have never been bigger. That’s why this year’s expo will include a series of presentations on food and beverage safety and manufacturing, including participation by the Food Safety Summit Resource Center (FSSRC). This focus on plastic food packaging improvements is a positive step for both the expo and the industry—from stock packaging to custom designs, we at PI know the major benefits of designing and creating advanced food packaging solutions. A renewed focus on creating better plastic food packaging can lead to more efficient and sustainable solutions, and Pack Expo Las Vegas is the perfect opportunity to spread that message. Why Now?...


Posted in Custom Packaging | Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 | 1 comments