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Sustainability

What Packaging is Environmentally Friendly? Breaking Down Sustainability Terms

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Sustainability means meeting our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable packaging, also known as eco-friendly or green packaging, is defined as being easy to recycle, safe for individuals, safe for the environment, and made out of recycled materials.

Many packaged products are advertised with environmental sustainability jargon, such as “eco-friendly,” “biodegradable” or “compostable,” without companies elaborating on the claims, and consumers are rightfully confused.

What exactly do each of these sustainability terms mean, and how do these claims reflect the type of product packaging you’re getting? Read on to find out.

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Biodegradable and compostable both describe a package’s end of life – but while all compostable materials are biodegradable, not all biodegradable materials are compostable. Biodegradable means that an item can decompose into its base elements through microbial activity over time. Compostable describes a material’s ability to biodegrade in a short time period in a controlled composting environment.

These sustainability terms are used interchangeably, which adds to consumer confusion. The biggest difference is that biodegrading occurs naturally, while composting is a human-driven process.

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What Does Biodegradable Mean?

When a biodegradable material reaches the end of its life cycle, bacteria and other organisms in an ecosystem will begin to break down the product. Gradually, the material will decompose, or biodegrade, in natural environments and will eventually be converted into components such as carbon dioxide and water.

Examples of Biodegradable Products

Most biodegradable packaging materials are made of cardboard, paper, cornstarch, and bioplastic. Examples include label stock, board stock, corrugated boxes, packaging peanuts and envelopes.

Many biodegradable packages consist of bio-based materials, though there are a few exceptions. When in doubt, it’s best to ask your material supplier directly to ensure the materials align with your sustainability initiatives.

How to Measure the Biodegradability of a Material

OECD 301B is the main way to measure a material’s biodegradability. This international testing method measures how quickly a material will break down in water over a period of 28 days. If a material passes the OECD 301B test within the 28-day timeframe and within 10 days of reaching 10% biodegradation, it’s categorized as “readily biodegradable.”

How to Properly Dispose of Biodegradable Materials

Composting is usually the best way to dispose of biodegradable materials, though you can safely toss biodegradable waste in the trash. It’s also important to note that conditions like temperature, water, light, oxygen and bacteria impact the time it takes for products to biodegrade. Materials that can safely biodegrade in nature or a home compost heap will take much longer to biodegrade in a landfill.

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What Does Compostable Mean?

Compostable materials will quickly biodegrade in a home or industrial composting environment. In order for a product to be classified as compostable, the material must biodegrade naturally without leaving visual remnants or unacceptable levels of toxic residues.

When comparing compostable vs. biodegradable materials, remember that while all compostable materials are biodegradable, not all biodegradable materials are compostable.

Examples of Compostable Products

Compostable packaging materials are derived from fossils, trees, sugar cane, seaweed, cellulose fiber or other renewable resources. Common examples include paperboard, paperfoam, bamboo fiber, coatings, inks and additives.

How to Measure the Compostability of a Material

The ASTM D6400 and ASTM D6868 standards are often used to evaluate the compostable characteristics of plastic and fiber-based packaging materials. ASTM D6400 measures if plastic or plastic-based products will “compost satisfactorily” in municipal and industrial aerobic composting facilities.

Meanwhile, ASTM D686 measures whether or not packaging materials with attached biodegradable plastic film or coating compost in the same kinds of facilities.

How to Properly Dispose of Compostable Materials

Compostable packaging materials – including those made of plastic – can be composted in a commercial or industrial composting facility. If this kind of facility isn’t located nearby, it’s best to throw compostable materials in the garbage since they often aren’t recyclable.

There are only a few industrial composting facilities around the world, which means a lot of brands are greenwashing their environmental claims by saying a product is compostable when it realistically cannot be composted. Home compostability is a more realistic standard which SmartSolve materials meet, meaning the packaging materials can decompose into nutrient-rich soil in a home compost bin. The ideal conditions for composting are warm temperatures, moisture, plenty of oxygen and nutrients.

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What Does Bio-Based Mean?

Bio-based products are made from renewable plant or animal feedstocks at the beginning of a package’s life cycle. The terms “biobased,” “renewable” and “biotic” are used interchangeably.

Most bio-based materials are biodegradable, and some are compostable. On labels, the percentage of bio-based materials listed reflects the quantity of renewable materials that were sourced to make the product.

Examples of Bio-Based Products

The most common examples of bio-based materials are fiber-based packaging, paper and adhesives that originate from trees, wheat straw or bamboo. Others include bioplastics, which are made from materials like food waste, sugarcane, corn starch, potatoes, mushroom roots and algae. PLA, a bioplastic made from corn, is often used in compostable food packaging.

How to Quantify a Material’s Bio-Based Content

The bio-based nature of a product is tested against the ASTM D6866 standard which quantifies a material’s bio-based content. This standard uses radiocarbon analysis to determine the content of solid, liquid or gaseous samples.

Currently, a material only needs to contain 20% renewable materials to be called a bioplastic, which means the other 80% could be made of fossil fuel-based plastic resins or synthetic additives which will not degrade. SmartSolve is working to create a bio-based substrate containing 100% bio-based content.

How to Properly Dispose of Bio-Based Products

If bio-based products are also biodegradable and compostable, they can be composted or brought to a biogas plant to be used as renewable energy. Many bio-based packaging materials can also be recycled, including bio-based plastics. When recycled, bio-based plastics are collected by recyclers and brought to a recycling plant. After being processed, they can be reused.

One downfall of bio-based products is that not all types can be recycled in the same way, and recyclability often depends on the facility. For example, bio-based paper is recyclable as long as the facility can recycle paper.

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SmartSolve’s water soluble materials are comprised of bio-based wood fibers that are sourced from FSC Certified forests. Our paper-based materials are non-toxic, biodegradable and approved for both home and industrial composting.

There is still progress to be made across the industry to make product packaging more eco-friendly, and we see a future full of innovation to help companies reach their sustainability goals and reduce our environmental impact. Get in touch with our team to discuss how our water soluble materials can help you go beyond recycling.

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SmartSolve Sponsors SPC Impact 2022

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SmartSolve was a proud sponsor of SPC Impact 2022, the flagship open event from the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. This April, the SPC held their first in-person event since the pandemic began, and more than 700 packaging and sustainability professionals gathered to collaborate and share insights on sustainable packaging.

Josette Lee represented SmartSolve at the conference, and we’re sharing the takeaways she brought back to our team.

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SmartSolve was the presenting sponsor for the April 5th panel, “Reaching A Perfect Trifecta: Brands’ Goals, Manufacturing Innovation and Recovery Infrastructure.” In this session, brands and manufacturers spearheading creative initiatives shared their perspective on sustainable packaging solutions.

Consumers today have a more sophisticated understanding of packaging sustainability, which has accelerated the pace in which brands evolve their packaging. This has a trickle effect on packaging manufacturers and converters, who need to develop solutions at the speed and scale brands need, while still ensuring the recovery phase meets recyclability and/or compostability criteria and a great consumer experience. Attendees of this session were able to hear ways to come up with the best solutions when managing supply chain elements from industry leaders at the SPC, Conagra Brands and WestRock.

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A number of beauty and personal care brands have deployed reusable and refillable packaging programs around the world, and sustainability in the beauty world was large focus at SPC Impact 2022. Lee shares, “I was really impressed with the focus on clean beauty and the discussion about refillable containers changing the scope of the beauty industry. There are so many amazing properties with powder, and many brands could benefit from SmartSolve’s water-soluble packaging as they formulate new products like refill pouches.”

Sustainability leaders in the beauty industry are trying to change the game of how single-use sampling and packaging is used, and a combination of reusable and zero-waste packaging looks like the future.

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SmartSolve Booth at SPC Impact 2022 Event

SmartSolve’s interactive booth at SPC Impact gained a lot of attention with the demonstration of our water-soluble label material. SmartSolve pressure sensitive labels, unlike traditional labels, possess the unique added advantage of quickly and easily dissolving when coming into contact with water and agitation. The labels dissolve in 30 seconds or less in any water temperature, leave behind no adhesive residue and are perfect for reusable containers.

SmartSolve water soluble labels compliment the recycling “wash” process, leaving behind pure granulate with no adhesive residue, and improving the recyclability of PET plastics. The wash water from the test label variables indicates that the labels break down in the process and are removed from the surface of the PET flake.

“Overall, it was a great event with talented speakers. Vendors are reducing the amount of plastic used in containers and some are using biodegradable material on the outside of the plastic, but SmartSolve’s booth definitely stood out the most for its innovation,” says Lee.

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The Sustainable Packaging Coalition is a membership-based collaborative that believes in the power of industry to make packaging more sustainable. Their mission is to bring sustainable packaging stakeholders together to catalyze actionable improvements to packaging systems and lend an authoritative voice on issues related to packaging sustainability.

The SPC is the leading voice on packaging sustainability, and its members – including SmartSolve – are passionate about creating packaging that is good for people and good for the environment.

The SPC defines sustainable packaging as “beneficial, safe and healthy for individuals and communities throughout its lifecycle; meets market criteria for both performance and cost; optimizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials; and is effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial closed loop cycles.”

If you’re interested in utilizing water-soluble materials to achieve more sustainable packaging processes, get in touch with SmartSolve today.

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How to Create a Green Purchasing Program

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In a recent survey conducted by EcoVadis and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, 63% of executives said that meeting corporate sustainability goals was “very important” for their organization – an uptick from only 25% in 2019.

69% of the surveyed respondents reported that they’re taking sustainability performance into consideration when selecting new suppliers and renewing contracts.

To that end, creating sustainable purchasing programs – also known as environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP), green purchasing or green procurement programs – is no longer just relegated to the public sector. Now, many private companies are getting in on the action, too.

We’ve rounded up key takeaways from organizations paving the way for greener purchasing practices. Keep reading for inspiration to create a green purchasing strategy for your organization, with actionable tips and best practices to implement whether you’re making an initial plan, a formal program, or even official company policy. 

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A green purchasing program is a formal plan which documents how to find, evaluate and measure the efficacy of suppliers offering products or services that meet a company’s specific sustainability goals.

Through a green purchasing program, you can not only benchmark typical supplier criteria such as prices, quality and capacity, but also how working with these suppliers will help you achieve your overarching sustainability objectives.

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NASPO recommends that you first focus on one type of product you purchase instead of rolling out an entire program for all of your vendors. By doing so, you can identify what works and what doesn’t, better fine-tune the process, and eventually gain more stakeholder approval.

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Identify members of your department and relevant people outside of procurement that can offer expertise and that will be affected by any sourcing changes you make. For instance, you may want to recruit people from accounting, finance, IT, operations, shipping and facilities management.

As part of this process, you’ll want to clearly define roles and responsibilities, especially when determining the major decision-makers on your team.

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Now it’s time to analyze how your company is performing from a sustainability perspective. What is your current carbon footprint? Where does most of your waste go?

Then, assess the performance of your current suppliers for the product group you’ve chosen to focus on. Look at their environmental impact, the financials and different quality measures. How many of your supplier vendors offer green certifications? Do any of the products you purchase contain harmful chemicals that hurt the environment? What percentage of their products are recycled? How much do they cost? How timely are their deliveries? Do they ever send you defective products?

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Purchasing is only a piece of the larger sustainability puzzle. Evaluate your organization’s green initiatives and then identify how your purchasing practices can ladder back up to these initiatives. In other words, look at the larger picture and work backward.

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This can be done in tandem with step four, but you’ll ultimately need to identify – and then define – your green purchasing goals for the product category you’re focusing on.

You may want to begin with broad goals, such as:

  • Using products with fewer toxic ingredients.

  • Lowering your carbon footprint.

  • Using more recycled materials.

  • Leveraging renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gases.

Afterward, choose the broad goal(s) which apply to the product category you’re initially concentrating on and then break these down into SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable and timely).

Consider Doing Clean Sheet Cost Analyses

To find green procurement program goals which are both cost-effective and improve sustainability, McKinsey & Company suggests you use “resource clean sheets,” a modified form of a clean sheet analysis (also referred to as a cost modeling estimation) which factors in carbon emissions. These granular assessments allow you to measure both the cost and carbon footprint involved in creating a product.

For instance, if looking at a specific product, you would first evaluate the costs for overhead, production and material, and then see what the cost is if you make any adjustments to the materials for sustainability purposes. Next, you would look at the greenhouse gas emissions involved in your current state and what the emissions would be with the same proposed changes.

This will help you identify which change would yield the most cost savings and emission reductions.

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Determine the specific criteria you’ll use to evaluate your current vendors and screen future suppliers. These criteria will go hand in hand with your green purchasing goals.

Let’s say that you’ve chosen to start out with your company’s janitorial and sanitation products. For this example, we’ll assume your company has similar sustainability goals to Bosch, which models its sustainability strategy off the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Purchasing greener cleaning products helps with two SDGs: good health and well-being, and clean water and sanitation. One of your specific green procurement goals is to purchase cleaning products that do not contain ingredients that are harmful to humans or animals.

To analyze your current jan/san suppliers and establish qualification criteria for future suppliers, you’ll look for specific, third-party green certifications. That way, you can avoid doing business with suppliers who mislead about the “greenness” of their product.

Check out the EPA’s Recommendations of Specifications, Standards and Ecolabels for a list of green certifications to consider. Though this list is designed for federal purchasers, it provides recommended certifications and specifications for different product types that you can use as well.

Outside of requesting specific certifications, you can also reference the Responsible Purchasing Network’s Vendor Sustainability Questionnaire, which lists questions to ask suppliers and more criteria for your vendors.

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If you have contracted suppliers, you will want to update your contract requirements to include the new standards you’ve identified.

NASPO recommends including the following items in your contracts:

  • State the standards suppliers need to reach. Clearly articulate your green procurement goals and the certifications that validate if their products meet them.

  • Request that new suppliers provide proof of these green certifications.

  • Update your contract language allowing current suppliers to offer alternative green solutions if they’re in the midst of an existing contract term.

  • Make it mandatory for new vendors to provide training on how to use their products, if needed.

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If you haven’t already, make sure to reach out to the suppliers you’re already working with and let them know about the changes you want to make, including updates to their future contractual language. Update your RFPs and RFQs to include the new requirements for this product category. This will give them the opportunity to submit a new bid and show you if they meet the new qualifications you’re seeking, or decline renew the contract so if they don’t. 

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By now, you’ve measured your current state and determined your desired future state for a particular product category. Use this information to establish minimum key performance indicators (KPIs) so you can measure the success of your program implementation (at the start, just for this product type). For instance, you may want to measure:

  • The product costs.

  • Your carbon footprint.

  • Your percentage of recycled content or toxic ingredients.

  • The number of vendors you’re using before you implement the policy and afterward (especially if vendor consolidation is top of mind).

Then, determine how often you will measure these KPIs, whether it will be weekly, monthly or quarterly. Choose the cadence which best fits the product category at hand.

Next, choose a final review date where you’ll evaluate the overall progress and potential success of your green procurement program implementation.

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Before you start your new sustainable procurement program, reach out to any employees who need to know about the initial phase. Provide enough time and training so that people are less resistant to change and aren’t caught off guard. Explain how this change will benefit them individually and the company as a whole.

The key is to only communicate with people you need to communicate with, and to do it clearly and with transparency. Since this is only the first phase of the program, you’ll likely experience some trial and error and may face some bumps along the way. Work out any initial issues and be prepared to answer relevant questions before rolling out the green purchasing policy more broadly to reduce friction and ensure buy-in from the majority of your team.

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Now, it’s time to start the first iteration of your program using the product category you’ve selected. Once you begin requesting new bids, set up meetings with key stakeholders to check in on how things are going, identify rooms for improvement, and troubleshoot as necessary. If you experience any small successes, consider advertising them to other people in your company. You can drum up enthusiasm for your department’s new focus on sustainability and encourage other departments to follow suit.

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After the designated amount of time has passed for the final evaluation of your green purchasing program trial, meet as a team and dive into the details. Look at your reports and KPIs. Evaluate what went right and what didn’t. Determine ways to streamline processes.

Use your learnings from this first phase to identify ways to include more product categories in your more widespread purchasing program (if not all of them) and then develop a more comprehensive program for other supplier types. Finally, draft your official statement of purpose which summarizes why you’re adopting this program and what your goals are.  

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Execute your solidified program and you should start to see results, whether you reduce your carbon footprint, use more energy-efficient technologies, or dispose of less waste in your local landfills. No purchasing program is perfect, but there’s always room for improvement. At SmartSolve, we’re continually working to improve our green purchasing practices and using this guide as a blueprint for our continued growth.

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Executing green purchasing strategies is one of many ways you can make your company more sustainable. Check out these posts for more actionable ideas:

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SmartSolve Water Soluble Pouches

Many brands are switching to eco-friendly product packaging, and for good reasons. Consumers are more environmentally conscious than ever and looking for brands that align with their values. According to a survey by McKinsey & Company, 60-70% of consumers said they would pay more for products with sustainable packaging.

Looking for product pouches that reflect the quality of your product while still being safe for the environment? Keep reading to learn more about water-soluble pouches.

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SmartSolve’s water-soluble pouches, also known as dissolvable pouches or sachets, are a proprietary product that disperses completely in water with no adhesive residue. A heat-seal coating retains the pouch shape, and pouches will disperse in seconds, regardless of water temperature.

SmartSolve pouches can hold any dry product, including powders, granules and other objects that are void of liquid or condensation.

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SmartSolve’s eco-friendly product pouches are comprised of bio-based wood pulp fibers sourced from FSC-certified forests. The active ingredient in our water-soluble pouch is carboxymethyl cellulose, a safe, food-grade powder which is most commonly used in chewing gum. These dissolving pouches are non-toxic and biodegradable, functioning more effectively with a smaller environmental impact than similar plastic-based products, such as PVA or PVOH.

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While sometimes referred to as “dissolving pouches,” the material technically undergoes a dispersion process. Once the pouches come in contact with water, the dispersion process begins. The adhesive completely dissolves while the wood pulp fibers begin to separate and return to their original bio-based state. Biodegradable materials are a lower-impact alternative to traditional plastics, as they are designed to transform into substances that can be recognized and utilized by living organisms once they are disposed.

SmartSolve’s 3X15 pouch material has passed the five GD4 flushability tests used to certify toilet paper and wipes, meaning the material is safe to go down the drain. The dissolved pouch material is safe for the environment and fish, meeting marine biodegradation standards and the EPA’s Ecological Risk Assessment.

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SmartSolve offers a range of water-soluble pouch packaging options that are suitable for many different dry product types, from detergent packs and personal care items to building chemicals. Unlike PVA, a petroleum-derived material commonly used for laundry detergent pods, water-soluble pouches can register print with water-soluble ink. While packaging is normally thrown away before a product is used, dissolvable pouches provide the unprecedented advantage of consumers seeing your branding in the last moments of the product lifecycle.

Personal care brands like Daye and Harry’s have seen viral success on social media from campaigns featuring SmartSolve’s flushable, “disappearing” pouches, exposing the brands to a new, growing audience of eco-conscious consumers.

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Our dissolving pouches are designed to deliver a pre-portioned product - sometimes even without the need to physically open the package. Many water-soluble products require careful handling, and some of these items can’t be exposed to air and other contaminants before use. SmartSolve’s water-soluble pouches eliminate the need for human contact while preserving the integrity of pouched products. They also protect end users from exposure to potentially harmful substances that are meant for use with water.

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Eco-friendly packaging has many advantages in commercial applications. SmartSolve’s dissolving pouches give organizations the potential for zero waste practices and make a great alternative to single-use plastics. Making the switch to greener product pouches can increase consumer confidence, attract new customers who support sustainable brands and alleviate the environmental impact of traditional product packaging. Choosing environmentally-friendly business practices can also qualify your organization for tax benefits.

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For dry products, SmartSolve’s water-soluble pouch technology holds distinct benefits over plastic-based and other packaging types. If your business is looking for sustainable, water-soluble paper, packaging or labeling, get in touch with our team today and learn how our solutions can work for your business.

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As consumers and corporations become more aware of the need for sustainable packaging, innovative solutions with a sustainable focus are more than a fad, they are directly tied to consumer purchasing trends. One packaging arena ripe for sustainable innovation is custom packaging sleeves.

Custom packaging sleeves are almost ubiquitous. Whether marketing or selling food, soap, or arts and crafts, sleeves are commonly used as a packaging solution. But, with water soluble board stock, you can take sleeves a step further into the world of sustainability and environmentally-conscious buying behavior.

If you want to learn more about sustainable and economical packaging options for your sleeves, read on…

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Custom packaging sleeves elevate the design of your products while being cost-effective. Simply by adding sleeves around the product, you can already make it more aesthetically pleasing. From soap and food to invitation cards and books, you can use custom packaging sleeves of different sizes depending on your needs.

Have you considered using SmartSolve board stock for your packaging sleeves? In addition to the extra protection provided for your items, like food, you can also attract more customers by choosing a more sustainable raw material for sleeves…and there is nothing more sustainable than water soluble board stock from SmartSolve.

RELATED ARTICLE: 4 Industries Ripe for Water Soluble Packaging

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An environmentally-friendly option that has been gaining popularity is SmartSolve board stock. A bio-based, biodegradable, non-toxic material, it instantly disperses in water. SmartSolve board stock is not limited to custom packaging sleeves, it can also be converted into hang tags, pillow packs, and backer boards, too.

SmartSolve board stock largely functions like traditional bio-based board stock, in terms of performance and shelf-life, while delivering the magic of dispersion. By using it with custom packaging sleeves, this material allows you to have a competitive advantage over other businesses while helping the environment.

RELATED ARTICLE: 3 Advantages of Using Bio-Based Packaging

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While more customers opt to buy products that help save the environment, you can also do your part by using more sustainable packaging. Choose greener alternatives like water soluble board stock.

CLICK FOR TECHNICAL DATA OF OUR WATER SOLUBLE BOARD STOCK

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Regardless of your industry, SmartSolve has the water soluble products necessary to make your product packaging more environmentally friendly. Contact us today or call 888.788.5085 to learn more about the wide variety of innovative, bio-based packaging solutions that we have to offer.

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Sustainability has gone from being a trendy buzzword to something that consumers actively look for when supporting businesses. Indeed, a recent survey by the Ohio Health Issues Poll found that around 72% of Ohioans recognize that global warming is affecting the country. Meanwhile, at least 59% already feel the effects of climate change in their local community. One way to push back against the devastating effects of the crisis is by being sustainable, and enterprises in Ohio can do a lot in ushering this environmental revolution.

In this post, we’ll discuss why investing in sustainability is something that all Ohio businesses should prioritize.

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Businesses should start championing sustainability, as it can advance society’s progress and improve quality of life in Ohio. This is especially important, with local areas like Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County suffering worse environmental consequences. They have received failed and sub-par gradings for high ozone days and particle pollution.

As a business, you can help raise environmental awareness by promoting sustainability campaigns. These can highlight some of your eco-friendly practices and commitments, which may also encourage other Ohio businesses and residents to do their part.

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Every business owner understands the importance of keeping shareholders happy ⁠— and one way to do this is by investing in sustainability. Indeed, today’s investors are more likely to support businesses that are sustainable according to Harvard Business Review. Additionally, pushing for sustainable operations raises the reputation of your company, making it more attractive to consumers and investors alike.

Going green may be simpler if you’ve got sole proprietorship over your business, since you have the final say over all enterprise concerns. However, things are different if your Ohio-based business is a partnership, corporation, or LLC. After all, key business decisions have to go through partners or other owners too. One way to ensure that your business and team can follow through on commitments is by creating an operating agreement on sustainability-related plans. ZenBusiness's guide to Ohio LLCs explains how an operating agreement can dictate how your company is managed, how finances are handled, and even how voting structures work. Aim to set some sustainability and corporate responsibility goals and outline the conditions on your agreement. That way, it can offer clarity whenever you need to make such decisions. Of course, an operating agreement isn’t a necessity for LLCs and corporations in Ohio, but it can make it easier for you to resolve internal disagreements and pursue better practices.

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Here’s the thing: the upfront costs of sustainable practices often surprise many business owners. However, the long-term effects of these investments can drive bigger profits and improve your operations. For instance, conserving energy by switching to more energy-efficient products in your office can have a great overall impact on costs and operations. Additionally, going green makes your business eligible for tax credits, savings, and rebates that can equate to massive yearly savings.

Ultimately, Ohio businesses should do all they can to switch to more sustainable measures. This has become a drastic need, as the Center for American Progress reveals that natural disasters in the state have led to losses amounting to more than $1 billion.

In SmartSolve’s previous post ‘Bridging Sustainability and Profitability’, we also discussed how your workforce is critical in pursuing sustainability in your organization. So be sure to educate your staff by holding events and seminars that emphasize the social, environmental, and organizational benefits of investing in sustainability.

Guest article written for SmartSolve by Pam Jones.

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This Christmas, give the gift of sustainability!

This Christmas, give the gift of sustainability!

Sustainability is no longer viewed as simply a trend but is recognized as a driving force in the modern market. Sustainable development seeks to meet the consumer’s needs of the present while taking long-term consequences into account so as not to deprive future generations.

As consumers show an increased desire to make sustainable purchasing decisions, many businesses are committing to sustainability in creating their new product offerings.

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At SmartSolve, we are doing our part in the sustainability movement by developing innovative water soluble materials and adhesives lines. We are an SPC member, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, and our products are certified by Good Manufacturing Practice, Forest Steward Council, and Safe Quality Food. Our products are not only environmentally conscious, but they are also highly versatile with a wide variety of applications in several industries.

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No time of year demonstrates how important sustainability can be to the consumer than the holiday season. At the end of every Christmas gathering, homes are full of ripped wrapping paper, smashed boxes, crumpled tissue paper, and emptied cards to be sent to a nearby landfill. Our water soluble products put an end to this unnecessary waste. You can participate in the fun of gift-wrapping and gift-giving without the guilt and mess that comes from all the single-use items they entail.

Tissue Paper, Gift Wrap, Greeting Cards, Gift Tags, Tape, Thread, and Boxes

SmartSolve’s biodegradable, water soluble paper dissolves in 30 seconds or less while offering excellent printability for custom designs. We have three types of paper with varying sizes and thicknesses so that we can replace all your holiday gift wrap needs. Our 2 pt face stock is thin and delicate enough to serve as tissue paper, our 3 pt face stock can be printed with holiday patterns and used as wrapping paper, and our 5 pt face stock is perfect for creating your greeting cards.

Our new “print at home” water soluble labels are compatible with personal printing equipment, meaning you can choose printable gift tag designs online and print them at home. They come in packages of 10 sheets and are available in round labeloval label, and rectangular label options. We also offer water soluble tape to use for gift wrapping, which removes cleanly, easily, and without peeling off images or leaving behind adhesive residue. If you aren’t the most precise gift wrapper, you can easily adjust the tape by removing and reapplying without fear or ruining the gift wrap. Also, our white water soluble thread is a great alternative to traditional ribbon and bows.

SmartSolve water soluble corrugate offers a green alternative to traditional corrugate. It can be converted into boxes that will disperse in water, making it a biodegradable solution for packaging gifts of any size or shape. No special equipment is required. You can print on our corrugate just like traditional boxes using water or oil-based inks that will dissolve right along with the package.

RELATED ARTICLE: Tutorial: Homemade Soaps with Water Soluble Paper

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There is no better time than now to embrace environmentally conscious purchasing decisions. If you’re ready to commit to sustainability this holiday season, check out SmartSolve’s water soluble products for all your gift-wrapping needs. This Christmas, you can do more than simply give presents—give the gift of sustainability as well.

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Sustainability in business has often been associated as a buzz-word with high costs. It’s this dismissal that causes companies a huge loss, as many can benefit from the work behind this word. In its most basic sense, sustainability involves making a positive impact on our environment — and it doesn’t require huge investments.

Indeed, contrary to popular belief, WeForum explains how sustainability and profitability can coexist. By focusing on ESG, or environmental, social, and governance criteria, companies have been shown to produce higher three-year returns, were more likely to become high-quality stocks, were less likely to have large price declines, and were less likely to go bankrupt.

This may be because more and more consumers prefer companies who value sustainability. A study by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) found that 83% of respondents consider the recyclability of a product along with its quality and price as “important” or “extremely important”. To that end, it’s reasonable to say that companies who practice sustainability are more valued in the market as compared to those that don’t.

More than being profitable, however, being sustainable means supporting the community and economy that’s dependent on a healthy planet. By contributing to the health of the structure where a business operates, they’ll be able to help build an environment where businesses and their communities can thrive.

But how can businesses start being sustainable? And how do these practices bridge sustainability with profitability?

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Make it a part of your core business

Sustainability should be a core part of your business — not just an add-on to save money, but an integral feature in your business model and daily operations. The first step is to put the right people in place, starting with a sustainability officer or analyst. After all, businesses with ESG principles built into their long-term growth strategy can mitigate risk and drive profitability growth by investing in sustainable innovations that positively impact the world. Not to mention, having sustainability as a core part of your business will help attract the best talent, and make for relatable and effective marketing campaigns.

Educate and engage the workforce

A sustainability plan won’t work without a workforce that drives it. It’s critical to convey just how sustainability can and should be a part of the organization’s core mission — which is why educating your workforce is very important. Fortunately, learning has been made easier as more and more professionals are holding events and seminars online.

Teaching your workforce online is a very convenient way for your employees to learn from the professionals. Ironically, even sustainability professionals are starting to shift to this model with a lot of further education shifting online due to the current climate. Future sustainability professionals are now pursuing online sustainability degrees at home, a trend that’s bound to increase moving forward. If students are able to grasp sustainability concepts online, then your workforce will be able to as well. At the end of the day, sustainability is something that everyone is already interested in — you just need engaging online classes or seminars to help get your workforce on the same page.

Pump up the creativity

There are many ways to start being sustainable — starting from your operations to your supply chain. Try to aim for a circular economy in your product’s or service’s life cycle, and repurposing or repairing older models of your product can help extend the lifespan and reduce resources and waste. Going for greener packaging by leveraging technology and reducing your reliance on any one-off shore country is also a good idea. However, simple acts such as going paperless are a good place to start.

Indeed, sustainability can take many forms, and the concept is a little challenging to truly define. As long as you work creatively towards an end goal to effectively and responsibly balance environmental protection with economic and social development, you’re bound to meet profitability.

Guest article written for SmartSolve by Rian Jacoby.

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Going green is no longer a novel concept in business; it has increasingly become a standard. With the number of environmental issues the world is facing today, there’s no other way to go but the green way. Humans have only one livable planet, so every person has the responsibility to preserve it. Businesses, which use up a considerable chunk of the earth’s resources and generate the most waste in the world, should double up on their green initiatives.

Not only is going green better for the planet, but it’s also good for business. According to a Futerra survey, 88 percent of consumers want companies to “help them live sustainably.” In other words, consumers will support businesses with green initiatives, and they want the brands they follow to embrace sustainability.

That said, there are many things a business can do to become greener. You can start with these simple, sustainable solutions.

RELATED ARTICLE: 1001 Profitable Small Business Ideas to Start Today

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Product packaging, especially single-use plastics and food packaging, makes up a significant amount of environmental waste produced worldwide. Packaging waste pollutes the lands and seas and causes soil degradation and animal deaths from plastic ingestion.

One way your business can reduce packaging waste is to use sustainable packaging options, such as recycled and recyclable boxes and water-soluble materials. Choose packaging materials that are made from either 100 percent recycled materials or materials that can be used again. 

Many brands and niches have taken the lead in using eco-friendly packaging options. For example, you’ll see many established and new businesses selling makeup, skin-care products, and pharmaceutical alternatives using sustainable packaging in the market today. This has helped eco-friendly packaging become more accessible to many businesses, so it should not be as difficult to find suppliers for your brand.

Fillers are often used in e-commerce packaging to protect products because parcels go through several hands before reaching the customer. Reduce the use of fillers by opting for customized packaging. Sometimes, using fillers is unavoidable, especially for fragile items. In which case, there are several green options available, such as the following:

  • Biodegradable packaging peanuts

  • Corrugated bubble wrap

  • Recyclable air pillows

  • Water-soluble materials (e.g., SmartSolve’s paper, board stock, corrugate, and tape)

  • Packaging made from organic materials (e.g., cornstarch, mushroom, and seaweed)

Businesses can help minimize packaging pollution significantly by shifting from single-use plastics and materials. Moving away from single-use packaging can’t be done overnight, but it can be achieved through a gradual shift to sustainable packaging.

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If you run an e-commerce business or if your company has a website, then you probably use a web hosting service. Choosing a green web hosting service is a simple yet effective way to build a sustainable business.

Green hosting services use different strategies to reduce the environmental impact of operating their business. These strategies include the following:

  • Carbon offsetting

  • Donating to green organizations

  • Supporting sustainable programs

  • Using renewable energy to power data centers

  • Funding forestation or tree-planting programs

  • Practicing day-to-day energy conservation

  • Using energy-saving tools and practices

Techradar provides a list of the best green web hosting this 2020. Check out your options, and see which one best suits your business needs.

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Renewable energy is not new. These sources have existed for many years, but they’ve been getting more attention in the past few years because of sustainability campaigns and movements. Renewable energy, or green power, includes solar power, wind power, geothermal power, hydropower, or energy collected from sunlight, wind, geothermal heat, or rain, tides, and waves. Renewable energy comes from natural sources that are constantly replenished.

Currently, fossil fuels still dominate the energy market, but renewable energy is growing rapidly. Your business can be one of those that use renewable energy. By choosing green power, you can significantly reduce your business’s environmental impact and save money. Some renewable energy companies even help you find solutions to make your energy use more efficient.

For small businesses, consider generating renewable energy on-site. Check out the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s guide on local renewable energy benefits and resources to know more. 

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Getting an energy audit will help you determine how your establishment uses energy and find solutions to cut down energy waste and improve energy efficiency. Your local or state government may offer free energy audits for residential and commercial establishments, so check with them before going for a private consultation. Or they can refer you to a trustworthy company that offers energy audits.

Public energy audit services can also help with minor repairs and replacements of light bulbs for a little or no fee. Check your state government’s website, or call your state or local government energy or weatherization office.

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Every business uses tools and essential appliances and fixtures to operate, and most of them need energy to run. To reduce your business’s energy use and help it become more sustainable, choose appliances and electronics that are energy-efficient and water-efficient sink and restroom fixtures.

Commercial establishments need to be brightly lit for higher visibility, so they tend to use many light bulbs. Choose energy-efficient LED bulbs for your business to save on lighting energy costs.

Also, go for appliances, like microwaves, air conditioners, heaters, exhaust fans, computers, and peripheral devices, with high energy efficiency. Look for the electronics with the Energy Star label on it to ensure you get products that are certified energy-efficient.

For office pantries and restrooms, use low-flow faucets and water-efficient toilets (for restrooms only) for maximum water savings. Finally, implement policies and programs for employees to follow green practices and avoid waste of office resources.

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Packaging waste accounts for 40% of all solid waste in municipal waste streams. According to EPA, commercial, residential, and institutional users generate 75 million tons of container and packaging waste each year, but only half of the waste is properly recycled. This means about 37 million tons of packaging waste finds its way into the landfill.

Packaging waste is one of the top concerns that most businesses are facing today. However, to promote sustainable packaging, more and more companies are using materials that are eco-friendly throughout the packaging life cycle.

Here are some ways you can contribute to sustainable packaging for reducing packaging waste:

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When you use recyclable and reusable materials, you are reducing the amount of packaging waste that ends up in landfills. Left-over cardboard boxes or paper for packaging can be converted into products that can be used effectively for another purpose. For example, left-over cardboard boxes can be used to store office equipment. Some businesses have gone a step forward to incorporate packaging materials that do not need recycling at all. SmartSolve, for instance, makes water-soluble packaging.

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Invest in developing an attractive but minimalistic packaging design that doesn’t use up large amounts of packaging materials. Minimal packaging not only reduces material use but also decreases the product cost because you will be using less energy to manufacture them and less fuel to transport them.

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Turn to sustainable raw materials to fulfill your packaging needs. Source wood from sustainable forests/farms to manufacture packaging materials like cardboards or paper. Consider other sustainable raw materials like new man-made fibers and cotton from sustainable farms.

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It is a good idea to invest in an industrial shredder. The shredder can shred almost anything made of fiber, and that includes paper and cardboard. The shredded material can be used to fill packaging boxes. The shredded paper material is an eco-friendly way of packing and shipping your products. They can do a great cushioning job, protecting the corners of the cardboard boxes.

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Cardboard is one of the primary packaging materials, and therefore cardboard waste is generated in large amounts. A cardboard baler can compress this voluminous cardboard waste into small,compact, and easily recyclable bales.This means that by compressing the cardboard waste, you reduce its volume by 90%, the storage space it takes up, and also the waste collection costs.

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Use biodegradable packaging materials like corn-based plastic. These types of materials can be easily broken down in a commercial composting facility. When you are using biodegradable packaging material, you are ensuring that none of the packaging material ends up in landfills.

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Your staff has a vital role to play in reducing packaging waste. If the waste is created or not disposed of correctly, it could be because your staff isn’t aware of the waste disposal process your company follows. So, the best thing you could do is train your staff on the best practices for reducing packaging waste. Training your staff would go a long way to not only reducing packaging waste, but manufacturing waste as well.

Reducing waste and disposing of it in an eco-friendly way will not help keep the earth green, but also help your organization economically, both long and short term. Implementing sustainable packaging and encouraging your workers to adopt healthy behaviors aimed at packaging waste reduction throughout the packaging lifecycle will promote sustainability and ensure corporate responsibility.

Guest Author Bio: Erich Lawson is passionate about saving the environment through effective recycling techniques and modern innovations. He works with Compactor Management Company and writes on a variety of topics related to recycling, including tips and advice on how balers, compactors and shredders can be used to reduce industrial waste. He loves helping businesses understand how to lower their monthly garbage bills and increase revenue from recycling.

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Though it feels very on trend, sustainability is more than just a fashionable buzzword that you can use to attract sales. In today's world, more and more companies are actually putting in the work to attain a holistically eco-conscious business. Other than cutting down on their environmental impact, companies that carry out true sustainability practices prove to be more profitable. In fact, Patagonia, an outdoor lifestyle brand that rakes in approximately $540 million in sales, has programs that support environmental initiatives like using recycled materials for about a third of their raw materials. This goes to show that sustainability and profitability can coexist — and even complement each other.

But before business owners and managers can draft an industry-specific plan towards a fully sustainable company, incorporating eco-friendly practices in the office can be a great start. Here, we’ve listed a few ways you can introduce sustainability to your daily operations.

Reduce paper consumption

It’s outrageous to think that in today’s digital world, many offices still use a ton of paper. In fact, The World Counts reports that U.S. offices use at least 12.1 trillion sheets of paper every year, and when discarded in the bin, these account for 25% of the waste found in our landfills. That’s why it’s important that offices try to mitigate their paper usage.

But other than saving the earth, Verizon Connect also makes the case for how reducing office paper use is good for business: Your employees spend precious time on printing and delivering documents on paper, so it makes sense that eradicating paperwork can make them more productive and help them to dedicate their time to more important tasks. One way of going about this is by digitizing the paper trail through file sharing applications and cloud-based storage systems. This way, your employees can access the documents they need without having to physically print them out.

Introduce soluble packaging and materials

It’s established that single-use packaging and materials are horrible for the environment. But, an office’s daily operation relies heavily on non-recyclable materials for product packaging, office activities, and food storage. Thankfully, today’s technology has brought on soluble packaging and materials like what we offer here at SmartSolve. From pouches to labels, water-soluble solutions are the best way to approach diminishing the usage of non-recyclable materials.

But while a lot of business owners think that soluble packaging materials might cost them more, sustainable improvements, on the whole, will lead to cost savings and positively impact your business. Case in point, Industry Week notes that a key player in the computer hardware industry was able to save more than $500,000 in packaging costs by simply transitioning to sustainable packaging. So despite the reasonably high upfront costs of alternative packaging and materials, utilizing sustainable packaging will inevitably result in higher savings down the road.

Reduce office energy waste

An upfront way of approaching sustainability for your offices’ daily operations is by diminishing the amount of energy wasted inside the office. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that commercial buildings consume 20% of the energy produced every year, so it makes sense to practice energy conservation efforts to attain sustainability in your office.

Other than practicing energy-saving habits like turning off the lights and unplugging office appliances when not in use, you can take a more proactive stance by making the switch to energy-efficient technology. From smart thermostats to LED lightbulbs, installing energy-saving tech can help your office cut down on the energy it consumes ⁠— and even reduce your monthly energy bill.

Guest article written for SmartSolve by Rian Jacoby.

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Although traditional marketing practices have included a plethora of printed products, it's important that green businesses practice what they preach and also employ eco-friendly marketing strategies. With messaging, consistency truly is key.

Here are some tips to help you employ more eco-friendly marketing strategies for your green business.

Make Your Paper and Printing Marketing as Eco-friendly as Possible

While printed products may never disappear completely from marketing, we can remain diligent in choosing the paper and inks we use. Low VOC inks are recommended, as are recycled paper, FSC-certified stocks, or even seed paper. Many labeling facilities now make water-soluble packaging of all varieties, including hangtags and string, so the options do exist and are readily available. The need for labels, business cards or pamphlets will likely remain in our marketing practices for some time, but how we produce them can certainly improve to better reflect our green brands. Water-soluble or even reusable packaging is a great way to do this.

Have Explicitly Stated Green Goals, and Broadcast Them

Let the public know of your commitment to the environment and your mission to make your products as eco-friendly as possible. Tell consumers how your business has partnered with other local businesses to reduce your carbon footprint and infuse the local economy. Make partnerships with other eco-friendly businesses in your community and promote them for their green practices. These should be integral parts of your branding.

RELATED ARTICLE: Water Soluble Label Uses for the Healthcare Industry

Reduce Your Digital Carbon Footprint

Consider the fact that even your online marketing could be more eco-friendly, which is something that doesn't even occur to most businesses. Every Google search for your business utilizes an average of six servers to complete the task. Servers are powered by fossil fuels, which means that every time a customer has to search for your product on Google, your digital carbon footprint increases. While Google isn't going anywhere anytime soon, it's still wise and eco-friendly to utilize alternatives if possible. For certain industries, like fashion and homewares, Instagram marketing tools have proven to be a good way to cut out the Google servers and their corresponding fossil fuels from the equation.

RELATED ARTICLE: Sustainability for Private Labels Can Boost Your Business

Label and Package Your Products Accordingly

At nearly any level of product development, choosing the greenest option reasonably available will up your brand's credibility and consumer confidence. If you're engaging in practices that are greener than your competitors, make that known. Including this kind of unique information in product packaging, such as on labels, really goes a long way. Making the packaging itself eco-friendly, too, is another huge step towards practicing what you preach, so to speak.

Find the Right Service

SmartSolve can assist with eco-friendly packaging and labeling, including water-soluble varieties. When you work with SmartSolve, you can trust we are looking out for your product and the environment. Call 888.788.5085 and talk with us for help today.

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There's a saying in German that roughly translates to “Good packaging pays half the rent,” meaning that the right kind of package does half the work for you. It's of little surprise, then, that when major retailers began examining their sustainability goals leading forward, they looked first to packaging. More specifically, giants like Amazon, Target, and Walmart started first with their own private label programs.

RELATED ARTICLE: How Truly Sustainable is Your Label?

This way of leading by example also allows these corporations to put pressure on their suppliers to do the same. This has an added benefit of also improving consumer confidence in their dedication to the environment.

Some of the sustainable packaging goals of major retailers today include:

  • Reducing and optimizing all private brand packaging, across the board

  • Completely eliminating non-recyclable packaging, by the end of 2020

  • Transitioning to 100% recyclable, reusable, or compostable private brand packaging, within 5 years

  • Labeling all private brand packaging with the “How2Recycle” label, which is a standardized way of communicating recycling instructions to consumers

Adopting some of these practices has already allowed major retailers to keep hundreds of thousands of tons out of the landfills. For example, Amazon has eliminated over 665,000 tons of packaging materials in the last 10 years. They were able to accomplish this by switching over to recyclable packaging and discontinuing the practice of re-packaging goods that already had their own label's packaging. This growing focus on sustainability is edging manufacturers to seek green packaging options as they promise to reduce single-use or non-recyclable materials.

While these are great steps in the right direction, there is obvious more that they could be doing – from investing in water soluble materials to simply using less plastic in their packaging.

RELATED ARTICLE: How Environmental Responsibility Strengthens Your Brand

Challenges in Achieving Sustainability Goals

The eco-friendly private labels that these giants are now investing in makes consumers expect these standards from smaller businesses. Establishing new, sustainable “best practices” for private label packaging (or any packaging, for that matter) of course comes with some challenges. Eco-friendlier aesthetics, like non-pvc plastic and occasional higher costs, are two of the most common.

However, as more people are determined to purchase from businesses who are invested in positive environmental practices, small and medium businesses are finding that sustainable packaging is, in many cases, a boost to their business.

Find Eco-Packaging Options from SmartSolve

We at SmartSolve are dedicated to protecting the environment and are leading the way in new innovation techniques in packaging. Contact us today for that green answer you've been looking for private labels that boost your brand while protecting the environment.

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The modern world is incredibly fast paced, but more people than ever before are concerned about the scope of the impact human activity has had on the environment. Sustainability is a major concern for modern consumers, and they want to do business with companies that share their values. Pursuing greater sustainability in your operation is not just a good way to attract more business to your brand, but also the right thing to do for the environment.

Many companies are looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of their operations, and you should be as well. One of the areas of your manufacturing processes that may require further review is your current labeling solution. Many different options exist for labeling your products, and some of the eco-friendly options available aren’t as sustainable as they may seem.

RELATED ARTICLE: How Environmental Responsibility Strengthens Your Brand

Recyclable Labels

Many labels are made with recycled paper, but they aren’t recyclable themselves. While using recycled paper as a labeling material helps repurpose waste paper, it ultimately does not remove the possibility of that label eventually adding to a landfill.

For example, recycled paper made from 100% recycled material may sound like a great labeling option, however the non-recycled pressure sensitive adhesive used  may damage the recycling equipment used to process paper products.

One potential solution to this problem that many companies are exploring is 100% compostable labels. Paper is only recyclable a finite number of times and choosing to use compostable labels with compostable adhesive can avoid the problem of using recyclable labeling material to produce non-recyclable labels. While this may seem like an ideal solution, it is possible to go beyond conventional recycling with water soluble labels.

Water Soluble Labels are the Most Sustainable Choice

Water soluble labels from SmartSolve go beyond recycling and fully disperse in water. This makes them ideal for not only developing attractive and functional product labels but also minimizing waste and environmental harm.

SmartSolve has invested heavily in extensive laboratory testing to ensure the water soluble labels we create for our clients and partners fully disperse in water with no residue, offering manufacturers the most sustainable labeling option available.

If your business is looking for ways to increase the sustainability of your operations and make more responsible choices for the sake of the environment, water soluble labels from SmartSolve are the ideal solution.

These labels are perfect for all types of applications, from chemical refinement to food product manufacturing, and SmartSolve offers robust, crystal-clear label printing that ensures your brand imagery stands out proudly.

RELATED ARTICLE: Everything You Needed to Know About Water Soluble Label Stock

Go Beyond Recycling™

Connect with SmartSolve today to begin exploring our line of bio-based, eco-friendly products. During your consultation with our scientific team, you can learn more about how a water-soluble solution can benefit your business.

If your business is looking for labeling, packaging, and other sustainable, water soluble materials, consider SmartSolve.

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Brand image is one of the most difficult parts of modern marketing. It’s essential for brands to make lasting impressions on their target audiences through solid messaging and a reliable product line that offers real value.

One of the biggest challenges facing brands trying to establish stronger brand identities is connecting with an audience in meaningful ways. Modern consumers have access to an unprecedented amount of choices when it comes to virtually any buying decision, so if one company doesn’t offer a positive and engaging experience, there might be dozens of others that can.

Why Focus on Eco-Friendliness?

Eco-friendliness can be a surprisingly effective way to strengthen a brand. If your organization has struggled to connect with your target customers in meaningful ways, shifting your attention to developing more environmentally friendly business practices can have surprising benefits for your brand identity.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Promote Environmental Sustainability Within Your Company

Eco-friendliness or environmental responsibility are priorities for many Americans. Modern consumers are more environmentally conscious than previous generations, and they prefer to do business with companies and brands that share their values. The average consumer facing a choice between two companies for a purchase could just as easily consider each company’s apparent eco-friendliness as just as much of a deciding factor as the prices of the two companies’ products and services.

Meet Consumer Expectations More Effectively

Environmental awareness can easily strengthen customer loyalty while also attracting more new customers who share their ideals. Committing to environmentally responsible business practices is a fantastic method for companies to make solid impressions on their customer bases, resonating with them on personal levels, and increasing the chances of establishing brand loyalty.

RELATED ARTICLE: Big Name Beauty Brand Pledging for Sustainability

It’s vital for companies to realize that modern consumers do not simply appreciate environmental responsibility from businesses – they expect it. Environmental awareness has been a growing public area of concern over the last several years and it continues to grow. This is not merely another consumer trend but a complete shift in how consumers view businesses. Companies that do not demonstrate environmental responsibility in some way will quickly be overlooked or even scorned by burgeoning buying demographics.

Businesses that understand modern consumers’ concerns about the environment and put solid eco-friendly business practices into effect will not only cultivate trust with those consumers but also meet their expectations more effectively. When modern consumers expect responsibly sourced goods and ecologically responsible services, companies must deliver – both for the environment and to build strong brand identities and solid reputations.

Work With Environmentally Responsible Partners

SmartSolve offers a wide range of eco-friendly technologies that help businesses strengthen their brands for eco-friendly consumers. Not only do we deliver game-changing eco-friendly innovation, we also practice environmental responsibility in managing our business.

Contact SmartSolve today for more information about water soluble packaging and labels for a wide variety of consumer products.

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Many product manufacturers are learning how to make more sustainable choices in their operations. This is not only good for the environment, but it can also lead to better operational efficiency, improve a company’s public image, and lead to other opportunities to make ecologically responsible business decisions. If you run a company, it’s time to think about how you can start implementing more environmentally sustainable changes for the better.

Reducing Paper Waste

Many businesses are moving their recordkeeping processes to digital formats, and they’re also offering customers the chance to cut down on paper waste by going paperless with their receipts, invoices, billing statements, and other paperwork. It’s possible to take this even further and reduce paper waste used in product manufacturing and other internal processes. While paper is generally recyclable, many operations use paper products in ways that make it almost impossible to recycle, and paper used in product packaging almost always ends up in the trash.

RELATED ARTICLE: Big Name Beauty Brand Pledging for Sustainability

Recycling More

Most businesses recycle to some degree, but it’s always possible to take recycling further to reduce a company’s carbon footprint. Businesses engaged in manufacturing processes should look for ways to recycle byproducts or reuse excess raw materials wherever possible. This not only cuts down on waste but can potentially reduce raw material purchasing costs. Recycling is one of the easiest ways to become a more sustainable business.

Reducing Energy Consumption

Many modern companies are taking steps to cut fossil fuel consumption and simultaneously reduce their expenses on basic utilities like electricity and water. Energy-efficient light fixtures last a long time, provide adequate lighting, and result in much less waste as well as less energy usage. Many companies also require employees to shut down their computers at the end of each day so they are not left running all night while no one is in the office.

RELATED ARTICLE: Small Changes Businesses Can Make to Reduce Their Environmental Impact

Promoting Telecommuting

Companies with internal processes that function primarily in digital spaces should explore the opportunities that telecommuting offers. Most employees are more productive when they can work from the comfort of their own home and submit their work digitally. Telecommuting reduces fossil fuel consumption by allowing employees to avoid driving to and from work every day.

Choose Environmentally Friendly Packaging and Labeling

Many companies produce consumer products that require labeling and packaging, but most of this material will end up in landfills eventually. However, manufacturers can reduce the waste created by their labels and packaging by choosing more sustainable materials.

Biodegradable packaging and labeling substrates will function as intended for the customers’ purposes without contributing to landfill mass. Many possibilities exist, including water-soluble packaging for certain types of consumer products like medical products, pharmaceuticals, food products, and cleaning agents.

Go Beyond Recycling™

Connect with SmartSolve today to begin exploring our line of bio-based, eco-friendly products. During your consultation with our scientific team, you will learn more about how a water-soluble solution can benefit your business.

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It may seem like an innocuous enough industry, but the damage that the beauty industry has had on the environment is well documented. It produced over 146 billion units of packaging in 2018 alone, most of which will end up in landfills or oceans. Though the beauty industry brings visions of brightly colored bottles and containers adorning Insta-worthy bathroom counters, the reality is much less attractive.

Beauty products come wrapped in damaging components like cellophane and Styrofoam, and they often come packaged in non-biodegradable plastic bottles. The damage the industry does to the environment each passing year is concerning, which is why one brand is stepping up and pledging to become more sustainable.

L’Oréal is Changing the Industry with an Environmental Commitment

Beauty giant L’Oréal recently made headlines with its commitment to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which works with influential businesses across all major sectors in the global economy. The goal is to create a “circular economy,” or one that is committed to reuse, recycling, and ultimately creating sustainability on a global scale. L’Oréal joins brands like Google, Unilever, H&M, and SC Johnson in the creation of sustainable, recyclable products and packaging.

Specifically, L’Oréal intends for 100% of its packaging to be reusable, compostable, reclaimable, and recyclable by 2025. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation says that when more major companies like L’Oréal adapt their mindset and adopt the concept of the circular economy, positive systemic change can occur. For example, widespread adoption of the circular economy could lead to a 48% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.

Through a perspective change, we can redesign the way our economy works with renewable energy.

SmartSolve Leading the Charge

The circular economy has obvious benefits to the environment, but it also benefits the consumer by passing along the cost savings that companies will experience when they commit themselves to sustainability. SmartSolve has long understood the essential role of recycling and waste reduction in the global economy, which is why the company has dedicated its resources to the development of quality sustainable and dissolvable packaging materials.

RELATED ARTICLE: Small Changes Businesses Can Make to Reduce their Environmental Impact

Imagine what could happen if, instead of wrapping 146 billion units in cellophane, beauty companies turned to water soluble paper packaging. Instead of taking up space in a landfill or posing a threat to marine life, packaging would simply dissolve and disappear. That is the kind of future that is possible when companies like L’Oréal, Google, and H&M commit themselves to making a positive difference.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is making great strides in helping large businesses across all sectors understand the importance of making the switch to a circular economy. SmartSolve strives to be an innovator in this area and is dedicated to helping as many companies as possible make their packaging eco-friendlier.

To learn more about how we can help your business, please contact us.

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Businesses and organizations large and small have some responsibility for reducing waste and recycling when possible. For businesses that have a particularly large carbon footprint, that can seem impossible. However, sometimes taking one small step can lead to bigger changes. Here are some changes that take minimal effort, yet can help protect the environment while still helping a business run.

Choose More Sustainable Packaging Options

Modern companies offer their customers a tremendous amount of variety, but companies that demonstrate environmental responsibility tend to see the most favorable reception among modern consumers. Companies are looking for new ways to reduce the ecological impact of their operations, and labeling can offer a fantastic opportunity.

Shipping is an unavoidable reality of any product-oriented business model. Getting products to customers is going to entail manufacturing, fossil fuel consumption, and transportation. While companies might have little control over these factors, changes can be made to improve sustainability, especially when it comes to product packaging and labeling. The environmental impact of the logistics behind your distribution network are difficult to reduce, but the labeling and packaging processes can be controlled directly.

RELATED ARTICLE: SmartSolve’s Innovative Water-Soluble Technology: Materials

Water-Soluble Packaging Is a Functional, Sustainable Choice

Many modern companies can be more environmentally responsible without being perfect. In fact, there is some environmental impact resulting from virtually every human activity. However, the choices made on the manufacturing end of the business-consumer relationship can be very beneficial to the environment and reduce the overall impact of modern consumption.

Water-soluble packaging from SmartSolve offers businesses an ecologically responsible option for packaging certain consumer products while providing consumers with a purchasing choice they won’t need to feel guilty about making. SmartSolve’s cutting-edge water-soluble packaging material dissolves completely in water with no residue from the packaging itself or the adhesive coating used to keep the packaging together.

Water-soluble packaging allows manufacturers to evenly measure different types of products for easier, safer, and more environmentally responsible use. Instead of a disposable package that may wind up in a landfill, a water-soluble package effectively surpasses recyclable material by offering a product package with no waste whatsoever.

RELATED ARTICLE: Water Soluble Pouch Applications for Consumer Products

Start Making Changes for Your Brand

Some of the types of products that could switch to water-soluble packaging include medicines, chemical compounds for building, drink mixes, children’s toy sets, and much more. Businesses producing any type of product that dissolves in water should consider the benefits of switching to water-soluble packaging, for their customers and for the environment. Some ecologically damaging activities, like shipping and carbon emission from manufacturing, may be unavoidable, but every business can take small steps toward greater sustainability.

Go Beyond Recycling™

Connect with SmartSolve today to begin exploring our line of bio-based, eco-friendly products. During your consultation with our scientific team, you will learn more about how a water-soluble solution can benefit your business.

If your business is looking for labeling, packaging, and other sustainable, water-soluble products, consider SmartSolve.

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In a recent study conducted by California State University, SmartSolve’s biodegradable material was compared to a sample of pure cellulose and bacterial polyesters known for being biodegradable. The biodegradability of waste materials in an ocean environment is important due to the potential impact on the environment and the lifeforms that inhabit it. The conclusion of the experiment found that SmartSolve material passed the established marine biodegradation standards with honors.

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The Impact of Ocean Pollution

Insoluble waste such as plastic has a significant impact on the planet’s oceans. Its presence in the ocean disrupts the lives of the vast number of organisms that live in the seas or along the coasts. Whales, dolphins, turtles, fish, and other sea life come into contact with the plastic products, which can either strangle or harm them without a viable way to remove the obstructions. The toxins created by the waste can also affect their health. What makes these products particularly dangerous is both how their presence can wipe out entire species and their permanence in these environments due to their insoluble nature.

The Experiment

CSU’s experiment, initiated by Canaima Technologies and conducted by the university’s Chico Research Foundation, sought to understand the biodegradation of certain materials under standards set by ASTM International’s biodegradation guidelines, ATSM D7081-05.

The samples, one gram of SmartSolve paper and one gram of the ordinary paper, were added to separate jars with 100 ml of ocean water and five grams of ocean soil, at the temperature of 30 degrees Celsius for 182 days. The degradation process was examined weekly via examination of carbon dioxide (CO2), pure cellulose, and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs; a bacterial polyester that is known for its biodegradability), were used as reference points.

The Results

The results of the experiment demonstrated that the SmartSolve material passed the marine biodegradation standards set by ATSM D7081-05 with honors.

The researchers found that the material degraded around 30% more than the celluloid. In fact, the SmartSolve paper sample achieved the required 90% degradation after only 82 days. This is half the time that was originally set up in the test.

Based on these findings, the specialists concluded that SmartSolve degrades at a much faster rate than natural, bacterial polyesters such as cellulose and PHAs.

Make the Safest Choice

As you can see, SmartSolve’s material effectively biodegrades to decrease the negative impact on the ocean caused by plastic pollutants. SmartSolve can help you significantly reduce that harm by converting your products and packaging to SmartSolve’s bio-based material that can help save our oceans and our planet.

Go Beyond Recycling™

Connect with SmartSolve today to explore our line of eco-friendly, water-soluble bio-based products and learn How2Recycle for the good of our planet!

Looking for packaging, labeling, and other eco-friendly, water-soluble products?

Consider SmartSolve.

Contact us today to request samples or to receive a quote.

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When you are searching for products that leave behind less of an impact on the environment, you might become overwhelmed by the terminology that describes them. There are many products that end with “-friendly” and you might not understand certain terms like “water-soluble” and “sustainability”. 

Learn more about these terms and make wiser decisions by taking a quick crash course in terminology below:

Water-Soluble

Water-solubility is the measurement of how much a specific substance dissolves or disperses when submerged in water. Water-soluble paper products benefit the environment by biodegrading through exposure to the common element of water.

SmartSolve materials, for example, are water-soluble based on their dispersion upon contact with water.

Bio-Based

In the conversation surrounding environmentally-friendly terms, bio-based has become a buzzword.

Bio-based products are industrial or commercial products that are either entirely composed, or mostly composed, of either biological products, renewable agricultural materials, or components from forestry. Bio-based materials degrade faster due to their organic makeup, reducing the impact of waste on the environment. 

Of note: uncoated SmartSolve water-soluble paper is 100% bio-based.

Sustainability

Another popular term that comes up when discussing environmentally beneficial products and technologies is their sustainability.

Sustainability measures a material, item, or action based on the benefits it creates for the environment, economy and society, while also avoiding the depletion of resources or pollution generation. 

Essentially, a product or action that is sustainable does as much as possible to avoid compromising future generations’ ability to meet their environmental, economic and societal needs. 

Nothing is entirely sustainable, so this measurement compares the sustainability of one product, material or action to another one. In the case of water-soluble paper, it is considerably more sustainable than current alternatives available in the market today.

The “Friendly” Terms

Finally, when describing products and items that are beneficial to the environment, people often use the terms “environmentally friendly,” “earth friendly,” and “eco-friendly” to describe them. In a way, these descriptors have become catchwords for anything that helps—or prevents harm to—the environment.

“Environmentally friendly” is the most formal and accurate of the terms, as it simply means something is not harmful to the planet. Other terms, like “eco-friendly” and “earth friendly” generally indicate the same concept, so people use them interchangeably. There is no significant difference.

By understanding a few of these terms, you can educate yourself further on the topic and make more informed decisions when purchasing products or taking actions to keep the environment safe.

Go Beyond Recycling™

Connect with SmartSolve today to explore our line of eco-friendly, water-soluble, bio-based products and learn How2Recycle for the good of our planet!

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