ILMA Compoundings - April 2020 - 24

to heavier materials, such as glass or rigid plastics, while
protecting the product inside, he added.
Egle said flexible pouches, which use multilayer lamination and foil, aren't able to be recycled, but they use less
material in the first place. "We do fill flexible pouches, but
I have found that the lubricant industry, in general, hasn't
embraced it fully. I think that is for a variety of reasons," he
said, adding that there is tremendous infrastructure in the
U.S. for filling quart-size bottles of oil.
Millennials likely will be more receptive to pouches.
"Packaging is very important when it comes to the decisions
those consumers are making. Some brands are considering
going with their own custom-looking bottles and are doing
more to promote the package in order to grab the attention
of a younger consumer," Egle said.
Cost is the predominant concern. "It isn't often that people ask us to supply them with a bottle with post-consumer
recycled resin in it," Egle said.

Reusable Packaging

Some companies are investing in reusable packaging. Returnity has created a reusable option that can replace cardboard
and poly mailer-bag shipments. "You have a lot of companies
setting aggressive goals around their packaging," said Returnity CEO Mike Newman. "Whether it is direct-to-consumer
or business-to-business context, we're still seeing the sustainability motivation being a real door opener for us."
Returnity's packages are made out of recycled poly fabric, are
washable and can be made in a wide range of sizes. They can also
be stacked on pallets, Newman said. "It is waterproof, durable
and stain-resistant," he said, adding that the packages can be
recycled again and again and are guaranteed for 40 shipments.
Newman said reusables can create operational efficiencies.
"Unpacking and breaking down boxes is more time consuming
than we had appreciated for businesses, and companies don't
have a lot of storage space for corrugated," he said, adding that
Returnity's packages can be broken down and stacked more
efficiently than corrugated. "There is also a safety aspect because
you don't have to use box-cutters with our packaging."
Newman said Returnity is focused on making its products
cost-neutral or better for companies so they can get the
environmental and brand benefits without having to pay a
premium. How cost-effective the packaging is depends on
the use. Standard e-commerce is hard because customers
are keeping the packaging, but the solution can make more
sense for companies making regular business-to-business
shipments, he explained.
"At the end of the day, companies are not going to be able
to pay a major premium for this, but nobody is against the
idea of saving time, money and resources," Newman said.
"We're driven by the economics of our packaging."

24

APRIL 2020

| COMPOUNDINGS | ILMA.ORG

Pallets

Lenny Kochuba, sales specialist for Berry Industrial Group
Inc., said costs are a top concern when it comes to pallets.
"That is a focus in every company that exists today. They get
pressure for cost containment and cost reduction," he said.
Kochuba said he has seen an increase in the number of
recycled pallets on the market. "It is a huge industry, and
the recycled annual sales have surpassed new wood pallet
sales in dollars," he said. "The biggest companies in America
want the cheapest product they can find. If they are faced
with an $8 new pallet and a $3 used pallet, they want the
used pallet."
However, Kochuba said, there is not any case where a
recycled pallet is stronger, safer or better than a brand-new
pallet with equal design. He added that in the lubricant and
petrochemical industries, there needs to be a high regard
for quality. "They know the cost of a hazmat issue," he said.
"Using that as the worst-case scenario puts everything else in
perspective. If you're going to save a nickel a pallet and risk
$10,000 an hour on hazmat cleanup, where is your payback?"

The Future

Riley said most trends in packaging are driven by consumer
demand. "Sustainability is a key concern for consumers
who prefer materials that are made from recycled goods that
can also be recycled in turn," he said. "The next frontier of
sustainability is the biodegradable and compostable market."
As the industry advances to more sustainable and recyclable
materials for packaging, municipal programs and consumer
participation are crucial to advancing recycling in the U.S.,
Riley said. "The biggest issue lies with the fact that the
recycling business has never been profitable, and most of the
waste in the U.S. continues to go to the landfill," he said.
Long is a freelance writer and journalist. She can be reached at
925-750-7163 or mindy@mindylong.com.


http://www.ILMA.ORG

ILMA Compoundings - April 2020

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