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Pack To The Future 3 – ready for ‘take off’

Posted in Academia, Design, Environmental Issues, Events, Innovation, Materials, Recycling, Technology, Training, Uncategorized on February 9th, 2013 by Chris Penfold – 13 Comments
Pack To The Future 3 Flyer

Pack To The Future 3 Flyer

As many of you may know, as well as running Design Cognition, I am Chairman of the East Midlands Packaging Society (based in Nottingham UK) and in that role, my main focus again this year is to entice more of you, our valued members, to take part in events and also to encourage ‘new blood’ into the industry.

By popular demand we are pleased to announce the THIRD  in our very successful PACK TO THE FUTURE  series of collaborations between academia and industry to explore insights into the changing global landscape impacted by issues such as Global Warming and water & oil depletion that will affect consumer demand and some of the exciting emerging technologies that will enable us to adapt & thrive.

We are pleased to be working with Loughborough University Design School on this occasion and as previously have a fantastic line-up of leading edge thinkers & ‘doers’ with which to ‘whet your appetites’. This time topics will include:

Explaining the Future – Peak Oil, Peak Water & Climate Change

Printed electronics in packaging

LumeJet – photonic imaging technology

Please make sure that you book early to this FREE event to avoid disappointment, as both previous events have been heavily oversubscribed!!!!

All are welcome, members and non-members, but pre-registration is essential – OR  drop me an email if you have any questions: chris@designcognition.com

We’ve also got other fantastic events lined-up later in the year, in which you could participate in a number of different ways and at a number of different levels – it’s up to you how far you want to get involved.

Much of it will be FREE and could directly benefit you personally and your business.

You may want to participate yourself, or you know someone else that could be interested. Either way, I’m looking for partners and I’d love to hear from you. The aim of the whole exercise is to help raise the profile of packaging but also to facilitate the integration of academia and industry for everyone’s benefit. So this is applicable to:

Students – who may want to learn & enhance career options

Universities – looking for business avenues/partnerships to help commercialise their ideas

Product development companies, packaging suppliers & design agencies – wanting to keep up with latest technology & also identify high calibre students for job placements & opportunities

Come along and listen to some exciting & leading-edge talks from the university & from the packaging design industry. Network with industry & academic experts – with various table-top demonstrations, discuss your design projects in an informal atmosphere and get practical mentoring help & advice.

Some of the previous highlighted topics have included:

Smartphone technology & how it can enhance the consumer experience

Using packaging technology to tackle counterfeiting

University research into brand design

Display technology for packing applications

Design of packaging for reuse / recycling

You can find out more about this and other East Midlands Packaging Society events on our ‘ning’ site:

East Midlands Packaging Society website

and also on our LinkedIn Group & Facebook Pages:

EMPS LinkedIn Group

EMPS Facebook page

So whether in academia or business – You decide how you want to get involved, which could be as a speaker, sponsor, exhibitor, trainer or as a participant – how could it best benefit yourself? I really do think that ‘everyone’s a winner’ with this. More details to follow in future blogs.

If you’ve got any other ideas yourself, let me know.

Chris Penfold

Chairman – East Midlands Packaging Society

chris@designcognition.com

00 44 115 846 1914

Get your Packaging Development Team ‘firing on all cylinders’

Posted in Branding, Design, Events, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Marketing, Materials, Medical Devices, Recycling, Training, Uncategorized on April 21st, 2011 by Chris Penfold – 16 Comments
Effective Packaging Training

Effective Packaging Training

We’ve just scheduled-in our latest packaging training courses and interactive workshops for May, including ‘Branded added-value packaging’, ‘Introduction to pharmaceutical packaging’ & ‘Injection Moulding/tooling’ -  Take a look and let us know what you think. We are always looking for new topics of interest and we can run bespoke (tailored) courses at your premises for your whole team, whether in the UK or internationally -  generally much more focused & cost effective for you.

We’ve also got another 8 or 9 courses & workshops planned in for June and July. As well as our highly acclaimed ‘Plastics Materials’ course, we have many new topics, including ‘bar coding (including mass serialisation)’, ’sustainability’, ‘Medical Devices’, ‘Print processes & decoration’, ‘Glass’, ‘Blister materials’, ‘Regulatory aspects’ and ‘Innovation, creativity & breakthrough thinking’.

So watch this space – We’ll keep you updated!

Follow this link to view our latest training courses

Have a great Easter!

Chris Penfold

PET falling out of favour?

Posted in Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Recycling, Uncategorized, cost-optimisation on October 19th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 9 Comments

Well it would appear to be the case in certain sectors of the market.

German retailer Penny Markt has announced that it will be moving a range of its own beverages from PET bottles to aluminium cans.  They appear to be claiming that when you look at the whole life cycle of the product they feel that aluminium cans are more environmentally friendly, or should that be less environmentally damaging.

Penny Markt are justifying their move back into cans with claims that new can designs now mean that 30% less material is used, that the recycling rate for aluminium cans in Germany have risen significantly and that they can also achieve savings as the cans stack better than the PET bottles they are replacing and also chill much faster – therefore saving energy and money.

The full article written by David Vink of European Plastics news makes an interesting read and gives a good background to the German drinks market.  Penny Markt obviously feel they are doing the ‘right thing’ and others in their market appear to be preparing to follow, but who is ultimately right?

If you talk to PET manufacturers they will have you believe that PET is less environmentally damaging than other packaging materials – if you talk to the glass industry then they are of course the most environmentally friendly – if you talk to the aluminium can producers they will equally justify themselves.

I believe the answer is very much ‘horses for courses’ in other words it really depends on not only the products you are looking to package, but also the full life cycle of the packaging, including the transport of the empty container and the disposal of it after use.  If you need help with making the most environmentally friendly decisions for your products, then don’t forget that we have two Chartered Environmentalists who can help, so why not contact Design Cognition and see how we could help make those seemingly difficult decisions easy!

The making of Plastiki – turning plastic packaging waste into resource

Posted in Design, Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Events, Innovation, Materials, Recycling, Technology, Uncategorized on August 13th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 6 Comments

Here’s how ‘Eco Warrior’ and ‘Gaia Capitalist’ David de Rothschild made his catamaran ‘Plastiki’ out of recycled PET bottle packaging -- turning waste into resource and into an (almost) completely recyclable boat, that he then sailed from San Francisco to Sydney.

You can read the related article I wrote earlier today here: Sailing through the Plastiki soup in search of Paradise

Chris Penfold

Sailing through the Plastiki soup in search of paradise?

Posted in Business News, Design, Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Events, Marketing, Materials, Opinion, Recycling on August 13th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 10 Comments
Plastiki - David de Rothschild's yacht made of recycled PET bottles

Plastiki - David de Rothschild's yacht made of recycled PET bottles

As we have discussed in previous posts, there is a huge and ever-increasing mountain of rubbish growing in the middle of the Pacific, like a giant festering ’soup’, much of which consists of plastic packaging waste. This has had a massive knock-on affect in the  form of polluted beaches on islands throughout the South Pacific. See our previous article: Great Pacific Garbage Patch article

David de Rothschild is a man on a mission. The offspring of the wealthy banking family, he is one of a new breed of environmental crusaders and entrepreneurs that some are calling ‘Gaia capitalists’. ‘Gaia’ in mythology was the primal Greek goddess of the Earth and aptly a ‘gyre’ in oceanography is any large system of rotating ocean currents (source: Wikipedia).

To highlight the Pacific issue and raise it’s profile in mainstream media, De Rothschild decided to use his family’s high profile  (& money) to build a yacht made entirely of recycled plastic bottle packaging, which he named ‘Plastiki’ (making reference and tribute to the late Thor Heyerdahl’s papyrus Kon-tiki raft which crossed the Pacific back in 1947). Over a four month period he sailed this 60ft catamaran from San Francisco to Sydney, where he landed last week. But his exploits are no shallow ploy to fill aimless days with fun and adventure.

De Rothschild and his ‘Gaia’ friends are driven by a combination of social conscience and economic pragmatism, seeking a ‘paradigm shift’ in the way we live and desecrate our planet. They espouse a new form of capitalism that factors in the environment and social wellbeing as a cost. It considers protecting the environment not only as a moral issue but as a set of design challenges to correct inefficiencies that make the capitalist system unsustainable. Waste, for example, is considered the result of inadequate thinking. If you are smarter about it, and create products that work properly, then you shouldn’t have to throw anything away at the end – should you? The group include Chad Hurley (33) who with his co-founder, sold YouTube to Google for $1.6Bn and has since ploughed some of his fortune into the Green Products Innovation Institute and Jeffrey Skoll, worth $2.4Bn, who wrote the business plan for eBay and has set up the Skoll Foundation to encourage ’social entrepreneurs’ to play a greater role in developing a better world (source: The  Sunday Times).

These are ‘game changers’, who see solutions where others see problems – a new entrepreneurial revolution – one of collaboration something that de Rothschild calls ‘Planet 2.0′. So I feel that we will be hearing a lot more from this ‘band of brothers’ in the future. They mean to ‘rattle some cages’, get us all to think differently and make a real impact by influencing things at ‘the top’. They have a point! Can we really carry on the way we are? For a really ’sustainable future’, for our children and their children’s sakes, things have to change a lot quicker.What do you think?

Chris Penfold

Fizz Pop Bang! – Wine bottle Corks – the counter argument

Posted in Design, Drinks Packaging, Environmental Issues, Food Packaging, Marketing, Materials, Opinion, Recycling on July 23rd, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 1 Comment
Traditional wine bottle cork packaging

Traditional wine bottle cork packaging

There’s nothing quite like the ‘pop’ of a cork exploding from a wine bottle when it’s opened is there? For me, although screw thread or rubber closures do the job, they don’t quite have the same emotional appeal. Well, for those of you who have a similar opinion (94% of wine drinkers according to a survey of 1500), you will be pleased to hear that there is research available to backup the sustainable credentials of cork and its continued use in wine bottles.

According to the Portuguese Cork Association (APCOR) there are 3 misconceptions regarding cork stoppers, that are highlighted in a recent Packaging News article:

1. Trees are NOT cut down in the production of cork – they are harvested in a sustainable manner. In fact harvesting, if managed properly, actually guarantees a trees survival.

2. Screw caps are NOT the most environmentally friendly closure, as cork is 100% natural and renewable and apparently uses 10 times less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than plastic stoppers and 24 times less than screw caps.

3. Corked wine is (allegedly) is NO MORE of an issue with natural cork than tainitng is with other closure systems (although this has been very carefully worded by APCOR).

You can read the full article on the Packaging News website.

You could also check out the campaign website www.ilovenaturalcork.co.uk

Chris Penfold

Medical packaging & devices go greener

Posted in Design, Environmental Issues, Government, Healthcare & Pharma, Materials, Recycling, cost-optimisation on July 15th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 2 Comments
Medical device packaging

Medical device packaging

Traditionally medical products, devices and their related packaging has been ’sidelined’ in much of the debate around the environment, where the major focus has been on retail products. However, it is estimated (Mulligan) that medical packaging contributes between 30% to 50% (or more) of the medical waste stream. There is a lot of work going on in the background, within the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, and further afield globally, as healthcare practitioners are put under increasing pressure to ‘go green’, become more ’sustainable’ and reduce their ‘carbon footprint’.  These initiatives go right to the core of their infrastructure, looking at everything from operating theatre furniture and equipment, through to medical devices and all related packaging.

However, there are wider ramifications, as it apparent that these sustainability initiatives will also enable huge cost benefits, improved regulatory compliance, and enhanced corporate social responsibility (CSR) when done correctly. So no pressure then ;-) !

On the face of it, this looks like a huge and daunting task, but with the aid of modern modelling techniques, such as those used by Walmart and by Marks & Spencer (M&S) in their ‘Plan A’, data and issues can be quite easily ‘chunked-down’ into manageable bite-size segments. This can help prioritisation and enable ‘quick wins’ on the highest ‘value creating’ initiatives.

It is important that suppliers and medical device manufacturers think about these sweeping changes and, if not already doing so, start to design and develop medical devices & healthcare packaging to meet these more stringent requirements. Next-generation packaging must be: 1) easy to manufacture; 2) meet stringent regulatory requirements; 3) meet the needs of distributors, healthcare institutions, and medical practitioners; and 4) minimize impact on the environment.

Mulligan talks in greater detail about all of this in an interesting article ‘Using a Life Cycle Analysis approach in medical packaging‘ recently published on the Healthcare Packaging website. Have a read and let us know what you think!

Chris Penfold

M&S returns to selling meat in paper!

Posted in Food Packaging, Innovation, Recycling on June 10th, 2010 by Jane Bear – 6 Comments

No, Marks &Spencer aren’t returning to selling loose meat slices between paper sheets, but they are going to be offering pre sliced meats in packaging made using Billerud’s Fibreform material.

This great new paper is highly formable, provides enough barrier properties for the cooked meats and of course is seen as being environmentally friendly – Great for M&S’s Plan A.

Thanks to Packaging Gazette.co.uk for making us aware of this one.

Packaging sustainability – a multi-faceted approach

Posted in Materials, Opinion, Recycling on May 6th, 2010 by admin – 5 Comments
Planet Earth

Planet Earth

I found it interesting to read Incpen director Jane Bickerstaffe’s argument against the introduction of single measures to assess packaging’s impact on the environment. There is so much ‘green wash’ and ‘hogwash’ out there, that it’s not surprising people are confused.

I totally agree that a holistic approach needs to be  adopted, considering all supply chain implications. Companies need to aim for overall resource efficiency and work towards sustainability balancing economic, environmental and social considerations. This may sound ‘easier said than done’, but as Jane points out “it isn’t if it is based on actual information about product damage and spoilage rates and a good dose of common sense. After all, that’s what we all do when we go shopping – we look at financial cost, quality, quantity, aesthetic appeal, life-span and, increasingly, many of us look at environmental information. We balance them all out and decide what we want.”

So take a ’step back’ and think again about your corporate ‘carbon footprint’ policy or your move to make all of your packaging ‘lightweighted’, ‘recyclable or ‘reusable’. You may be ‘hitting the right’ buttons in terms of government policies and legislation, but are you really doing what’s best for the planet and a sustainable future?

Let’s have some common-sense here. With a little thought, a multi-faceted approach can be justified and work. Let us know what you think!

Chris Penfold

To read Jane’s full article just follow the link to our friends at Packaging News

Visiting The Soup – Missing The Point?

Posted in Environmental Issues, Recycling on March 22nd, 2010 by Jane Bear – 7 Comments

I fully appreciate that this headline making trip will help to raise the general public’s awareness or the ‘great Pacific packaging soup’ but have they missed the point a bit?  It’s great that they are using predominantly re-newable and free energy sources and that they have a composting toilet and laptops that run off the power of a bike generator, but in making the hull of the boat out of recycled bottles aren’t they showing that it’s OK to keep making and using all these bottles because other uses can be found for them? 

As the BBC’s full article points out, if this trip were to hit any problems then it could be that they have just delivered an extra 12,000 bottles filled with Carbon Dioxide direct to the packaging soup…

I suppose a wooden boat might not have generated as much media interest, but then maybe it would have been a better message – I’d be really interested to know your thoughts. (Jane Bear)

A boat made of 12,000 plastic bottles has set sail on a voyage from San Francisco to Sydney to spread awareness about pollution in the world’s oceans.  To read the full article on the BBC website just follow this link  Boat made of 12,000 plastic bottles