When it comes to sustainability, the lion’s share of the focus is usually devoted to eco-friendly packaging options, as well as the boxes and containers that will ship them. In the interest of originality, therefore, we’re devoting this year’s Earth Day post to a less-commonly-considered part of the packaging process; the marking and labeling. Yes, although marking and labeling may seem to be a small component of the overall job, they still contribute to a significant amount of waste throughout the supply chain. Below are some ways that small businesses and craft breweries can help reduce waste and save money.
Ink vs. Labels
Our first tip is a pretty easy one: instead of printing the logo and other necessary information on a paper or plastic label, and then adhering it to the product package, consider applying the label directly onto the bag/box/bottle. This method is much more sustainable, because there is no waste created from the discarded backing paper, and it’s more cost-efficient, because instead of paying for two items—labels and the product packaging—you’re just paying for one.
In addition, most leading brands of commercial inkjet printers have recyclable ink cartridges, which only need to be replaced after several thousand codings. Of course, you will need to invest in an inkjet printer capable printing on various materials, such as the Squid Ink Copilot 128. But the one-time investment can save waste in the long run, and double as a great selling point for your eco-minded customers!
Use Eco-Friendly Label Materials
If you still like the labeled look, and the versatility which it provides you (for instance, being able to make a small batch of Christmas-themed labels, or custom labels for a friend’s wedding) there’s no need to give them up entirely. There are now several eco-friendly label options on the market which are made of renewable, raw materials, like sugar cane fibers, coconut fibers, bamboo, and recycled materials. Some eco-friendly label options are even compostable to boot! (If you decide to go this route, remember to investigate compost-friendly ink, too).
Another great option is to use liner-less labels, which produce less waste. Again, all of these are great options for small boutique distributors whose customers value green initiatives and are willing to pay slightly more for them (thereby compensating you for the higher costs).
Use Your Space Wisely
It may sound trivial, but this tip can actually save you a lot in marking and coding supplies, while at the same time reducing packaging waste. Take a look at all the labels or symbols which will be applied to your product, and look for unused white space that could be filled. Many companies use labels that are too large for the information printed on them, in order to make the data more legible for human eyes. However, in the age of automation, many labels and codes will be read by scanners and sensors that do not require as large a size as we do. You might be able to reduce expenses, and material waste, by making your labels and/or packaging only as big as they need to be, and no larger.
Mark and Label In-House
A couple weeks ago, we wrote about the advantages of printing labels in-house. Whether you decide to use labels, or print directly on the package, marking your products in your own facility is a great way to be sustainable, as well as cost-effective and efficient. By cutting out the middle step of shipping products to and from another facility, you’re decreasing your carbon footprint and saving money to boot.
Even better, being able to print on demand in your own facility means you can eliminate the bottlenecks that typically affect businesses when they receive sudden, rush orders. If demand suddenly spikes, you won’t need to halt production while you wait on an outside supplier for a delivery.
Spring forward with SSI Packaging!
As more and more businesses open up, we at SSI Packaging are grateful to have made it through the year, and excited to welcome clients both new and old to our Richmond location. We are proud to stock a huge range of packaging supplies, moving boxes, shipping boxes, mailers, and of course, marking and coding equipment for small businesses across the East coast. Be sure to stop by and see us for whatever your business needs to thrive this year and beyond!
Most craft brewers are so busy thinking about the product that goes in the bottle, they neglect to devote time to the bottle itself. But brewers beware: Appearance is a big factor that influences purchasers’ decisions. What your label looks like, and who prints it, worth some consideration; both factors will have a big impact on your overall success.
If you’re just starting out in your craft brewing journey, you’re probably wondering who should make your labels—an outsourced labeling company, or your own, in-house personnel. Below, we outline some benefits and advantages of each option.
In-House Labeling vs. Outsourced Labeling
As we mentioned above, you have two main options when it comes to labeling your beer:
Neither is “better” than the other; both options have different pluses and minuses which can help influence your decision.
Advantages of label printing vendors
Outsourced vendors, particularly the brick-and-mortar type, are generally great for those who want to have quality at any cost. Benefits of outsourcing to a printing vendors give you:
Disadvantages of outsourcing to a printing vendor
With all that said, outsourcing to a vendor also has some drawbacks. These include:
Advantages of In-House Printing
Getting started with in-house printing is easy, and comes with its own array of benefits. These include:
Disadvantages of In-House Labeling
Printing your own craft beer labels also has some drawbacks. These include:
To wrap things up, only you can determine which printing method will be best for your particular circumstance. Our only bit of advice that can apply to everyone is to spend some time weighing your options. Even though it’s just essentially a little sticker, a label has a big effect on whether your target consumer decides to reach for a bottle, or leave it on the shelf in favor of a safer, more well-known option.
Food labels are important, more than for providing us with some in-store entertainment while standing at the checkout line. They help us determine that our foods contain what they say they do, and don’t contain the stuff that we don’t want. Seems pretty basic to us now, but back in the day the food industry was the wild-wild-west, full of bad guys putting whatever they wanted into jars and calling it jam.
In the beginning food quality was pretty much thought to be up to the consumer. Food distribution was wholly unregulated and small scale, with oversight being mandated to state lines and mainly concerned with weight, which helped to serve trade interests. When the industrial revolution rolled around the advent of chemical additives and mass product distribution techniques allowed for producers to supply food at an unprecedented rate. Transportation improvements allowed for the widespread distribution of processed goods, allowing for synthetic foods and packaged cereals to dominate shelf-space nation wide.
The lack of government oversight allowed for bad actors to create concoctions of edible and sometimes not-so edible products masked beneath deceiving labels. There were reports of this happening with jam products with some companies blending a combo of tar, apple peels, and sawdust and coal-dye tar together. Producers of high quality goods started to get frustrated with that competitive cost advantage that these inferior products were gaining and began to move towards government action to try to ameliorate the issue.
This is where the first attempt to regulate food quality came in, with the establishment of the 1906 US Pure Food and Drug Act. This act ensured that food quality was the responsibility of the supplier and said that food actually had to contain real, unadulterated ingredients. The social climate of the time impacted the food regulation industry, with things like the woman’s suffrage movement and Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” impacting public perception of food safety. These cultural shifts led to the 1938 food drug and cosmetic act, which still shapes many of the food labeling laws that we see today.
Today food labels help keep consumers informed, and work for small businesses to provide assurances that your products are high quality. As a small business owner, if you are ever in need of labeling needs SSI provides reliable printers with easy to navigate interfaces. To find out more click here or call us today at 804.649.1111
If your packaging could talk, what would it say? First impressions count, and packaging is a great way to communicate brand values to consumers from the bat. Items that are delivered in poor conditions do more than just risk damage to the products that you are sending. Big packaging errors tell customers that you don’t have your head in the game. Here are some common packaging mistakes, and how to resolve them.
Tape it up
Contrary to what you might have assumed, there is no one-tape-fits-all in the world of packaging. Different tapes are especially designed for a variety of package sizes, weights, and even temperatures. If you ship out boxes without regard to these specifics your customers could end up with peeling issues, boxes that have been over taped and are difficult to open, or some that are falling apart entirely due to weather fluctuations in transit. Play it safe and match your tape specifically to your shipments individual needs.
Label your stuff
Have you ever tried to read a label and just couldn't quite make out what it said? This irritating event is downright dangerous in some cases (think food production) and can impact the perception of your brand. It is important that your items are marked clearly and efficiently using appropriate coding and marking systems.
Take note of dimensions
There is a good reason that packaging materials come in all different shapes and sizes. Whether your items need tubes, small boxes or mailers, it is important to make sure you select the ideal sizes and materials for your items. Imagine opening up a huge box to find a delicate piece of jewelry inside that has been bounced around during transit! Not matching the sizes of your packaging materials to the needs of your items runs the risk of damaging them. Not only practical, this tip is also environmentally friendly. By paying attention to these details it gives the added benefit of downsizing any potential waste from excess packaging.
Play it safe
Your items should be distributed with care, and this means choosing the appropriate materials to pack with them. There are a few key rules here- for heavy items it is important to use Instapak foam packaging for effective caution and protection. For void fill applications, fill air by Sealed Air will provide light weight solutions to prevent product shifting. For medium to light items paper packaging, inflatable packaging, Bubble wrap, and bubble bags are all excellent choices for protection. Light foam is an excellent choice for surface applications (think table tops, mirrors, etc.). And for electronic items, consider antistatic bubble rolls and bubble envelopes. The shipping process can be rough on your packages, which is why it’s so important to make sure you choose the best materials to protect them.
By identifying and resolving these common packaging issues you can make sure that you are proving your true value to your customers! We know how important packaging is towards building your brand, which is why at SSI Packaging Group “we help you pack and tack your image”®. We offer the latest in industrial marking, coding, and printing technology, as well as premier packaging solutions like bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, foam, and more to help you beat any and all common packaging mistakes.
Neither rain, nor wind, nor driving snow will stop the delivery of the mail. Nor, apparently, will disgusting items; heavy items; bizarre items; or the fact that the item is a living human being. Here are some of the strangest things people have successfully sent through the mail.
When the U.S. Postal Service began delivering packages in 1913, it didn’t take long for people to realize that it was cheaper to mail their children than it was to buy them train tickets. One such couple, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beauge of Glen Este, Ohio, paid $15 cents in stamps to send their son to his grandmother’s house. If this sounds a little foolish, not to worry: the couple also insured their son for $50.
It didn’t take long for the Postal Service to outlaw the practice of shipping children, but certain Postmasters were inclined to be lenient. During this time period, one couple even successfully mailed a 14 lb baby to its grandma. Finally, in 1915, the straw that broke the camel’s back came when May Pierstorff, just shy of her 6th birthday, was over 73 miles away to her grandparents’ house. After that, the Postal Service declared an all-out ban on child delivery. Neither rain, nor wind, nor driving snow will stop the delivery of the mail. Nor, apparently, will disgusting items; heavy items; bizarre items; or the fact that the item is a living human being. Here are some of the strangest things people have successfully sent through the mail.
1916, there was no law against shipping an entire building through the mail, because no one thought that someone would attempt it. They didn’t count on William H. Coltharp, a man with a dream to build a bank and a limited shipping budget. He calculated that the best way to send his bricks to his construction site, 127 miles away, was via the U.S. mail. He had 40 crates packed just under the 50 lb limit, for a total shipment of 40 tons.
The Utah post office was overwhelmed, but to their credit, successfully completed the job. However, the episode prompted the then-Postmaster, General Burleson, to limit the weight one person could send to 200 lbs per day. "It is not the intent of the United States Postal Service that buildings be shipped through the mail,” he wrote.
The Hope Diamond
The most expensive item to ever be shipped through the mail was the Hope Diamond, the rare, blue, possibly-cursed diamond whose ownership records date back over almost four centuries. After passing through the hands of Kings, Queens, royal mistresses, thieves, and jewelers, the gem wound up in the hands of New York merchant Harry Winston in 1958. Winston never believed that the diamond was cursed, and in fact exhibited it for several years in his “Court of Jewels” tour. He eventually donated it to the National Museum of Natural History, not because he feared a curse, but because he hoped to establish a U.S. national gem collection.
Not a man of great fussiness, apparently, Winston wrapped the diamond in brown paper and shipped it through ordinary post. He paid $2.44 for postage and about $142 for insurance. The diamond arrived at its destination safe and sound, and was given a new name, Specimen #217868.
A pet chameleon
While you can’t send a cat, dog, or child through the mail anymore, there are a few live animals that actually can be sent. In 1954, an Ohio man known only as “David” decided that his pet chameleon would be much happier in Florida. A few weeks after sending it on its way, he received the following note from Orlando’s then-Postmaster: “Dear David, I received your chameleon yesterday and he was immediately released on the post office grounds. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas!”
For those curious, other live animals that can be mailed include bees, scorpions, chickens, fish, and animals smaller than 20 inches. You can view a complete list here.
For centuries, people have tried to push the envelope (get it?) of what can and cannot be sent through the mail. In 2000, a team of social scientists decided to test the Post Office’s limits once again. Researchers mailed themselves items ranging from a single ski; a green coconut; a street sign; a wheel of rancid cheese; a deer tibia; and…a human molar. All of the items, including the molar, arrived intact to their destinations.
The tooth was the only item with which the postal service apparently had some deliberation. While the rest of the items shipped within 7 business days, the tooth took twice as long to arrive. Finally, it was delivered in a repackaged mailer with an accompanying note: “Please be advised that human remains may not be transported through the mail, but we assumed this to be of sentimental value, and made an exception in your case.”
50,000 pink panties
In 2009, a right-wing Indian group called the Sri Ram Sena attacked young women in a nightclub. The group accused the women of destroying Hindu culture by dressing provocatively, and promised to enact more violence on Valentine’s Day. Although the attack was caught on film and received some media attention, it would likely had been forgotten had not one group, the Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women, decided it was time to take action.
The group started the Pink Chaddi campaign, a movement that invited women to mail the SRS a pair of pink “chaddi”, or “undies”, in protest. The movement spread across the nation, with thousands of women sending in, er, contributions. At the time of this writing, organizers have received more than 50,000 colored panties, with about 2,000 winding up in the SRS mailbox. The SRS eventually withdrew its threat of Valentine’s Day violence, and several members were placed into custody by an embarrassed government.
A human foot
This story happened in gentle, peaceful Canada, where everyone loves their politicians. Just kidding. Politicians are hated everywhere, and one dissatisfied voter decided to express his disagreements with then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper by mailing in a severed human foot. According to Ottawa police spokesman Marc Soucy, the package was shipped despite what appeared to be bloodstains on the outside of the box. Staff members then called the police.
Hours later, authorities discovered a second suspicious package containing a human hand at the Ottawa Postal Terminal Tuesday night, which police confirmed was sent from the same origin as the foot. They declined to say where the package was being shipped, the condition of the appendage, or whether had been postmarked.