Natural Products

Lightweighting with Packaging Is Not a Solution for Natural Products

Lightweighting with Packaging Is Not a Solution for Natural Products

Sustainable packaging is a popular trend, especially for natural products. As companies try to reduce carbon emissions and save money on supply chain costs, many turn to lightweight packaging as an option. This is known as “lightweighting.”

Lightweighting refers to efforts to conserve resources when packaging and transporting a product. It is achieved by reducing the mass of the product’s packaging, similar to a person on a weight-loss program.

While lightweighting may seem to reduce environmental impact, closer inspection reveals that lightweighting is not always as environmentally friendly as it first appears.

Lightweight Packaging Claims to Reduce Cost and Environmental Impact

Packaging designers and manufacturers increasingly use lightweighting to reduce carbon emissions and supply chain costs. It can be accomplished by replacing the packaging with a lighter weight alternative, such as a flexible plastic pouch as opposed to a glass bottle. It can also be achieved by reducing the amount of packing used.

Lightweight packaging may appear to be environmentally-friendly because it requires fewer fossil fuels to move the product from place to place. A package that is lighter in weight and volume is less costly to ship and conserves natural resources.

Products contained in lightweight packaging are often marketed as being more affordable, more convenient, and environmentally friendly.

While these attributes suggest a reduced environmental impact, there are other factors to consider, especially in the food and beverage sector.

Many Lightweight Packaging Options Cannot Be Reused or Recycled

Lightweight packaging is often not reusable or recyclable, has limited life-cycles, and does not actually reduce a product’s carbon footprint.

According to an article in Packaging Digest, “The biggest problem with lightweighted packaging is that producers and manufacturers of these items have failed to incorporate end-of-life solutions into packaging innovations.”

Fortunately, goods and services providers are evolving to meet the needs of the modern consumer. Manufacturers are now making lightweight product packaging that is both highly recyclable and built to last.

Lightweighting Should Not Compromise Functional Packaging

If your natural products company is considering lightweighting as a way to appeal to environmentally-minded consumers, beware — if not done properly, lightweighting can cause problems and result in wasted resources. Under-packaging can be more detrimental to the environment than over-packaging as the wasted product contains more energy and materials than its packaging. It also wastes the fuel that was used to transport it.
Also, lightweighting should not be used to the extent that it unduly burdens plant operations. For example, if a lack of weight makes a package unsuitable for desired conveyor speeds or filling rates.

Packaging should not be so compromised; it becomes ineffective.

Lightweight, Recyclable Packaging Alternatives

Of course, natural product suppliers must still consider performance characteristics when choosing a lightweight packaging alternative. Packaging for natural products must always provide product containment, protection, preservation, and convenience.

Paperboard is a packaging solution that meets these needs.

The paperboard packaging industry is implementing lightweighting principles at all levels of the supply chain, using fewer raw materials without sacrificing durability, ease of use, and product protection.

As e-commerce continues to grow, food, beverage, personal care, and household suppliers will need to implement lightweight packaging solutions to meet increasing consumer demand.

Natural product suppliers should reach out to consumer packaging providers, like Greif CPG, who offer an uncompromising commitment to delivering superior paperboard packaging solutions.

Contact us today by calling 216-281-7000, or email

Posted by Julia Briggs in Natural Products
4 Reasons to Partner with an SQF Certified Packaging Company

4 Reasons to Partner with an SQF Certified Packaging Company

Many of our customers in the retail, restaurant, and fresh food market segments need sustainable packaging solutions for custom and stock folding food cartons.

To serve this market better, Greif’s Consumer Packaging Group (CPG) becomes an SQF Certified supplier. We have aspired to this level of certification for several years now.

SQF Certification means that Greif CPG is qualified to work with large retailers and multinational manufacturers who demand SQF certification from their suppliers. SQF Certification also means that our customers can more easily create in-roads with new market segments and capitalize on a market for additional products.

What Is the SQF Certification?

SQF stands for Safe Quality Food. It is a Food Safety Management program created and managed by the SQF Institute that is used to manage food safety risks. Once implemented, the program is audited and certified annually by a third-party certification body.

Recognized by retailers, food service providers, and regulatory agencies around the world, SQF Certification ensures that suppliers have rigorous food safety and quality management systems in place.

To complete SQF Certification, a product supplier must have a rigorous system in place to manage food safety risks and provide safe products used that can be used by companies in the food supply chain. Working with an SQF certified supplier gives customers confidence that this rigorous food safety system is in place.

SQF Certification is based on government and industry food safety requirements. Businesses must have the tools and documentation necessary to easily demonstrate that they have taken steps to increase food safety. SQF Certification allows food safety and quality control systems to be verified and validated throughout the foodservice chain.

SQF Certification is reviewed annually, and SQF Certified suppliers must continually provide training, updated procedures, and refresher courses to maintain compliance within SQF standards.

There are different levels of SQF Certification based on the size of the business and the risk-level of the food you are handling. Being SQF Certified means you believe strongly in providing quality products for consumers, and you remain compliant with food safety standards set forth by the government and your industry.

Reasons to Partner with an SQF Certified Packaging Company

1 – Competitive Advantages of Working with an SQF Certified Supplier

SQF Certification is recognized worldwide and can open doors for your business. Retailers and dispensers often require that their suppliers have an SQF Certification, which helps assure safe business practices for both parties.

SQF Certification promotes confidence in food safety and quality, limits food safety incidents and recalls, and encourages retailers and foodservice providers to work with suppliers who have achieved SQF Certification.
Consumers don’t buy the food they don’t trust. Foodservice providers and retailers will pull products to protect their customers and themselves. And suppliers risk losing customers and brand image.

SQF Certification offers suppliers assurance that the food they’re selling meets the highest possible standards. It puts their contact information in an instantly accessible database that retailers and buyers can use to find a supplier they can trust.

By letting the public and your clients know that your company can be trusted when it comes to food health and safety, SQF Certification enhances your marketing image. Your company will be viewed as a reliable business and product supplier.

2 – Cost Advantages in Working with an SQF Certified Business

SQF Certification is recognized worldwide and incorporates government and industry standards. The standards and certification process ensures consistency in food safety and quality assurance and saves time and resources that have historically been lost to multiple and conflicting audit standards.

Working with an SQF Certified supplier improves process management by helping to proactively manage risk and avoid stock recoveries, market withdrawals, and re-work. It increases yield by reducing waste and streamlining risk and process management. Adherence to SQF standards means that businesses have taken steps to avoid supply chain disruptions due to food safety issues or catastrophic events like tornadoes or fires.

3 – Safety and Quality Advantages of Choosing an SQF Certified Supplier

Working with an SQF Certified supplier can address food safety requirements. For food suppliers and packaging managers, working with an SQF Certified provider assures your business partners that the safety standards, processes, and procedures you use, are among the most stringent in the food industry.

Using SQF Certified products also provides proof that you have done your due diligence. SQF Certified suppliers encourage a responsible agricultural and manufacturing process that complies with all regulatory requirements.

4 – SQF Certified Suppliers Have Rigorous Environmental Monitoring Standards

To maintain SQF Certification, a supplier must have an environmental monitoring program in place. The environmental monitoring program must include:

  • Risk-based monitoring to address known or expected concerns for all processes in the manufacturing of food packaging
  • Documented and implemented methods for a responsible environmental monitoring program
  • An environmental sampling and testing schedule that is appropriate for the nature of the product and that details the number and frequency of samples to be taken for any applicable pathogen
  • A plan for implementation of monitoring and corrective actions to be taken when unsatisfactory environmental testing results are observed

Learn How Partnering with an SQF Certified Supplier Can Benefit Your Business

Working with an SQF Certified supplier puts you in good hands. SQF Certification has been in place for more than 20 years and is used in all sectors of the food industry. Using an SQF Certified supplier like Greif CPG minimizes the risk that unsafe food will reach the market and gives your customers confidence that their supplier meets the most stringent standards in the industry.

Partnering with an SQF Certified supplier like Greif CPG will help you to deliver safe food to customers worldwide confidently.

Learn more about how partnering with Greif CPG can help your business.

Posted by Julia Briggs in LA Paper Box, Natural Products, Private Label
New trends in paper and paperboard packaging: repulpable barrier coatings

New trends in paper and paperboard packaging: repulpable barrier coatings

Consumers are increasingly choosing fast food options and eating meals at home.

While these two trends may seem counterintuitive, a closer analysis reveals that while many Americans want to eat at home, they do not necessarily want to cook at home.

Unlike years past, fast food does not always mean a burger and fries from McDonald’s. Many health-conscious consumers are choosing healthier fast food options, signing up for meal kits and grocery delivery services, or buying premade dishes at grocery stores.

One thing all of these food options have in common is the need for food packaging options.

The increase in “take out” choices are having an impact on the food delivery system, and on the environment, too. For example, looking at single-use paper-based cups, estimates show that 200 billion cups are thrown away every year in the U.S. alone. Only about 0.25% is recycled.

The good news is that fast food brands are capitalizing on the popularity of eco-friendly food packaging options. The most significant initiative came from Chipotle, which announced that by 2020 it plans to achieve 50% waste diversion for its food and packaging. According to the press release, this is similar to a move made two years ago by McDonald’s.

The goal is to have half of the restaurants’ waste accumulated from food and packaging be re-routed through a combination of recycling and composting rather than sent to landfills.

The Problem: Food Packaging Containers Are Not Recyclable

A major hurdle to achieving waste diversion is that the average fast-food containers for soda, french fries, and sandwiches are not recyclable.

Similarly, many take-out containers, like the typical Chinese food box or the take-out box from your favorite restaurant, are not recyclable either.

Many food containers that appear coated with wax (which can cause issues at the recycling plant) might actually be coated with polyethylene (PE) plastic. Often, the containers are made from fibers held together by a PE compound, or the container is lined with PE.

The PE serves as a moisture and gas barrier. As a moisture barrier, PE prevents transmission of liquids through the paper container. As a gas barrier, PE prevents the contents from absorbing gas in the air like oxygen and carbon dioxide, which can negatively affect the freshness and quality of food products.

PE and wax coatings have historically been used to seal porous paper, corrugated boxes, and sheets to provide a moisture barrier and/or moisture-vapor barrier to these substrates. The resulting paper product poses an environmental problem because it cannot be recycled through traditional channels.

Returning to the single-use paper-based cup mentioned above, the cup is often coated with PE to seal the rim, sides, and bottom of the cup. This coating makes the cup non-recyclable because PE is (currently) non-biodegradable. It also does not respond to microbial action in composting systems and breaks down into flakes during the repulping process, which blocks filtering screens.

PE and other food container coatings cause problems during the recycling process. For example, the PE moisture barrier separates from the fiber during the repulping process and creates additional residue in the recycling/milling process.

To create environmentally friendly, recyclable paper products, manufacturers are turning to a water-based coating. The water-based coating allows take-out containers that are recyclable, repulpable, and compostable.

The Solution: Water-Based Barrier Coatings Allows for Recycling

Water-based biopolymers and bio-waxes are derived from renewable resources. This means they can produce sustainably. They are also suitable for packaging applications that require specific water/moisture barrier properties or grease resistance and can replace PE formulations.

Also, water-based coatings could allow food containers to go to a traditional paperboard mill to repulped without creating additional residue. Then cups can be included in a mixer-paper bale without adding PE contamination. 

Learn More About Repulpable Barrier Coatings

For more information about the transition to water-based biopolymers and bio-waxes and how these trends can positively impact your business, turn to an experienced and trusted packaging expert like Greif.

Greif CPG is a leader in providing consumer packaging solutions at the best value to our customers. Our experienced team fully understands the packaging process and can help you stay on top of emerging trends by helping you control costs. We give our clients a competitive advantage by using cutting edge materials.

Contact us today by calling 216-281-7000, or email

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Posted by Julia Briggs in LA Paper Box, Natural Products, Private Label