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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Greif CPG’s onboarding process proves successful, helps private label keep up with growth

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Posted by Julia Briggs in LA Paper Box, Natural Products, Private Label
Greif CPG’s onboarding process proves successful, helps private label keep up with growth

Greif CPG’s onboarding process proves successful, helps private label keep up with growth

It’s so easy for up and coming private labels to get lost in the sea of larger folding carton suppliers. Exponential growth is common among smart third-party manufacturers. Keeping up with that growth, however, can be a major issue. It’s easy to crumble under the pressure to produce and deliver when your business is exponentially growing. Even when private labels offer premium products, we find they often lack the necessary insight to align their production with top retail store forecasting. And their most valuable asset, their brand, gets mishandled by suppliers who don’t understand the importance of that crucial product positioning and brand recognition that leads to a sale. Aside from everything that could go wrong, the good news is that private labels do not have to carry such burdens alone. At Greif CPG, we bring the knowledge that large brands rely on and offer the flexibility and dedication new private labels need to manage and support their growth.

Greif CPG recently aided a leading, private label brand that sells 100% grass-fed beef products. The client was working with a large consumer packaging service provider, however, there were issues. The provider was doing a great job until it was acquired by a much larger folding carton supplier. At that point, the quality of service declined quickly, timelines began to seemingly extend beyond reason, and the client began to feel they were no longer a priority.

Large folding carton suppliers often dictate their lead times and cannot flex to the needs of smaller brands. Forecasting is left up to the client and attention to packaging detail goes by the wayside because their typical clients can afford to market their brands beyond the store shelf.

Private labels need a partner to help sustain both their packaging inventory and their brand. And the packaging provider must be able to dig in deep, uncover the underlying issues, and offer strategic direction.

3 Ways to Succeed with Natural Product Packaging

Natural product sales are expected to reach $250 billion by 2020. There’s never been a better time to optimize packaging for this growing sector.


Transition to Greif CPG with our 6P onboarding process

At Greif CPG, before we start running cartons we do a very thorough onboarding of the customer. Our onboarding – or 6P process – is focused on producing outcomes through mutual participation to deliver premium professional services while staying passionate about what we do–packaging. The general manager of the plant, design engineer, onboarding specialist, manufacturing facility, COO, and our client rep complete the 6P process together. We review every single detail of the account until both teams are completely comfortable and know the expectations going forward. This is clearly communicated across both our entire teams to achieve the set goals. It’s a procedure in which a strategic assessment lays the foundation for a smooth transition from the customer’s previous supplier to Greif CPG.

The 6P process led us to discover this client’s biggest customer was a retailer known for insufficient forecasting and running a lot of weekend specials. Consequently, the client was only ever prepared for one month’s worth of inventory. The retailer would decide to run a Saturday special, meaning more inventory would be needed within the next couple weeks. We easily resolved this issue by holding back three months worth of inventory and shipping it as needed. Now the client is always prepared and ready to deliver.

Packaging the unpredictable

When packaging premium sausages, one quickly learns that not all sausages are equal. They come in a multitude of sizes. The client was experiencing issues with fitting the sausages into their packaging sleeves. To add to the issue, the packaging process was being carried out manually amid exponentially rapid growth. This inevitably caused unnecessary frustration. The client was desperately trying to fix the issue but lacked the expertise.

Greif CPG jumped in right away to modify their design so that going forward the packaging could be done by hand or machine. We knew the sleeve size we created did not fluctuate, so we went to visit the co-manufacturer. We watched their process, did a lot of extra investigating, and brought along our equipment engineers to analyze the equipment and offer strategic suggestions.

The client had shown interest in purchasing new equipment, so we went with them to Pack Expo. We walked alongside them through the booths, met with different equipment manufacturers, and shared packaging designs to find out what would be a possible solution and how much that would cost. We dedicated our time to ensure our client felt supported and had the expert assistance they needed through the entire process.

Learn More

As private packaging brands experience phenomenal success in their markets, it’s a common struggle to keep up with and simply understand their own growth and what it means for their future. A partner like Greif CPG provides the knowledge and experience required to build processes that work for our clients based on their unique, exacted needs.

Our client had the foresight to place a priority on finding a lasting solution for their business. In removing the commonly seen focus on reducing costs while employing new technologies, the client gained a solution that inevitably resulted in savings and streamlined processes. They were willing to dig into what was holding their business back and invest the time in our 6P process to reap the benefits and rewards of their efforts to evolve.

Learn how we can assist with a transition to Greif’s Consumer Packaging Group.

Posted by Julia Briggs in Private Label
PLMA’s 2018 Private Label Packaging Trade Show roundup

PLMA’s 2018 Private Label Packaging Trade Show roundup

Some of our GREIF (formerly Caraustar) team recently attended PLMA’s 2018 Private Label Packaging Trade Show. The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) represents the opportunity for manufacturers to meet with brands and companies that have an itch for innovative and attractive packaging. It’s the “land of plenty” for those searching for unique solutions for their private label products. Luckily, manufacturers like GREIF have a track record for offering the perfect scratch for that innovative itch.

It’s not enough to just have a good natural product. Your product packaging needs to stand out.

Check out three savvy tips
to succeed in our free eBook.

Ask us about our paperboard solutions today:
Call 216-281-7000 or email

PLMA: An Opportunity for New Solutions for Private Label Packaging

With over 1,500 companies from 40 countries in attendance, PLMA’s Private Label Trade Show gives the opportunity for market players of all sizes to meet and network in Chicago for several days of educational talks and exposure to new products. Whether you’re a national supermarket, wholesaler, or even a neighborhood retail store, attendees get to see the latest and greatest in packaging solutions.

Suppliers are competing, more than ever, to reduce the challenges companies are up against like meeting demands in the face of rising costs and the need for decreased lead times. Whether it’s the food, beverage, health, beauty, or personal products market, companies are looking for reliable, experienced packaging partners.

Trends in the Private Label World

The private label world is growing at a rate of 4% year-over-year and experiencing an increase of nearly 3% in unit volume, which is over three times the rate of branded products, according to Nielsen’s 2018 Total Consumer ReportOur Caraustar team at the PLMA's Private Label Packaging Trade Show

Along with stores with private label brands comes a degree of consumer loyalty which is a mirror to loyalty in national brands. If anyone still had the idea that private-label brands are stunted by the stigma associated with them—being a lesser quality item— those assumptions have been dispelled in the last few years, according to Neilson.

Many chains are bringing to market plenty of remarkable products that can hold their own and compete with national brands. High-quality manufacturers give consumers confidence and trust in the quality and value of the product.

It’s no longer the case that store brands are just about providing value and savings. Today, private label brands are seen as a premium grade product. According to Neilson’s Consumer Report, only 26% of surveyed Americans still believe that name brands are worth the extra money.

Partnering with an Experience Team

Packaging with paperboard and other recycled options is increasingly important to both store owners and their consumers. GREIF is a leader in providing consumer packaging solutions at the best value to its consumers. We do this not only through reduced costs but also by providing the value of an experienced team of partners who fully understand the packaging process. With that experience, we can more easily help our customers navigate the maze of private label packaging with fewer challenges and hiccups along the way.

GREIF has been in the packaging game for decades. We have the experience to take products from idea-stage to finished product in a surprisingly short amount of time compared with other manufacturers. Whether you’re a small family business or a significant player in the market—we’ve worked with them all.

With locations around the country, GREIF is on a mission to bring the beauty and versatility of paperboard packaging to the masses and to fulfill your private label packaging needs.

Ask us about our paperboard solutions today:
Call 216-281-7000 or email

Posted by Julia Briggs in Private Label