will become much more efficient.”
Emphasizing that for most consumer products, the
packaging and packaging process costs exceed the
cost of ingredients, Mr. Hotchkiss said, “Nano cellu-
lose is simply very small particles of cellulosic mate-
rials—cellulose being derived from plant sources. It is
also biodegradable, readily available and typically
cheaper than most polymers. If you added 20% nano
cellulose to a standard polymer, you would reduce the
carbon footprint of that package by 20%. You are very
likely to decrease the cost of that package and you
might have the same or better performance from that
package. If you really look at this carefully and do the
right kind of changes, you reduce the carbon footprint,
you have a greener package and by the way, save
In terms of mechanical or bulk properties, Mr.
Hotchkiss explained that by adding solid materials like
nano cellulose or micro cellulose you may improve
some of the strength properties of the polymer. If you
improve the strength property, you use less material.
“If I can double the strength of a polymer, then in
essence that allows me to reduce the amount of polymer used to make a package. I’ve replaced part of the
polymer with a renewable material. I may have
improved the properties to the point where I can actually use less material and get the same performance
and I’ve reduced the carbon footprint so I’ve done some
good things for that package,” said Mr. Hotchkiss.
There’s good news when it comes to labels on wipes
packaging. “Labels are increasingly being done better—application labels allows for recyclability and better graphics are available,” said Mr. Zielinski.
Mike Rekitzke president N.E.W. Plastics Corp.,
which specializes in injection blow molding, extrusion blow molding and plastic profile extrusion took
Mr. Zielinski’s sentiments one step further.
“Packaging is becoming not just a means of holding
the wipe and liquid, many customers are finding it a
great way to advertise and market their productS on
the store shelf as well. New labeling options like
shrink sleeves allow for some very unique and
attractive visuals for on-shelf displays rather than
just silk screening or front and rear labels. This
change in labeling alone offers more options for
product marketing techniques to the consumer
goods manufacturers,” he said.
Lighter weight canisters are increasingly being used
to help reduce costs associated with wipes packag-
ing. “We are seeing trends to move to lighter weight
canisters in an effort to remove some of the costs.
Unfortunately, the cost of petroleum-based plastic
resins can be quite volatile. Reducing the gram-
mage of the canister is one way for a customer to
decrease the cost of their package. Our expertise is
in designing the mold to make sure the reduced
weight means we can still meet the critical side wall
thickness and bottom for strength against drop,”
said Mr. Rekitzke.
Peering in the Crystal Ball
Where is wipes packaging headed in the future?
Mr. Zielinski said consumers desire upscale attractive designer packaging to match different home and
bathroom décors that they can leave out on counter
top dispensers. They are also interested in tamper-evi-dent, tear-away inner seals, pop-up dispensers for
next towel dispensing and one-touch operation. He
foresees use of task specific prints available on plastic
tubs to match specific cleaning applications.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hotchkiss foresees the use of
square wipes packaged flat in a square container and
dispensed from the side rather than the top. “That
would probably use less material per given number of
wipes. Maybe you’d save 10-15% of the polymer used
in the container. That would be an absolutely huge
savings. To a large manufacturer that would be worth
millions of dollars a year,” he said.
Finally Mr. Zielinski summed up the importance
of continued innovation in wipes packaging in these
words: “Getting creative with the packaging allows
for better opportunity in trade and toward the consumers themselves. The net result is to gain market
share by coming up with innovation which fuels differentiation, protection and profitability of your
brand. The trade wants package differentiation.
Make the product new again and different from the
competition,” he said. HPCW