Friday 5 October 2012

Sussex IM Inc: Wipe Packaging and Sustainability

Ed Fabiszak, VP Sales and Marketing for Sussex IM Inc introduced the company as a 2009 spin-off from Rexam Plastics which had grown at 10%+ per year since then due to focusing on customers rather than markets and by moving manufacturing back to the USA.  It was now a family company with 3  stakeholders and 100% of the pre-buy-out staff.  It supplies injection moldings to most major cosmetic companies along with P&G, Dow, SC Johnson and GE Healthcare amongst others.

Improving sustainability involves “Reduce, Recycle and Reuse”.  For wipes packs, the design for sustainability involves lighter weights with more recycled materials and more bio-based plastics such as Ingeo™ PLA and Mirel™ PHA.  Life Cycle Analysis identifies quantities of raw materials, energy, emissions and waste involved in production and the Wal-Mart score card encourages moves to a lower carbon footprint.  Akzo Nobel’s “Expancel” microspheres are used to foam plastics for bulk improvement while reducing weight.  Recycling post
consumer packaging into wipes packs is tricky because glass, aluminum and PET excepted, it is hard to get single uncontaminated polymer types in reasonable quantity.

Reusability does offer some new possibilities especially for baby and personal care wipes.  With the right innovative design a wipes container could become a multiuse storage container which could be either refilled or repurposed.  A prototype sample was distributed to the audience.  It had a hinged lid and provided patented leak proof storage of the sort pioneered by Tupperware™. This “Mr Lid” tub kept  50 wipes from a pack of Wet-Ones for 2 months losing only 0.5% of their moisture.  In their original pack, after opening and resealing on Day 1, the Wet Ones lost 13% moisture over the same period.  However a further test with 9 other brands showed an average of only 3% weight loss over 2 months.  Pampers™ (flow wrapped with fitment) lost 1.4%.

A pack of 20 (5 different sizes) Mr Lids is being sold through direct response TV as general purpose storage containers for $19.95. 

Asked if Mr Lid would benefit hard-surface wipes where the container was opened less frequently, Mr Fabiszak said there had  been no testing with these wipes yet.

(from a paper given at the INDA WOW Conference, Chicago, June 2012)

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