Tag Archives: eco-friendly

‘Fringe’ Highlights Conformer’s New Product Launch

Book sent to Agent Dunham in Conformer Mailer

This morning, my colleague asked me if “Fringe” planned on using Conformer mailers to ship alien body parts in future episodes.  It’s been a fun week.  (Read: Conformer on FRINGE)

Sci-fi humor aside, last week Agent Olivia Dunham opened a Conformer mailer and pulled out a hardcover book titled If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him! on “Fringe.”  You may have noticed that the bubble sack wrapping the small book inside was total overkill (no pun intended), but we forgive the television producers.  The Conformer paperboard mailer works beautifully without the bubble wrap because it conforms to the contents and eliminates shifting, while creating a 360 degree periphery of protection.

Nevertheless, “Fringe” has let our secret out of the bag, compelling us to share our plans to launch the new Conformer corrugate mailer very soon.  This new product is designed for heavier items, this new product creates the perfect package for items that might otherwise ship in a corrugate box.  So what’s the advantage?  The Conformer corrugate mailer conforms to its contents, eliminating the cost of shipping dead space and the cost of excess packaging fill.  Plus, no box assembly is required, which dramatically reduces fulfillment costs.

Bubble wrap is so often misused and overused that we don’t even recognize it as a fixable problem anymore.  A hardcover book is not fragile, and several more cost-effective and eco-friendly options can prevent damage from shifting inside an oversized box.   It is indeed a fixable situation.

So now that you’re on the inside track, stay tuned for the official launch of the Conformer heavy-duty corrugate mailer!

Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

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FAQs: Can I Afford to Buy Eco-Friendly Products?

Many of our clients are surprised to hear that eco-friendly presentation and mailing materials can cost the same or less than unfriendly materials. Unfortunately, the marketplace has been trained to assume that making eco-friendly choices comes at a price.  I’ve seen businesses eliminate (needed) materials altogether in an attempt to go green because they don’t think they have budget-friendly options.

Eco-friendly can be budget-friendly by aligning with smart buying principles:

– Buying power.  If your supplier makes a major investment in buying, let’s say Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper (more on that topic here), then the cost of that material becomes very competitive against less environmentally attractive stocks.

Economies of scale.  The Conformer portfolio made of recycled milk jug poly costs the same as buying it from virgin poly (recyclable, but not made of post-consumer recycled material).  Our base materials come from a poly extruder that specializes and extrudes milk jug poly in volume.  Then it becomes an aesthetic rather than a price-based decision.  That’s ideal.

Long-term eco-commitment of your vendors. Becoming FSC-certified is an arduous process with upfront costs. But once an organization has realigned its operations to comply with the Forest Stewardship Council’s specifications, the ongoing costs of this inventory management system become operationally streamlined.  Vendors that dabble in green products don’t achieve this cost benefit.

Buying quality products.  Durability reduces the probability that your materials become insta-trash.  In other words, if it looks like junk, it gets junked. If your presentation and mailing materials can survive the journey from the printer to storage to fulfillment to more storage to possibly mail processing to your customer’s desk — and still look good doing it — your materials will more likely be reused by your customer.  (And you get bonus points if your name is all over it.)

Tell us about your experiences sourcing eco-friendly materials on a budget, and we will gladly shine the spotlight on you here on the Conformer Products blog.

Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com

Hall of Shame #9: Bubble Mailers, a Slow Death

I think consumers are smart enough to recognize “greenwashing” when they see it.  Greenwashing, a term whose origin seems derived from “brainwashing,” is when a company spins its product in a way to position it as more eco-friendly than it actually is.  Keep that in mind as you read the following and decide for yourself whether or not you’re being “greenwashed.”

Ingredients of a Bubble Mailer

Can you read the ingredients list on the bubble mailer photo to my left? It says “100% Recycled Paper/10% Post-Consumer” and “10% Recycled Plastic.”  At first glance, the use of recycled material seems like a great thing, doesn’t it?

Let’s pull this product apart a little though, no pun intended.  A bubble mailer is a kraft-like paper bag with plastic bubble material sealed to its interior.  [Did you know that this bubble material was invented in 1960? (See Wikipedia.)  Bubble material is a pretty ancient technology that was cutting edge in its heyday.  Remember the 1967 movie “The Graduate” when Mr. McGuire says “Plastics!“?]

In any case, everybody knows you need to separate your recyclables — paper goes with paper, plastic goes with plastic- so that these materials can be recycled and made into something new.  In a traditional bubble mailer, these two media are sealed together and it is difficult to impossible to separate them.  So even though the product may be made of recycled material, the bubble mailer cannot be recycled.  To the landfill it goes, where it will sit for hundreds of years, just like a baby’s diaper.  

My attempt at separating a bubble mailer

Clearly this bubble mailer’s manufacturer is attempting to put more recycled content into its product so that’s good.  But at the end of the day, the end result is a product headed straight for the landfill, and that’s bad.  So tell me, readers, do you think this bubble mailer should be in Conformer’s Hall of Shame?
-Sari McConnell at smcconnell@conformerinc.com