Archive for January, 2012

Frustration comes in all shapes and sizes.

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

When my boss came into work this morning he was carrying a bag that contained the product in the adjacent photo. A little while later I went into his office to watch him wrestle the package and toss out a few choice words as he struggled to open it. I asked him why he was so upset as we have seen packages like this many times. He just looked at me and stated that he shouldn’t have to use a pair of scissors to open a package containing scissors! I tried to ask him what he thought would be a better design which prompted him to hand me the package with instructions to write about it on our blog with some sort of intelligent conclusion coming from it.

Now I could spend time describing the package and materials used in the construction and the manufacturing process along with a few points about the value to retailers in regards to tamper-proof packaging and on and on but why? The message here is how do we deal with the frustration level with packaging like this? This package (as well as the product) is made in China and done at a very low price point. The product cost about $5.00. It is a Multi-Purpose Utility Scissors. And for only $5.00? When I went to grab a pair of scissors to open the package I noticed a pair of expensive ones in my boss’s office and wondered if they came in the same style of packaging. I know the price point was much higher and I am sure the packaging was superior in design and construction.

Well thought out packaging reflects on the product’s brand as well as everyone involved in the process to get the item to market. Consumers can tell when they are getting a good or great deal of value for the products they buy. How many times have you realized that you get what you pay for? Even when you thought you were going to get something great for a really, really low, rock bottom price only to realize that you bought an inferior product?

The packaging should provide you with enough clues to the quality and value of the product. Think about it the next time you shop. Notice the packaging and then the price of the products and you should be able to choose what to buy. Packaging is like movie trailers. You can watch 5 minutes of a preview and determine the quality of the film being shown and decide if you want to spend money viewing it.

So if you want to lower the frustration level when it comes to opening packages, get the good ones as you’ll be purchasing the better product and experience. Unless you enjoy throwing the package on the floor, cursing like a sailor and basically making a fool of yourself.

Oh, and by the way, I did notice on the back of the package a warning stated that one should cut carefully around the edge of the blister and that the user and bystander should wear safety goggles when opening the package.

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Categories: Uncategorized

TerraCycle develops recycling for disposable diapers

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Saw this article last week and felt it was worth passing on for a good read about a messy subject.

TerraCycle develops recycling for disposable diapers

By Chrissy Kadleck

TRENTON, N.J. (Jan. 24, 11 a.m. ET) — One of the dirtiest and most demonized portions of the municipal waste stream may soon be diverted from landfills.

Developing a recycling solution for used disposable diapers, a biological amalgam of complexity, has been a top priority of the global research and development team at TerraCycle Inc., a Trenton-based company whose mission is to create innovative solutions for waste streams.

TerraCycle’s team of scientists, led by Ernie Simpson, global vice president of research and development, is about to put a clothespin on its formula that will render dirty diapers into a material suitable for plastic lumber, pallets and outdoor furniture.

“We have come up with a continuous method of collecting the material, processing the materials using various methods for sterilization, testing and processing and certain parts of the diaper will be compostable,” Simpson said. “We are 90 percent of the way there with only a small portion of the process yet to be completed. I expect that will happen in the first quarter of 2012.”

Albe Zakes, TerraCycle’s global vice president of media relations, said the company is excited about the process.

“We think it could revolutionize the use of disposable diapers,” Zakes said.

TerraCycle hopes to launch the diaper recycling program in September. He is hopeful the program will be sponsored by Huggies Brand, its partner in collecting diaper packaging, but the program will accept diapers of any kind.

“We will roll it out in test markets by setting up these smell- and contaminant-proof collection containers [much like the Diaper Genie on a grand scale] at daycare centers and will also offer smaller shipping containers for personal use,” he said.

Zakes said the company will “reach out to the couple hundred [daycare centers] already in our program to see who wants to be involved” and the first 25 which volunteer will become the test markets.

“[Recycling] used diapers was a pretty tall order. It’s solving the most complex waste stream known right now in the U.S. There is no more complicated waste stream than that,” said Simpson. “The collection and subsequent disposal [of diapers] in large cities is a tremendous burden. If they can be recycled into useable products, that is a bonus for just about any large city.”

Simpson said his team of about 10 has worked on developing the solution for less than a year. The impetus for this endeavor came from TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky.

“When Tom Szaky comes to me and says, ‘Make it happen,’ that’s how it starts, and I have to make it happen,” he said. “It’s a matter of the intensity and forward-thinking of the CEO is why we are where we are today.”

Simpson wouldn’t reveal much about the recycling process, other than to say his team used standard processes for the plastics industry, but those processes are “innovative in how our formulas are put together.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Recycling Old Faithful and Doing It Justice.

January 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Beginning January 1, 2012 landfills in the state of Illinois will not accept electronic devices such as televisions, computers and cell phones. Those kinds of devices must, instead, be disposed of through a recycling company or organization. We’re all aware of the overcrowding in landfills and the time has come to recycle and repurpose the materials within items we dispose. Stores selling electronics are now providing consumers outlets and methods of contributing to this effort. One of the methods comes in the form of a rebate offering. When you buy a particular electronic device, a form is provided which asks the consumer to make contact in getting the device to the outlet. A package arrives for the consumer with sustainable materials inside to protect the device as it gets shipped to a recycling / repurposing center for evaluation. If reusable, the device gets a freshening up for a new life. If not, the parts that can be repurposed are removed and done so. Our firm, CTI, (Combined Technologies, Inc.),  participates in such a program where we provide the packaging necessary for the consumer. All the material provided by us for this project is from recycled stock and material and can be used more than once. Although we started as a company creating and manufacturing custom packaging, we understand the issues facing our society today in regards to the waste in packaging and consumer goods and are strong advocates in the act of recycling and repurposing. We applaud the companies that work in this effort and also to the consumers who take the time to participate in this process. We hope to see this effort continue and carry over into other products that we consume regularly.

To learn more about our efforts in sustainable packaging and what we offer go to

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