"Recycled" usually commands a warm feeling inside knowing that a little piece of the environment has been protected from the cruelty of commercial industries and mass pollution. Companies like Zia Natural Skincare and Curtis Packaging are helping introduce a new level of environmental protection that takes recycling a bit further into sustainability.
The use of natural products has always been an important concept for Zia Natural Skin Care, who was in search of a durable and affordable sustainable packaging solution to match their ingredients. Zia approached Curtis Packaging at the 2005 HBA Health & Beauty Expo after seeing the work Curtis did for EstÈe Lauder's Origins brand. Curtis provides a wide selection of bright, high-strength recycled paperboard cartons.
"As a brand, we are passionate about safeguarding the environment, reducing waste and our use of non-renewable resources," says Laura Setzfand, director of marketing for Zia. "As a result, we seek out suppliers that share this vision."
Furthering the cause
Curtis Packaging, a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, made a strong environmental statement on August 1, 2006 when it announced the company's "green" movement to 100% Renewable Energy. Customers now have the option of printing through "Packaging made with Renewable Energy" or "Packaging made with Wind Power," as well as "Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification." Donald Droppo Jr., vice president, sales and marketing for Curtis Packaging, says they have a "strategic competitive advantage" as one of the only companies in the Western Hemisphere to use 100% renewable energy and have FSC Certification.
The commitment to their environmentally safe energy source, which is comprised of 85% wind power and 15% hydro power, has attracted a lot of attention from the press and from prospective customers. Droppo says they are just doing their part as good corporate citizens to help the environment. "Hopefully, after hearing the positive impact this has had on our business, other business owners or corporations may follow suit and reflect upon their own energy consumption and do their part to help sustain the environment as well," says Droppo.
And since the packaging price has not increased, Curtis customers have embraced the move while more companies are discovering the benefits sustainable packaging has for their image as well as for the environment. "This helps springboard some of our clients down the environmental sustainability path," Droppo says. "If our client so chooses to print our 'renewable' claims, we are able to enhance their image into more of a green light, just by partnering with Curtis."
An easy choice
Zia selected Curtis Packaging based on their reputation for producing high-quality unit cartons, their knowledge of environmentally conscious packaging solutions, and their commitment to environmentally friendly packaging and energy sources. The Zia Brilliance skin care line and the Natural Microdermabrasion System debuted in sustainable packaging, while the rest of the line followed suit. The paperboard used for Zia's packaging was manufactured by Mohawk Mills, and is .018 stock comprised of 75% post-consumer recycled fiber and is elemental chlorine free.
Zia customers, many of whom share the company's passion for sustainable materials and practices, were thrilled with the new introductions and sales reflect that. Setzfand says that the packaging choice educates Zia consumers that there are eco-friendly options available. "With each purchase of Zia, they are making a choice that directly and positively benefits the planet," Setzfand says.
And Zia customers know exactly where to look for sustainable packaging. The wind power symbol is printed on every package to communicate the carton is made of 50% post-consumer waste and produced through wind power. The rougher texture produced by sustainable material is also an identifier for the environmentally conscious consumer, although it makes for a difficult printing process.
Zia worked carefully with the package designer, James Dawson of Fitzgerald Media Inc., and Curtis Packaging to develop a concept that could be translated through the packaging. Post consumer waste (PCW) has a tendency to absorb colored ink more so than non PCW materials, making them seem faded or less vibrant. The rough texture of the material can also affect printing, leaving variations in color that appear blotchy and uneven.
Zia avoided this problem by using lighter colors, which makes the ink variations less noticeable, and by printing on the smoother side of the material. Setzfand explains: "Each side of the PCW material has a different texture-one side is smoother than the other. So, depending on the overall look you are trying to achieve, you may choose to print on the rougher side to obtain that unfinished, eco look. Zia uses the smoother side to reduce the color variation due to the nature of our graphic choices."