The packaging used by Rawlplug today has been designed to be environmentally friendly and easier to use by Rawlplug’s clients, distributors and stockists around the world. Today’s Rawlplug packaging has been developed with the following principles in mind:
Use of recyclable materials
We use high-quality corrugated cardboard that is rich in cellulose and is fully recyclable. We use the more-natural brown tone of cardboard and leave approximately 80% of the packaging area exposed. By selecting this highly biodegradable material and using it in this way, we are facilitating the future recycling and reuse of our packaging, and reducing the negative impact of our packaging operations on the environment.
Water-based inks and paints
Rawlplug uses sustainable water-based flexographic inks for the printed elements that appear on our packaging. These inks contain pigments that are free from heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, chromium, antimony, arsenic, mercury or nickel.
What’s more, the inks we use contain no volatile organic compounds. A volatile organic compound (VOC), as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is "any compound of carbon which, when emitted or volatilised into the air, participates in atmospheric photo-chemical reactions that result in the formation of toxic ozone."
For the varnish component of the ink, common practice is to use petroleum-based products. At Rawlplug, we use a product derived from renewable resources such as vegetable oils and paper rosins. With approximately half a litre of petroleum typically being used per bucket of ‘standard’ ink, the decision to use a more sustainable alternative is prudent from both a business and environmental perspective.
Environmentally focused design
Rawlplug’s packaging has been designed with environmental awareness in mind. We have applied the following design principles to ensure our packaging is more resource efficient than its predecessors and industry counterparts:
A key feature of Rawlplug’s packaging today is the use of ‘naked’ cardboard. On average, only about 20% of the cardboard on a Rawlplug product packaging unit is covered. Not only does this create a more-natural looking appearance, but it also reduces the volume of resources used to create each unit. This development has been accompanied by a dramatic reduction in our use of lacquer – today, approximately 5% of each package is covered using lacquer. What’s more, by applying a more intelligent approach to the design, we have dramatically reduced the points that require gluing.
All of these measures have contributed to a reduction in the volume of materials required and a reduction in the number of steps involved in the production of packaging. This in turn has reduced the volume of resources and energy expended.
Where detailed information is required, we have developed product-specific solutions that enable us to provide ample technical support without unnecessarily increasing the volume of packaging and raw materials used. As an example, for our bonded anchor range, we have re-designed cartridges to feature user-friendly coloured labels that can be peeled open to reveal step-by-step illustrated instructions and product descriptions in a variety of languages.
Where possible, Rawlplug uses colour coding on product packaging to convey technical information. This helps us to reduce the area of packaging that needs to be occupied by text, which, in turn, reduces the amount of ink used, and enables us to make technical information understandable to a wider audience and without the need for multiple translations.
Complementing technology trends
In developing our packaging, we have studied consumer technology trends to better understand how clients and users interact with Rawlplug packaging. A key observation for us has been that users today tend to prefer video tutorials to printed instruction manuals. To reflect this, many of Rawlplug’s packaging units feature QR codes. When these QR codes are ‘scanned’ by mobile devices, users are able to access videos or photo guides that demonstrate how to use or install their recently purchased product.
Ergonomics for efficiency
Many of Rawlplug’s products are packed in bulk packages and then delivered to distributors or retailers, where they are then sold individually as part of retail display units. In the past, products would be delivered to stockists in one type of packaging (e.g. an outer box). The packaging would then be opened to reveal a display-ready package. Today, wherever possible, Rawlplug delivers products in one, display-ready package. Typically, all that is needed to make the package display ready is for the recipient to pull away a simple, rounded (not sharp) panel to reveal the individual units inside. The benefits of this are:
- One fewer box is needed, thereby reducing resource use and costs
- Transport and storage becomes more efficient as less space and weight is accounted for by packaging
- There are fewer waste-generating processes involved – no need to source additional packaging at supplier end and no need to dispose of additional waste at recipient end
- Safer and less time-consuming journey from delivery pallet to display shelf (no need to cut open and unpack sharp-edged cardboard boxes).
Rawlplug produces an extensive range of products and different products require different packaging solutions. Among the innovations recently implemented across our range of products are mesh-packaging solutions and multiple-use dispensers that further reduce the volume of waste generated and facilitate secure, cost- and environmentally effective transport and storage. Once delivered, user-friendly flute packaging and boxes featuring rounded (not sharp) edges enable safe, low-waste unpacking and displaying in store.
Recyclability and the Green Dot
All Rawlplug packaging is recyclable. Both the universally recognisable recyclable symbol and the Green Dot symbol are displayed on all of our packaging.
The Green Dot scheme falls under the European "Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive - 94/62/EC", which is binding for all companies whose products use packaging, and requires manufacturers to recover their own packaging.
By signing up to the Green Dot scheme, Rawlplug wishes to demonstrate two things:
- That we, as a manufacturer of goods and packaging, are aware of our responsibility to the environment and are willing to act in order to reduce our impact on the natural surroundings we inhabit.
- That the recycling of used packaging is a necessary measure if we are to safeguard our planet for future generations, and that recycling is everybody’s businesses – companies and individuals alike.
Rawlplug has a transparent disposal policy and intends to have the appropriate disposal symbols on all of its packaging.