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Circular Economy Package - What does it mean for the future of Packaging Design?

by Admin

  •   June 13, 2019
  •   News

In 2018 the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy Package was established, to make the transition to a more sustainable economy by closing material and product cycles for packaging.  It includes provisions for enhancing circular approaches to raw materials at a European level and aims to substantially increase recycling rates of all packaging materials.

Circular Packaging Design

The University of Applied Sciences Vienna (FH Campus Wein), together with Packforce Austria, (the Austrian member of World Packaging Organisation WPO) and Circular Analytics, have developed and issued the Circular Packaging Design Guideline, which is essentially design recommendations for sustainable, recyclable packaging.  It covers the entire supply chain of the packaging industry and focuses on sustainable packaging design, as well as the recyclable design of packaging systems for all contributors along the chain.  It’s a document that will evolve and update in accordance with future sorting and recycling technologies and packaging material developments.

Future challenges for product & packaging design

Because of the circular economy and this holistic approach to the packaging process, new challenges are presented for product design and packaging conception.  Considerations not only for the main materials used but also the use of printing inks, adhesives, labels, films and additional small parts such as openers or closures are all covered in the Circular Packaging Design Guideline.  Packaging will need to meet multifarious requirements including the balance of maximum functionality and protection of goods with minimal ecological impacts. 

Below are extracts from the guidelines as to how these fundamentals are to be achieved:

Effective - Packaging needs to be fit for purpose and add as much value as possible with regards to both the consumer and the product (e.g. retain shelf life).  In order to asses effectiveness, detailed knowledge about the properties of the packaged goods is required.  The packaging must provide adequate protection against adverse environmental influences such as mechanical stress, oxygen, humidity or light.  In addition, the packaging must ensure easy handling by the final consumer to the greatest possible extent.  Finally, it can be empirically established that the packaging has an influence on product loss.

Efficient - The use of raw materials, emissions, energy, and the generation of waste need to be minimised throughout the entire life cycle.  Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is the standard instrument for assessing the efficiency and thus the ecological sustainability of packaging.  It takes into account the environmental impact of the packaging over its entire life cycle.  The life cycles start with raw material extraction and end with the full disposal of the packaging.  The amount of CO2 equivalents that are emitted throughout the entire life cycle is a well-known parameter for assessing the ecological impact of the packaging.

Safe - Safe packaging is designed to minimize health and safety risks to human beings and ecosystems throughout its life cycle.  Regarding admissibility for food contact, the applicable legal requirements need to be met, and additional aspects such as consumer safety, environmental protection and tamper evidence need to be considered.

Cyclic - Cyclic packaging is designed to maximise the recovery of materials used.  This is aimed at longevity of the life cycle, full substitution for virgin materials of the same type (closed-loop recycling) or use of renewable materials.  Circular packaging design refers to the principle of cyclic approaches.  Products should be designed and produced in a way which, after the period of use, permits the recovery, to a high degree, of the raw materials to be employed as secondary raw materials, the reuse of the packaging, or the manufacture of the packaging from renewable raw materials.

International Development of Packaging

Packforce will target the European market first, with special issues of the guidelines developed for Northern Europe, Central Eastern Europe and Western Europe.  The recyclability of a packaging system will depend greatly on the technical capabilities of a given country, therefore Packforce are looking for cooperation partners in the respective countries, that will be able to contribute to a first step information regarding the collections systems and recycling infrastructures available. 

For International consumer goods companies and retailers, additional information will be required on the recycling infrastructure on a Global level.

The benefits of stockholding & our VMI services

by Admin

  •   May 22, 2019
  •   News

The benefits of stockholding & our VMI services

When looking for a new packaging supplier, there’s more to consider than just the unit cost of the packaging product itself.  At Packaging Supplies, we offer many other services that can benefit your business, saving you both time and cash flow.

Stock Holding

We have a dedicated warehouse operation on Oxfordshire, where we offer localised stock holding for clients based in the South of England, London and right up to (and including) the Manchester area.

The Benefits

We only invoice you for stock once it’s delivered, giving a huge improvement to your cash flow
Next day delivery on custom made packaging (once in stock), not just standard shop items
Save space in your warehouse facility
Better unit costs due to ordering bulk production runs

Inventory Management

Hand in hand with our stock holding, is our Vendor Managed Inventory Services.  We monitor your stock movement and levels, and with your consent, we will keep stock above a threshold that both parties agree on.

The Benefits

Less planning and stock monitoring from you
No lengthy lead times
Your stock will always be available for call off

Remote Ordering

If you like to keep track of your stock, regardless of whether it’s in your warehouse or ours, you can do that through our remote ordering and stock checking portal.  You can view current stock levels, place call off orders and also see what’s in the production process to come back into stock.

The Benefits

Check stock levels
Monitor which stock has been called off for delivery
Check the status of stock waiting to be replenished
Call off stock for next day delivery

These services benefit many of our clients, so get in touch with us for a packaging quotation and further information.

Sustainable Packaging – How important is this to today’s consumers?

by Admin

  •   April 24, 2019
  •   News

Sustainable Packaging – How important is this to today’s consumers?

Looking at a recent report by Coleman Parkes Research, which was undertaken on behalf of the packaging industry body Pro Carton, it’s evident that there is still a growing demand for sustainable packaging.  The survey asked more than 7000 shoppers, from the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and Turkey, what their views were on topics from on-pack recycling information to tax breaks for packaging manufactures directly related to the recycled content in their products.

The survey highlights how much consumers will consider the product packaging before buying and how this could influence their actual purchasing decisions.  As a nation, we are calling out for more transparency in relation to the sustainability of product packaging and we are switching brands if the product packaging does not appear sufficiently environmentally friendly or recyclable.

What UK consumers want from their packaging

88% of UK’s consumers want on-pack information relating to packaging sustainability

9 out of 10 shoppers in the UK want all packaging to be classed as recyclable

8 out of 10 Britons think there should be a tax on packaging manufacturers who use less than 30% recycled content in their products.

68% of UK consumers say the environmental impact of a product’s packaging will affect their purchasing choice.  This rises to 77% amongst German consumers and 81% for Spanish consumers

92% of Europeans would choose the plastic free option for a product when offered a choice between cardboard based or plastic-based packaging for the same item.

With these stats in mind, updating your product packaging has never been more important and without doubt this will have an impact on product purchases now and in the future.  We have seen many bold moves from larger corporations paving the way for more plastic free packaging. There are many cardboard packaging options already available, making it easy for all businesses, regardless of size to become invested.

In 2018 Sainsbury’s developed a sustainable and airtight cardboard container for some of their food packaging. This claimed to reduce plastic content by 85% compared with other widely used alternatives.   It was created for meat and poultry distribution, the carton facilitates the removal of oxygen from inside the pack, thereby extending the product shelf life and maintaining food freshness.  It does still contain a laminated film which is applied to the cardboard, but significantly reduces the amount of plastic material used. It can also go straight into the recycling after use.

How can you update your packaging?

There are many ways in which you can update your packaging, the most obvious and visible to the consumer is removing any plastic and opting for cardboard instead.  With so many cardboard materials and strengths available today, cardboard packaging is more versatile than ever.  Cardboard can be used to house almost any product and is used as a container for distribution as well as for primary retail packaging.  Complex and innovative designs can produce strong, long lasting packaging solutions that can hold their own in many different markets.

Cardboard packaging can be minimal and raw in its appearance or, with the advancements of water-based inks and vegetable-based ink pigments, can be printed upon to produce a different look and feel, whilst keeping all of the recycling credentials intact.

Many general packaging consumables can also be swapped for a more environmentally sound product. Paper nuts in place of polystyrene packing peanuts, Kraft food trays in place of plastic takeaway packaging containers, Bio-plastics, cardboard food trays etc. . . the list is extensive.

Get in touch with us today to discuss your new recyclable packaging solution and receive a no obligation re-design and quotation.

The Incredible Café made of Cardboard

by Admin

  •   March 11, 2019
  •   News

The Incredible Café made of Cardboard

There’s an extraordinary café in Mumbai, India, which has been created by the visionary Indian design studio, NUDES.  The interior of the café has been cleverly crafted, using corrugated cardboard, really taking eco-materials to the next level.

The chairs, light fixtures and tables have been layered using a strong triple wall corrugated cardboard, which has then been waxed to protect from heat, humidity and spillages, in order to make it suitable for café use.

In the centre of the café is a mind blowing, undulating wave wall, made entirely from corrugated cardboard!

Some of the pieces, such as the chairs and a table that juts out from the wall, have been crafted in such a way they almost look like hardwood.  The layered card walls follow through the theme but also provide acoustic sound proofing.

This project was completed in approximately 7 months, including a 4-month period of prototyping and 3 months of construction.  It is an excellent example of how versatile this environmentally friendly material is, and as you can see the sky is the limit if combined with a huge imagination and practical design know-how.

Packaging for start-ups

by Admin

  •   February 19, 2019
  •   News

Starting a new ecommerce business or launching a new product is an exciting time, and it won’t be long before your attention will need to turn to finding the perfect packaging to partner your product and promote your brand.

With so much to consider, we have tried to break it down into easy to handle chunks to get you started on your journey.

What type(s) of packaging do you need?

First, let’s look at the main functions of the different types of packaging you may need.   Often the lines can blur between these types of packaging. The correct solution depends on your product, where you intend to sell it and how you plan to deliver it to your customer. You may need just one option or a combination of them. 

Consumer/Retail packaging:  
This is the primary packaging, the part that will come in direct contact with your product.  This could be the bottle or can containing a drink or chocolate bar wrapper protecting the food from contamination.  It could even be the plush box your mobile phone comes in or a fancy gift box that an expensive piece of clothing or jewellery is presented in.

The main purpose of the primary packaging is to protect, contain and preserve its contents.  It can also be used to relay important product/nutritional information or to just look amazing and really showcase the item it contains – it can tell part of a story and reach out to the consumer.

In some cases where the product will be displayed within this packaging alone, it will be the primary packaging for the product branding and the first real direct interaction your customer has with your brand.

Secondary packaging
The purpose of this can be to protect the product but also protect the primary packaging in transit.

It all depends on the type of inner product packaging required and where you are selling your product.  The secondary packaging can quite often be the main vessel for displaying your brand. It can in some cases also double up and be used for logistical and identification purposes.

The secondary packaging could take the form of an SRP/RRP (Shelf ready or retail ready packaging).  You could ship 100 of those chocolate bars to a supermarket and the same packaging can be used to display the bars on the shelf in the store.  The secondary packaging could also take the form of the outer box that your bottles or cans are delivered in.  Or where the product already has primary packaging to contain it, like a candle in a glass jar for example, it can even be the luxury display or gift box that it’s presented in.

Outer packaging: 
This will be the packaging that is required to safely ship your products to the consumer or the retailer.  This element of packaging is more important now than ever especially with the increase in e-commerce retailers.   It’s now quite often the first physical touching point you give your customers and therefore needs to deliver not only on functionality but also in appearance. 

The outer packaging will often be a corrugated box, it could be a die-cut postal box with an integral lid.  It will need to be strong enough to safely ship the product and protect the inner packaging or product directly. 

What is your product?

Yes, we’ll need to know this, to make sure the right materials are used, we may ask what your product is made from, how big it is, what shape it is, how much it weighs and if its fragile.  You/we will also need to consider the cost of it.

There are many off-the-shelf options available but, depending on the answers to the above, a custom solution might be necessary for you.  Fittings can be produced to keep your product in place and protect from damage during transport.  You may also need a more generic void filling solution between your outer and inner packaging, like biodegradable packing chips, air pillows or bubble wrap.

How & where is your product being sold?

This leads us to how you intend to sell your product – this could be online, in store, on the supermarket shelf or in a small boutique shop . . . this will help determine the different levels of packaging you need combined with the best materials.  From corrugated to carton board or rigid covered boxes, we can offer you a comprehensive range of suitable options.

Moving on to the aesthetics now . . .

Who is your product aimed at? 

The look and feel of your chosen packaging and the materials used to make it will alter depending on your target audience.  Age and gender will need to be carefully considered when designing your graphics and colour choices.

If it’s a product aimed at the environmentally conscious, you will want your packaging to reflect this so that it really reaches out to the right people.  You may consider a box design that is re-usable or has a multi-purpose use, it could be made from recycled materials or simply fully recyclable. Natural FSC Kraft materials can be used to showcase to your clients how environmentally conscience your product is.

Heavier materials and different print finishes are available for accentuating a luxury or premium product and you may want to accessorize with ribbons, ties or magnetic closures.

If it’s just for shipping, the box may be plain or printed with essential product information and branded for instant recognition.

Style ideas 

There’s nothing better than a visual representation or image of what you’re looking for, to help your packaging manufacture understand your vision.  It pays to do some research and let us know what you like and don’t like. 


Your budget is an integral element to your packaging choices.  All too often we come across a client looking for a low number of luxury boxes to contain a relatively low value product at the same cost of an off the shelf shipping carton that’s been produced in large volumes. You must be realistic about budget, not forgetting how important a factor the packaging will be to the success of your product launch and in reinforcing your brand identity.

Considering the cost of the product and the retail price is a good place to start when putting a packaging budget together.  Think about where the packaging will be stored also.  We offer a stock-holding and call of service for volume orders. This is a great way to keep your storage costs to a minimum while taking advantage of a lower unit price for producing in bulk.

Packaging set up costs & unit costs:

There are different types of set up and origination costs involved too.  These fall under one off set up costs and are in addition to your individual box unit price.  Your first order of a custom-made pack will often include one off charges for a die cutting tool and a printing stereo or plate.  However, with digital print and finishing becoming a viable option for more and more substrates, we can often eliminate some of these set up costs on smaller production runs, which can really help with start-up brands that need to get to market quickly and have a limited budget.

Get in touch with our team for a quotation or further information

Cardboard – The Sustainable Packaging Choice

by Admin

  •   February 11, 2019
  •   News

As a nation, we are more concerned than ever about our environmental choices, with packaging being one of the largest areas of concern for nearly 3 million Britons.  This has resulted in many retailers re-thinking their packaging policies and work towards reducing their packaging waste and make up.

Many big chain supermarkets have already committed to reduce materials such as plastic and polystyrene, along with other unnecessary packaging. Most are working towards using only packaging that can be 100% recycled by 2025.

Sustainable Cardboard Packaging

With all the bad press around packaging, it’s easy to forget that not all packaging is the same and not all packaging deserves such a bad reputation.  Cardboard packaging is one of the most sustainable forms of packaging available.  The paper to produce corrugated cardboard comes from renewable sources and responsibly managed forests. In many cases it is made from a high percentage of recycled material as well. The paper sourced to produce cardboard in the UK is never sourced from tropical rainforests or other non-renewable supplies.

Recyclable Cardboard Boxes

Corrugated cardboard is also recyclable.  A typical box is manufactured from 80% recycled materials and 20% wood pulp from sustainable forest sources.  In fact, corrugated cardboard is the most widely recycled type of packaging!

Biodegradable Cardboard Boxes

All cardboard is biodegradable, so although without question, recycling is the best option, for any that does end up in landfill, it is totally biodegradable.  This includes all corrugated, carton board, rigid paper over board boxes and cardboard tubes.

Environmentally friendly printing

There have been great advances in using more environmentally friendly, vegetable pigment based, printing inks for branding the packaging.

Until recently packaging printing was dominated by solvent-based inks, but now many are produced without such toxins. Water is being used to replace the solvent carrier element within the inks. 

Get in touch with Packaging Supplies for a quotation on your environmentally friendly packaging.

Packaging Waste

by Admin

  •   February 21, 2018
  •   News

Did you know that as part of our service to you, we can provide a free of charge report on the packaging you have purchased from us in the last year?  Our report contains all the details and information you will need to be able to complete your packaging waste report. 

There is now a legal obligation on all UK businesses, that produce or use packaging, to ensure that a percentage of their packaging is recycled. More than 10 million tonnes of packaging waste is generated each year in the UK, 6 million tonnes of which can be potentially recycled. 

‘Producer Responsibility Law’ is in place to make sure that businesses who manufacture, import or sell products are responsible for them once they become waste. This law encourages minimisation and recycling of all waste. 

If your company has an annual turnover of more than £2 million and handles more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year, you must meet the producer obligations under the packaging regulations. Your business also has an obligation to recycle if you own the packaging and supply it to others, or if you import packaging. 

If you are a manufacturer or seller who uses packaging in large volumes, you must get to know the legal position on recycling, you could be prosecuted and fined for non-compliance. 

If you need any help on packaging waste regulations, contact Packaging Supplies, or alternatively you can find out more about your legal responsibilities on the Environment Agency website here

What our BRC accreditation means for our customers

by Admin

  •   November 08, 2017
  •   News

Why our BRC Accreditation is a crucial element of our service 

BRC, which stands for British Retail Consortium, is the number one global market leading GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) scheme. Our BRC Accreditation allows us to store food & non-food grade packaging and stationery items destined for restaurants, food retailers, hotels or any other business that handles food, or where products come in to contact with food.

This accreditation means that we follow strict working guidelines to ensure the supply chain meets industry standards and that our products are manufactured to industry quality standards and are stored in a clean controlled environment. 

Why BRC is important to us ……………..

  • BRC is a mark of good working practice
  • All products manufactured by Packaging Supplies are subjected to vigorous quality checks
  • Every item that is manufactured, stored and distributed by Packaging Supplies has full traceability

Why BRC is important to our customers……………

  • Customer are assured that their goods are manufactured to European Environmental Standards
  • Products are stored in secure and hygienic environment
  • Products are handled and distributed with full traceability

Our customers are safe in the knowledge that they are dealing with a business that reaches high levels of competence, in all critical areas.

View our certificate here

Packaging Know-How for the peak season

by Admin

  •   September 14, 2016
  •   News

5 big packaging mistakes that will see failure in the Peak season 

It sounds incredibly sad however the peak season, the lead up to Christmas will be soon upon us. Within this period planning and forecasting is everything. Which is why you need to start now.

1.     Failure to Plan: We think this is a very good place to start, plan exactly what is required for the packaging of each product. Before the busy season starts you should know exactly the average time that it takes to pack each product, once you know this you can experiment with packaging machines or other packing equipment to decide whether this will assist in speeding up this process. This will then give you valued information for the forecasting for the dispatching of orders and lead times of future orders.

See our Packaging Machines here.

2.     Understanding your demand: This goes hand in hand with planning, this is somewhere where even the largest of large companies can come unstuck. Review you figures from the same quarter the previous year with any expectations of growth or reductions this will help to give you an understanding of what will be required.

3.     Innovate where possible: The Packaging Industry is so large, whether you are a manufacturer, importer or have an online presence there will be a requirement for packaging in some form. However, there are very few packaging companies out there that are actually innovating. The biggest reason for this is that it is cheaper to have a one size fit all packaging. Take Korrvu packaging for example, we have standard sizes to fit phones, iPad’s and many other products. We work hard to develop our online range, so you know exactly what is out there, a snapshot into new products.

4.     Be smart and respectful about Packaging: The biggest mistake that is being made at the moment is that packaging is only being considered within companies for just their own benefit i.e. the one size fits all situations. The largest retailer in the world has been guilty of this, Amazon are under more pressure to reduce their packaging size and waste. How can you be respectful to packaging? The respect comes when considering if the packaging is the right size for the product and how easy it is for your customer to discard the packaging. We have all been there trying to stuff empty pizza boxes into bins, it isn’t enjoyable.

5.     Be prepared for all Outcomes: This is where Packaging Supplies comes into its own. You need to see our warehouse as an extension of your own. Stock and call off is so essential at this point once we have it in stock, we can dispatch it to you on a next day delivery basis (on orders received before 3pm). It gets even easier with your own customer log in, giving you instant stock checks and an online ordering platform through the back office of our website.

These 5 mistakes are just the beginning, with over 35 years in business in this industry we can help to save you time and money. So please feel free to catch up with one of our friendly team today on 01491834000.

Huge price reduction on Featherpost Bubble Envelopes!

by Admin

  •   July 13, 2016
  •   News

We have made huge price reductions across our entire range of Featherpost Mailers.  These bubble lined envelopes are strong, lightweight, water resistant mailers, suitable for posting all kinds of items.  They can be used for jewellery, electrical components, CD's or other small to medium sized products. An essential for any postal packaging, look no further for very competitive pricing


Buy your Featherpost Mailers online today

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We are certified by BRC Global Standards for the storage of food & non-food grade packaging; the storage of stationery items destined for restaurant groups and the contract packing of singular factored ambient-stable food sachets into retail/wholesaler packs.

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