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THE UNSEEN COST THAT'S WORTH LABEL & PACKAGING CONVERTERS' CLOSE ATTENTION
If there's one catchword that we hear everywhere today, across every industry, it's sustainability. And, with Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thurnberg and others ramping up their activism, it's impossible to ignore the issue. In the label and packaging industry, converters also must consider increasingly tough local and national sustainability regulations. To that point, label and packaging leaders called 2019 "a sustainability tipping point for packaging", with brands committing to sustainable product and packaging development with varied initiatives. When it comes to labels and flexible packaging, manufacturers and brand owners are looking for more environmentally friendly alternatives to minimize consumption of materials, such as by using thinner materials, fewer structures and lamination layers, and even liner-less labels.
In parallel, the printing industry has become more competitive. Brand owners expect quality and repetitiveness across their SKU portfolio--a challenge that requires a more comprehensive approach to quality assurance practices. At the same time, they are looking for quality and sustainability practices throughout their (and their vendors') production chain.
There's no longer a choice. To succeed, label and packaging converters must be able to demonstrate the environmental performance story that brands want to hear while meeting ever-tougher requirements on quality, cost and turnaround times.
ENVIRONMENTAL COST HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT: PRODUCTION WASTE
Biodegradability and recyclability are high on the radar, but production waste is also a huge issue, with reprinting being the biggest culprit. When printing errors necessitate a reprint at any stage in the process, substrates, inks, and energy all go to waste. For example, prepress errors, incorrect revisions or language, or defective plates or cylinders can lead to entire jobs being reprinted. Inefficient makeready processes, with multiple trials and adjustments, also lead to wasted substrates.
Significant waste can be created during production runtime if print defects are not detected ahead of time. Beyond any material that must be discarded, energy is wasted, and sometimes the product...