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Environmental Protection & Preservation

New Green Custom Packaging Technology

Responding to public demand for companies to be environmentally sensitive, a new custom packaging solution called the Environmental Packaging Solution (EPS) now enables retailers and consumers to have their products in packaging made from a 100 percent annually renewable resource -- NatureWorks PLA. Not only is this resource 100 percent renewable, it is also made from the first green-house-gas neutral plastic polymer.

Normally, it can take Mother Earth up to 20,000 years to absorb the plastic remains of retail packaging left in landfills. Even when traditional retail packaging materials are put in the recycling bin, they often aren't recyclable into original source material, since the component paper and plastics are difficult to separate and cross contaminate at the recycling plant.

The EPS custom packaging system -- offered by AVC Corp., a one-stop, vertically-integrated A-Z packaging facility in Torrance, Calif. -- provides retailers the same tamperproof security, size, and function of traditional packaging at similar cost. It uses a patent-pending design that mates a corrugated cardboard backing to a plastic cover that can be easily separated for composting once placed in a commercial composting facility. Once in a commercial composting facility, the material will decompose into carbon, water and hummus in approximately 40 -- 80 days, depending on the thickness of the original package.

While the EPS retail package design works with traditional plastics, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), it's the first design company in their market niche to work with polyactide, (PLA), a corn-based plastic. When using the corn-based NatureWorks PLA plastic with the EPS system, environmentally conscious retailers and consumers can ensure that even discarded retail packaging does less damage to Mother Earth than traditional plastic packaging.

AVC has brought its new "green" custom packaging technology to the US Environmental Protection Agency, which forms voluntary partnerships with packagers supporting its Reduction Conservation Challenge, a program that promotes recycling. "Reducing packaging waste is a big environmental priority," said an EPA spokesperson. The system is AVC's latest "green" retail package design to provide retailers and consumers with environmental choices that add value and make financial sense.

The company's ability to mold raw plastic into cases, called thermoforming, along with integrated design capability, enabled the roll out of a patented "reusable retail package" that opens like a book with custom pockets to store multi-item products. The custom packaging design encourages customers to keep the plastic packaging for permanent storage of items like manuals, pens, and cartridges instead of discarding it into the waste stream.

Leap Frog, the popular early childhood education firm, was an early adopter of reusable retail packaging. More recently, Forrester & Vos, a supplier of reading glasses, found that orders jumped 25 percent at Sam's Club on switching to reusable retail packaging for display and long-term storage.

"Retailers who want to distinguish themselves by doing good for the environment, the community, and the bottom line have expanded options with the new Environmental Packaging System and reusable retail packaging," says Begim, AVC's President.

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