Sustainability aspirations across fashion and apparel range far and wide, but more brands must consider that even one small part of the shipping process can make a big difference.
Specialty paper products and design solutions company Neenah is tackling this experience head on by marrying the concepts of consumer-friendly packaging and sustainability.
In introducing the NEENAH ENVIRONMENT® Mailer, Neenah can provide a premium unboxing experience for shoppers, while helping its brand partners eliminate packaging waste. Designed for soft goods, the mailer can comfortably hold garments that don’t require a box or padding protection during shipment, and includes a 2.5-inch gusseted bottom that can expand to accommodate bulky items.
The mailer is verified as curbside recyclable, which is printed directly on the mailer alongside several sustainable certifications, indicating that it is made from FSC® certified pulp and 50 percent post-consumer waste. The product is also Green-e® and Smartway® certified.
The patent pending coating helps differentiate this mailer from the rest, by providing water and puncture resistance while offering a premium print surface.
“Overall, consumers have become more aware of packaging in general. They’re more cognizant of materials that can’t be recycled, and that often includes shipping materials,” said Jennifer Dietz, Neenah’s senior product manager, sustainable solutions. “While consumers value a premium unboxing experience, they also want to be environmentally responsible. Seeing a statement like ‘I’m curbside recyclable’ on the packaging is meaningful, as it clears up any uncertainty while helping consumers
feel confident they’re doing their part.”
For more than 100 years, Neenah has created and manufactured specialty papers for premium writing, packaging, commercial printing and label applications.
As a premium paper manufacturer, Neenah’s roots in sustainability go back decades. The company says it was the first to launch a premium, 100 percent post-consumer waste printing paper back in the 1990s.
But through the years, the company kept its nose to the grindstone in developing more fiber-based, sustainable products that brands could use throughout their offering, including both Neenah Imagemax®, a paper alternative used for gift cards, and conVerd®, a recyclable rigid board used for signage. The firm also offers products like premium box wrap paper and folding board to enhance the folding carton and rigid box packaging experience for brands and their customers.
While the company prides itself on its expansive offering of stocked paper-based materials, Neenah also provides custom solutions for brands and retailers, such as swatch books, a daily stock finder and a Swatch Pro extension for Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop, allowing designers to think about substrates from the start.
Additionally, Neenah operates The Idea Shop, a website that showcases actual products and marketing materials that were created using the company’s paper-based materials to give partners inspiration for new ideas.
Educating on Sustainability
The wave of offerings comes as Neenah aims to take on a more educational role for customers. Dietz said the company actively promotes sustainability through three major lenses: responsible fiber sourcing, conservation efforts and recyclability.
First, the company wants to be transparent in assuring consumers that the pulp it uses comes from sources that demonstrate sustainable practices. Neenah also delivers insight into its conservation efforts, and how they contribute to the company’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the amount of water and non-renewable resources used in its manufacturing processes. As for recyclability, Neenah offers a wide selection of fiber-based materials with sustainable attributes.
Dietz said the company reinforces this industry information by printing stats related to sustainability in promotions and communications shared with customers. An example of this would be: “Approximately 46 million tons of paper and paperboard were recycled in 2018 for a recycling rate of 68.2 percent, which was the highest compared to other materials in municipal solid waste.”
Despite the increasing demand for sustainable products and packaging among consumers, Neenah knows that there is still plenty of work to spread the word about the true benefits.
“Many brands, marketers and designers don’t know what they don’t know,” Dietz said. “A big part of convincing them is simply making them aware of the sustainable options that are available. Our sales team act as consultants, providing samples, case studies and even prototyping to prospects and clients. We have our own internal design and production team that has been integral in providing ideas that lead to light-bulb moments and solutions, which ultimately help companies reach their sustainability goals, increase sales, and look great while doing it!”
Learn more about Neenah and the NEENAH ENVIRONMENT® Mailer here.