Nice Show… For A Duck.

Every year a trade exposition takes place that is designed to convene companies and buyers who work with corrugated paperboard. Studies conducted over the past few years predict a steady growth in the use of paperboard across the world for at least the next quinquennium. It’s amazing how much consumer desire for overnight shipping has raised the demand for “cardboard boxes.”

Do you want paper or plastic… or wood?

The process of harvesting and crating many foods often involves moisture, ice and water. Produce growers go through a massive volume of containers. There are a few choices for how to keep goods contained and fresh from field to market and good points can be made for each of three common container materials. Wood is strong, reusable, waterproof and cheap. Plastic containers are fairly strong, reusable and waterproof but not so cheap. Plastic does inhibit germs better than wood, so food safety is less of a concern. And some plastics are recyclable. Then there’s corrugated cartons. Paper’s really cheap and very clean, but generally not reusable. As for waterproof? Well, if it’s got a good, heavy coat of wax, it’ll work.

Do you want paper or plastic… or wood?

The process of harvesting and crating many foods often involves moisture, ice and water. Produce growers go through a massive volume of containers. There are a few choices for how to keep goods contained and fresh from field to market and good points can be made for each of three common container materials. Wood is strong, reusable, waterproof and cheap. Plastic containers are fairly strong, reusable and waterproof but not so cheap. Plastic does inhibit germs better than wood, so food safety is less of a concern. And some plastics are recyclable. Then there’s corrugated cartons. Paper’s really cheap and very clean, but generally not reusable. As for waterproof? Well, if it’s got a good, heavy coat of wax, it’ll work.

Selmarq Cascades Sonoco SCE'16_Armor Your Container

You always have to weigh the downers.

On the other hand, wood is heavy. You pay for that weight when food is shipped any significant distance. Plastic doesn’t weigh as much, but like wood containers, plastics need to be sent back empty and cleaned if they’re going to be reused. That calls for more shipping, carbon emissions, labor and other resources. Eventually wood crates and some plastics end up in a landfill. The downer about corrugated cartons, aside from being single-use, is that they can fall apart if they get wet. Waxing the carton solves that problem, but cause another issue with disposal. It’s impractical if not impossible to recycle old waxed cartons.

Ever see ducks in the Peabody Hotel fountain?

This part of the story, like the Peabody Hotel’s lobby elevator door, is where the ducks come in. Ducks have no problem with water. And that’s why ducks are a perennial feature in the Cascades Sonoco trade show exhibit. SELMARQ inspired the tradition five years ago by designing and building for them a waterfall made of corrugated board. In the pool below the falls our client floated yellow rubber ducks with their name branded on the ducks’ chests. As a giveaway tchotchke, rubber ducks may not be ideal… most end up in the tubs of visitors’ children or grandchildren. But after five years, regular attendees to the show recognize and remember the brand… and the ducks.

 

Making paperboard ducky.

Those ducks personify the way Cascades Sonoco’s technology gives corrugated cartons strength and integrity. Like wax, Cascades Sonoco’s coating and laminating products give cartons the protection they need to withstand the moist, humid or wet environments encountered when taking produce to market. But unlike the waxed kind, these cartons actually have value after they are used. They can be sold into common recycling programs like most old corrugated cartons.

SELMARQ enjoys designing Cascade Sonoco’s exhibits and handling show services for them. And we anticipate even more innovative ideas from their talented chemists and engineers. This year they introduced the world’s first compostable board that stops stains and leaks in folding cartons even after being scored and folded. You can see cartons made from this material at the Whole Foods salad bar. Converters around the world are now asking about it. We expect the ducks to be around awhile.

Have an idea or project you would like to collaborate on?

Please get in touch - barq@selmarq.com

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