Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Back to plastic? Reusable grocery bags may cause food poisoning

Reusable shopping bags vs. plastic bags is bag in the news again this week. A study by The Environment & Plastics Council showed that reusable store bags contain unusually high amounts of yeast, mold, bacteria that could make users very ill.

"But other significant risks include skin infections such as bacterial boils, allergic reactions, triggering of asthma attacks, and ear infections," he stated.

The study found that 64% of the reusable bags tested were contaminated with some level of bacteria and close to 30% had elevated bacterial counts higher than what's considered safe for drinking water.

Further, 40% of the bags had yeast or mold, and some of the bags had an unacceptable presence of coliforms, faecal intestinal bacteria, when there should have been 0.

"The presence of faecal material in some of the reusable bags is particularly concerning," Dr. Summerbell stated. "All meat products should be individually wrapped before being placed in a reusable bag to prevent against leakage. This should become a mandated safety standard across the entire grocery industry."

Beyond, the obvious potential for illness above, recycling bags makes sense from an environmental standpoint during the manfacturing & after life process. Read more about Prism Pak's environmental commitment, along with real, eye-opening, statistics about paper vs. plastic use & recycling, here.

Read the entire article & more study information on this debate:

Read more: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/theappetizer/archive/2009/05/20/back-to-plastic-reusable-grocery-bags-may-pose-public-health-risk.aspx#ixzz0sF6JMrPW

Back to plastic? Reusable grocery bags may cause food poisoning

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Caveat Emptor

This isn't packaging related in the strictest sense, but I thought it was pretty interesting as a lot of basic packaging comes from China. Over at the China Law blog they detail a few horror stories of how manufacturers don't get precisely what they ordered from China -- if they aren't precise about what to order. It all boils down to some completely different ethical standards operating in China versus here in the US:

One of the things we are always telling our clients who source product to China is to be specific. Always. I talk about how China has levels of quality five levels below anything you would even think possible and for Chinese manufacturers, those levels are normal.

I mention how you can buy shirts (unbelievably cheaply) in China that are pretty much ruined after one washing. I tell them of the company that sought our assistance after receiving USD $500,000 of computer bags whose handles broke pretty much every time they were used to tote a laptop. Or I tell of the company that contacted us when its massive order of Christmas tree lights would not be delivered until mid-December. In both cases, I blamed the US companies for having failed to be specific. In the laptop bag case, the Chinese manufacturer essentially said that if the US company had wanted the bags to have been strong enough to hold a laptop, they should have paid more for them.

I talk about the US company that came to us after discovering its Chinese manufacturer was selling its rejected and unsafe product around the world and had no legal basis to stop this. It had no legal basis to stop it because it had no trademarks in the key countries and because its OEM contract failed to require rejected product be destroyed.

I thought of all those things today after reading "Documents Unsealed in Chinese Drywall Lawsuit." The article's first paragraph says it all:

Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. LTD, a major Chinese drywall manufacturer, urged one of its main U.S. customers, Banner Supply, to sell thousands of sheets of foul-smelling drywall “overseas” after Banner complained about the tainted product, according to documents and depositions unsealed Friday by a Florida circuit court judge in Miami-Dade County. A Banner executive said the offer was refused.

Follow the link for more...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

"Sunchip bag? -- just throw it out."

You've probably seen this Sunchips ad by now right?

Well a Canadian Municipality is saying, 'hold it, don't recycle that bag just yet.'

Earlier this year, Frito-Lay Canada introduced compostable Sun Chips bags to the Ontario market place. While the concept is commendable, unfortunately, due to the length of time it takes these bags to break down in a municipal composting system, they are not accepted in the Region's Green Bin Program at this time.The Sun Chips bags are made of polylactic acid, which is a corn starch-based product similar to that which is used in the compostable liner bags that are accepted in the Region's organics program. Both products compost under the right conditions, however, the Sun Chips bags have three layers of and compost in about 14 weeks, while the bin liner bags are a single layer and break down in three to four weeks.

The Walkers' Gore™ Composting Facility, which processes the Region's Green Bin material, produces compost in eight weeks. As such, the Sun Chips bag may not fully break down in the composting process. Bags that do not fully break down would be screened out and landfilled. It's a shame really, Frito Lay is spending a lot of money on this program, but the bags simply take too long to process in a composting program.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Food Packaging Prices Set to Soar

Food packaging prices set to soar, Linpac warns

Linpac Packaging has urged food manufactures to prepare for price increases for plastic food packaging in the coming year as firms in the sector seek to offset escalating raw material costs.
Linpac said it expects further crude oil and polymer price increases over the next 12 months and advised food producers to plan now for future price increases to avoid margins being squeezed.

Adam Barnett, Linpac Packaging vice president of marketing and innovations, said there had been a number of dramatic rises in the cost of basic feedstocks in the past few months.

"Linpac has had to absorb the recent cost increases to help our customers in this difficult economic climate however, we can no longer sustain this and maintain the level of quality, service and product range we currently offer," he said.

Barnett continued that the industry would resist the increases for as long as possible but said that once one firm increased its prices, others would follow, which would mean producers and retailers would not have the options of shopping around.

"We have already seen price increases announced by our competitors in the packaging sector including those who provide other materials like cardboard."
Linpac's statement comes just over a month after the Packaging and Films Association warned of "significant price increases" because firms had no option but to increase prices to offset cost increases.
Andrew Copson, deputy managing director at Sharp Interpack, said: "We've got to the place that we are going to have to discuss the sharing of the cost increases with our customers."
Barnett said that Linpac was working with customers to ensure they had the most cost-effective packaging but said there was "only so much we can do" to offset the escalation of our material costs by more than 33% in the last year.

"Food producers need to factor in these price increases before they take effect so they can respond to any changes in their price points fast. If they don't they could find their margins squeezed," said Barnett.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Food packaging and other disposable plastic items could soon be composted at home along with organic waste thanks to a new sugar-based polymer.

The degradable polymer is made from sugars known as lignocellulosic biomass, which come from non-food crops such as fast-growing trees and grasses, or renewable biomass from agricultural or food waste.
It is being developed at Imperial College London by a team of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council scientists led by Dr Charlotte Williams.
The search for greener plastics, especially for single use items such as food packaging, is the subject of significant research worldwide. "It's spurred on not only from an environmental perspective, but also for economic and supply reasons," explains Dr Williams.

Click here for full story:


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Is Weighing In on the Wal-Mart Hefty Issue a Cinch?

The talk of the past two weeks in the packaging industry has been a round of category trimming actions by Wal-Mart.  In an effort to consolidate & minimize its name brand offerings in the food packaging category, Wal-Mart has decided to send Hefty and Glad packing from its stores.

The actions taken are indicative of Wal-Mart's plan to streamline its name brand offerings & place greater focus on its value-brand, Great Value.  In an economy where people are spending less and shopping around for bargains, non-branded, value offerings are all the rage. Wal-mart added to its core customer base during the recession as middle income consumers looked for ways to pinch pennies.

Consumers are questioning the necesssity of brand names like never before. Retailers are pinching their vendor partners to produce the same quality goods with less, and in greater quantity. Upscale chains, like Target, are offering more club packs of non-toiletry & household items.

Is the shift toward non-branded,bulk products good for the American economy? As a company who sells non-branded consumer & industrial goods, Prism Pak has always given its customers great products for less.  Our reclosable zipper  poly bags, rival top names like Ziploc & Hefty. A case of 1000 4"x4" at $8.51 compared to 100 at $3.99.  Our 35 gallon Linear Low Density Trash liners are $19.29, but store bought brand names are almost double the cost for the quantity. This shift not only pinches pennies for consumers, but it allows greater market penetration of small to mid-size companies with products that lack the big advertising budgets, the large company overhead.

The flip side for consumers is that their old stand-bys may be falling by the wayside to generics. It may take some researching to find an acceptable substitute.  Big consumer products good companies may also be less willing to risk new product development dollars if the return on investment is low and once held dedicated shelf space is not available.

There is a happy co-existence somewhere between the land of generics and name brands!  Only time will tell who will have more land on their side of the fence.  Either way, consumers should come out big winners.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Plastic Bags & Sustainability?

A new e-marketing campaign went out to a select Prism Pak customers the other day. It announced that we were going "Green". As in, we're keeping "green" in your pocket. Who couldn't use a little extra "green", right? A 20% discount was offered for our most popular Deposit Bag, TT810MLC. The campaign brought up some questions about how green Plastic Bags are?

Plastic bags get a bad rap for ruining the environment. Legislation has been and, is currently being, written to ban or significantly reduce plastic bag usage. I've compiled some statistics from various sources on the paper vs. plastic debate:

  1. According to the American Chemistry Council, paper bags require 70% more energy to produce than plastic bags.
  2. Plastic bags generate 80% less solid waste than paper bags. (1)
  3. Paper bags generate 70% more air pollutants during their lifecycle than plastic bags. 50% more greenhouse gases during production. (2)
  4. Paper bags create 50% more water pollutants than plastic bags. (3)
  5. The 10 billion paper bags consumed annually in the US represents a significant source of tree consumption.
I am linking to here to several interesting articles at the American Chemistry Council site for further reading on why others feel the ban or plastic will negatively impact the environment:

  1. Statement By the Progressive Bag Affiliates of the American Chemistry Council: Plastic Bag Bans in Counties of Maui and Hawaii Environmentally Irresponsible. SUBJECT: Wailuku, Maui (August 27, 2008) – Today, Shari Jackson, director for the Progressive Bag Affiliates of the American Chemistry Council, issued the following statement in response to the recent approval of laws prohibiting businesses from
  2. Thinking Green? Pick Plastic!
    SUBJECT: The push to ban recyclable plastic bags may actually do more harm than good to the environment.
As far as Prism Pak products are concerned, we pride ourselves on the following:
  1. All Prism Pak bags are recyclable.
  2. In particular, our opaque bags are made from up to 30% recycled plastic material. Either from our own internal processes or recycled plastic resin.
  3. All of our production scrap either gets reground into more plastic film or is shiped to a company that manufactures plastic lumber for park benches or such.
  4. The Polyethylene films we (and all bag companies in North America) use are made from bi-products of natural gas cracking for home heating.
Do plastic bags end up in the oceans, drainages and such because they are plastic? Or do they end up there because of irresponsible folks who don't recycle?

Please think globally and act locally! (and think before you print this)... forwarding and saving saves trees.

Special Thanks to www.cleangreenbags.com for their stats under (1), (2), (3).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Welcome to PrismPak Blog Spot 2.9.2010

Welcome to the PrismPak.com blog spot! We will update regularly with content that matches products that we sell - flexible packaging for the gift packaging, security, tamper evident industries.