Tactics Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 2

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Monadnock Paper Mills, Inc., the oldest continuously operating paper mill in the United States, is pleased to announce the expansion of its alternative fiber offerings with Monadnock Hemp Envi™ Performance Board.

PACKAGING FOR THE PLANET We’re on a mission to help brands create responsibly-sourced marketing materials produced in a certified green print facility.

VOL. 11, ISSUE 2, 2021 Shawmut Communications Group | shawmutdelivers.com

Monadnock developed the bright white premium alternative-fiber board with a continued focus on both performance and sustainability. Recyclable Hemp Envi Performance Board is crafted in the United States, Forest Stewardship Council Certified (FSC® C018866), and composed of 30 percent hemp fiber and 70 percent post-consumer waste (PCW) recycled fiber. Available uncoated, single (C1S) or two-side (C2S) coated, Hemp Envi is well-suited to meet the sustainability and performance needs for a wide range of lifestyle and luxury packaging applications, including cosmetics, fragrances, wine and spirits, fashion accessories, health and wellness, jewelry and watches, and tech and entertainment, nutraceuticals, CBD and cannabis. Hemp Envi is engineered to deliver high print fidelity, exceptional folding characteristics with full ink coverage, and provides an excellent stage for embossing and foil-stamping. Look inside this issue for your free sample!


We’re Moving! As we celebrate our 70th year as a familyrun company, we’re excited to announce Shawmut will be moving to its forever home this summer. Our new space will give us the freedom to expand our services as needed to better serve our clients. We’re moving just down the street, from Danvers to nearby Peabody, so our hometown values won’t be changing any time soon. We’ll still be the same Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) certified printer you know and love, but in a whole new space! We can’t wait to show you!

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Packaging for a New Era Product packaging might not be a sexy topic, but a lot of hours are put into designing a functional, safe package that has shelf appeal. At Shawmut, we’ve increased our packaging capabilities to meet the four main functions of packaging: containment, protection, convenience, and communication. While talking about packaging functions might not be exciting to everyone, we get excited talking to customers about their needs, wants, and design ideas for their product packaging. What we’ve learned over the years is that every product is different, which means every package is different. For example, one of our clients that sells frozen hamburger patties needs durable, food-grade packaging with food-safe inks. Meanwhile, another client that sells audio recording equipment to capture the sounds of bats prefers a strong folding carton with an aqueous coating to protect the package when it’s shipped to customers.

In the last few years, we’ve also seen a dramatic increase in the number of companies using sustainable packaging as well. As a Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) certified print facility, we share a commitment to the environment with many sustainable brands. We work with every client to understand their product and create stunning, functional packaging. As a result, we thought it would be great to focus an entire issue of Tactics on packaging. You’ll hear about the packaging challenges that many brands face and the solutions they found to best suit their products. Enjoy the issue!

Michael Peluso President




How many plastic bottles do you have in your bathroom? Learn how a sustainable company found creative packaging solutions for personal care products that can reduce the number of plastic bottles lining your bathroom sink.



More and more companies are rethinking their environmental impact and using more sustainable packaging, but what’s driving the trend? We asked three companies with sustainable product packaging to weigh in.



To design and print the perfect packaging, you’ll work with a commercial printer. To get your project off to a good start, we’ve created a list of questions you can work through with your printer from start to finish.



A new restaurant in the Greater Boston area is serving up 20 different kinds of Brazilian hot dogs—and each one is served in a unique slide-out box. See what customers are saying VOL. 11, ISSUE 2021 packaging. Shawmut about the food and the 2,unique


The Packaging Problems One Company Overcame

TO CURB THE NUMBER OF PLASTIC BOTTLES IN YOUR BATHROOM The idea behind Lindsey McCoy’s sustainable company all started at a beach. While doing environmental education work in The Bahamas, where her husband was born, she enjoyed the island’s 2,000+ miles of coastline, but the plastic she saw on the beaches, on the roads, and in the water, got stuck in her mind. One beach in particular stood out, one that locals called, “Junk Beach.” 2


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“Its name came from the piles of garbage that wash up on shore every day,” she said. “The image of all that waste, most of which was plastic, really bothered me.” She started trying to use less plastic— skip the bag, skip the straw—but in doing so McCoy started taking note of just how much plastic she used in her life; more specifically, she noticed

a lot of plastic in one place: the bathroom. The average person uses 11 bottles of body wash, 10 bottles of shampoo, and 5 bottles of conditioner every year. That adds up. “So often we see a problem like plastic pollution and say, ‘someone should do something about it,’” McCoy said. “It didn’t take me long to realize that I could be that someone.” McCoy moved back to the U.S. and teamed up with her sister, Alison, who had small business experience, to create Plaine Products, a sustainable company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio that offers personal care products, like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in aluminum bottles via an eco-friendly subscription service.

EARLY GROWING PAINS With the goal of reducing plastic waste, the sisters planned to launch a line of products that weren’t just in a recyclable container, but to create an entire reusable cycle where the customer ordered a product, used it, and sent the empty container back for reuse. It was a lofty plan. Out of the gate, the company hit a packaging snag. The company used stainless steel bottles to hold shampoo and conditioner, but during the testing phase, just several weeks before the company was set to launch, users noticed the bottles were rusting in the shower.

“It was a very dark time for us,” McCoy recalled. “It would have been easy to give up, but we decided to search for a solution.” The solution wouldn’t be an easy one to find. After all, the bottle had to check a lot of boxes. It had to be: • M ade of a sustainable material that could easily be sourced depending on product needs • F lexible in terms of sizes for different products • S afe and durable to use in a wet environment • S omething that already existed because there wasn’t money in the startup budget to create a prototype • S omething that was easy to recycle once it had become too worn to reuse and that was able to be recycled with zero quality loss After months of searching, the company decided to use an aluminum bottle. The whole process delayed the company start date by about six months, but McCoy says it was worth the time to get it right.

BANKING ON THE CUSTOMER The aluminum bottle wasn’t the company’s only challenge. The company was banking on the customer’s willingness to do more than just buy a sustainable product.

When an order is placed, Plaine Products customers receive the product in a reusable box. When they are running low on product they are asked to return and order a refill, which can be ordered ondemand or as part of a subscription service. That refill comes with a shipping label to send empty bottles back to the company where they’re cleaned, refilled, and returned to circulation. Plus, customers are asked to reuse the plastic pump in the refill bottle. “We took a big leap when we launched our company by asking customers to mail the bottles back,” McCoy said. “But, our customers haven’t let us down. They are more than willing to do their part to reduce plastic waste, and if that means shipping back a bottle or two, they’ll do it. We have over a 70% return rate without offering any additional incentives.” Plaine Products also works to educate their customers. Some customers wonder why they can’t just buy the product, recycle the bottle, and buy another. McCoy says it’s not enough to curb plastic waste. “Plastic has a lifespan,” she said. “It can be recycled once or twice and used to create clothing or a bench, for example, but at some point it can no longer be used. When it reaches that point, it goes to the landfill.” This assumes the bottle is recycled to begin with, and the truth is,

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most plastic bottles never hit the recycling bin. Only 50% of plastics used in the bathroom are recycled, and globally, only 10% of plastics are recycled due to low demand and logistical challenges. Recycling alone isn’t a solution, McCoy said, but if everyone refilled their shampoos, conditioners, and soaps, that could make a real impact on the environment. The company is already starting to see environmental benefits. Since the company’s inception in 2017, customers have kept an estimated 250,000 plastic bottles out of landfills.

THE CHALLENGE OF FINDING SUSTAINABLE VENDORS AND PRINTERS Research shows 78% of companies are working to integrate sustainability into their supply chain, but it’s not an easy feat. Many vendors say they’re sustainable or eco-friendly, but their claims aren’t substantiated; which is known as greenwashing. How do you find a vendor or printer that’s aligned with your values and level of sustainability? McCoy suggests creating your own set of guidelines before reaching out to vendors.

Your list might include working with a local supplier, finding a printer with a sustainability certification, or sourcing raw materials responsibility and domestically. Your list should be pretty specific too. If Plaine Products were to make a list right now, it would include working with one vendor for the bottle and the box that the product is mailed in. The bottles must be aluminum, sourced in the U.S., and have labels printed right on them. The packaging, which is used to deliver the products to customers and return empty bottles to the company, must be made of recyclable materials, use paper tape, and have an eco-friendly shipping label.

That’s a pretty specific list, but it’s better for your company to present its guidelines to a vendor than adopt the guidelines offered by a vendor, McCoy said.

WORKING TOWARDS NEW GOALS Plaine Products started four years ago with the intent of serving consumers who are looking for body and hair care products with vegan ingredients and recyclable packaging. While the company has had its share of challenges, especially when it came to packaging, the company’s customer base is growing by the day. As a result, this sustainability-focused company has set a goal of diverting another 250,000 plastic bottles from landfills by the end of 2021. 

“ We have over a 70% [bottle] return rate without offering any additional incentives.” - Lindsey McCoy, CEO, Plaine Products



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3 TIPS FOR COMPANIES LOOKING TO USE SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING With Lindsey McCoy’s vast experience sourcing sustainable packaging for her company, we asked her to share three tips to help other companies looking to use sustainable packaging. Here are her suggestions:

1. T ALK TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN THERE BEFORE YOU We take a very collaborative approach with companies like ours. We have gotten involved with both sustainable products groups and packaging groups. There’s a wealth of information out there and a lot of people who are more than willing to share what they have learned.



We could have just thrown up our hands after our bottles rusted. We’ve realized that the solution we have today might look a little different—or a lot different—tomorrow. That’s okay. Nothing has to be forever. Right now, Plaine Products is working to get away from plastic pumps. While we ask customers to reuse them, they’re still plastic, so we want to find an alternative. We’re continuing to research, test, and learn. We might find a solution ourselves or we might learn the solution from another company. Either way, we’re willing to be flexible and grow with time.

There’s always an educational piece when you’re trying something new—and education goes both ways. We work hard to keep our customers informed about what we’re doing and why. A lot of our communications include tips on adopting more sustainable lifestyle habits, but we do plenty of learning ourselves. Our customers have been a great resource to us, pointing us in the right direction of new suppliers and partners, and telling us how they want us to expand and change.

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Why We’re Committed to Sustainable Packaging Research shows 55% of American consumers are concerned about the environmental impact of packaging. The concern has become so great that many consumers, 74% in fact, are willing to pay a little more for products that come in sustainable packaging. Consumer demand is certainly driving some companies to make more eco-friendly packaging choices, but many companies say their commitment to sustainability comes from a sense of personal and corporate responsibility to take care of the environment. We asked three companies why sustainable packaging was important to their company. Here’s what they said.



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Bonny NAME OF PRODUCT WITH SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING: Vanilla Berry Bliss Prebiotic Fiber Supplement PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Bonny offers deliciously natural and sustainably packaged prebiotic fiber supplements. Jessica Postiglione, Co-Founder & CEO, Bonny

WHY IS USING SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING IMPORTANT TO YOUR COMPANY? Every minute, a garbage truck’s worth of plastic ends up in the ocean. We want to be part of the solution, not the problem. Bonny means ‘beautiful’ in Scottish and replacing a plastic tub on your counter is a beautiful thing. We are proving that sustainable packaging can be elegant.


This Stuff Goes Bad NAME OF PRODUCT WITH SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING: Day and Night Body Butters PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: All natural, fair trade, and zero waste body butters made with powerful, healing, and antioxidantrich ingredients meant to keep skin hydrated and radiant.

WHY IS USING SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING IMPORTANT TO YOUR COMPANY? Sustainable packaging is essential to ensuring that our company is completely zero waste. The skincare industry has a tremendous carbon footprint, and sends tons of packaging materials to landfills. Our goal is to use 100% postconsumer recycled materials and zero plastics, so that no virgin trees are harmed and no microplastics are leaked into our oceans.

Bonnie Schiffman, Founder & CEO, This Stuff Goes Bad

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BATCH NAME OF PRODUCT WITH SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING: Original CBD Oil Tincture PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: This original formula is carefully designed as a highly effective, all-purpose CBD solution for improving your daily wellness. Dennis Mistrioty, Co-Founder & CEO, BATCH



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WHY IS USING SUSTAINABLE PACKAGING IMPORTANT TO YOUR COMPANY? Our number one goal is staying loyal to the soil. What this means is choosing sustainable, locally-sourced inputs for a quality endproduct. Recycled hemp packaging and paper bubble-wrap alternatives keep us close to our roots by being kind to our planet.

Questions to Ask

to Create the

Perfect Product Package You’ve heard a lot about packaging challenges in this issue of Tactics, but a good printer will provide customized service that provides solutions to every problem. At Shawmut, we understand how important your product packaging is. After all, 72% of consumers say a product’s package influences their decisions to buy. With so much riding on a product’s package, it’s important to get your packaging project off to a good start. To help businesses create the ideal product package, Shawmut packaging specialist Justin Peluso put together this list of ten questions that you should ask to streamline the print process.

What is the purpose of this package? First thing’s first. What is the purpose of the package? Will it be used as a primary shipping container? Or is it meant to showcase the product inside? Knowing how the package will be utilized will help your packaging designers select the right materials for the job.

What is going into the package? If your printer creates your packaging from scratch, one of the first things they will ask is what is going inside the package. The primary goal of a package is to protect the product inside.

Once they know what is going into the package, they will be able to adjust the size and shape and make a snug fit for the product. Your printer will likely ask you to provide a sample of the product so they can take exact measurements.

What type of package are you looking for? When it comes to packaging, do you have a type of material in mind? From folded cartons to corrugated boxes, there are many different materials, or substrates, to choose from. Knowing what you are looking for prior to going to your printer will help streamline the process.

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How do you want your package to function? Many times, we have an idea in our head of what we want, but we skip over the basics of how the package will be assembled or even opened. You should talk with your sales representative about how the package will be assembled, delivered, and opened. Knowing how the package will function will help your printer build a dieline or a template. With the packaging structure created, your design can be added to fit the specifications of the package.

How is this package going to be stored? Whether your package is meant for a frozen food item or a cosmetic line, knowing how and where your package will be stored is something your printer will ask you. For example, if your package is meant for a frozen food item, your printer will need to use special freezer-rated glue and food-safe inks during the production process. Since this piece will go through a freezing and thawing process, a coating should be applied to help the package maintain its integrity.

Will your package have any special finishing or embellishments? Packaging design plays a big role in how your customers perceive your product and brand. You want to dazzle your customers with an impressive designed package. To do so, you might want to add special finishings like foil stamping or spot coatings. If you want to use any of these standout elements, mention them to your printer up front. You might need to use a specific kind of substrate for the embellishments that you want to add.

Will the product inside be touching the packaging? When it comes to food packaging or even medical devices, there are certain specifications that need to be met. For example, if you have food that will be in direct contact with the package, your printer will need to use food-safe inks. It is good to know this upfront so the project can be quoted correctly.

Justin Peluso is a packaging specialist and sales representative who helps clients take ideas from concept to completion. He also represents the fourth generation of the Peluso family, which has owned and operated Shawmut Communications Group since its inception in 1951.



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Do you need or want prototypes? Prototyping is an important part of the packaging process. Being able to see how the package functions prior to the printing process allows you to make tweaks to the structural design. Also, you can share this with packers or other members of your team to get the approvals needed to proceed.

How will your product be inserted into the package? The type and quantity of a product will likely decide whether your package is hand-packed or done automatically by a machine. If this will be done by machine, it is important to check-in with your packer to make sure you are within the specifications needed to make this process automatic.

How much assembly do you want to do? If production time is precious and you do not want to be stuck assembling packages for hours, communicate this to your printer ahead of time. Depending on the size and shape of the package, there are different techniques we can use to make the assembly process faster. For example, we can include an auto-locking bottom (or crash-lock) to the bottom of a box to decrease production or packing time. 



Like all entrepreneurs, Andrade had a lengthy to-do list to launch his business. One of the many items on his list was to create the perfect food-grade package to serve his hot dogs in. THE HUNT FOR THE RIGHT PRINTER BEGAN

Andrade said. “The box needed to be functional, fun, and make a good impression on customers.” Sixty-one percent of consumers say they’d buy a product again, if it comes in premium packaging. Knowing the importance of packaging, Andrade decided to reach out to Shawmut Communications Group for help.

Andrade’s restaurant, which It’s a skill he started developing opened in mid-March in the in his teenage years, when he Greater Boston area, planned to and a friend owned and operated “Right out of the gate, I knew two hot dog carts in Belo Horizonte, serve hot dogs in a unique box. Shawmut would do a great He had a few ideas, but wanted Brazil. Years later, after moving job on my product packaging,” to connect with a printer that to Framingham, MA, he and his Andrade said. “The sales would work meticulously to wife Fernanda Andrade decided representative was extremely meet his high standards. to open their own brick-and-mortar responsive to my needs, so I restaurant that offers specialty was excited to get the project “As a business owner, the product hot dogs. in motion.” package was very important to me,”

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Andrade had a few ideas, and with Shawmut’s help, he decided to go with a custom sleeve tray box. With this design, the chefs can place the hot dog and all the fixings in the box and slide it closed.




Andrade and his wife worked to develop a menu of 20 different hot dogs, some of which are topped with mashed potatoes or catupiry; a Brazilian cream cheese that’s Fernanda Andrade’s family recipe. Given the different kinds of toppings, the Andrade duo wanted to make sure the food-grade box was big enough to accommodate each order. To help, Shawmut printed three different sizes for the restaurateurs to test. “With different sizes to choose from, we were able to find the perfect fit for our food,” Andrade confirmed. “With the size selected, we were ready to print the entire order.” THE FINAL PRODUCT A sturdy tray with a sleekly-designed sleeve was the result of great collaboration. Shawmut printed 10,000 boxes for Andrade’s new restaurant just days after the final box size was selected. “We set out to find a printer that would work with us to create a truly unique box for our unique food, and we found a great match with Shawmut,” Andrade said. “Our product packaging truly has a ‘wow factor’ and that’s what we were looking for from the start.” 



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More and more companies are going green. In fact, 94% of companies have established sustainability initiatives. This box was printed on from Monadnock Paper Mills, crafted with 70% PCW and 30% Hemp.

Shawmut Communications Group and Monadnock Paper Mills have forged a partnership with a focus on two things: customer satisfaction and the environment. The partnership provides clients with an opportunity to create responsibly-sourced marketing materials produced in a certified green print facility. shawmutdelivers.com/sustainable-printing

Shawmut is proud to be the first certified Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) facility in Massachusetts

The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) brings together a community of printers, print buyers, suppliers, and supporting organizations that work together to drive sustainable business practices that today’s customers demand. SGP provides transparent, measurable assurance that certified facilities like Shawmut will help print buyers meet and exceed sustainability goals.

We are committed to: • Reducing waste and hazardous materials • Conserving energy • Sourcing sustainable materials • Lowering our carbon footprint • Creating a safer workplace • C onforming to all relevant environmental, health, safety & labor laws • A dopting a comprehensive annual continuous improvement project • U ndergoing a third-party recertification audit every two years

Please recycle.

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