21 Sept 2004
Creative Pak Industrial Co Ltd(HKTDC Packaging, Vol 02,2004)
Pak Industrial Co Ltd
Sing Plastics Ltd
Caring Approach Pays Off
|The environmentally friendly bags produced by Creative Pak Industrial Co Ltd contain 10-90% recycled material and can be found in 36 countries|
Lots of companies may claim to be recycling experts but a Hong Kong company has gone one step further by starting the process from the very beginning. "I work with the machine maker, give him ideas and we test the equipment together," says Creative Pak Industrial Co Ltd managing director Felix Lam. "This approach, rather than simply following the market, has helped us stay alive."
Twenty-six-year-old Creative Pak started by focusing on low-end products designed for the US market, but Lam grew weary of competing with other manufacturers for volume and began diversifying his markets. "This turned out to be a wise move as I estimate 80% of manufacturers in the bag arena today are suffering from US anti-dumping laws enacted earlier this year," he says.
Today, Creative Pak's plastic bags make up 95% of the company's product range and can be found in 36 countries - despite the fact that the company exhibits only at Hong Kong fairs.
One reason for pursuing a broader range of markets, according to Lam, is that US buyers are concerned primarily with price and Creative Pak prefers to work with customers who share its environmental interests. "Europeans are more concerned about the environment, so there is a very good reaction to recycled packaging," he explains.
Lam is passionate about encouraging his customers to make the move to plastic, noting that only a limited amount of all paper used is or can be recycled, while plastics can be recycled several times.
"We can use recycled material for five generations and then it can still be used for products like flowerpots, insoles for shoes, door frames or tables," Lam explains. "But paper can only be recycled for about three generations."
Whatever the material, his firm has certainly come a long way since it introduced recycled bags 18 years ago, thus turning an initial US$1,000 investment into a multi-million dollar business.
Initially, Creative Pak outsourced its recycled materials for processing, but today it handles operations in-house, washing polybags in a large tank of water before melting them down at 280û Celsius.
Where possible, Creative Pak produces bags with all components - handles, drawstrings, liners and so on - made from the same family of plastics so they can be recycled easily through a single machine.
Each bag contains 10-90% recycled material and is transformed into a new container, such as the plastic handbag that is one of Lam's creations. "I think we were either the first or second manufacturer to start this type of design," Lam claims.
Creative Pak also uses recycled materials for the inside lining, with the result that the bag contains 50% recycled materials while retaining a plastic look. "Printing is available in 10 colours," Lam advises. "We also offer a combination of cardboard and plastic."
Recycled materials are integrated into the bag design, with, for example, a Japanese model sporting a string woven handle made from scrap. Elastic handles as well as inverted box handles feature in several designs, which are produced by five design teams stationed on the Chinese mainland.
Unlike some manufacturers, Lam's drive to promote recycled bags is not driven purely by profit, as is evidenced by his "greenhouse" factory set in a 70-acre plot in Guangdong Province on the mainland.
The factory is designed to provide as much natural light as possible for the 500 workers, while 30 acres surrounding the factory used as farmland enable the workers to enjoy 20 types of fruit from more than 100 trees planted on the premises. "I may have made my dream come true, but I also want my staff to live and work in a nice atmosphere," Lam observes.
Lam also chooses his customers with as much care and concern as a company head recruits its employees. "I only service the customers I like," he admits. "I pick my customers not so much for the money, but because I think they would be good people to work with."
Lam sums up his dedication to recycling by stating, "My bags can be put into a recycling machine." Not that they need recycling all that often - Lam's wife has been carrying the same bag to and from the office for the past six years!
Creative Pak Industrial Co Ltd
Flat C, 25/F, Block 4
Golden Dragon Industrial Centre
182-190 Tai Lin Pai Rd
New Territories, Hong Kong
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