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Planet Protection(HKTDC Packaging, Vol 01,2008)

Eco-friendly Packaging

Photo
Winart Paper Products Ltd has been producing gift bags and shopping bags since its inception in 1989

Ranging from plastic to paper, packaging products from Hong Kong are increasingly going green

Knowing that everyone shares responsibility for the environment, many Hong Kong packaging suppliers are playing their part to minimise damage from packaging materials.

For example, Hip Lik Packaging Products Fty Ltd, which claims to be the biggest plastic folding box manufacturer in Hong Kong, says it has "long been concerned" about protecting the environment.

"The market for green packaging is growing, and of course we follow the world trend," notes Marketing Officer Iris Tang.

She says the company offers products made from "environmentally friendly plastic" materials such as PET and PP. "Our PET and PP folding boxes are recyclable, and don’t release any harmful substances into the air during the manufacturing process," Ms Tang explains, adding that many customers call PET and PP "the plastic materials of the future".

Hip Lik has also invested in new machinery to produce various PET and PP packaging products, such as a tailor-made, eight-colour offset printing machine.

The results are encouraging. "Our boxes are popular, attractive and, most importantly, excellent for the environment," Ms Tang claims. "Our success in Europe, Japan and the US is strong evidence of that."

Hip Lik's plastic boxes can be printed using offset, silk-screen, hot-stamping or various combinations of techniques. They are useful for many kinds of products-specially cosmetics and food, for which clear packaging is highly desirable.

The size is flexible and ranges from boxes for small items such as lip gloss to ones that can hold, for example, two bottles of champagne.

"We emphasise the quality and strength of our products by using imported, superior quality materials that enable us to achieve high clarity, strong impact resistance and anti-scratch properties," says Ms Tang.

Good packaging can boost sales, and Hip Lik's latest technology and know-how ensure the desired results, she adds. "Also, the E-Z Crease technique we apply to PET boxes enables clients to save on costs and assembly time as the flat boxes can be easily and rapidly folded."

Meanwhile, plastic bags, which traditionally linger in landfills for decades, are a major green issue, and one that is being addressed by suppliers such as Nicole Environmental Services Co Ltd.

"Waste reduction is our priority," states Manager Thomas Ku of the firm, which relies on oxo-biodegradable technology to slash the time its plastic bags spend in rubbish heaps.

"Our bags perform exactly like others," he explains, "but their useful lifespan is only about 18 months. Then they start to biodegrade into powder. The micro-organisms in landfills cause them to biodegrade all the way to carbon dioxide, water and biomass within five years, leaving no toxic residues."

Mr Ku believes the bags form part of the solution to the limited capacity of landfills. "People should buy biodegradable bags and stop wasting bags too."

Bearing a TDP (Totally Degradable Plastics) brand, Nicole's bags cost about 8% more than less-green options. "For environmental responsibility, people need to pay a little more," Mr Ku opines.

Nicole contracts its manufacturing to Chinese mainland factories, but always supplies the biodegradable additives, imported from Canada.

Selling mainly to Europe and Australia, the company offers bags for garbage, shopping, umbrellas, documents and garments.

"We may need another 3-5 years to properly educate people about what products are best," he reckons. "But in 2007, our business picked up a lot."

Eco-friendly approaches are also adopted in paper packaging. For example, Southern Victory Industries Ltd uses recycled cardboard, cartons and newspapers to produce paper-pulp moulds as shockproof packaging for many products, including cameras, electronics, appliances, office equipment, tools, glassware and ceramics.

"Paper products can be recycled," says Sales Representative S.Y. Wong. "Even when our paper-pulp moulds are not recycled, they will be absorbed safely into the soil."

The firm finds its leading customers in Europe, Japan, China and the US, often "big-name companies making famous products", says Mr Wong. "They prefer packaging made from recycled materials and safe for the earth. They do not want the next generation to live in a polluted world."

While lighter, less bulky and easier to transport than most alternatives, pulp-mould packaging nevertheless has limitations in its ability to properly protect large or heavy items weighing more than 10kg, such as furniture or big televisions.

"We are studying how to increase the strength of the paper-pulp to overcome this," Mr Wong says. "But for smaller items, our packaging makes a very good choice."

Until recently, Southern Victory faced a price disadvantage versus non-green rivals. "Now our prices are lower," he says. "Our techniques have improved, and so has the machinery. When the costs and protection are similar, customers choose pulp-mould packing for environmental reasons."

He observes that consumers also understand environmental concepts. "They want clean, simple packaging. They don’t appreciate complex packing with too much colour and bulk. We avoid bright colours that require chemicals, printing or dying. Most of our pulp moulds are natural colours, like a yellowish shade, brown or grey."

Although green packaging cannot solve all environmental problems, it should greatly ease waste-management pressures, thereby benefiting the planet and everyone living on it.

Text by JOHN CAIRNS

FAST FACTS

Hip Lik Packaging Products Fty Ltd
3/F, Oriental Daily News Bldg
6 Kwei Chow St, To Kwa Wan Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2363-3383
Fax: 852-2330-6128
Email:
sales@hiplik.com.hk
Web: www.hiplik.com.hk
www.tdctrade.com/hiplik
Year Established: 1969
Major Product Categories: plastic packaging, folding boxes
Own Brands & Certificates: ISO 9001
Minimum Order: 10,000 pieces
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: one month
Factory Size & Location: 200,000 square metres; Shenzhen
Workforce: 1,000
   
Nicole Environmental Services Co Ltd
Rms 10-16, 5/F, Hong Kong Plaza
188 Connaught Rd West, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2579-9766
Fax: 852-2590-6983
Email:
info@nicole.com.hk
Web: www.nicole.com.hk
Year Established: 1997
Major Product Categories: biodegradable plastic products,
biodegradable additives
Own Brands & Certificates: TDP-Totally Degradable Plastics;
ISO 14001
Minimum Order: -
Monthly Production: 50,000 kg
Delivery Time: 10-15 days
Factory Size & Location: -
Workforce: -
   
Sun Fung Environment Packaging Ltd
14/F, Blk B5, Luck Fty Bldg
63-65 Hung To Rd, Kwun Tong Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2389-3210
Fax: 852-2951-9682
Email:
sfepack@netvigator.com
Web: www.sunfungpackaging.com
Year Established: 1998
Major Product Categories: paper pulp moulds
Own Brands & Certificates: ISO 9001, SGS
Minimum Order: -
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: 2-3 weeks
Factory Size & Location: 25,000-30,000 square feet
Workforce: 150
   
Well Leader Industrial Co Ltd
Rms C & D, 4/F
Wai Cheung Ind Centre
5 Shek Pai Tau Rd, Tuen Mun
New Territories, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2462-5702
Fax: 852-2456-2769
Email:
wleader@well-leader.com.hk
Web: www.well-leader.com.hk
Year Established: 1985
Major Product Categories: gift promotional bags, cosmetic
and packaging bags
Own Brands & Certificates: -
Minimum Order: 3,000 pieces
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: 30-45 days
Factory Size & Location: 4,000 square metres; Bao' an
Workforce: 250
   
Winart Paper Products Ltd
Unit 1, 20/F, Blk A
Wah Tat Ind Centre
8-10 Wah Sing St, Kwai Chung
New Territories, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2481-6386
Fax: 852-2481-7602
Email:
info@winart.corp.com.hk
Web: www.winart-hk.com
Year Established: 1989
Major Product Categories: paper bags
Own Brands & Certificates: -
Minimum Order: 3,000 pieces
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: 3-4 weeks
Factory Size & Location: -
Workforce: 200-250
   
Southern Victory Industries Ltd
Rm 7, 5/F, Thriving Ind Centre
26-38 Sha Tsui Rd, Tsuen Wan
New Territories, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2493-8655
Fax: 852-2411-6730
Email:
info@s-v.com.hk
Web: www.s-v.com.hk
Year Established: 1994
Major Product Categories: recycled paper pulp moulds
Own Brands & Certificates: ISO 9001
Minimum Order: 1,000 pieces
Monthly Production: 300 tonnes
Delivery Time: 10-14 days
Factory Size & Location: 13,500 square metres; Dongguan
Workforce: 200