The Independent Carton Group (ICG,, an association of 18 independently owned and operated folding carton manufacturers, highlights some of its members’ most recent milestones and accomplishments, and the ways they continue to make their mark on the packaging industry. Many of these member successes stem from their similar histories and shared commitments to innovation, sustainability, quality and investment.


Together, the ICG’s 18 member companies represent an astounding 1,370 years of packaging history. Most of the companies are family-owned and have been for generations, signifying that many of those at the helm today “grew up” in the packaging industry and with a family name that has been synonymous with packaging excellence for decades. All 18 ICG members can claim longevity; even the “youngest” member company has been in business for 19 years.

  • Several ICG members celebrated a major milestone year in 2013. It was Zumbiel Packaging’s 170th year in business, Sonderen Packaging’s 50th year in business, and Thoro Packaging’s 45th year in business. And this year, seven different ICG member companies will celebrate anniversaries as they turn 110, 95, 70, 55, 50, 45 and 35.


All members are innovators in the packaging industry. They all listen closely to the needs of their customers and operate nimble businesses that enable them to quickly adapt to evolving requirements, trends and market conditions. While members’ longevity is proof alone of their ability to innovate, the patents and awards they receive for their innovations are further evidence.

  • All members have awards to their credit – in many cases, dozens or even hundreds of them that have accrued over their long and successful histories. In the past year, members have received coveted awards from groups like the Paperboard Packaging Council, the Printing Industries of America, the Flexographic Technical Association, and many others. Members also regularly receive supplier excellence awards from their customers.
  • Several members hold patents for their packaging innovations. Recent examples include two new patents awarded to Colbert Packaging for two different unit dose packages for pharmaceuticals, and a patent awarded to Frankston Packaging for a new carton design.

ICG members’ shared commitment to sustainability is reflected in the sustainable packaging solutions they produce for their customers and in the environmentally responsible ways in which they operate their facilities. Many can manufacture packaging using certified paperboard, eco-friendly inks and other sustainable materials. They recycle thousands of tons of paperboard scraps each year. And several members use renewable energy sources to power their facilities.

  • ICG members participated in the ICG-sponsored energy-efficient lighting program in 2012. This program enabled the group to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 18 million pounds annually and also save a collective $1.8 million in yearly electricity costs.
  • Most members hold FSC and/or SFI chain of custody certifications. Certified paperboard is considered sustainable because it can be tracked back to responsibly managed forests. All members who hold these certifications are subject to annual audits. The ICG’s newest member, Frankston Packaging, is the latest to receive FSC chain of custody certification.
  • Thoro Packaging, a member of the Green Power Leadership Club, is now manufacturing with 100 percent wind power, thanks to a recent upgrade to its renewable energy credits.
  • Zumbiel Packaging recently joined the EPA’s Green Power Partnership and will purchase a minimum of five percent of its electricity from wind energy for its Hebron, Ky. facility.


The ability to deliver quality of product and service is very likely the number one reason ICG members remain successful year after year, decade after decade. Most members have one or more certifications that represent their commitment to quality – ISO, cGMP, AIB, etc. Moreover, at every member company, executives are easily accessible, employee turnover is extremely low, and quality is demonstrated by every individual in the delivery of products and services.

  • Sonderen Packaging is the latest member to achieve certification from AIB International for the manufacture of food contact packaging. Several other ICG members, including Colbert Packaging and Metro Packaging and Imaging, also hold this certification.
  • Last year, Zumbiel Packaging achieved Food Safety Systems Certification 22000, an ISO-based food safety certification accredited by the Global Food Safety Initiative.
  • Metro Packaging and Imaging was named an “HBE Elite Company” last year by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for its excellence as a minority-owned business.


The total square footage occupied by the 18 ICG member companies, collectively, is somewhere in the neighborhood of three million square feet. Some have more than one manufacturing plant. All produce innovative packaging on multimillion-dollar equipment and constantly invest in new equipment to increase production capacity, add new capabilities and remain on the cutting-edge.

  • Frankston Packaging installed a Heidelberg XL106-6+LX printing press in its Frankston, Texas-based manufacturing facility, and the facility was entirely refurbished in 2013.
  • 3C Packaging installed some new labeling equipment last year in its Clayton, N.C.-based manufacturing facility. These investments included a Nilpeter FB-3300 flexo press, a Label Vision Systems roll inspection mapping system and a CEI 130ex slitter/rewinder.
  • Last year, during the group’s general membership meetings, ICG members had the opportunity to tour the manufacturing plants of member companies Accord Carton in Alsip, Ill., and Frankston Packaging in Frankston, Texas. This year, members will be able to tour the manufacturing plants of member companies All Packaging in Aurora, Colo., Disc Graphics in Hauppauge, N.Y., and El Paso Paper Box in El Paso, Texas.