Following Up On Developing Trends

Brand owners and retailers are working hard to offer consumers packaging that is environmentally responsible while still cost effective. We reported on this trend most recently in the March 2006 issue of BRANDPACKAGING (archived at

When Costco examines packaging for the thousands of products offered in its warehouse club stores, it says there is only one issue on the table: making merchandise available to its members in the “right way”. Part of this task includes presenting packaging that does not rely on environmentally harmful materials.  
Costco is moving closer to that goal by replacing some plastic clamshells with Natralock, a paperboard-based product from MeadWestvaco that is said to be kinder to the environment and easy for consumers to open, with the ability to keep shrink to a minimum at the same time.
“At the core of our company philosophy is the implicit understanding that each of us must conduct ourselves in an ethical manner every day,” says Scott Carnie, general manager of Costco East Coast Packaging.
Traditionally, being ecologically sensitive has been difficult in a retail environment where theft deterrence is often the primary concern. Plastic clamshells have been the standard because of their excellent theft resistance and merchandising benefits, but this format has also been under fire for its limited recyclability and consumer accessibility difficulties.
The key component of Natralock is paperboard, a renewable resource. Product is placed in an APET “bubble” (an environmentally preferable material to current plastics) then sandwiched between two pieces of paperboard and sealed.
Where to go for more information...
Sustainable packaging. At Meadwestvaco, call 804.327.6331 or visit