Women in sustainable packaging, digital printing


Quick hits:

  • Since The world of packagingD published a cover story in 2016 describing women in packaging engineering, the pool of women in the industry has grown, as the recent May issue suggests.
  • Allison Lin, Global Vice President of Packaging Sustainability at Mars, Inc., who leads the company’s global cross-industry strategy to improve the packaging sustainability of its products, shares advice for young women interested in a career in packaging.
  • Ana Espinosa, Head of Packaging Sustainability at The Estée Lauder Companies, worked with team members and women-owned and operated Xela Pack to launch a paper-based recyclable pouch for Aveda hair care samples .
  • B Water & Beverages President Jennifer Brooks led the packaging design for a new Brita retail water product that includes a reusable and recyclable aluminum bottle and cardboard multi-pack.
  • The first company to offer small-batch digitally printed cans in North America, Hart Print was co-founded by Stephanie Hart, who saw the need for the technology after investing in a microbrewery.

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Listen to the story here:

Read the transcript below:

Hello, I’m Anne Marie Mohan, Editor-in-Chief of Packaging World magazine, at Take Five.

In 2015, the staff of packaging world wrote a cover story describing eight women in the packaging industry, specifically in manufacturing roles. The article was a huge success. However, we couldn’t make it an annual feature because there were so few women in the industry that we could tap into to participate.

But, times are changing. Just recently, while preparing the May issue, we noticed a recurring theme. Almost every article featured a woman in a leadership position.

In what we call our First Person Q&A, we spoke with Allison Lin, Global Vice President of Packaging Sustainability at Mars, Inc. Lin began her career in packaging at Procter & Gamble, where she says she fell in love with the field of packaging sustainability. . After her stint at P&G, Lin held sustainability roles at Starbucks and Coca-Cola, after which she had a brief stint at plastics processor Westfall Technik. Currently, she leads Mars’ global cross-segment strategy to improve the sustainability of its product packaging.

Lin shared with us that she’s been extremely lucky to have many mentors, as well as male role models and allies, along the way. For young women interested in a career in packaging, Lin advises finding a mentor and attending conferences to network.

In another article, we hear from Ana Espinosa, Head of Packaging Sustainability at The Estée Lauder Companies. Espinosa detailed a multi-year partnership between Estée Lauder, co-packer and supplier of Xela Pack packaging, and Gentile Packaging Machinery to develop a recyclable paper-based pouch for Aveda hair product samples.

Xela Pack is a women-owned and operated company that is known for its Xela Pack packaging structure, which is an alternative to plastic bottles and tubes made from paper, aluminum and film. The challenge for the Aveda project was to remove the aluminum layer and certify the structure for recycling. In the article, Carolynn O’Connor, Sales Manager of Xela Pack, shared details about the certification process.

The paper-based recyclable pouch resulting from the collaboration is a first in the prestige beauty market and delivers the luxurious, high-quality experience that Aveda is known for.

Also related to sustainability, and also featuring a woman in leadership, another story in May deals with packaging innovation used by water filtration provider Brita. When Brita decided to launch a single-serve bottled water product at retail, it chose B Water & Beverages, a co-manufacturer and packager of water in aluminum bottles and cans, as its exclusive licensee.

Through the leadership of B Water President Jennifer Brooks, Brita was able to achieve its goal of packaging its product sustainably. Brooks worked with aluminum bottle supplier Trivium Packaging to develop an impact extruded aluminum bottle that can be reused by the consumer multiple times. Brooks also led a project with packaging supplier Atlantic Packaging to use a recyclable cardboard carrier for bottle multipacks rather than using non-recyclable plastic ring carriers.

In the article, Allison Scales, Vice President of Print and Graphics at Atlantic, shares details about the development of the plastic-free cardboard backing, known as the Fishbone C-Clip.

And probably the most high-profile woman in our May issue is Stephanie Hart, co-founder and co-CEO of Hart Print, who graces the cover of the issue, along with company co-founders JP Paradis and Alexander Anishin. After holding several positions at the shoe and accessories company ALDO Group and becoming an investor and partner in a microbrewery, Stephanie Hart launched Hart Print with her partners in 2018 to supply digitally printed cans in small batches.

Hart Print has grown rapidly since then. It currently operates a facility in Montreal that uses two Hinterkopf direct digital box printing systems, and it will open a new factory in Chicago by the end of the year that will house three more printers. It also plans to open two more sites by the end of 2023. The biggest boost for the business was its 2021 acquisition by Aardagh Metal Packaging.

For those interested in learning more about women in packaging, visit the Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network website. The PMMI-led group serves to recruit, retain and advance the careers of women in conditioning and transformation through online and in-person events, information sharing and networking.

That’s it for this edition of Take Five.


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