With plastic’s effect on the environment being such a hot topic right now, no self-respecting environmentally driven company can afford to ignore the impact that plastic packaging has on the environment, and how a change to paper and other packaging alternatives can make such a positive move in the right direction.

Jason Cox
UK Operations Director

Pregis, the UK’s leading manufacturer of environmentally friendly packaging solutions, recently launched its latest high-speed void fill packaging system, the new Quantum™XT. The system allows users to secure goods firmly inside the box using 100% recycled, 100% recyclable, 100% biodegradable paper instead of plastic wrapping. The new system is just one part of Pregis’s range of world class, high quality, environmentally friendly, high performance cushion void fill systems, specifically designed for industrial use.

Pregis’ UK Operations Director, Jason Cox, spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News.

Warehouse & Logistics News – Jason, what does your role at Pregis involve from day to day? Are you personally involved with helping devise tailored solutions for clients?

Innovation and continual improvement are a part of our everyday life at Pregis, so it’s my job to ensure that our packaging technology continues to advance and improve in line with customer needs and trends. I also oversee the design and manufacture of the many tailored solutions that we produce, which involves quality testing, delivery and on-site implementation, making sure that our customers are 100% satisfied. Operationally, I work with all departments to continually improve efficiency, quality and customer care.

WLN – How are you organised as a company to provide a tailored service to clients?

Pregis is a manufacturer and a total service provider, which offers huge benefits to our customers. Because research and development are such an integral part of our business, our design team are involved in all stages of bespoke system design from customer research through to design planning. As the manufacturer, we’re able to tailor each and every one of our solutions to the exact needs of the customer to provide an end-to-end service from design, right through to training and aftercare.

WLN – When was Pregis established?

Our original UK business, Easypack, was established in 1992. We’d set out to design and manufacture quality, environmentally friendly packaging systems because we knew then that this was the future of packaging. Our rapid growth and huge success here in the UK and Europe led us to being acquired in 2016 by Pregis LLC, a major US packaging business, and a leading provider of innovative protective packaging materials and services. Now, as Pregis, we have extended our reach into the US market, and we’re able to offer a superb range of new technology to our customers here in the UK and Europe.

WLN – How important is the environment to your business?

It’s crucial and has been the heart and soul of our business since we started out in 1992 and is one reason why we are ISO 14001 accredited. We’ve all seen the shocking images of plastic in the sea and on our beaches, which is the tip of the iceberg. This realisation is what’s now driving consumers to buy from more ethical brands. However, for many businesses that move from plastic packaging to sustainable packaging is challenging, particularly for large operations. This is where Pregis can really help because we can audit businesses and show them how to make cost efficient step changes that make little or no impact on their day-to-day business costs, but make a huge impact on efficiency, customer perception and of course, the environment.

It’s equally important that our customers can really see the effect that the use of environmentally friendly packaging actually has on the environment, so each year we provide our customers with a Sustainable Packaging Certificate which shows them the number of new trees that they saved each year by using our 100% recycled paper packaging. 2017 saw the highest total to date for the UK and Europe with 121,646 trees saved, a 10% increase on the previous year. This information helps to inspire customers to do more to protect the environment and the really enjoy sharing their story with others, which is so great to see.

WLN – Are there any regulations either in force now or on the way, covering the use of plastic in packaging solutions?

The government have already introduced charges on plastic bags in the high street and we are likely to see new policies introduced on single use plastics such as plastic cups. Pregis is ahead of the curve and allows businesses to play a part in reducing the use of plastic now. The use of plastic to pack goods inside a box is not necessary – 100% recycled paper is equally effective and totally sustainable.

WLN – How big a contributor to the global plastic problem is transit packaging specifically?

Over the last decade, and particularly over the last few years, ecommerce has soared – Statistica has reported an increase in UK online sales from £33.24 billion in 2012 to over £67 billion in 2017. With plastic still being the primary packaging medium, this gives you some idea of the scale and seriousness of the issue.

WLN – How different is the new Quantum™XT from previously available solutions?

All of our solutions deliver 100% recycled 100% recyclable and 100% biodegradable paper and the Quantum™XT is no exception. This flexible solution is so versatile that it can slot into any packaging operation, and it can easily replace any high-speed polythene packaging system that delivers the medium directly into the box.

WLN – Are all your products now 100% recycled, 100% recyclable, 100% biodegradable paper?

Yes and they always have been. In addition to being 100% recycled, 100% recyclable and 100% biodegradable, our paper is pH neutral and is all fully certified to ensure that it can be traced back to source. Our systems also comply with EU legislation on the Restriction of use of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), and Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals (REACH).

WLN – What different options do you offer to customers wanting to move away from plastic packaging?

It’s often the case that customers want to move away from plastic packaging but are uncertain about the adequacy or viability of 100% recycled paper packaging. It’s only when they see our products in use that they realise how incredibly versatile and strong they are. Our solutions convert paper into a variety of different forms that are so durable, you can stand a 6-foot person on it and it won’t even buckle!

WLN – How easy is it for customers to change over to paper packaging? Can you advise them on how to make the change?

It’s very easy. We start by making a visit to their site and carrying out an audit. We then show them suitable alternatives for each of their current applications and offer them a trial in one or more areas so that they can see for themselves how effective the packaging is, and how they can save time and money too.

WLN – What other new products have you got coming out this year?

We regularly launch new products because we’re always developing our technology to make it smarter, faster and more efficient. We’ve already launched 3 iconic products over the last 12 months, including Quantum™XT, and we have another very exciting product being launched this coming Autumn – this new innovation will enable customers to save huge amounts of time in the packing process.

WLN – What’s your fastest highvolume packaging system? What volume of parcels can it handle?

All of our products offer high-speed output. At this time, Quantum™XT is the fastest and delivers 1.8 metres of ready-to-use packaging per second. For high speed and ultimate versatility, our most powerful system is our best-selling Packmaster™Pro which converts 100% recycled paper to 80 times its original volume, producing a variety of ultra-strong, cushion void fill at speeds of up to 26 metres per minute.

WLN – What other systems do you have for customers within different levels of throughput?

We offer a variety of different solutions that are ideal for any product, in any industry and for any application. Regardless of size, weight or type, we have a solution. Customers can use our online product finder to find the ideal solution.

WLN – I presume the biggest opportunity for high-speed void fill packaging systems like yours is ecommerce and online shopping operations. How widely used are your systems in ecommerce and online shopping?

Extremely widely, in fact the majority of our customers, whether it’s business to business or direct to consumer, use ecommerce for sales in some way.

WLN – Can you tell us about some of your larger customers and what you do for them?

Many of our larger customers utilise our bespoke services due to the scale of their operations. We design and manufacture fully customised systems that include conveyor systems for FMCG and high-volume trade goods, providing seamless, highly integrated, efficient systems.

WLN – Are you exhibiting at any UK shows in 2018?

Yes, we have already exhibited this year at Packaging Innovations and e- Delivery, and we will be showcasing our latest innovations in Germany this April at CeMAT and at FachPack in Germany in September.

WLN – And finally, are full details of your offering on your website? How quickly can you come back to a client with a recommendation

] Visitors to our website, pregiseu.com, will find full details of our products, videos and a full range of services and tools, including our very useful Product Finder which enables users to find solutions for specific needs. Any enquiry is responded to within one working day of receipt, by one of our local sales consultants.