According to the EPA, 2 billion oil bottles are thrown away each year. That is 260 million pounds of plastic.
That same study found that each bottle of oil still has up to two ounces of oil in it after it has been poured. The leftover oil adds up to 16 million gallons.
This is an industry that is constantly evolving. Innovation leads to better products, better ways of doing things, and better ways to package. At one time, it was metal cans. Then, plastic bottles offered a more convenient, cheaper method. Now, more emphasis is put on the environmental impact of plastics.
There is an alternative to plastic bottles that takes up significantly less space in landfills and empties completely – flexible packaging pouches.
Flexible packaging is a package whose shape can be easily changed – such as a bag or a pouch. A toothpaste tube is an example of flexible packaging that has been around for a long time. As the toothpaste is used, the tube is squeezed or rolled and the shape at the time of disposal is significantly different than when it was purchased. Other examples include bagged frozen food, kids’ beverages and hand soap.
What may not be as well-known is that flexible packaging has been used for engine oils for several years, and is a tried and true option, offering numerous benefits.
First, a pouch pours very easily and with the squeezable shape, it can be reshaped as it pours. You can literally squeeze every drop of oil out of a pouch.
Oil containers, by definition, are considered hazardous waste and cannot be easily recycled. While both pouches and bottles must be disposed of, the difference is that because a pouch ends up flat, it takes up a lot less room in the landfill – 90% less space. That is a huge environmental impact.
Secondly, there is less mess with a pouch. The smooth, easy pour eliminates the need for a funnel. Plastic bottles almost always require a funnel, especially if accessing a tight space. Funnels also must be cleaned before and after use to make sure dirt and deposits don’t collect in the fresh oil. Those oily, dirty rags or paper towels then also end up in the trash and, eventually, in a landfill along with the empty oil container.
A third environmental impact of flexible pouches is found in shipping and inventory. Flexible pouches take up a lot less space than plastic bottles. One truck can deliver the same number of unfilled flexible pouches as 26 trucks of unfilled rigid bottles. Once those packages are filled, flexible pouches weigh 75 percent less than plastic bottles. And, it requires about one-tenth the trucks to deliver those filled bottles. That delivery of materials and transport of flexible packages translates into a huge fuel reduction and a significant drop in CO2 diesel emissions.
Likewise, it requires 10 times more pallets to store equivalent numbers of quart-sized bottles versus flexible pouches. In every warehouse, storage space is at a premium, so this can have a large impact on the space needed for your product.
Finally, pouches are a bold, vibrant way to display products. The entire pouch becomes the display, rather than just a small label on a bottle. A quart size pouch has more than 500 percent more useable space than quart bottles. That gives a lot more room to include content and visuals to help promote products – and it is a way to really make a product stand out on a store shelf.
If you are interested in exploring flexible packaging, Lube-Tech is here to help.
Lube-Tech is one of very few lubricant manufacturers that also produces flexible pouches. We have two state of the art machines that form, fill and seal between 25 and 100 pouches per minute (depending on pouch size and if printing is done on one side or two). We currently offer eight different sizes and styles of pouches – from 0.5 fluid ounces to 48 fluid ounces, but also have the capabilities to customize. Most lubricant manufacturers must outsource the packaging of flexible pouches.
Lube-Tech has developed a custom pouch – consisting of five layers of materials – making it the highest quality flexible package in the industry.
Furthermore, we conduct rigorous quality control testing on all current material structures, finished pouches, and any new material structures and shapes introduced into the market.
Finally, with our in-house marketing team, we can work with you to design the packaging, develop content for the pouches and create additional materials to promote your products. Recently, our innovative packaging was recognized and showcased by the packaging industry.
At Lube-Tech, we’re committed to make tomorrow better than today. With our flexible packaging capabilities, we offer solutions to improve your bottom-line, your marketplace presence, and our environment.