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Stand-up pouch for LEGO Hero Factory delivers BIG benefits

New flexible pouch package for LEGO brick toys wins a Flexible Packaging Assn. Gold Award for Sustainability and Environmental Achievement.

lego.jpgAlthough its individual LEGO brick toys may be small, privately held LEGO Group, based in Billund, Denmark, thinks and acts plenty big when it comes to sustainability. Take the following two points from its website, for example:

• “The LEGO Group wishes to produce more renewable energy than it consumes.”

• “Only ten percent of the total carbon emission from the entire value chain related to LEGO products originates from the processes taking place at LEGO factories during molding, decoration, and packaging of LEGO bricks.”

Given its social responsibility efforts targeting environmental issues, it’s no surprise that the company was involved in a project that earned its partner Sonoco a Flexible Packaging Assn. Gold Award for Sustainability and Environmental Achievement.

Specifically, FPA recognized the LEGO Hero Factory shaped stand-up pouch, a package combining several packaging features that make it an outstanding example of printing technology and packaging convenience. The substrate is a 48-ga PET/ink/adhesive/3.5-mil white linear low-density polyethylene.

For the LEGO Hero Factory project, Sonoco conducted artwork management, separation, cylinder engraving, and printing/laminating of the rollstock, managed the conversion into a pouch, and then did the actual product packout—putting all the little Legos in the pouch at its packaging fulfillment center.

The package offers an easy-open, cut-off top and convenient press-to-close reclose feature for after-use parts storage. These features represent on-the-shelf visual improvements with the upright billboarding capabilities of the stand-up pouch, which, says Sonoco, is a merchandising improvement over previous rigid paper cartons and plastic canisters. “In terms of shelf impact, the bright graphics, high-gloss surface, and uniquely shaped, stand-up pouch made for greater on-the-shelf visibility,” says Sonoco. “At the same time, the pouch [meets] consumers’ desires for greater convenience with after-use storage of parts provided by the easy reclose feature, which is an added benefit for parents and kids.”

To meet the demands of the high-impact graphics, Sonoco employed its internal graphics management team, Sonoco Trident, to produce the rotogravure cylinders and separations. The use of the gravure process was instrumental in delivering the intricate detail needed for the Hero brands. The fine-screened colors are produced from both line and process colors. Tight registration and color control ensure precise detail and color balance on the package, says the company. By having the close alignment with the graphics, Sonoco delivered the print consistency and “pop” required for attracting the consumer’s attention away from the normal clutter in the toy aisle.

Sonoco points out that the stand-up pouch is a new package format in the toy market, replacing the usual rigid paper carton or plastic container. By designing the shape of the pouch to match the configuration of the built toy inside and using impactful action graphics, the package creates an on-the-shelf, graphic representation of the finished product.

According to Sonoco, the new pouch delivers 80% less packaging weight than the prior rigid paperboard or plastic formats. Using the PIQET life-cycle indicator tool, Sonoco has shown that the pouch reduces water use, energy use, the carbon footprint, and solid waste.

Depending on package size and prior format, the reductions range from 30% to 95%, according to Sonoco. Specific percent reductions, it says, are as follows:

• In water use, the pouch delivers a 76% reduction versus a paperboard box, and 95% versus a plastic canister
• In energy use, the numbers are 29.9% and 87.6%, respectively
• In carbon footprint, the numbers are 64.6% and 91.4%, respectively
• For solid waste, it’s 34.5% and 85.1%, respectively

* indicates an article that was submitted directly to this Web site by the supplier, and was not handled by the Greener Package editorial staff.

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