Flexible Packaging Round Table Podcast

Podcast: Episode 1 – Evan Arnold and Ken Brunnbauer

Why choose flexible packaging over standard rigid packaging? Tune in to hear what Evan Arnold, VP of Business Development and Ken Brunnbauer, Marketing Manager at Glenroy have to say on Episode 1 of the Flexible Packaging Round Table. 


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00:00:12 Ken Brunnbauer
Yeah, so there’s so many different formats that flexible packaging can be created into and used. It has squeeze pouches to zipper pouches where it has not just the pickles in it, but the pickle brine in it as well to small little stick packs and sachets that can be done. Spouted pouches of all sizes and then you’ve got your recyclable options, where you can take them back to the store. It doesn’t have to be the store where you bought them at, but you just take them back to the store drop them off in the bins and they get made into different products, like Trex decking, chairs or furniture, so there’s so many different things, and that’s why just having the name flexible in the name is so cool because it truly is flexible, it can go in many different directions for a brand owner who’s looking to go to a flexible packaging format.

00:01:15 Sara Januszewski
Why choose flexible packaging over just your standard rigid packaging?

00:01:29 Ken Brunnbauer
I mean, and Evan, you could probably speak to this a lot more as well, but I think one of the key reasons to go this route is just like I mentioned earlier, the inherent environmentally friendly perspective that the flexible plastic provides we can take recycled plastic jugs and turn them into post-consumer recycled (PCR) pouches where the recycled plastic becomes the resin that goes in to making a flexible package. If a brand owner switches from a rigid plastic or a glass jar, to a flexible package, it’s just inherently lighter, so in transportation it’s going to use less fuel, that way a truck is going to emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions during the manufacturing of flexible plastic. It uses less water than its rigid counterparts, and if it happens to end up in a landfill since it’s lighter and it uses less material, it’s contributing less to landfill waste just because of the sheer nature of its structure so, there’s so many just inherent environmental benefits even just beyond those that are recyclable, like some of the flexible packaging pouches that are out there.

00:02:46 Evan Arnold
Yeah, and to your point Ken, I think it’s really the best way to package so many different goods so you can take these things on-the-go. You can hand them to your children so they can eat as you’re trying to multitask, something that I certainly take advantage of. I mean, we look at this macadamia nut package I have here, this is just so easy to take protection throughout the whole life of it. It can be shipped anyway, and you know it can be easily consumed, while also protecting the product that’s inside of it. And you’re right, the sheer innovation that’s going on in the plastics industry right now to create the circular economy that we have, it’s fantastic to see these innovations coming from our suppliers that we can utilize and then pass along to our customers and show them the benefit.

00:04:20 Ken Brunnbauer
I picked up on one other thing that you mentioned there, Evan. Looking ahead to what we’re looking to do with the Flexible Packaging Roundtable is, you know, you mentioned the circular economy. Part of what we want to do here is educate and get people to be aware of all the different things that are happening out there and how we can help preserve our environment in so many more ways than just recycling. And you know, flexible packaging plays a key role in that with, you know, the reuse of the milk jugs and other rigid plastic bottles to become new resins and things like that so, when you talk about circular economy, it really is an exciting time to find new ways that we can really like, you mentioned innovate and find ways to help preserve our environment and still protect the products that need to get to consumers.

00:05:15 Evan Arnold
I mean there are so many positive benefits and there’s so much powerful innovation going on in the supply chain that I’m really excited to be a part of this and really offer the opportunities that we have going forward.

00:05:44 Evan Arnold
We have a new customer launching right now on Amazon for honey and when you go see their pouches for sale on Amazon, they really highlight the flexible benefits of the different options out there, which is which is really cool in partnering with our customers to bring that positive message is exciting and you know, I know there are people listening right now out there that are helping drive the industry forward and we’re excited to have them on future talks and really be a part of that messaging going forward.

00:06:24 Ken Brunnbauer
Yeah, that is the exciting part! There’s a number of partners that we have out there that we enjoy working with, learning from, seeing the innovations that that they’re driving in the industry and just that you know, one of the other benefits that just popped into my mind that we haven’t really talked too much about, is just the food safety side of it and being able to address challenges people may have with their diet if they’re gluten sensitive or they have celiac disease and you can get some products like a peanut butter or nut butters or jellies and jams in spouted pouches or single-use type pouches where they don’t have to worry about cross contamination from rubbing a knife across the piece of bread and then someone puts it back in the jar and the crumbs are in there, they don’t see it, they go and then they have a reaction and you don’t get that with a lot of the flexible packaging pouches that are out there and that’s another exciting benefit of the pouches themselves is how we can use that to help address different issues and challenges people have with their dollars.

00:07:39 Evan Arnold
Yeah, and Sara I’m going to ask you a question, being new to the industry, what excites you about the flexible packaging industry?

00:07:48 Sara Januszewski
Yeah, you know what excited me so much is all of the sustainability benefits that come along with it. Being new to this industry I had no idea that flexible packaging was so eco-friendly that you know it was helping with greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, all the different things. I just had no idea, so I think that is a big selling point.

00:08:29 Evan Arnold
That’s exciting and it’s good to hear that messaging is really getting out.

00:08:37 Ken Brunnbauer
I have to say that is the exciting part that I see with the industry is that we really are doing a lot to help with the environmental benefits, and you know simply just trying to do what we can one pouch, one packet at a time.

00:09:00 Sara Januszewski
All right so, one final question. I mean, we’ve kind of already touched on this with the sustainability and different initiatives, but how do you guys see the flexible packaging industry continuing to evolve or what do you see coming in the future?

00:09:18 Evan Arnold
You know, for me, it’s continuing to provide convenience to consumers, continuing to evolve within the supply chain, and continue to deliver solutions that works well with e-commerce and delivering goods to people homes, protecting the products and the healthcare and sterile options that are out there, and then continuing to drive the sustainability of the industry forward.

00:09:49 Ken Brunnbauer
I think that’s really the exciting part is where we’re headed and just how you know you see a lot of brands and especially you know consumer packaged companies looking to find ways to be more sustainable by using recyclable or materials that are post-consumer focused and just being there, they’re making their goals of where they want to be in five years. We can help them accomplish that with the different offerings that we have. Then the other direction that we see the industry going is legislation, different goals that the government is putting out there and then being able to address that and be a part of the solution for how we can help our country and others meet the needs of all of the States and regions that we’re providing products in.

00:10:50 Sara Januszewski
Definitely! We only had one question down below here. How is the industry being impacted by the increases in resin prices?

00:11:05 Evan Arnold
It’s certainly a challenge and understanding where those increases come from, most recently, the deep freeze in Texas and the expanded use of flexibles, but it’s something we must work together on to continue to find solutions and reduce costs across the board.

00:11:30 Ken Brunnbauer
Yeah, that part comes into the work that Evan is doing and others across the industry that are finding creative ways and innovative ways to develop and design the packaging so that it remains cost effective because we do live in a world of inflation and rising prices, and it’s just ways that we get to be innovative to be able to still address what the consumer is looking for but then also meet the needs of what the companies and brand owners need as well.

00:12:07 Sara Januszewski
And then to wrap this up, Ken, would you like to announce what we have coming next month?

00:12:13 Ken Brunnbauer
As an overview for everybody, we’re planning to hold one of these each month. Our plan is to target the third Wednesday of every month and next month in April on the third Wednesday our special guest will be Alison Keane. She’s the president and CEO of the Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) and a lot of you already know who Alison is and what her focus is but the FPA has been doing some great work working with our different government agencies and the legislation that’s out there so, Allison is going to join us and we’re going to talk about the different legislation she sees coming out from the USA government and how it’s going to impact the industry, where it can take us, how it might affect sustainability drivers. So, keep a lookout for some of the communications coming up in the next few weeks and we hope you can join us in April!

00:13:17 Evan Arnold
It’s going to be an exciting roundtable on how the industry is really driving forward, how we’re staying ahead of it, and how we’re helping our customers understand what’s going on across the board from state to state.

00:13:30 Sara Januszewski
Awesome. Thank you for being here and thank you to all our viewers for tuning in and hope you learned a little bit more about flexible packaging.