Atlantic Packaging – Optimised Packaging for a Greener Earth

Atlantic Packaging is leading the way in sustainable packaging, promoting not only recyclability but also the ‘use less’ concept.

Atlantic Packaging is a leading independent sustainable packaging company specialising in critical applications packaging with a strong focus on packaging equipment, high-performance materials, technical service and sustainability. The company has a hybrid model of manufacturing, distribution, and technical service.

Founded in North Carolina in 1946 by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Horace Carter, Atlantic Packaging celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2021 in admirable shape and form. Over the years and under the leadership of Carter’s son Rusty, the business has grown to include 25 locations throughout the U.S., the Caribbean, and Central America.

The spirit of Horace Carter, an avid champion for social and racial justice, still lingers in the company today, now run by his grandson, Wes Carter. “We continue to be a family-owned company with my father, brother, and myself actively involved in the business. The vision for a better world that drove my grandfather to fight social injustice in the 1950s is what drives us today, particularly in an environment where climate change and pollution are the pressing challenges of this generation.”

Today one of the largest packaging companies in North America, Atlantic offers sustainable, smart solutions. Its core competencies are in stretch packaging, shrink packaging, strapping, protective packaging, tape & adhesives, labels, all types of flexible packaging, paper converting, printing, automation and packaging equipment.

Environmentally-friendly solutions are at the core of the business. “As an industry, we have to acknowledge that the situation with pollution and waste is critical, and we have to take action to evolve towards a more sustainable future. This is not going to be easy, but it has to be our goal. The alternative is doom,” says Wes Carter.

Use less, use biodegradable

Atlantic Packaging has been evolving towards this goal on many fronts. Adding to their innovative range of sustainable packaging, they recently introduced Fishbone Beverage Carriers – a simple, recyclable beverage carrier that is plastic-free, biodegradable and uses minimal material.

“We have developed a variety of carriers for cans, bottles, and aluminium bottles to cover the needs of the major beverage companies. We offer a full range of robust application equipment from semi-automatic to fully automated lines that apply Fishbones at up to 2,000 cans a minute. Fishbone is 100% curbside recyclable, compostable, and offers beverage companies a killer marketing platform,” claims Wes Carter.

With e-commerce rising exponentially as a result of the pandemic, and the amount of packaging increasing to astronomic heights, Atlantic has launched a game-changing innovation in consumer destined packaging, the Eco-Mailer – the first-ever curbside recyclable, paper-based, padded mailer. This innovation allows e-commerce companies to optimise packaging away from boxes and void fill to a low-carbon footprint, recyclable mailer.

“In a way, the pandemic has served as the best catalyst in making consumers aware of the need to reduce the amount of packaging. This awareness is key in terms of pushing the industry to adopt more sustainable practices, and the Eco-Mailer may play a key role in driving this change. Plastic is a great, irreplaceable material in many applications, but reducing consumer-destined plastic packaging that ends up in waterways, oceans, or landfills, will make a huge difference. That is the reason why products that are renewable, paper-based, and biodegradable are so important,” affirms Mr Carter.

He points out that at the other end of the spectrum, Atlantic is focusing on creating closed-loop systems in B2B packaging, specifically in terms of stretch and shrink packaging. “The first rule of sustainability is ‘Optimise Packaging Efficiency’. At Atlantic, we utilise the most sophisticated films and testing on the planet that give us maximum insight into how unit loads perform while travelling across the supply chain.”

“With this knowledge, we can customise effective packaging solutions that meet the needs of the product without overuse. When we can deliver material cost savings through greater yield and perfect packaging performance, we have maximized the first rule.”

Pollution-free Earth

According to the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, over 11 million tonnes of plastic waste enter our oceans every year, and that rate, growing exponentially, will be over 29 million tonnes a year by 2040. To increase awareness of the amount of plastic pollution in the oceans, Atlantic has launched A New Earth Project, a collaboration between the global surfing community and the industrial packaging supply chain, with the mission to rid the oceans of plastic pollution.

As a lifelong surfer, traveller, and outdoorsman, Wes Carter’s link with the global surfing community helps connect the pieces between these ambassadors of the ocean and the leaders in the packaging supply chain who can enact this change.  The documentary series, produced by surfing journalist Peter King, will air later this year.

Wes says: “As an outdoor person, I see plastic pollution everywhere. Companies like Atlantic are in a position of influence, in a position to drive collaborations to come up with solutions. We need to educate consumers, we have to collaborate with the brands, with the governments, to engage the whole supply chain in this generational task. The brands are willing to evolve, they are committed to innovations, and companies like Atlantic can help them transition towards more circularity in packaging.”

To this end, the company is continuously investing not only in product diversification but also in advanced technologies as well as greener operations, including solar energy and electric vehicles, to support its mission to be a carbon-neutral company by 2030. “A lot of investment in the coming years will be around infrastructure related to sustainable packaging. In sustainability, ‘use less’ is the key rule. Companies in the supply chain like Atlantic can, through innovation and packaging optimization, reduce the packaging footprint on a massive scale,” Wes Carter affirms, in conclusion.

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