Printcraft senior designer Walter Wisler and general manager Peter Watson. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Emily Ireland

The ban on single-use plastic bags is one of New Zealand’s most recent plans to become a more environmentally aware and sustainable country.

But with most product packaging at supermarkets and retail also considered single-use, a Masterton-based print and design company is going one step further in the fight against unnecessary plastic use.

Printcraft + Design Hive, based on Queen St, is putting the call out to manufacturers and businesses around New Zealand to shift from plastic to cardboard or paper-based packaging – and the consultation to do so won’t cost a cent.

Printcraft + Design Hive designer Walter Wisler said looking at the campaigns against single-use plastic bags, he and other staff felt there was still “a heck of a lot of plastic in the shops” – and that maybe they could help with that.

“We were thinking, somehow, we want to give people the opportunity to step away from plastic and do something different.

“We are equipped with everything to do that – we do packaging, cardboard work, we can design customised items for people … and we offer free consultation and research as well.

“Come to us – we talk to you, we sort something out, work on what you’ve got, and hopefully we’ll find a solution for your business to step away from plastic.”

The initiative, “The Printcraft Fight on Plastic Packaging”, is a continuation on an existing demand for sustainable packaging, according to general manager Peter Watson.

“People are coming to us now to change from plastic to paper packaging – and I hope other printers throughout the country will do the same thing because it’s the printers and packaging experts who need to come up with solutions.”

Peter said cardboard packaging was a “no-brainer” for businesses.

“If businesses can do something more sustainable with cardboard or paper packaging, they’d be able to push their brand better and the feedback we are getting is that it will increase sales.

“It may not necessarily be something that ends up being made here at Printcraft – it may be that we can design something new for them that another company can produce sustainably for them.”

Peter said Printcraft was also continually searching for greener ways to operate.

“Our printing plates used to have film, and the film had a plastic carrier and silver halides in it – so it was actually quite damaging for the environment – as was the chemistry to develop it.

“We were the first in the country to put in a system going straight from computer to plate – exposing it with a laser imager and straight on the press – no chemicals, no waste.

“Our inks are also really green, made from 100 per cent renewable resources and our paper always comes from an accredited forestry company.”

He said the print industry as a whole had become “greener and greener” over the past few years – “and that’s good to see”.

“People bang on about plastic being bad for the environment, and they’re dead right.

“But New Zealand is not geared up to recycle it.

“The only solution is to steer away from plastic where you can.”

He understood that some products such as meat would not be able to be packaged directly in cardboard – and as for chocolate, it would still require a foil wrap.

“There’s going to be situations where it’s not viable, but can we have a conversation?

“There’s no charge, we’ll have a consultation – a conversation around what can and can’t be done, we’ll go away and see if we can come up with a solution and some pricings, and then, if it’s a viable option, we’ll go from there.”

If you would like to change your product’s packaging from plastic to paper or cardboard and join the Fight on Plastic Packaging, contact Printcraft on 0800 774 683 or visit their website, www.printcraft.co.nz