There is so much confusion in industry and with consumers alike around the issues of plastics and which solutions provide real benefits to the environment. What are the different industry processes that make ‘greener’ products and are these processes in themselves doing more harm than good? A plastic bag that is bio-degradable sounds like it would be a positive thing for the planet – but in truth, is it? We take a look at some of the myths around eco-friendly products and find out what’s actually good for the environment.

Bio-degradable and what it leaves behind

The idea behind its origins is born out of great intentions. Who wouldn’t want to claim a waste or by product can be completely decomposed by bacteria or living organisms to avoid pollution? This may well be the false impression that some consumers are basing their buying choices on.  The truth is plastic can not bio-degrade in this way. It does break down, that is completely true – but what remains is devastating not only for the environment, but for our own heath too. When plastic breaks down like this, it leaves behind harmful micro-particles that find their way into water ways, the sea, the food we eat and the air we breathe. It is estimated that we eat 50,000 particles of micro-plastics a year and breathe in a similar quantity.* To put it into some kind of context – it is estimated we are consuming a credit card size amount of plastic every week. 75% of the plastic we have produced still exists. There has to a better way.

Is compostable the answer?

Compostable bag

Compostable bag

This is a product made from potato or corn starch and will breakdown entirely. The difference is that compostable bags and compostable plastic alternatives can be added to home composting and this will decompose as it is made from organic matter. In fact, it becomes a nutrient rich compost. So this sounds like amazing news, but here are some negatives. Not all items that are ‘compostable’ can be thrown on the home compost heap. Many can only be processed at an industrial facility – how many consumers realise this or have access to one? Brands need to be really clear about what they are claiming. If a consumer feels hoodwinked into thinking they are playing their part in reducing plastic safely, they will be unforgiving if this turns out not to be the case.

More consumers are starting to take the time to understand the differences in what these terms actually mean and are demanding more from manufactures, brands and local facilities. If you’re feeling the inevitable pressure in looking to change to respected eco alternatives, we can help you make informed decisions about the materials and plastics you use.


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* Health effects of ingesting microplastics – The Guardian

We take a look forward to what’s going to be important for industry and with consumers next year. With the implications of packaging in the news and single use plastics of  increasing concern – sustainability, ethical sourcing and recycling will no doubt play a key part in decision making in the months ahead. With consumers looking to brands to behave responsibly, the pressure is on to satisfy with functionality as well as eco friendly solutions that still have the WOW factor!

Shopping for Good

Brands have a tremendous opportunity to be trail blazing and support consumers in adopting positive changes to their shopping baskets. Reducing the environmental impact in processes, sign posting what’s recyclable and how, as well as using materials from sustainable sources all contribute to a better brand outcome as well for the planet. Switching over to environmentally packaging could see an increase in sales and customer loyalty. Customers will see a real commitment and this will leave a lasting impression.

Flexible Packaging

This is one of the most sought after and popular formats of packaging. Flexible packaging readily lends itself to branding and its ability to work across many product areas. With reduced packaging weight with the use of pouches for example and other new developments for retail packaging – it results in cost savings as well as less material waste. National Flexible’s SuperEco laminate film, for example, was been used by UK-based organic food company Infinity Foods, one of our clients at Acopia, to re-launch its brand of pre-packed health foods in a package that is oxy-degradable.


Packaging will continue to play a pivotal role in the customer experience. With 20% of all shopping taking place online, the packaging becomes a key touchpoint with the brand. The packaging becomes just as important as what it contains. Creating unique experiences with personalised branding is set to rise with the emphasis on sharing the experience. The Instagram and You Tube platforms are full of the priceless social proof of shared great brand experiences, showcasing the very best (and very worst in some cases) of personalised packaging.

A selection of luxury products and packaging from Apple

Luxury packaging at its very best

Lap of Luxury

Luxury and specialty packaging is synonymous with premium brands – it becomes an integral part of the brand’s image and research shows that consumers are willing to pay more if packaging looks appealing and luxurious. As well as adding to the value of the product, it also increases brand engagement. The luxury packaging market is forecast to continue to grow by 4.4% reaching $17.6 billion in 2019*

Connect with your customer

The moral of the story is that your packaging is another channel to engage with your customers who will anticipate the next ‘chapter’ of the conversation.


Want to try something different? Talk to the team at Acopia to see how we can help you use innovative packaging to engage with your customers.


*“The Future of Luxury Packaging to 2019”. Smithers Pira. Retrieved 2015-01-08


With single use plastics and recycling very much in the spotlight, consumers are focused on making better buying decisions based on environmental factors. Consumers are expecting more from the brands they buy from. Brands that are slow to look at being environmentally responsible will soon be the exception rather than the norm. Buying responsibly sometimes isn’t so clear or easy so we have made it easy to spot your opportunity to ‘shop for good’ on our website with our eco mark. This is your reassurance that products have been made from a truly sustainable source or have environmental benefits.

Our Eco symbol – what it means for your business

Sustainable packaging goes beyond purely reducing the environmental impact, brands want to be seen embracing this important component of their product supply. With the digital arena becoming the modern day word of mouth, end user approval and recommendations of your greener packaging solutions will help to lock-in an ethical customer base who will happily talk positively about your brand. It’s your opportunity to set the standard.

Making even small changes to your packaging can make all the difference and will allow you to promote your greener choices and show your customers you care. From simply choosing brown paper self adhesive tape (an ecological alternative to vinyl and polypropylene) to creating your own protective packaging by recycling your cardboard waste with a shredder (where considerable cost savings are to be made too) – there are lots of opportunities to make a difference.

Recyclable packaging

Recyclable packaging

Our green solutions won’t cost the earth

We carry a range of greener options that have been hand picked on merit. These come from sustainable sources or have been made using a significant proportion of recycled materials. Their impact on the wider environment is also of concern of us and we want to ensure that these products have the fewest ecological implications as possible.

So take a look at our website and search for greener options on your favourite products and we are also happy to help you if you need further help and advice for going green!




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Would shoppers buy their Christmas or birthday presents from a charity shop? It’s a question that many may have not have considered before. Where a few years ago the answer may have been a definite “no”, today things have changed and the public’s perception of charity shops is also changing.

With concern about the environment and with the spotlight on re-purposing and recycling, charities play a huge roll in protecting our planet. Every donation to a charity shop helps with reducing carbon emissions, around 6.9 million tons a year, as well as resulting in less waste. Last year, charity shops prevented 323,000 tonnes of textiles going to landfill. So not only is shopping at the local charity store great for the pocket, it’s great for the planet too! Charity shops raise more than £270 million a year for good causes across the UK and abroad, as well as providing over 23,000 jobs.  The charity retail sector has more than 230,000 volunteers, the largest single group in the country. Pretty amazing statistics!

Expect the unexpected

Step inside a charity shop today and the difference is clear. A collection of eclectic goodies probably displayed like a modern high street shop with modern interiors. Some specialise in vintage clothing, antiques, furniture or pre-loved wedding dresses for example.  It’s like entering an Aladins cave of discovery of hidden gems! Some Charity stores have completely destroyed the preconceptions of what a charity store should look like. Take a look at these stunning examples – inviting, exciting, unique and incredibly creative. All are setting benchmarks and receiving awards on the charity scene.


FARA charity shop


Cancer Research


Mary Portas Living & Giving Shop










Posh Pop-Up

Recently Harrods unveiled their luxury charity pop-up store, raising money for the NSPCC with pre-owned designer items. Located on Sloane Street and named Fashion Re-told, it opened for a month with the aim to compete with the likes of Mulberry, Loewe, and Paul Smith for a fraction of the price. The concept for the decor was to be completely Instragrammable, perfect for unique photo opportunities, encouraging shoppers to share their experiences. It’s something that will no doubt be followed by other design houses and big brands who recognise the value of shopping for good.

Street 76 

Street 76

Street 76

We recently showcased our latest display system at the recent Charity Retail Conference. Street 76 is  modern, adaptable and guaranteed to make the most out of product lines or donated stock. Enhanced with industrial looking baskets and display cages, the ability to display clothing side hanging or forward facing, and shelves that can be moved as quickly as your stock changes.

The very epitome of flexibility and style, Street76™ allows you to create key product focused areas as well as providing virtually limitless display options for a whole range of merchandise. If you are looking to create that urban environment with true adjustability and variety, then look no further!

We also have a range of complimentary furniture items including console tables, ladder shelves, podiums and counters. These can be integrated as part of the Street76™ look, with our fashion feature stands which are made of milled steel – creating a unique shopping experience for your customers.



Want to find out more about our full fit-out service and display range options? Of course you do! Please complete the form below:

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Statistics from the Charity Retail Association


There is no escaping product packaging. Whether it’s at the visit to the supermarket or when receiving goods ordered online – consumers are bombarded with visual ‘messages’ or clues that subtlety tells the shopper all about the quality of the product. Packaging complexity and design continues to evolve to meet changing needs and requirements – and the greatest changes are to be seen in the world of e-commerce and the growing consumer reliance on this.


Bang On Trend?

Recreating that in-store visual experience in the consumer’s home can be a challenge, but with great design and packaging that reflects the product and supports the brand – the packaging can become so much more of the whole experience. So what’s hot for 2018? We take a look at 3 key trends



Eco Friendly Packagings

With the focus on the environment never more important, brands are keen to align themselves eco-friendly alternatives for packaging that not only save the world but look beautiful too. So using less plastic and re-usable packaging will resonate with consumers.

Finding green solutions for protective packaging couldn’t be easier. At Acopia we have a complete range of packaging products from truly sustainable sources, selected on merit and significantly reduce their impact on the environment.

A recent survey confirmed that consumers are very much eco-aware and 57% stated that eco-friendly packaging was important to them with 61% claiming that they think about whether products they are potentially purchasing are using eco-friendly packaging.




The fabric of today’s society is based on fast access, disposabilty and immediate response – Vintage is the antidote to this. People are looking for nostalgia and permanence. The vintage or retro look has never been so popular and it’s an opportunity to reach out to a new demographic and revitalise a brand.


It has never been so important today for brands to ‘speak’ to their customers. This was a huge trend in 2017 and will continue to be strong in 2018. Personalised packaging gives the customer the opportunity to become part of the experience, or even the chance to personalise the product itself with brands such as Nike offering custom colour options on their trainers for example.

At Acopia, we specialise in creating extraordinary packaging solutions for the brands we look after. Speak to our friendly team about harnessing the latest trends and revitalising your packaging!

£133 billion was spent on online shopping last year and as consumers continue to embrace this change in their purchasing habits, seeking out convenience and the ‘next-day’ delivery promise, many online retailers are playing catch up optimising their protective packaging strategies.

Online retailers are often criticised for excessive packaging in the pursuit to getting their products to their customers in pristine condition. Research shows that consumers can be brutal in their decision making after receiving damaged goods. Research shows that a massive 73% of consumers who receive a damaged shipment are unlikely to order from the same retailer again. This in effect becomes a lost customer and not only that, with the ever growing strength in social media ‘reviews’, this also becomes a huge PR headache as far as damage limitation is concerned. It’s easy to see why retailers are keen to avoid this scenario, however, by not getting their protective packaging properly optimised for their specific products creates the on-going issue of unnecessary packaging.

With the spotlight on the environment and with consumers making decisions based on a company ethics and social responsibility – the retailer is faced with a challenge in finding that all important balance in recycling, re-use and reduction expectations, as well as getting goods delivered intact. According to a recent survey*, more than 70% of consumers think retailers use too much packaging for online orders, creating an extra one million metric tonnes of waste every year. That’s a staggering figure and really shows that consumers expect and demand more sustainable and environmental action. It also revealed that 66% of consumers had received their order and the protective packaging was much bigger than the actual item. This is a complaint that is often aired on countless un-boxing videos on You Tube with consumers again highlighting that retailers need to do more.

58% felt the excessive packaging was often difficult to open and once finally inside their parcel, found the internal packaging difficult to dispose of responsibly. 62% agreed that they would think more of the brand or retailer if they did more to address these issues.

Getting The Balance Right

There are a few simple steps that can be put in place to ensure the Retailer can delight their customers again and again with successful deliveries of undamaged goods, as well as refining or optimising the packaging used. Getting the right protective packaging for the product is absolutely vital in reducing waste, getting the right sized packaging and helping the consumer to recycle more. This will result in not only a cost reduction for the retailer but also happier customers who appreciate the efforts being made.

Talking to industry experts in protective packaging can really help an e-commerce operation optimise process, materials and costs. At Acopia, we have over 40 years experience in helping our customers achieve just that. Why not put us to the test and talk to the team today as we head towards the busy peak season.


Survey conducted by

Loved by consumers as well as industry – the humble cardboard box still delivers! British online shoppers have a continuing love affair with cardboard and prefer to see their purchases being delivered in the much favoured corrugated cardboard box rather than polystyrene. Why? It is believed that cardboard offers better protection and is the easiest material to recycle according to research by the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI).

Corrugated packaging is certainly going through something of a renascence with new data showing it to be the material of choice for food packaging on both a hygiene and protection level and the confirmation that it continues to deliver in cost, flexibility and recycling.
Corrugated cardboard is the packing material of choice for many brands and industries. Its high-tech construction ensures the material can carry a wide range of weights, protects against moisture and provides sustainable packaging solutions. Furthermore, corrugated cardboard is highly customizable and very cost-effective. As well as being flame resistant, it makes a great surface for bespoke printing.

In a recent survey, out of 2030 respondents, 40% thought that cardboard offered the best solution for their purchases to reach them in pristine condition. A whopping 85% of respondents also confirmed that agreed that cardboard was by far the easiest to recycle.

CPI’s Director Of Packaging Affairs Andy Barnetson stated “This latest survey indicating that consumers rate cardboard as the best protection for goods in transit is a really good result for the Corrugated Industry.  It’s another poll that suggests cardboard packaging improves customer satisfaction with their purchases. I’m not surprised at the level of consumer support for ease of recycling. Awareness of the benefits of recycling cardboard is generally on the increase”

Consumers are demanding more from their online purchases, it not just about the product – it’s also about what the product arrives in. At Acopia, we specialise in ensuring packaging works for the consumer as well as the bottom line. Talk to us today for an informal chat to find out more about what we can do for your business.

If your organisation uses packaging or sells packaged goods, you may be classed as an Obligated Packaging Producer. The Environmental agency have put in place legal guidelines to help monitor waste with a review to reducing reduce its impact on the environment and enforce a duty of care that all businesses must follow. These legal requirements came into place in 2005 with a number of accompanying guidelines to help towards acheiving best practice across the country and across businesess.  One retailer was fined more than £50,000 for being in breach of these regulations so penalties can be severe.
The main aims are to

reduce the amount of packaging produced in the first place
reduce how much packaging waste goes to landfill
increase the amount of packaging waste that’s recycled and recovered

Every year a packaging producer must register by 7th April and meet their recovery, reduction and recycling obligations and provide evidence by submitting a Certificate Of Compliance by 31st January the following year. If you registered before last April 2016 – you have a few short weeks to submit your certificate.

Am I an Obligated Packaging Producer?

‘Packaging’ is any material used to hold, protect, handle, deliver and present goods. This includes packaging for raw materials right through to finished goods to be sold or being sold. For example, pallets, boxes, bags, tape for wrapping, rolls, tubes and clothes hangers sold as part of the clothing item.

You’re an ‘obligated’ packaging producer if you, or a group of companies you’re part of handled 50 tonnes of packaging materials or packaging in the previous calendar year. And you have a turnover of more than £2 million a year (based on the last financial year’s accounts).

If your business provides licences to other businesses such as franchises or pub leases, any packaging they handle may contribute towards the 50 tonne threshold for your business.

We’re here to help

At Acopia, we work with many of our clients to provide Packaging Recovery Notes (PRN’s) by supplying an itemised statement of their annual packaging consumption.This helps hugley when it comes to submitting the required Certificate of Compliance.

If you have any questions about your PRN obligation, you can speak to the team at Acopia and we will give you all the advice you need.


For more detailed information – please visit Gov.Uk and The rights and wrongs of packaging

There are many machines available now that provide flexibility and optimisation of your protective packaging processes. The machines are simple and easy to use, requiring minimal training in order to master time and cost saving efficiencies.

Protecting precious cargo

You need your products to arrive in pristine condition and having your own protective packaging systems in house, you are in complete control. There is nothing more disappointing for your customer or recipient to receive damaged goods, equally packaging overkill can cause frustration so choosing the right packaging for your product needs is paramount.

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Popular with Acopia Clients

Here is a quick overview on some of the most popular machine with our clients:

Air Pillow and cushioning – the Airtech Range

This versatile range comes in 3 machine sizes so you can order the correct one for your business needs.

The smaller machines, Airtech 2000 and 4000, are at home on a table top, whilst the larger 6000 is comfortable in the busiest of environments. All machines are completely programmable and are easily integrated into your packaging process. Adaptable air pressure and speeds makes this a great solution.

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Makevoid_filling your own void filling

Our Ecopax Shredding systems are a great solution if your business produces a lot of waste cardboard. What better than to re-use and recycle to create your very protective packaging. Not only can you reduce costs on purchasing protective packaging, you also eliminate all your cardboard waste disposal costs as well as reducing your environmental impact – talk to us about the Ecopax range.


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The Power of Paper

Available in three machine capacities, this ingeniuos range produces multi-layer void fill with all the machines controlled by a foot pedal, leaving the users hands free to pack product.

With the range increasing in capacity and speed – there is a Papertech solution for you. The machines are easy to load and with the machine producing a range of void filling finishes – this really is a versatile and cost effective alternative.

All these machines are available through Acopia and we would be delighted to provide a free demonstration. Talk to us about our full range of automated protective packing products.


Europe is at the forefront of the green revolution as businesses recognise both the environmental, reputational and financial benefits of a greener supply chain. The research agency Global Industry Analysts estimates the worldwide market for sustainable packaging was worth more than $149 billion in 2015, and this is set to grow. Many businesses anticipated this change in the market and adapted their packaging with a focus on a greener product.

Reputation, reputation, reputation

Sustainable packaging goes beyond purely reducing the environmental impact, brands want to be seen embracing this important component of their product supply. Today’s consumers and businesses are asking more of the brands they engage with and partner with and responsible environmental choices are key in decision making and part of their customer journey to becoming a brand ambassador. With the digital arena becoming the modern day word of mouth, end user approval and recommendations of your greener packaging solutions will help to lock-in an ethical customer base who will happily talk positively about your brand.

Set the Standard

It’s also an opportunity to review your competitor’s activities and allows you to perhaps steal the edge by offering greener packaging solutions. Being recognised for your contribution to reducing impact on the environment is wonderful for your reputation and these are some areas for consideration:

  • check that all corrugated packaging contains a high level of recycled material
  • consider micro-flute board for easier printing
  • use higher proportions of recycled material in cartonboard in non-food applications
  • consider using a laminated cartonboard with some recycled content for packaging food products

Acopia can assist with ensuring you select the right packaging for your products.

Small changes – big differences

Making even small changes to your packaging can make all the difference and will allow you to promote your greener choices and show you care. From simply choosing brown paper self adhesive tape (an ecological alternative to vinyl and polypropylene) to creating your own protective packaging by recycling your cardboard waste with a shredder where considerable cost savings are to be made – there are lots of opportunities to make a difference.

Talk to us about our full range of greener solutions which have been selected from either a truly sustainable source or made using a significant proportion of recycled material, we can advise on the best choices for your business.