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Mitsubishi Pencil Company UK cuts its plastic

By Mark Hayhurst 12 Aug 2019

Mitsubishi Pencil Company UK (MPCUK), commonly known as uni-ball, is renowned for innovation and quality when it comes to its pens.

Now the company is applying that same diligence and expertise to help the planet, by reducing the use of single use plastic in its product packaging.

The new plastic-free packaging launched with stationery retailer Ryman in July 2019, marking a change from plastic blister cards to 100 per cent cardboard, plastic-free packaging. Repackaged pen lines include its flagship uni-ball Eye – one of the world’s most popular rollerballs – and its attractive Air pens, in two, three and five-piece packs.

As you’d expect, the company have thought through every aspect of the new packaging. As well as being plastic-free the new packs are completely biodegradable and recyclable.

Every effort has been made from sourcing to manufacture to ensure the packaging reduces its carbon footprint.

The pack’s board is climate-neutral; made from 100 per cent PEFC certified (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) – the world’s largest forest certification system for sustainable forest management. The new packaging’s inks are vegetable rather than mineral-based, the latter often being derived from fossil fuels. The packs use a non-toxic, water-based blister varnish that does not affect composting or cause environmental damage, plus its gloss UV Varnish uses energy efficient UV light to finish. The result? Fantastic looking packaging that’s completely recyclable, biodegradable and compostable.

While the packaging looks great, with a consistent, high quality litho print finish, the print process has been designed with eco-concerns at its heart. The print pre-press uses chemical free Kodak computer-to-plate technology. Packaging is printed using the Komori Press, which boasts one of the shortest press set-up available anywhere; this significantly cuts paper and water waste while vastly reducing the use of press consumables. Plus, its direct dampening system, where the dampening solution is applied directly to plate, enables non-alcohol printing using the minimum amount of water. What’s more the company has used the same UK-based printer to produce the new packaging – requiring minimal set-up and reducing air-miles.

Paul Smith, Director of Sales & Marketing, Mitsubishi Pencil Company UK, said: ‘Following two years of consumer insight, research and development, we are delighted to launch our new packaging with Ryman - as part of our Back to School & College campaign.

“For the first time our customers will easily be able to fully recycle our packaging and reduce their consumption of single use plastics’.

Kypros Kyprianou, CEO Ryman, added: “We’re delighted to see our suppliers innovating in this way and welcome this initiative from Uniball. The new packaging was well received by our customers during a recent trial and we look forward to welcoming many more sustainable developments in our sector, that will help us to be part of the difference.”

The new packaging is just the beginning, while currently available across the company’s key ranges, it will eventually expand to cover the uni-ball pen range. The company have also introduced a suite of green initiatives across its shipping, delivery, office and warehouse management to fulfil its goal to become more sustainable and environmentally conscious in every aspect of the business.

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