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Introducing Fishbone Recyclable Can Carrier System

Introducing Fishbone Recyclable Can Carrier System

Wilmington, N.C., December 7, 2020 — Atlantic Packaging announces the launch of a recyclable can carrier system, Fishbone, to replace plastic ring handles. The Fishbone sustainable can carrier is a curbside recyclable, biodegradable, and performance tested product that will eliminate single use plastic from beverage packaging.

Single use plastics are a known threat to our environment, generating millions of tons of unnecessary waste every year that makes its way into our waters and breaks up into microplastics. These microplastics disrupt entire ecosystems and cause great harm to turtles, wildlife, sea birds, and the marine life that ingests them.

Fishbone replaces single use plastics with paper-based can carriers that use significantly less material than full overwrap paperboard cartons. Fishbone carriers are available for standard cans as well as Alumi-Tek bottles in both 4-pack and 6-pack formats and are sealed with a recyclable, compostable water-based barrier coating for moisture resistance. Fishbone can carriers come in a variety of options designed to complement any brand and to communicate the brand’s commitment to sustainability. Custom printing and graphics are also an option for unique branding opportunities on the carrier.

The comprehensive Fishbone system also features semi-automatic and fully automatic equipment engineered specifically to apply the Fishbone carriers to a 6-pack of 12 oz cans and to a 4-pack of either 12 oz or 16 oz cans. The BCF10 tabletop model runs up to 60 cans/minute and is available for a monthly user fee. The BCF40 high-speed model runs up to 240 cans/minute and is available for purchase.

Bringing this system to market has been a collaboration between Fishbone Packaging, the innovators of the Fishbone carrier design, and Atlantic Packaging, the exclusive licensee of Fishbone Packaging. Atlantic will handle all aspects of the customer experience, from product ordering and delivery, to equipment sales and support.

In a time when businesses are facing increasing pressure from environmental groups, consumers, and now governments to eliminate single use plastics, the Fishbone system is readily available for craft brewers and beverage producers who want to make the switch to a sustainable packaging option.

Atlantic Packaging President, Wes Carter, comments: “As an industry, we have to acknowledge that single-use, consumer destined plastic packaging creates environmental pollution that isn’t sustainable for our planet. For these reasons, polyethylene plastic beverage rings have been problematic packaging since their introduction decades ago.

“Atlantic and Fishbone have collaborated to bring the first ever 100% curbside recyclable paperboard beverage carrier to the marketplace. This sustainable Fishbone solution addresses all environmental concerns, and also is highly marketable for our customers. We are proud to introduce this transformative technology to packaging.”

Kevin L’Heureux, Fishbone Packaging Inc. President, and Keith Elliott, Co-Founder, remark: “Fishbone Packaging is thrilled to partner with Atlantic Packaging to bring our innovative, plastic-free packaging products and application technologies to a wider market. We have a long-standing and successful working relationship with Atlantic Packaging and this alliance has been developed to better serve and to grow sustainable, impactful and consumer-friendly packaging with our shared values.”

Fishbone can carriers and application equipment are available for purchase online at



Wes Carter
Atlantic Packaging
806 N. 23rd St.
Wilmington, NC 28405
(800) 722-5841


New! Curbside Recyclable Mailers

New! Curbside Recyclable Mailers

With the continued rise of online shopping, especially in the midst of the global pandemic we’re facing, e-commerce sales are growing rapidly and taking more marketshare.

According to research from eMarketer, e-commerce is expected to reach 14.5% of total retail sales in 2020, representing both an all-time high and the biggest share increase in a single year.” (source: US Ecommerce 2020.)

E-Commerce offers convenience which is critical as people around the world rely on online shopping for essential goods including food, beverage, health, and pharmaceutical products.

One of the existing challenges has been how to improve sustainability and reduce waste associated with shipping and packaging.  We’ve done a lot of work with E-Commerce FulFillment at our Packaging Solution Center to identify systems and innovative products that help optimize packaging and shipping.

Consumer Demand

In addition to those improvements, our customers and their consumers have been asking for options in fully curbside recyclable packaging products for e-commerce.  Corrugated is one option but that can be overkill for some smaller and less fragile products that don’t require a corrugated box.  Boxes also usually require some amount of void fill – even more packaging – to protect the product inside.

Mailers are a great option for e-commerce fulfillment.  They are lighter and less expensive to ship and don’t require void fill for added protection.  However, mailers are either 1) not recyclable at all due to the mix of plastic or filler in their composition or, 2) they require consumers to take them to a special place for recycling.  So often, these mailers go right into the trash.

Consumers have made their voices heard and have put the pressure on for these mailers to be easily recyclable.

Curbside Recyclable

Today, we have the product that fits the bill.  We now have options in 100% fully curbside recyclable mailers in both padded and paper envelope options.

Eco-Mailer Collection

These sustainable mailers offer a wealth of benefits.  They are:

  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • In Supply
  • Durable & High Performance
  • Designed for Easy Packing
  • 100% Curbside Recyclable
  • Customizable with Printing & Branding Options

We are so excited to bring these mailers to the marketplace. We think this product will help change the trend of e-commerce packaging to emphasize sustainability and easy recyclability.

Explore more features of our Curbside Recyclable Mailers and contact us to learn more.

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Curbside Recyclable Mailers

Is Downgauging the Answer?

Is Downgauging the Answer?

As manufacturers look to reduce costs and improve the sustainability of their operations, they target their packaging operations to see where they can make changes. This applies to primary product packaging like pouches, cartons, and bottles as well as secondary packaging like stretch wrapping, shrink bundling, and strapping.

Early in this process industry-wide, manufacturers looked for opportunities to downgauge and move to thinner films. A lesser gauge meant less material cost and ultimately less waste once the packaging was used and done.

They found an opportunity for downgauging with stretch film and stretch wrapping. At Atlantic, we could help our customers achieve this by optimizing the stretch wrapping equipment and ensuring that the thinner film had the proper prestretch properties and was applied with the correct tension and wrap patterns to make it work.

And by “work,” we mean that the stretch wrapping with thinner film contained the load without allowing the products to shift or the film to puncture or break. Because the very purpose of stretch wrapping is to provide load containment and protect the products in the load, this was the ultimate goal as we moved to thinner films.

Fast forward a few years and what we’re seeing now is that the stretch wrapper maintenance and the ability to maintain the optimization set at the start of the downgauging is beginning to fall off. Customers who saw great success at the time of the change are now starting to see more failures and more issues arise.

That’s because this is not a “set it and forget it” kind of operation.

Maintaining the level of optimization and the complete solution that we’re providing through the testing and work at our Packaging Solution Center takes time, attention, and collaboration.

Once you achieve the goals of downgauging and reducing costs, you have to dedicate resources to continuing that improvement. And this won’t happen overnight. Equipment and parts deteriorate. Operators may come and go. And there are a lot of people who interact with the stretch wrappers who have the freedom to make adjustments to the equipment.

You need a plan to educate and train the workforce as well as a strategy for identifying any changes or developments that might negatively affect the performance. You also need proper preventative maintenance and tools for getting back on track if performance does slip over time.

So, is downgauging the answer to cutting costs and improving sustainability?

What we’ve shown here is that it’s part of the answer. The complete solution is complex, ongoing, and collaborative. To really achieve your goals, you need a long term commitment from different parts of your organization, including operators, management, and procurement. And you need a packaging partner equally as committed to your success.

Two Steps to Sustainability

Two Steps to Sustainability

One of the top business priorities for our customers is sustainability.  While you each have your own unique sustainability goals and strategies, there are a number of similarities in what you’re looking to achieve.  In the packaging space, you want to know how you can make your primary packaging recyclable or more environmentally friendly.  This includes cartons, pouches, bags, clamshells, bottles, and cans. 

You also want to know how you can make your manufacturing processes and materials used more earth-friendly.  This includes shrink bundling, stretch wrapping, and strapping.  It also includes optimizing logistics to reduce activity around trucking and transit.

At the Packaging Solution Center and with our work in stretch wrapping (see: MUST Stretch Management System), we’ve found a two-step solution to improving sustainability across the board.

1. Make sure that your manufactured goods arrive to the customer safely and securely.  Any damage that occurs in transit leads to lost product, excess waste, more trucking and logistics, re-working orders, and more materials used in the end.  Damaged product is inherently unsustainable.   If we can help you get your products to their destination safely, that’s the most sustainable impact we can have.

2. Optimize the amount of material being used. While we need to apply stretch film to create stable unit loads, we want to do so in the most efficient way possible. We may be able to down gauge, reduce the number of wraps, or apply more film ONLY to the areas where it’s needed on the load.  We’re always looking for the solution with the lowest material usage.

While these steps are complex and themselves involve a number of steps, you can point to these two goals as the centerpiece of a sustainable end-of-the-line packaging solution.

Want to see how you can improve your packaging to become more sustainable?  Schedule a tour of the Packaging Solution Center today.

The Most Sustainable Thing We Can Do in Stretch Packaging

The Most Sustainable Thing We Can Do in Stretch Packaging

Becoming sustainable means much more than checking a box for big corporations.  Executives and employees are aware of conversations around earth-friendly practices and products, of consumers’ sensitivity to recyclable and sustainably sourced products, and to their own measurable impact on the world stage of sustainability.

Sustainability initiatives are good for people, good for the environment, and good for business.


There are a number of specific steps companies can take to improve their sustainability.  First, you can develop a business case for your sustainability initiatives. This will help leaders communicate the goals and strategies with clear and positive outcomes for the business.

You can assess and audit your own internal practices of recycling and promoting green practices within the company.

If building or expanding, you can look into repurposing existing space or investing in LEED-certified building practices.

You can audit your energy usage and look for ways to be more energy efficient.

You can examine your supply chain and find opportunities for greater sustainability throughout.


Packaging is often pinpointed as an opportunity where companies can reduce their footprint (See: Finding Our Way to Greener Packaging).

Using less material, whether on the primary packaging – like the bottle or carton – or with the secondary packaging – like the stretch, shrink, strapping, and cornerboard – seems an obvious place to improve sustainability. This is often true.  But if not done with a scientific approach that shows exactly how much you can reduce before jeopardizing the integrity of the packaging, these reductions can actually cause damage and waste far beyond what you saved in the first place.

In our work with stretch packaging and unit load testing at the Packaging Solution Center, we’ve found that the most sustainable thing we can possibly do is to make sure that manufactured goods arrive to the customer safely and securely.  The second any damage occurs, you have unsaleable product.  And that’s unsustainable. The transit and the energy required to either fix or repair those products is also unsustainable.

See also: The Big Picture of Sustainable Packaging

So, our first priority for you is to make sure that your product itself is protected as it travels from point to point.  This allows you to avoid rework, restocking, and repairs that are inefficient, expensive, and unsustainable.

If you’re interested in learning how you can reduce your packaging in a way that’s optimal and effective for both your product and your sustainability goals, schedule a visit to the Packaging Solution Center today and meet with our experts.

The Big Picture of Sustainable Packaging

The Big Picture of Sustainable Packaging

Achieving sustainability is not as easy as following a straightforward formula. We talked in an earlier post about the balancing act of cost, performance, and sustainability and how striking that balance is tricky yet attainable. 

Success in sustainability is similar. 

While we can certainly take steps such as using a reduced amount of higher performance stretch film (See: How To Use Less Stretch Film for Better Sustainability), we’ll find more success in achieving your goals when we move beyond isolating one single factor at a time.

In the video above, we discuss the value of evaluating your whole packaging system rather than isolating single factors like your stretch film or your shrink bundling film. If we can look at the big picture – from your actual product packaging to the way it’s unitized and everything in between – we have the opportunity to find more creative solutions that can yield significant sustainability gains.

If you haven’t been to the Packaging Solution Center in Charlotte, we invite you to come take a tour and see how our scientific approach to end-of-packaging can benefit your operation.