Swiss Army Slashes Plastic From Knife Packaging

Swiss Army Slashes Plastic From Knife Packaging

Swiss Army old (left) and new (right) packaging

Victorinox Swiss Army will no longer use all-plastic, unrecyclable clamshell packaging for its knives.

The U.S. company is switching to Natralock packaging, which is made of a small plastic bubble just big enough to hold a product sandwiched between strong paperboard. "Everything from Swiss Army [about 250 products] will ultimately be in board-to-board packaging," said Swiss Army's product and packaging manager Christopher Costa.

The packaging, created by MeadWestvaco, has been used by a variety of companies like Kodak and Costco that want to cut down on the packaging materials they use and the weight of packaging while keeping products secure.

The new Swiss Army packaging (see image, right) will roll out next month for products in North America and Europe. It's the culmination of a two-year project that included research into paperboard-based packaging options, talking with retailers about the new packaging and bringing the clamshell alternative worldwide.

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"We spent a lot of time collaborating and partnering with our customers, everyone from Walmart or Target to L.L. Bean, REI and smaller independent retailers, to make sure we are meeting theft compliance, material handling compliance," Costa said.

The new packaging reduces Swiss Army's plastic use by 80 percent, cuts the weight of its packaging in half and take up less space in shipping boxes. Additionally, clamshells are typically made of unrecyclable PVC, while the plastic used in Natralock is either virgin or recycled PET.

During the early stages of looking at new packaging, Costa showed the Natralock packaging to the Victorinox parent company in Switzerland, which has also converted to the new packaging. Now any Swiss Army product coming out of Switzerland or the U.S. will be in the new packaging. And although there are some distributors that are able to use different packaging, Victorinox is encouraging them to transition as well.