Canadian Packaging

Green Thumbing


November 28, 2008
by Andrew Joseph, Features Editor

Being ‘Green’ has many connotations, but ‘inexperienced’ is the last one that comes to mind when talking about Excel-Pac Inc., a well-seasoned flexible packaging converter with a special fondness for packaging sustainability as a core manufacturing competence.

Based in the northern Montreal suburb of Terrebonne, Que., the company is a well-established supplier of printed and laminated rollstock, pre-formed pouches and bags to Canadian- and U.S.-based customers in the dairy, fresh and frozen packaged foods, lawn-and-garden, pet-food and beauty product industries.

Operating under the Excel-Pac name since 1993, the company—originally called Excel Paper in the 1950s—employs about 60 highly-skilled, dedicated staff at a custom-designed, 60,000-square-foot facility moved to in 2002.

“Moving into our new building gave us an opportunity to put into practice and refine many of the production efficiency ideas we were developing for a long time—like better product flow, cleaner manufacturing processes and the recycling of solvents,” explains Excel-Pac vice-president and general manager of operations Amato De Civita.

The new home also helped facilitate a transition into one of the Canadian converting industry’s leading progressive businesses fully embracing environmental sustainability as one of its core guiding principles.

“Sustainability means responsibility—to the environment, to our customers, and to the end consumers,” De Civita told Canadian Converting in a recent interview, while describing the company’s three-pronged approach to sustainability based on daily execution of three interwoven concepts.

“The first is having sustainability as part of our culture,” he explains. “Before sustainability became a catchword in our industry, Excel-Pac proactively engaged in several practices that could be considered sustainable.

“We also take extraordinary steps to tie it in logically into the areas of food safety through our manufacturing processes and practices, tamper-proof products, and clean production technologies.

“For Excel-Pac, food safety is the most critical aspect of what we do and how we go about doing it.”

The second pillar underpinning Excel-Pac’s commitment to sustainability, says De Civita, is based on bringing all of the company’s partners and stakeholders onboard.

“For example, we are working with Dare Foods—a manufacturer of delicious, high-quality snacks and treats—to introduce a new packaging structure that provides a longer shelf-life, runs at higher machine speeds and higher wrap efficiencies, and helps achieve a source reduction of 18 per cent, while maintaining a neutral cost position.”