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  • Thinking about the box is thinking outside the box | Asian Pacific Post

    But thinking about the box is the wave of the future for a world drowning in a sea of packaging waste.

    “What’s inside the box is about you but the box belongs to the world you live in,” said Harbinder Singh Sewak, a Canadian entrepreneur who has launched an inspiring, innovative and individualized gift box program out of Vancouver called alooatta.com

    Of South Asian origin, Sewak got the inspiration after a family friend invited him to his daughter’s wedding.

    “The paper box was flimsy and the lining was oily…it could not be recycled and there was the wedding invitation card attached to it,” said Sewak.

    “I thought to myself there must be millions of such boxes going out every day and eventually ending up in our oceans and landfills..what if the whole packaging was made biodegradable and recyclable.”

    Add in the innovation of individualization – each box comes with personalized greeting printed directly on the package to dispense with the need of extra paper for a card – and Alooatta.com was born.

    Last weekend at Surrey’s mammoth Vaisakhi parade, the Alooatta boxes and the gifts that go along with it, took the event by storm.

    Singh and his team planned to hand out a few thousand samples but ended up giving away close to 10,000 boxes and gift items like artisanal perfumes and chocolates.

    “I have been looking around for special gifts for a friend’s wedding and these perfumes in the special boxes are perfect,” said Sumita Kaur.

    More than 85 percent of about 200 people interviewed showed an intention to use the Alooatta boxes for personalized gifts.

    A similar number were enamored with the alcohol-free perfume, made by local perfumers, with over 30 years’ experience in customizing scents.

    “It fuses unique cultural references from South Asia with Indian roots that merges the East and West,” said one of the perfumers.

    But this love can be blind as consumers turn a blind eye to the environmental cost of online retail, particularly when it comes to packaging.

    Just in the United States and Canada, there are approximately 1,500 corrugated packing plants. The demand for using cardboard as a packaging material has made it the single largest waste product (by weight) in your trash and it is estimated that over 24 million tons of cardboard is discarded each year.Â

    Zero Waste Canada, a Vancouver-based advocacy group, estimates each Canadian tosses about 50 kilograms of garbage over the year-end holidays, 25 percent more than the rest of the year, thanks to the purchase of 3,000 tonnes of foil, 2.6 billion Christmas cards and six million rolls of tape.

    Official data shows China’s courier firms delivered around 20 billion orders in 2015, using 8.27 billion plastic bags, 9.92 billion packing boxes and enough sticky tape to go around the globe more than 400 times.

    “This is a worldwide problem and it is essential we reimagine the packaging experience when giving gifts and in the e-commerce world,” said Sewak.

    For his part, Sewak’s Alooatta boxes produced in Canada are embossed with vegetable-based ink that contains no lead. All paper and dyes are approved by the Canada Food and Health Agency (CFIA) and the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

    Alooatta partners have alliances with Climate Smart and Ecotrust Canada and hold Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) certification while the print on the boxes Ultra Violet (UV) inks that are 100% greenhouse gas free.

    For now, Alooatta is focusing its business on Canada’s booming South Asian community, which uses tens of thousands of gift boxes for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and religious events.

    Alloatta can also pre-load the boxes with specially made Indian sweets, nuts and chocolates, perfumes and bath bombs and a variety of other items.

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    Post time: Apr-25-2019
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