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How Years of R&D Led to the Creation of the Curbside Recyclable Pregis EverTec™ Mailer

It took years to perfect the chemistry behind the EverTec curbside recyclable mailer. Here’s an inside look at this innovation in sustainable packaging.

Executive summary:

  • The EverTec mailer is the result of years of research and development, serving as the only cost-competitive curbside recyclable mailer on the market today.
  • The process started with a breakthrough in chemistry, providing the EverTec mailer with an easily sortable cushioning material, created with components commonly found in products similar to commonly used glue or the glue used to make cardboard boxes.
  • This puffy, lightweight material gives the EverTec mailer an advantage over earlier recyclable mailers, enabling more products to be shipped with less weight and without sacrificing protective capabilities.
  • Pregis authorized channel partners successfully market and sell the mailer to customers as an answer to consumer concerns regarding the recyclability of packaging.

The creation of the first lightweight, cost-competitive curbside recyclable mailer didn’t happen overnight. Pregis’ EverTec mailer is the result of more than a decade of research and development, giving the industry the next step in sustainable packaging.

With EverTec, most of the sustainability work is done before it ever reaches the consumer. All an online shopper has to do is walk to their curbside recycling bin and forget the rest. Instead, the work was done in a lab, perfecting the chemistry behind the innovative cushioning that allows the mailer to be easily separated, sorted, and recycled. Here’s the story behind the innovation.


It All Started with the Chemistry...and Partnership

One of the revolutionary components of the EverTec mailer is the lightweight cushioning material which is strategically dotted between the interior and exterior mailer panels. This unique formulation was brought to Pregis through a partnership with Henkel, an industry leader in adhesive technologies.

Henkel engineers successfully developed Epix® Technology, which is used to manufacture the proprietary cushioning found in EverTec. The first step in this process of developing the new chemistry took nearly a decade to perfect. But once it was tested for use on padded mailers, they found some intriguing results they hadn’t expected.

The padded mailer prototypes that eventually became the EverTec recyclable mailer were sent to an accredited curb-side recyclability testing lab to provide insight on the product’s recyclability. The results were benchmarked against other cushioned mailers, including traditional paper mailers and bubble mailers — and, right away, it was clear this new chemistry was a breakthrough in sustainable packaging.

The engineering team discovered their new cushioning was as lightweight as bubble cushioning and easily separated from paper fibers during the recycling process, meaning curbside recycling was a possibility. What’s more, the cushioning itself was essentially a “dream material” created by heating a common form of glue, similar to the glue used to form cardboard boxes.

The value proposition behind the EverTec mailer was born.


What Makes EverTec Special

Earlier recyclable mailers were made entirely from paper, allowing consumers to simply throw it in with the rest of their paper waste. The problem behind those early versions of a recyclable mailer was that this made the packaging heavy and unwieldy, while offering no product protection. That made the traditional mailer more expensive to ship.

In terms of weight, the EverTec mailer is comparable to other lightweight bubble mailers, which are not curbside recyclable. In other words, the EverTec mailer joins together the two most attractive qualities of recyclable mailers and modern protective bubble mailers, providing Pregis customers with a sustainable option for e-commerce, small parts packaging, and more.

But innovative cushioning isn’t all that makes the EverTec mailer special: The innovators behind the mailer worked just as hard to make sure all elements — including the seal, the durability, the insertability (or ease of insertion), the protective performance, and the size — were fit for duty in today’s online shopping environment.


Bringing EverTec Sustainability to the People

Even through all of the moments that led to the creation of the only cost-competitive curbside recyclable mailer, it was unclear whether or not there would be a market for the product. But the massive push from both businesses and consumers toward sustainability solidified the need for the curbside recyclable mailing solution.

This demand for a more sustainable and circular economy, and the desire to bring sustainable shipping innovation to consumers, is what brought Pregis and Henkel together. This partnership opened the doors for a product like the EverTec mailer, and provides consumers with a true evergreen solution to the challenge of excess packaging waste being sent to landfills.

To learn more about Pregis’ sustainability pledge and sustainable packaging, contact a representative today.