The Beauty of Better Packaging

Viva Healthcare Packaging
Written by Robert Hoshowsky

When COVID-19 hit, our certainties—like days in the office, weekends with friends—were suddenly gone.

Governments everywhere sent out the call to manufacturers: stop your regular products and shift production to making urgently needed personal protective equipment for nurses, doctors, and other first responders. One company stepping up during the crisis was Viva Healthcare Packaging.

With its vertical integration and decades of automation expertise, Viva could enter virtually any new market, including PPE, says Marketing Director Bruno Lebeault.

From beauty packaging to saving lives

As one of the largest injection molders in North America, ISO- and BRC-certified Viva is known for its unique, In-Mold-Labeled Tubes (IML Tubes) and for supplying almost a clean sweep of global beauty brands, including Procter & Gamble, L’Oréal, Kao, Unilever, Estée Lauder, Church & Dwight, Henkel, Beiersdorf, Avon, and Revlon.

Admired and respected for outstanding quality, working with short lead times, and high sustainability, Viva was an ideal player in the fight against COVID.

“When COVID started, we quickly realized the need for a good quality, reliable, and fast supply of face masks,” says Lebeault. “This is how we launched the project, and quickly became one of the largest suppliers in Canada and North America. Governments and large corporations were quick to recognize that we checked all boxes in record time.”

This soon led to introducing essential PPE like the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F2100 Level 1/2/3 certified comfort-fit face mask, a full face shield, and the unique Watch Guard. Worn on the wrist, the made-in-Canada Watch Guard is a comfortable and customizable, latex-free hand sanitizer dispenser.

Global status since ‘73

A packaging industry leader for almost 50 years, Viva Healthcare Packaging has grown to three locations girdling the globe—Toronto, Warsaw, and Hong Kong—and 2,000 staff. In Toronto, the company’s facility boasts 200 injection lines.

Holding numerous accreditations including ISO 9001:2015, British Retail Consortium (BRC), Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs), EcoVadis and Graphic Measures International certified print facility (GMI), the company has three key businesses: Home Entertainment Media Packaging, Health & Beauty Packaging, and Medical Devices.

For every market, the company’s strategy is to be fully vertically integrated and design its own automation, which enables Viva to launch new, exceptional quality quickly.

“Today, we do injection molding with and without in-mold-label (IML) cast PP film extrusion, printing on 12-station (and soon 14-station) Gallus printing presses, lamination, and all the automation,” says Lebeault.

Viva is a fully integrated one-stop shop for its clients. Its capabilities include everything from film extrusion to in-mold label printing and tube/cap molding, all performed on the most advanced equipment.

Receiving designs from customer brands and ensuring objectives are met, Viva does a preliminary review for each product with their clients, determining the size and shape of their packaging to precisely match their clients’ objectives, since there are many possibilities.

Compared to regular product labeling, Viva’s in-mold labeling holds many advantages, from practical to aesthetic. IML technology enables the maximization of decoration by utilizing every single surface area of the package; 360-degree decoration from top to bottom.

“The quality of the decoration is also outstanding, as we have hybrid presses that can use a combination of HD flexo, offset, silkscreen, cold foil, and hot stamp as well as various finishes such as our award-winning velvet soft-touch effect,” says Lebeault. “These benefits result in better shelf impact.”

For planet and people

A leader in sustainability, Viva continues to create innovative packaging which is not only functional and attractive, but better for people and the planet.

Recent years have seen Viva recognized for its many initiatives, including The Tube Council’s Best Sustainable Tube Gold Award (2020), the New Jersey Packaging Executive Club’s Sustainability Award 2019, and the WorldStar Award for Packaging in 2020, to name a few.

In its 2020 Viva Tube Life Cycle Analysis Summary, the company analyses the impacts of three Viva tubes, and four common industry tubes. Encompassing the cradle-to-grave lifespan of the tubes, the analysis includes key areas from raw material extraction and processing (including transportation) to manufacturing and eventual waste treatment.

The analysis found three categories that contribute over 80 percent of the overall environmental impact of plastic tubes: “Global warming—the impact of the ongoing rise of the Earth’s average temperature on human health and ecosystems; fine particulate matter formation—the impact of air pollution on human health; human non-carcinogenic toxicity—the accumulated impact of chemicals on the human food chain.”

In all three categories, Viva tubes had a much lower impact than industry-comparable tubes: “Up to 51 percent lower impacts on global warming (Viva PCR over Laminate PCR); up to 63 percent lower impacts on fine particulate matter formation (Viva Integral over Laminate),” and “up to 53 percent lower impacts on human non-carcinogenic toxicity (Viva Integral over Laminate).”

Unlike many other tubes on the market, Viva’s mono-material design—the tube, cap, and in-mold label are all made of polypropylene (PP) today, High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) very soon. This is to support the circular plastic economy through recycling. Vertically integrated, manufactured in a single facility, and not sent out for labeling elsewhere, means less transportation and fewer carbon emissions.

With greater options for high-content post-consumer recycled material (PCR), and highly efficient manufacturing, there is much less waste and a significantly lower impact on the environment.

“Sustainability is clearly first and foremost for the whole supply chain,” says Lebeault. “For example, our tubes are molded, assembled, and decorated under the same roof in Toronto in only one material, close to our customers, and with a life cycle analysis showing that on average our injection molded tubes with in-mold label use 30 percent to 60 percent less emission to manufacture than any other tube technology,” he explains.

“Furthermore, our tube technology enables the use of up to 90 percent PCR, the highest percentage in the industry. In deodorant sticks and thick-wall PET jars, we can go up to 100 percent. We are switching more and more of our customers to PCR and always increasing the percentage.”

Other ways Viva is pushing the sustainability envelope are by designing solutions to be refillable and using more than 50 percent less plastic in refill cartridges for its refillable Deo Stick.

Greener pallets

Widely used for years, traditional wood pallets are increasing in cost, as well as being unkind to the environment, since they remove trees from their habitat and contribute to landfill.

Recognizing this, Viva is taking vertical integration one step further with the Green Pallet. A cost-effective and sustainable solution, the Green Pallet will be used for Viva’s own production, and for other organizations looking for sustainable and cost-effective solutions.

There are many reasons the Green Pallet is better for the environment. Unlike regular wood pallets, they are made with 100 percent recycled paper products. Being an incredible 80 percent lighter than ordinary pallets means they enable considerable fuel reduction (60 litres per 1,000 km). They require neither heat treatment nor fumigation, with no staples, nails, or splinters used in their construction. They are also customizable in decoration, size and load resistance (they can be used in racks and withstand up to 2,500 lbs.).

Enduring innovation

Refusing to rest on its glowing reputation, Viva Healthcare Packaging continues to develop new and exciting solutions that are better for clients and the environment. “Innovation is at the heart of Viva and a constant process together with our customers,” says Lebeault.

Following the overwhelming success in North America of the company’s injection molded tubes with in-mold labeling and unlimited molding capacity, Viva’s beauty customers are asking the company to mold more and more components for them.

This is how the business launched key innovations such as the dual chamber tube, tubes with special applicators, low profile vented caps, powder tubes, airless pump tubes with the airless pump manufactured in-house, deodorant tubes, and one-piece tubes where the tube and the cap are molded in one step.

This also led to Viva recently entering the category of deodorant sticks with in-mold labels and thick wall PET (polyethylene terephthalate) jars, answering the need for more innovative sustainable components, produced locally and available faster at a competitive rate with no tariffs or long and costly freight. Today, more and more customers are switching their offshore sourcing to local North American sourcing and saving in carbon footprint, lead time and cost. And they are a better getting service and technical support on top.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023, Viva Healthcare is proud to offer local production, the flexibility and fast decision-making that comes with a private family-owned business, and ongoing innovation and quality. All under one roof in North America.

To find out more, visit www.viva-healthcare.com or contact Bruno Lebeault at brunol@marketing-vivacanada.com or 416-500-2602.

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