One of the unexpected benefits of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is the light it has shined on the environmental resilience of Mother Earth. The relatively short but sharp reduction in global industrial activity combined with significant reductions in air travel and ground transportation have resulted in meaningful reductions in carbon emissions, cleaner air, improved water quality, and a resurgence in wildlife. Satellite images of Asian and European cities and residential areas show a precipitous drop of 40% or more in Nitrogen Dioxide levels in a matter of just a few weeks.
While these results demonstrate the extraordinary resiliency and restorative powers of our environment, world economies are suffering from the devasting economic consequences of the shutdown. Not surprisingly, we are faced with the realization that a global pause in industrial activity is impractical and unsustainable. At the same time, we watch the continued rapid increase in global deforestation that has led to half of the world’s forests being cleared and the resultant ecological and environmental imbalances that threaten our planet and way of life. As global citizens, we continue to support and participate in a world economic system that produces 381 million tons of plastic waste each year, which has resulted in 88% of our seas’ surfaces being polluted by plastic waste. In the U.S., we are quick to express outrage when we feel our rights are violated by government pandemic policies that restrict our freedoms and threaten our economic livelihood, but many of us turn a blind eye when we hear about the Pacific Garbage Patch, a 1.6 million square kilometer accumulation of floating plastic in the Pacific Ocean- an area larger than the state of Texas.
In today’s blog we will share just a few examples of how we are working with ECOR® to create the most eco-friendly retail displays on earth. ECOR® is an innovative new material that is considered to be the world’s most sustainable, high-performance, and cost-effective manufactured substrate. It has an impressive strength-to-weight ratio and is very affordable compared to MDF, PVC, and similar materials. ECOR® supports the circular economy since it is made only from 100% natural recycled fibers, water, and heat. It is also 100% recyclable, biodegradable, VOC-free, and non-toxic. ECOR® panels can be created from the conversion of nearly any type of agricultural, urban, or industrial waste. A few examples of the waste materials used to make ECOR® fiber alloys are shown below.
Let’s take a look at 5 examples of retail countertop displays that we recently made out of ECOR®.
- Lighted Woodinville Whiskey Counter Display– We direct printed graphics on ECOR® panels and then cut and folded the panels, which produced very clean edges. We added LED lighting under the back panel. This display is relatively light weight, very strong, and extremely eco-friendly.
- Counter Glorifier Display with Back lit Logo– We used a similar design to create the counter display shown below. As in the example above, we direct printed the ECOR® panels, but in this case we laser cut the front lip, added sign white acrylic on the inside, and back lit the logo with LED lights. We printed art work to simulate real concrete on the main deck and printed Visionary brand graphics on the back panel.
- Non-lighted Counter Display– We used the same basic design to produce a non-lighted counter display as a way of providing another example of the printability of ECOR®. The colorful back panel was direct printed. We could have easily direct printed the wood pattern on the main deck, but in this case, we wrapped the deck with a wood laminate to demonstrate the ease with which ECOR® accepts laminates and other decorative substrates/finishes.
- Essentiel® by Adele Counter Display– The counter display shown below is intended to illustrate how well ECOR facilitates the use of angles in POP display designs. We created the base shape by simply V grooving a pre-cut piece of ECOR® on our CNC machine which we then folded to create multiple angles. We added a wood veneer to the base surface and the back-panel sides after we direct printed the back panel. As with the other examples shown below, we made the back panel removable for cost-effective shipping.
- Countertop Riser– Our final example is a minimalistic, simple-as-it-gets countertop riser or product glorifier. This again is an example of a basic cut-and-fold operation with direct printed graphics. This riser is very light weight, amazingly strong, and very cost-effective. With the addition of slatwall brackets, we could create an eco-friendly shoe shelf or wall glorifier.
We hope today’s post will get you to think about the possibilities that are within reach for creating eco-friendly retail displays and encourage you to join us in supporting the circular economy so we all can realize the promise of a more sustainable future.