Sleeve: The Eco-Friendly Form of Packaging

Packaging is an omnipresent factor in the industrial era we live. As Soroka mentioned in the Fundamentals of Packaging Technology, 

“Packaging is the science, art and technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use. Packaging also refers to the process of designing, evaluating, and producing packages. Packaging can be described as a coordinated system of preparing goods for transport, warehousing, logistics, sale, and end use. Packaging contains, protects, preserves, transports, informs, and sells.” [1]

With the industrial innovation and upgrading we are now looking for a more sustainable form of packaging, rather than the carton or box we generally use in the past, giving the concern about environment. The primary concerns about the future sustainable and eco-friendly form of packaging are the recyclability, less consumption of printing and packaging material and on the meanwhile remaining with fine features for marketing and branding.

Paperboard Sleeve: the Economic and Environmentally-Friendly Alternative for Carton 

Paperboard sleeve packaging are basically strips of cardboard or paperboard, printed with brand and product information, and to be wrapped around the products, generally in containers such as pots, trays, tubs, cups, and so forth. Sleeves, just as the traditional six-sided carton box, are often a secondary packaging that goes over the primary packaging. 

Compared with the carton box, sleeves are more without closure panels, dust flaps or tucks. The reasons for which sleeves are considered as an economic and environmentally-friendly substitute of cartons including:

  • Sleeves are more cost-effective

Sleeve takes less paper and printing material than a six-sided carton does. Turn to sleeves for secondary packaging can bring more benefits to save the environment by consuming less resources.

  • Customization

Sleeves can be designed in a considerable variety of shapes and forms. For example, the full-sleeve, edge-lock sleeve, partial sleeve, etc. The wide possibility for customization makes it possible the unique and conspicuous promotion by eye-catching packaging design

  • Quick and Easy to Form Packaging

Rather than a traditional carton that has flaps and tucks to be folded and tucked-in. Sleeves are simpler to pack the products. Regardless of they are pre-glued sleeves or just flat blank sleeves, enough just by inserting the products into them or wrapping them around the products to form the packaging.

Packaging Automation for Sleeves

While sleeve as a sustainable form of packaging that saves material and environment, enhancing packaging automation to improve the efficiency for sleeve packaging is also an important factor to reinforce further the benefits brought by sleeves. Just like the other forms of packaging which come with their corresponding packaging automation solutions, the automation of sleeve packaging is rendered by machinery called Wrap-Asround Sleever, or briefly, sleever. Wrap-Around Sleever is known also as sleeve cartoning machine. A sleever can place a paperboard sleeve on the product to be packed, and then wrap the sleeve around the product and seal the sleeve by hot-melt glue or by form of interlock. 

The Future of Sustainable Packaging

Apart from the innovation in the form of packaging, companies worldwide are constantly looking for further solutions including the R+D of new paper and printing material. The future packaging are supposed to be with better performance in the recyclability, renewability, and carton neutral in production. 

About the Author

Zixin Yuan – Digital Marketing Coordinator 

at ELITER Packaging Machinery – A family business in the packaging machinery industry for three generations. Manufacturer and supplier of cartoning machines, overwrapping machines, and wrap-around sleever.




  1. Soroka (2002) Fundamentals of Packaging Technology, Institute of Packaging Professionals ISBN 1-930268-25-4


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