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Sleeve: The Eco-Friendly Form of Packaging

Sleeves are considered as the sustainable and eco-friendly form of packaging compared with the traditional carton boxes.

Packaging is an omnipresent factor in the industrial era we live in. 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 the 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-Around 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

About the Authors

Zixin Yuan
Digital Marketing Coordinator
* Graduate of Ningbo University

Zixin Yuan gots her Graduate's Degree in International Business from Ningbo University. She is CEFR C2 certified in English with CPE by Cambridge University and responsible for digital marketing at ÉLITER Packaging Machienry.
Zixin Yuan - LinkedIn

Zhiwei Bao
Company Owner
* Msc.
* University of Granada
* University of Vigo
* Interdisciplinary expertise in packaging, SME management, international business
* Past experience at Hapag-Lloyd, ZIM and Kuehne+Nagel

Company owner at ÉLITER Packaging Machinery, a mark of Huaneng Machinery. He is the third generation of the family business. He got the Msc. degree from the University of Granada and University of Vigo. He worked at several world´s leading companies in international shipping including HLAG, ZIM and K+N before taking over the family business in packaging automation.                           
Zhiwei Bao - LinkedIn

About the Company
ÉLITER Packaging Machinery Co., Ltd
No.1088, Jing Ye Rd, Economic Development Zone, Dong Shan District, Ruian Wenzhou Zhejiang, China 325200
+86 (0577) 6668 2128
ÉLITER Packaging Machinery