Sonderen Packaging is proud to have been awarded an Environmental Excellence Award from the Association of Washington Business, for the category of Resource Conservation and Pollution Prevention.

“I was surprised how many categories AWB has for the Environmental Excellence Award. I think it’s great, because there really are a lot of different ways to be green,” says Keva Sonderen. “It’s not just reducing the carbon footprint of your plant. It was fun to be awarded for the resource conservation/pollution prevention category, because – as far as sustainable resources go – the raw materials we use for packaging (trees) is the most sustainable resource out there, because it’s completely renewable and recyclable.”

At Sonderen Packaging, we demonstrate environmental sustainability in both our materials acquisition and our manufacturing practices. We work with suppliers who are equally committed to preserving and enhancing the environment – and we have the certifications to prove it. We use recycled paperboard as well as virgin paperboard harvested from Forest Stewardship Council certified forests. We use soy-based printing inks, water-based coatings and alcohol-free fountain solutions. We reuse printing plates for reprint jobs, saving on chemicals, materials, and energy. A solvent distillation unit allows Sonderen to recycle 90 percent of its solvents and reduce waste hauling by 95 percent. All products that we manufacture are recyclable and fully sustainable.

“It’s really great to be recognized for sustainability,” says Keva. “When people are looking for packaging that is sustainable I can always tell them that you can’t go wrong with paperboard. The paper mills that supply us with our paperboard are very environmentally conscious. They have to be, because if they did not manage their forest lands responsibly by ensuring healthy forest growth and replanting trees, they would be out of business.”

Sonderen Packaging is also proud to have received three Excellence awards from the North American Paperboard Packaging Competition (PPC), which is judged by a jury of packaging professionals, industry experts, and professors based on merits in concept, design, print, performance, and shelf appeal.

The first Excellence Award was in the Innovation Category for the Troy Landry Swamp People Special Edition Rimfire ammo boxes. CCI/Speer’s original Troy Landry Swamp People Special Edition Rimfire SKU’s were a huge hit with consumers when initially released in 2012, however the packaging presented several challenges. There were packing issues with the loose pack carton, causing the box to bulge disproportionately when filled to count capacity, and the modest size left little real estate for shelf impact. We also wanted to design a solution to keep the ammo suspended in the trays in order to protect the special wax coating that is applied to each bullet during the manufacturing process.

In 2014, we designed a paperboard insert that self-centers in the carton and allows trays of ammo to be suspended within the package to keep the wax coating from being compromised. The 22 rounds now remain in the plastic trays just as they came off of the line (thus reducing pack steps for manufacturing), and come to rest securely on the insert riser for a premium product presentation.  The insert is simple to manufacture and easy for the customer to handle in the fulfillment process.  The increased carton surface also allowed for such generous branding space that the customer was inspired to upgrade to a high-end, raised spot UV coating and selected a gator texture for additional product context and retail impact. The new configuration Swamp People 22 LR Mini & Maxi Mag SKU’s are in high demand as Special Edition CCI products and the packaging enhancements articulate a winning retail strategy.

 “CCI/SPEER has been doing business with SONDEREN Packaging for over 45 years.  As we set out to overcome the packaging issues with the Swamp People packs and our Sr. Rimfire Engineer conceived the initial carton w/tray concept we engaged SONDEREN to help us evolve the idea.  Together we developed an exceptional, functional and optimal solution—our colleagues at SONDEREN are industry leaders and we are delighted to have them on our team! ”

– Glenda Trees, CCI/Speer Packaging Specialist

This truly is an innovative design and a creative solution for a long-term customer, and we are very happy to have received this recognition from the PPC. The other two Excellence awards were in the General category: for Sterling Internationals TrapStik for Wasps and Flies packaging and Omega Pacific’s K9 Sky-Trak packaging.

Both are examples of exceptional package design. The first is a glued hexagonal sleeve that slides around the product. It is also designed with reverse cut tabs to keep it from sliding off the product and a tear strip for easy removal by the customer. The second is a two-piece package with a large product window and double-thickness hang tab to support the weight of the product. Strategically, the size of the packaging allows for optimal stacking and maximum use of space when packed within a readily available, standard-sized master case.

To top off a winning 2014, we were also honored to receive the Supplier of the Year Award from our longtime customer, East West (Yogi) Tea. Owners Mark, Matt, and Keva Sonderen, and sales manager Jamie Stewart attended the awards ceremony in Springfield, Oregon.


Thanks so much for attending the Conference and I really appreciate having the chance to meet Matt and Keva. It was a pleasure and I see a lot of you in them and just in the short conversations we had I can see their passion for the business come through, and that is so refreshing nowadays. And Jamie has also done just a superb job over the years, he’s practically like one of the family here.

Also, the Award we gave you really didn’t do enough justice to how we feel about Sonderen and how our relationship has been over many years.  I recall about two years ago when we were looking at alternative envelope suppliers in our business because our existing supplier wasn’t performing well – we got all our senior management in a room and asked the question – what are the key characteristics of an ‘A+’ supplier? And the first name out of everyone’s mouth was – Sonderen. You were (and are) the ‘benchmark’. Then people started to say key themes like; continuous improvement, proactive communication, engaged ownership, customer service, quality, etc.   But the resounding theme was – trust, trust, trust. That’s the bottom-line in any relationship, isn’t it? We appreciate everything you have done for us, truly, and you have made us a better company as a result.

Thanks again for taking time out from your busy schedule to come down Mark.”


Gerry Gegenhuber, CPM, APP
Vice President, Global Purchasing

East West Tea Company LLC/Yogi Tea