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For #ThrowbackThursday, circa 1980s Dordan advertisements

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Oct 8, 2015 10:52:23 AM

Hey guys!

The 1980s were awesome. Check out these awesome 1980s Dordan ads for #ThrowbackThursday. I don't think there are enough puns in today's advertising; let's bring puns back.

My article on Green Plastics for Thermoforming #1 on!

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Oct 5, 2015 9:52:40 AM

Hey guys!

Guess what?!

My latest article for Packaging Digest Magazine, "Yesterday's 'Promising' Green Materials: Where are they now?" was the #1 most read article on in September!

To see the top 5 most popular articles from Packaging Digest for September, click here!

The interest in green materials for thermoforming provided the motivation for my next article for Packaging Digest Magazine, "The Future of Green Materials for Packaging": this will profile companies and projects that have the potential to revolutionize the sustainable packaging industry; though as we learned with the review of yesterday's promising green materials, a great product does not a great company make.

Here are the list of companies I am interviewing for inclusion in my next article on "the future" of green materials for packaging:

  • Mango Materials on methane-based bio plastic PHA
  • LOLIWARE on biodegr[edible] food service packaging
  • ZELFO Technologies on packaging made from 100% food waste
  • BIOBOARD/ IRIS on cheese based packaging laminate
  • WikiFoods on edible packaging
  • Ecovative on mushroom packaging

Dordan Video Testimonial: The Chicago Management Institute at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Sep 30, 2015 10:25:18 AM


Check out my video testimonial about the Chicago Management Institute, an executive management program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. I attended this program last year and had a blast; so much so, I volunteered to help CMI spread the good word in this video testimonial. Notice the Booth shirt?!

Happy 20th Birthday Pack Expo! To celebrate, my favorite Pack Expo memories!

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Sep 29, 2015 12:07:05 PM

Greetings my sustainable packaging friends.

I hope everyone caught the super narly blood moon.

And I hope everyone is having an even more narly time at Pack Expo in Last Vegas! The Show is celebrating it's 20th anniversary this year, and in celebration thereof, I thought I would put together a compilation of Dordan's favorite Pack Expo memories. This is the first time we have not exhibited at Pack Expo in Las Vegas since my employment at Dordan, and reliving these moments makes me feel less left out of the party. Enjoy!

  • VIDEO: Thermoformed "Grow Trays" Facilitate Mushroom Packaging

And here are the dudes and I looking like bosses booth-side at last year's Pack Expo:

Wishing everyone a successful 2015 Pack Expo!

Download "Green Plastics for Thermoforming," A Then & Now Comparative

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Sep 21, 2015 11:56:35 AM

Hello and happy Monday!

I received permission from Packaging Digest to convert my latest article on green plastics for thermoforming into a resource that can be downloaded for my readers.

Download "Green Plastics for Thermoforming" to learn about today's market for sustainable plastics compared to the market 5 years ago; presentation includes 7 material profiles with physical properties and environmental performance description; and, primary interviews with suppliers presents the inside story.

This presentation is follow up to Dordan's now retired Bio Resin Show N Tell, available for download for a limited time here.

Above: Yesterday's "promising" green materials, where are they now?


"The Future" of sustainable plastics for packaging

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Sep 18, 2015 8:53:55 AM

Greetings my sustainable packaging people, happy Friday!

Guess what?! I am doing a follow up to my "Yesterday's Promising 'Green' Materials: Where are they now?" article for Packaging Digest, which focuses on "the future" of sustainable plastics for packaging. While researching what happened to the nontraditional materials profiled in Dordan's Bio Resin Show N Tell for my latest article, I came across some other materials that, though not yet commercialized for thermoforming, may lend themselves to other packaging applications in "The Future" muhaha; examples include edible cup company LOLIWARE and methane-based PHB supplier Mango Materials. I am rounding up a handful of other super exotic and sustainable materials to profile alongside these, in a similar format to my latest article.

I actually interviewed Co-Founder and Co-CEO of LOLIWARE at SUSTPACK15. Check it out!


Yesterday's Promising 'Green' Materials: Where are they now?

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Sep 8, 2015 8:45:27 AM

Guys, my new article for Packaging Digest Magazine titled "Yesterday's Promising 'Green' Materials: Where are they now?" was published last week!

Article includes a "Where are they now?" discussion of the following non traditional resins for thermoforming:

  • PLA
  • Enhanced PLA
  • PHA
  • DPET
  • Foamed RPET
  • Algae plastic
  • Algae plastic

Material Profiles include descriptions of:

  • Environmental performance & credentials
  • Technical properties
  • Strategic market analysis

All information on materials collected through primary interviews with material suppliers.

A special thanks to Steve Davis at Natureworks, Laura Pichon at Extech Plastics, Paul Antoniadis at Solegear, Lynne Brum at Metabolix, Theresa Vanna at Transilwrap, Ryan Hunt at ALGIX, and Joe Barenberg at OCTAL.

Click here to learn where yesterday's "green" materials for thermoforming are now.

Top image: algae plastic & PP, 2011; bottom, algae plastic & PS, 2015


REGISTER: The McHenry County Economic Development Corp's Business Breakfast Series

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Aug 28, 2015 1:36:00 PM

Hello and happy Friday!

Attention McHenry County business community: Register to attend the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation's Business Breakfast Series, featuring speaker Patricia Miller, CEO of Woodstock injection molder Matrix IV. The breakfast is taking place September 15th at the Crystal Lake Country Club. I was fortunate enough to meet Patricia last winter after reading her story in Plastics News; she is definitely a woman in business I admire and is sure to give an insightful presentation.

And I'll be there, too!

For some background, Dordan was selected as the MCEDC's Business Champion in 2011. Here is an article from the Northwest Herald on Dordan, which was published shortly thereafter. I remember 2011 well; it's when I decided to go blonde, a terrible, terrible mistake for any natural brunette.

Here's a photo from the night of the award reception; and there's my brother and Dordan Sales Manager Aric Slavin (center) looking like a boss!

Hope to see you at the MCEDC Business Breakfast Series September 15th!


New Packaging Digest Article Preview: Bioplastics for thermoformed packaging, where are they now?!

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Aug 24, 2015 3:04:00 PM

Hey guys!

When I became Dordan's Sustainability Coordinator in 2009 we created our Annual Bio Resin Show N Tell, a profile of the available bioplastics for thermoforming with comparative performance and price analysis; we'd showcase this exhibit at Pack Expo, which included thermoformed samples of each profiled bioplastic. What started with just a few bioplastics in 2009 grew to a Show N Tell of over 9 materials by 2013. It was fun testing all the exotic materials coming onto the market for inclusion in our Annual Bio Resin Show N Tell and we were happy to educate packaging professionals on the applications and draw backs of this new class of "green plastics." 

The two years that followed I lost touch with innovations in bioplastics, making no additions to Dordan's Annual Bio Resin Show N Tell. The exhibit became tired, no longer a point of interest for our clients and prospects as we witnessed a stronger demand for recycled, rather than biodegradable or bio based, thermoformed packaging solutions. This was largely because, as our Show N Tell demonstrated, the application was limited for bioplastics in thermoformed packaging for retail due to performance and cost issues: When we sampled PLA in 2010, for instance, the material was too brittle to pass shipping drop tests and had to be transported in refrigerated trucks due to the low heat deflection temperature; this was clearly not ideal for most retail packaging applications and therefore not appropriate to most of Dordan's clients. Different versions of the same story repeated itself with each material profiled in our Show N Tell, unfortunately, and we shifted our attention on sustainable packaging solutions from bioplastics to PET thermoform container recycling.

And then I saw a presentation from Dr. Molly Morse at SUSTPACK15 in Orlando; she is the CEO of methane-based PHA supplier Mango Materials. She and a team of researchers from Stanford discovered that it is "biologically favorable" to convert methane to PHA rather than sugar, which makes for a much more efficient process and therefore cheaper PHA bioplastic material!!! Read my Q&A with Dr. Morse here.

My interest in bioplastics became reinspired hearing Mango Materials' story, and I wondered what other innovations in bioplastics had transcended since my withdrawal from this space.

I pitched the idea of a "Bioplastics, where are they now?!" E! True Hollywood type story (I'm kidding/not really kidding) to the Editor at Packaging Digest Magazine and she liked it! So my next article for Packaging Digest Magazine is on developments in bioplastics for thermoforming; a review of the last 5 years of bioplastics' performance in the thermoformed packaging market.

I have been interviewing the material suppliers profiled in Dordan's Bio Resin Show N Tell on what is going on with their respective bioplastic and green plastic offerings, in their companies, and in the thermoform and larger packaging market segments; and, my MIND IS BEING BLOW.


Some materials are no longer available, some companies no longer exist, some companies have completely restructured their market focus or approach, and some have fundamentally innovated; but, they all have a story to tell.

Hear from Natureworks, ALGIX, Mango Materials, Metabolix, Solegear, OCTAL, LOLIWARE and more on innovations in bioplastics and "green plastics" for thermoforming in my next article for Packaging Digest, coming September.

From the Archives: 1989 Packaging Digest Case Study on Dordan and Bosch

Posted by Chandler Slavin on Aug 12, 2015 9:29:00 AM

Hey guys!

As many of you know, Dordan is a 53 year-old family owned and operated custom thermoformer of packaging and components. My Dad has been the active CEO since 1974 ish, and our current VP and General Manager have worked at Dordan practically since then. Our corporate culture reflects this longevity and loyalty, and we are proud of it. This pride has motivated us to collect all the press and worthy memorabilia about Dordan over the years, which we keep safely tucked away in our archives. I was going through these archives last week and found this awesome, may I say vintage, Packaging Digest case study from 1989 describing how Dordan and Bosch collaborated on this "thermabook"; I can't believe Dordan has been providing innovative thermoformed packaging solutions since before I was BORN. Anyway, I thought it was so cool I wanted to share with you all. Forgive the weird resolution; it is a screen shot of a scan of an old magazine article. You may have to zoom in to read the text or you can download the pdf here.

For a more recent package design case study from Dordan, check out our retail clamshell case study!










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