This past March, amid all of the craziness, our industry had the most amazing gathering at the Aerosol Summit in Nashville, TN. The success of the Summit was due to the admirable combined efforts of the regional and national organizations. Once again, energy, collaboration and networking were at their highest level. I was honored to pick the Keynote Speaker for the event—astronaut Ron Garan.
Our industry is in the middle of supply chain and personnel challenges like never before. This is when you see incredible companies rise to these challenges using disruption and transformation to excel in a new playing field.
The EAA Board of Directors has taken that challenge further and made some big changes to our events. We are trying new programs, new venues and new ideas to make your learning experience even better than before. Our updated website is easier to navigate, as well.
In June, we held our inaugural event at the home of the Somerset Patriots minor league baseball team. Attendees received an outstanding presentation with an update on sustainability from Molly Blessing of HCPA. Attendees also witnessed our Baseball Recycle Race promotion firsthand (see p. 17 for complete details).
Our baseball promotion, with the help of other regional aerosol organizations, reached over 10 million people in 2020 and that number gets higher every year.
The EAA is hosting our annual Golf Outing this month at a new venue—Fox Hollow Golf Club in Branchburg, NJ with the Bridgewater Marriot as the host hotel. Our Aerosol 101 event is on track for April 2023 at the same hotel. Keep up-to-date on all events at easternaersol.com.
The EAA would be happy to welcome new Board members for 2022. Contact us through our website or LinkedIn for more information. Please consider being part our team or any of the aerosol industry’s great regional and national associations.
If you desire further knowledge of the aerosol package, any and all of our regional and national associations will be able help! Visit spraytm.com/industry-links to connect with these associations.
I look forward to seeing you at our events. Continue to have a fun and safe summer.
President – Eastern Aerosol Association
Let’s start with the proverbial elephant in the room—COVID-19. This pandemic has created many issues for all manufacturers in every industry, starting with a shortage of personnel to run manufacturing facilities, both on the manufacturing line and in administrative offices. This created closures that helped keep COVID-19 from spreading.
As an industry, we were affected by the personnel shortage and continued to have issues as the new variants spread. With the COVID-19 variants surging, we were forced to create a hybrid work-from-home schedule while rotating personnel as needed at the facilities. These closures and disruptions included suppliers of packaging, raw materials, metal, plastics polymers and chemicals.
Domestic packaging suppliers, who had, over several years, reduced inventories and switched to Just in Time (JIT) manufacturing were caught with a shortage of raw materials. This trickled down to the all the packagers, including the aerosol industry. Lead times started to increase; packaging materials were placed in allocation. Most, if not all, packagers started sourcing materials from overseas, from whomever had inventory or manufactured it. This became a necessity as U.S. suppliers struggled to get raw materials and manufacture packaging.
At first, lead times were relatively normal, from order placement to delivery at the dock. As more manufacturers sourced from overseas, there came a shortage of shipping containers and the ports were overwhelmed by the numbers of ships arriving to unload. Then there was the shortage of truck chassis and drivers for the containers. The railroads, which once had plenty of capacity, were also overwhelmed by the demand to ship and a 10-day delivery became several months. All the while, the cost of container shipping exploded with an increase of 1,250% from 2019.
Packagers struggled to package their products; consumer demand did not ease. The increased demand created further pressure to source more materials; further strain on the shipping industry caused many packaging suppliers to declare Force Majeure and not honor vendor agreements. Then came the increased costs of raw materials; steady increases in the cost of goods have become the new normal. Some raw materials suppliers are not quoting until day of shipment. If manufacturers don’t want to accept the cost at time of shipment, raw materials suppliers then go to next packager on the list and offer the material.
The increased cost of raw materials and shipping has affected the bottom line and increased the cost of finished goods. In general, most packagers had believed that the supply chain would improve in the first or second quarter of 2022, but this will not be the case. Now, most suppliers believe that supply will not improve until the first quarter of 2023.
All of the internal and external supply issues caused by the pandemic have challenged our manufacturing teams to be creative, flexible and adapt to the challenges of the day, week or month to meet customer demands. We have been able to review and refine many of our processes and find incremental improvements. When this crisis is finally over, the manufacturers and packagers who adapted and found improvements within their facilities will be much stronger.
Ruben E. Morales
Technical Services Director, Technical Chemical Co.
President, SATA (2021–2023) • southernaerosol.com
Today’s journey down the yellow brick road is laden with dangers that threaten this great industry and our own businesses. Chemicals, components and wage levels are experiencing inflationary pressures…and not small ones on a percentage basis. Many of these inflationary issues are caused by a supply chain in chaos that is also experiencing rising fuel and labor costs. Behind us, beside us and in front of us during our journey sounds the steady drum beat of the regulators driving us forward. As we endure these challenges, are we content to drone on and let the Great Oz—referring metaphorically to the collective forces and circumstances creating the challenges for our industry—continue to pull the strings behind the curtain?
The National Aerosol Association (NAA) looks at challenges as opportunities and is dedicated to the promotion and protection of the aerosol package form. It’s through this lens that means and methods to overcome challenges are viewed as we nimbly and creatively seek solutions to our members’ challenges together.
The past 24 months have been full of challenges and accomplishments for the NAA. As the flying monkeys of COVID-19 descended, the NAA hosted weekly conference calls where company leaders throughout our industry shared best practices to help each other navigate the rapid changes that came with lockdowns and safely leading essential work forces. The camaraderie and teamwork exhibited during these calls was a shining light in a dark time.
COVID-19 did not slow down regulatory efforts. The NAA worked extremely hard to achieve some if its greatest regulatory accomplishments for industry to date. It worked with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) through another round of volatile organic compound (VOC) reductions and created remarkable outcomes for CARB, the environment and the aerosol industry! As CARB contemplated VOC reductions for air fresheners, hair sprays, dry shampoos, personal fragrance products and certain insecticides, it also introduced an Innovative Product Exemption (IPE) opportunity that promoted the use of the inert gases as propellants. The NAA worked with CARB to improve some of the technical details related to the inert gas portion of its proposal and developed, authored and successfully persuaded CARB to adopt a provision to include relative reactivity in the rulemaking that helps it achieve greater VOC reductions and environmental benefits, leaves more tools available for aerosol formulators and leverages the innovation power of the consumer products industry. Rarely do all parties win in regulatory compromise.
Other ongoing work includes collaboration with regional aerosol associations to create a virtual classroom containing Aerosol 101 educational videos (classroom.mistunderstood.com). The NAA is also working with the Household & Consumer Products Association (HCPA) and regional aerosol associations on the aerosol recycling challenge and to revitalize the very important annual Aerosol Survey that reports the total aerosol units filled in the U.S. each year.
Current focus is on spearheading another successful Aerosol Summit Meeting in Nashville, TN, which will be held March 27–29. More than 200 hundred attendees are already expected, so register and reserve your hotel room soon at nationalaerosol.com.
The current challenges and opportunities facing our great industry are best tackled working together in a fast-moving organization with laser focus and great people. Roll up your sleeves, embrace the Lion’s courage, the Tin Man’s heart and the Scarecrow’s brains and join us at the NAA. The curtain is always open, and we pull the strings together.
Joe Bowen, VP, Sales & Marketing, Aeropres Corp./President, NAA
The views and opinions expressed in Guest Commentary are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Industry Publications, Inc.
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
While life goes on, our economy is undergoing quite a number of fundamental changes. Businesses are adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic—the way you work, your home office, how you interact— much will look different in the New Normal, whenever that actually happens.
You all have been working very hard during this pandemic, providing goods, services and products to consumers to make their lives better. It’s all about support of the aerosol industry and our motivation to provide a floor where we can connect, engage and focus on common goals. I am happy that the FEA Board has taken the decision to organize another all-virtual conference this year. We received a lot of feedback from last year’s event; participants expressed how they obtained excellent insight, knowledge and understanding of technology, regulations, trends and environmental issues. I am excited about the opportunity to hold another high quality and innovative virtual conference to reach a wider audience across the world.
Therefore, I am very pleased to invite you to Virtual FEAerosol2021 on Sept. 23 to participate in up-to-date topics within a renewed virtual conference program. I am certain all of you will find this conference stimulating, rewarding and meaningful.
The second event I am very much looking forward to is the FEAerosol2022 Global Aerosol Events in 2022. I agree, even with the most perfect eyesight, good visibility and long-term planning, this event is still a challenge for all of us. Nevertheless, I am optimistic that the Global Aerosol Events can finally be held next year as the physical meeting that you are all longing for. Lisbon in September is the perfect place for this—pleasant weather, history, ornate architecture, spectacular hilltop vistas, traditional Fado music and friendly locals. However, the best part will be to meet friends, colleagues and customers again, shake hands, chat or have a drink together.
FEA invites you to attend the FEAerosol2022, taking place at the Feira Internacional de Lisboa (FIL) in Lisbon, Portugal from Sept. 21–22. This physical trade show and conference will have free admission for visitors. Visit feaglobalevents.org for more information.
As President of FEA, I am delighted to welcome you to both events. Let us all take the opportunity to network, learn, share and support each other.
I look forward seeing you.
I am Don Farrell, and as of January 1, Publisher of SPRAY Technology & Marketing. As many readers may not know my name, you could say I am new to SPRAY. However, that is far from the real story.
I started my career with Industry Publications, SPRAY’s parent company, in the late 1970s as the advertising salesman for what was then called Aerosol Age. In those early years, I attended most of the major industry meetings including CSMA (now the Household & Commercial Products Association or HCPA) in Florida, drifting from cabana to cabana, getting to know who was who and what was what.
Looking back into our archives, I found a report on the “hot topics” from my first CSMA meeting in January 1979. One presenter proposed what the “New Markets” for aerosols might be in the 1980s. The list was long, close to 50 items, but some of the more interesting ones were, Products that Improve Cooking Skills, Products that Keep Household Cleaning Unnecessary, Products that Remove Pollutants from the Air and Products that Provide Sun Protection (not a particularly hot topic in those days, if you will excuse
I stayed with Aerosol Age for several years before shifting my focus to another industry publication within the company. Cynthia Hundley moved into my position at Aerosol Age and, of course, was SPRAY’s Publisher up until her recent retirement. Her career was long and distinguished; she was involved in so many aspects of the aerosol industry that it is impossible to list them all here. Industry Publications thanks her for her many years of diligent service.
During the past few decades, I’ve stayed up-to-date on the larger issues and movements in the aerosol industry, albeit from an upper management position as officer and owner of the company. I have contributed to the promotion of the Eastern Aerosol Association, the Aerosol Summit, and the design of the aerosol industry trade show booth. You may have also noticed that I’ve kept my hand in every issue as the designer of each SPRAY cover.
Bernard D. Kahn, a speaker from that January 1979 CSMA meeting, summed up with this: If you consider the broad range of consumer benefit pressurized products can offer… if you think of new generations of products to meet new generational needs…you must conclude that the age of pressurized products has just begun.
SPRAY is committed, as ever, to seeing that through.
This month, Commentary is provided by guest editorialist John Davis, President of the Western Aerosol Information Bureau (WAIB).
As a first-generation Mexican immigrant, my wife still has a large portion of both her immediate and extended family living in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Every September, we head to her home town of Matanzas to celebrate Mexican Independence Day or, in Spanish, Día de la Independencia. This year, we still made the trip in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it had a slightly different feel. Instead of the large parties, dances and rodeos of past years, this year was more about small, outdoor family gatherings and meals.
If you close your eyes and imagine the rugged, mountainous, high desert backdrops of the old Clint Eastwood westerns, you will be transported in your mind to Matanzas. At the center of town is a centuries-old majestic Catholic church built from hand-cut stone that rises more than 100 feet into the air. The few thousand people who call Matanzas home are mostly proprietors of small shops, cattle ranchers and farmers who still cut the land with hand tools to grow corn and agave. Matanzas is a very simple place that seems frozen in time.
One evening during our most recent visit as we sat down to dinner, my father-in-law handed me a 500mL Coke that was in a very thick and heavy glass bottle. I noticed two horizontal lines etched into the bottle at its two widest points, as well as the word retornable or, translated into English, returnable. I had noticed these lines before and even remembered seeing my father-in-law packing empty Coke bottles into a reusable shopping bag and taking them back to the small, corner grocery store, but I had never given it much thought before.
During this recent visit, however, as I thought about those lines etched in that bottle and the image of my father-in-law walking down a narrow, dirt street carrying empty bottles to the tiny little grocery store, I realized that there, in that small and ancient Mexican farming village, was a robust sustainability infrastructure in place around those bottles. The lines etched on that bottle were the result of it spinning against other glass bottles countless times as it moved down a conveyor for refilling.
In 2019, the California State Legislature authored Senate Bill CA54 that would have required single-use packaging to meet specified recycling rates. The Bill, while well-intentioned, had many gaps and ultimately, time ran out during the legislative period and it did not pass. However, that Bill, and others like it, will come up again in the near future. In its original form, the Bill was just vague enough to cover some aerosol containers—and the aerosol industry needs to be thinking about these kinds of Bills and how we will measure recycling rates.
What is the connection between CA SB54 and my trip to Mexico? Very simply, if a robust sustainability plan and supporting infrastructure can be implemented and adopted in rural Mexico, where resources are scarce and scattered, there should be very few obstacles around sustainability initiatives here in the U.S. where resources are plentiful.
At the WAIB, our No. 1 initiative in 2020 and 2021 is to drive awareness around understanding recycling rates for empty aerosol containers so that this industry can be prepared for Bills like CA54. It is one thing to be recyclable; it is something completely different to be recycled.