Drum It Up! Steel Drum Industry News, Trends, and Issues

Archive for October, 2022

Supply Chain: Too Many Bikes.

October 29th, 2022 by Laura Denk

Filed under: Industry News

No matter your business, you have undoubtedly been hit with supply chain problems. Over the past two years, many companies responded to supply chain problems by ordering more than we might need, pushing out lead times, and overwhelming manufacturers. 

Whether it was steel, gaskets, bolts, hand sanitizer, or in this case, bikes, supply chains went topsy-turvey.

Last week’s Wall St. Journal reported that these problems are roiling the bicycle industry, which experienced a surge in demand during 2020 as consumers confined to their homes sought exercise or escape.

Why it matters: Peleton believing that this demand would remain elevated for years, spent hundreds of millions moving its production of stationary bikes in-house to avoid overseas supply logjams. But when consumers emerged from lockdowns, they lost interest.

At Bicycle Habitat in New York City, lines formed down the block for whatever was available on a given day in the early stages of the pandemic, said owner Charlie McCorkell. Sales for 2022 are expected to be lower than in 2019. Now he has roughly 2,000 bikes in stock, and some customers are willing to walk out the door over a bike’s color.

Our thought bubble: Sounds like a good time to help even out the supply chain and buy a new bike!

DOT Updates Haz Mat Regulations.

October 26th, 2022 by Laura Denk

Filed under: Industry News

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration published a new final rule on July 26, 2022, HM-215P, to better align U.S. and international hazardous materials (dangerous goods) regulations.

The rule, Docket No. PHMSA-2019-0030 (HM-215P), “Hazardous Materials: Harmonization with International Standards,” was published in the Federal Register on July 26, 2022, and can be found here. The rule goes into effect on August 25, 2022.

DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration (PHMSA) Periodically publishes a lengthy regulation intended to ensure relative harmony between U.S. hazmat regulations and those adopted by nearly all the world’s major industrial economies. Harmonization efforts ensure that international trade in regulated commodities, such as paints, chemicals, lithium batteries, etc., is safe and efficient.

Why it matters: The new rule contains several significant changes impacting the industrial packaging industry, including:

  1. Transportation of certain empty IBCs from Canada to the U.S., or from the U.S. to Canada, without placarding on trucks.
  2. Compatibility requirements for aluminum drums and metal drums other than steel or aluminum.
  3. Composite IBC marking. PHMSA has added two new provisions to the IBC marking section of the HMR, which affect composite IBCs.
  4. Metal IBC wall thickness. DOT has revised the minimum wall thickness requirements for metal IBCs with a volume of 1500 L (496 gallons) or less.

Yes, but:  Do you need help understanding how these changes will impact your business? Consider joining a trade association like the Reusable Industrial Packaging Association (RIPA) which educates its members about compliance with these changes. 

Cork, Wine and Sustainability.

October 19th, 2022 by Laura Denk

Filed under: Industry News

What’s next: 100% Cork and the Portuguese Cork Association launched a series of virtual educational seminars. The seminars feature leading voices from all sides of the industry.

Why it matters: Younger consumers are increasingly concerned about sustainability and are willing to forgo convenience to purchase products that are sustainable. Sandra Taylor, president, and CEO of Sustainable Business International noted that there are numerous sustainable wines available for less than $20 featuring cork as a stopper. While she believes that certification seals are beneficial, she said that “there is still a lot of confusion in the marketplace about what sustainability means and what wines are indeed sustainable.”

The world is changing rapidly and we need to figure out ways to preserve our agriculture and our business,” said Benjamin Neyman from Shannon Family of Wines, which is certified sustainable and will become certified organic this year. He noted that sustainability is different for wineries since they have to take energy use, packaging, and CO2 emissions into account. Shannon Family is taking steps to lower its carbon footprint such as reducing the weight of its glass bottles and using recyclable materials such as cork for closures.

Go deeper: Learn more by watching the first 100% Cork seminar here.

New California Law to Reduce Single-Use Packaging.

October 19th, 2022 by Laura Denk

Filed under: Industry News

What they’re saying: On Thursday, June 30th the governor of California signed a new law requiring that all forms of single-use packaging, including paper and metals, be recyclable or compostable by 2032.

Contrary to earlier laws, experts say it is the most significant because it goes further in requiring producers to both make less plastic and to ensure that all single-use products are recyclable or compostable.

A key tenet of the laws: The costs of recycling infrastructure, recycling plants and collection and sorting facilities, will be shifted to packaging manufacturers and away from taxpayers, who currently foot the bill.

The good news: Steel is 100 percent recyclable, which means it can be recycled into the same material of the same quality again and again.

  • A steel drum can become another steel drum, or a refrigerator, car door or roof panel.
  • When you buy steel you are buying recycled.
  • In addition to being continually recyclable, steel’s durable characteristics enable many common products to be reused.

Even more good news: Before a steel drum is ever recycled it can be reconditioned and re-used numerous times making it one of the most environmentally friendly packages in the world. 

Team Skolnik Helps Feed Our Neighbors.

October 14th, 2022 by Laura Denk

Filed under: Industry News

This past week, members of the Skolnik team volunteered their time at the Greater Chicago Food Pantry repackaging 4,080 pounds of pinto beans for distribution to food pantries throughout the Chicagoland area.

  • According to the USDA, more than 38 million people, including 12 million children, in the United States are food insecure.
  • The pandemic has increased food insecurity among families with children and communities of color, who faced hunger at much higher rates before the pandemic.
  • Every community in the country is home to families who face hunger. But rural communities are especially hard hit by hunger.
  • Many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for federal nutrition programs and visit their local food banks and other food programs for extra support.

Why it matters: Rising food costs make it harder for people to afford their groceries. As food prices rise, the amount of food a family can purchase with its monthly food budget goes down. Families coping with reduced purchasing power may stretch their food budget by purchasing lower-cost foods, which are sometimes lower in nutritional quality; decreasing portion sizes; or skipping meals to stretch their food budget.

The bottom line: It doesn’t take a big commitment to make a big impact. Together, with millions of other food bank volunteers, your time makes a difference in the lives of your neighbors struggling with hunger.

Go deeper: Looking to volunteer? Check out the Feeding America website for opportunities in your own community. 

Any Color You Want, as Long as it’s Black.

October 14th, 2022 by Laura Denk

Filed under: Industry News

One fun thing: I have often been asked why most drums are painted black. I can only surmise that it is the same reason why Henry Ford painted his early cars black. Black paint was readily available, affordable, easy to apply, and provided the best coverage.

The primary founder of the automotive industry and the modern factory, Henry Ford, has often been criticized for his failure to embrace change. Most have heard the story of his famous response to criticism over the lack of color choices for his early models:  “Buyers could have any color they wanted as long as it was black.”

An article from American Business History shares those automobiles had very special needs that most paints of the time could not meet. The real history of how we got cars in the colors we wanted is a little more nuanced, interesting, and informative, “Yet few know the real story of Ford’s intransigence about color, or how we came to have colorful automobiles.”  Ford did not solve the problem of viable paints, but in fairness, he did the best he could until someone else solved the problem.

Go deeper: For those of you who want to go down the rabbit hole, click here for a link to the full story.