Harvey Rosenbloom, CPIA Leader of the Year: A quick profile
Canadian PlasticsPackaging Flexible Packaging Packaging: Design
Over 30 years’ involvement in plastics packaging and bag making has led to Harvey Rosenbloom being named...
Over 30 years’ involvement in plastics packaging and bag making has led to Harvey Rosenbloom being named the 2010 Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) Leader of the Year.
A Montreal native, Rosenbloom cut his entrepreneurial teeth in the early 1950s, working in the family business: an outfit called Rosenbloom Paper Supply Co., which manufactured and distributed carryout paper grocery bags. In 1977, the Rosenbloom group of companies acquired Toronto-based plastic bag manufacturer Hymopack Ltd. “At that time, the only successful users of plastic bags for retail were Marks & Spencer in the UK and Simpson’s in Canada,” Rosenbloom told Canadian Plastics. “We purchased Hymopack strictly as a learning experience, on the off-chance that either low or high density retail bags would start capturing a portion of the paper bag market.”
Under Rosenbloom’s guidance, the company first promoted the so-called “Thick-Thin, Wave Top Bag”, a sophisticated product that involved manufacturing a sheet of film with different thicknesses so that the handle could be thicker than the body of the bag. He then led the company and its customers through a transition from paper bags to low density polyethylene (PE) carryout grocery bags for the supermarket industry. Not done yet, he orchestrated Hymopack’s subsequent move to high-density PE carry out bags, once again helping nudge the supermarket industry towards a new era of consumer convenience.
Rosenbloom has also been guiding two other manufacturing companies all the while: Aspamill Inc., a Montreal-based manufacturer of paper bags; and Dyne-A-Pak Inc., a manufacturer of polystyrene (PS) foam trays headquartered in nearby Laval. With Dyne-A-Pak too, the pattern of innovation isn’t hard to spot: Under Rosenbloom’s watch, the company has been a key player in moving the industry from pulp trays to expanded PS foam trays for produce, fish and poultry.
Even as Hymopack and Dyne-A-Pak are firmly positioned as leaders in their respective packaging segments – and also as two jewels in the crown of parent company The Rosenbloom Groupe – neither organization is resting on its laurels. When a fire ravaged Dyne-A-Pak in September 2004, destroying approximately 40 per cent the 180,000-square-foot facility, including production and warehouse areas, the plant was quickly rebuilt; today, the company is leading the foray into bioplastic packaging with its fully certified, D6400-approved “Nature” line of compostable foam meat trays, made using cutting-edge biopolymers. Hymopack, meanwhile, continues to manufacture a wide variety of bag styles in high density, low density and co-extruded film.
Rosenbloom is confident that plastics packaging in general will remain a growth industry in the years to come, despite encroaching legislation and a level of bad press unimaginable when he began making his mark in the boom years of the 1970s and 1980s. “The question for critics of plastics is, ‘What do you propose as an alternative?'” he said. “As someone who also supplies and promotes paper bags, I can tell you that paper isn’t any more user friendly as an alternative, and also has the same issues with disposability. Nonetheless, if we want to survive, the packaging industry is going to have to accept new compromises with retail stores that limit the use of, or charge a fee for, carryout plastic bags.”