Is this REALLY the World’s first plastic-free pop-up cardboard ice bucket?
Think about it. What are ice buckets typically made from anyway? Steel, aluminium, plastic, glass even ice. But cardboard, is that even possible – won’t they just leak?
The idea for a cardboard ice bucket came to me in 2007 whilst touring a corrugated box manufacturing facility in Derbyshire when I noticed an odd plain white looking pack coming off the end of a production line. “What’s that?” I asked the owner. “It’s a glue bucket we supply to an adhesives company for shipping glue pellets to factories like ours”.
“That would make a great ice bucket if printed and resized a little” I said. A few weeks later, I showed a digitally printed prototype of ‘PortaChilla’ to Lanson and within a short time they were buying branded ice buckets from us – PortaBrands which supplied brands, sports stadia, festivals and events with disposable packaging products made mostly from fibreboard. More customers followed including Epsom Racecourse, Ascot, Twickenham, Bibendum Wines and Budweiser.
From glue pellets to champagne!
It was made from corrugated board with a plastic inner liner and could remain water tight for about 24 hours full of water which was adequate at the time.
Turn the clock forwards thirteen years and I came across Swanline and a new water resistant board they were converting called Cygnus Eco which has no plastic inner liner, but retains water for weeks. I pulled out of my bag an old Lanson branded PortaChilla and showed it to the MD. He said, that’s interesting – “that was designed by our talented design director, Linsey Brookes”. “Really” I replied. Five minutes later he walks in to the board room with a beaming smile and welcoming handshake. Turns our he used to work at the factory in Derbyshire and he was indeed the guy who created the original glue bucket and evolved it to the ice bucket design!
Some branded examples of PortaChilla.
We tweaked the design again to make it faster to assemble, showed it to a client and just as we went into COVID-19 lockdown, we received an order for 500,000 ice buckets indirectly from one of the world’s leading drinks brands. We could not believe our luck until we discovered they needed them in 3 weeks. This order literally saved our bacon, but nearly gave us all an early funeral.
Plastic free REELchilla ice buckets in production.
Lindsey and his team have just finished reimagining the design yet again so, importantly, it could be easier, faster to assemble. A pop-up design, which could be deployed in less than a second with integrated carry handles. This will help brands, bar and event operators as it’s all about speed-of-service, creating minimal environmental impact whilst maintaining optimum safety with eye-catching impact and engagement!
This new plastic free certified pop-up version of REELchilla is a perfect opportunity for us to reconnect, find new markets where plastic has hitherto been the go-to material of choice. It’s World first too!
New pop-up version of REELchilla!
Is this the beginning of the end for the humble plastic ice bucket – I for one certainly hope so!
Ian Bates, CEO REELbrands