Most of us enjoy unwrapping packages. We rip through plastic, tape and corrugated box until we reach the prize inside. No matter the number of packages you open, I am sure you have noticed there is a lot of waste left behind.
So how can shippers address the issue of packaging waste?
I am glad you asked. Consider these 5 options:
- Use packaging products that are easy to dispose of properly.
Some things (like computers and paint) are a real headache to dispose of properly. In the packaging world it is no different. Some types of packaging have to be hauled away and scrapped - costing time and money to get the job done right. Not all industrial packaging has to be thrown away. Pallets, for example, are some of the most recycled packaging products available today. They can be reclaimed for parts, ground into mulch and even repaired to be reused again.
- Use packaging materials that hold second hand value.
Using products that can be given a second life after delivery is a great way to reduce packaging waste. An example is shipping to Europe – you can send a 4840 GMA that the final destination must pay to scrap. Or you can send a 48x32 EuroPallet that actually has value in Europe and will be reused. It will cost more here in the US, but the total system cost is lower due to savings at the end user. Plus there are no longer wasted pallets in Europe.
- Use a pallet or packaging that your customer can reuse at their facility.
A reusable pallet or reusable crate can equal significant reductions in waste vs. one way custom pallets.
- Lab test your packaging and/or unit load design to reduce the volume of packaging required for your current products.
The Nelson Tech Center recently worked with a company shipping suspended roll product to Europe. The current pallet and packaging were not sufficient to prevent product damage during air shipping. Repackaging was required during transit. This was wasting a lot of packaging. The Tech Center developed a returnable crate, lab tested it to ISTA standards, conducted field and pilot tests and then implemented it into the system. This returnable crate has a payback of two trips. Product damage was eliminated, and overall packaging waste (and costs!) are much lower than the previous packaging.
- Review your packaging waste.
When you review your packaging and waste programs, you can often find ways to reduce waste while also identifying cost savings through packaging redesign. If you already have a packaging team or need to hire one, they will
- help lead this initiative.
- take your waste reduction project from inception to completion.
- add support in key areas to supplement your waste reduction efforts.
- provide you with real results.
Take a guess and leave a comment below. I bet it’s more than you think.
Post by: John Clarke, Technical Director