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Reduce packaging through recycling and reusing methods can save the earth many trees which are crucial in combating climate change.
What is Green economy?
Packaging comes in many shapes and forms: boxes, bags, cans, foam pellets, shrink wrap, tubes, paper, etc. Its purpose is to protect a product and keep it fresh. Additional benefits include enhanced attractiveness and protection from tampering. The three most common types of packaging are:
• Primary packaging, which is the wrapping or container handled by the consumer.
• Secondary packaging includes larger cases, boxes, or bags used to group goods for distribution, ease of carrying, or display in shops.
• Transit packaging refers to pallets, boards, plastic wrap, and containers used to collate products into larger loads for shipping.
Despite the benefits that packaging provides, many products contain too much. This is annoying to those who have to pay to throw it away.
Wal-Mart, for example, unveiled a packaging ‘scorecard’ to its suppliers demanding that their packaging be reduced by at least 5% (Wal-Mart discovered that up to 20% of its garbage was directly attributed to packaging). By issuing this edict to its 60,000 suppliers, Wal-Mart expects to reduce solid waste by 25% and shave $3.4 billion off operation costs.
Since packaging is responsible for a substantial amount of waste, and waste is always a sign of wasted money, reducing the amount of material that surrounds a product is a good way for a business to decrease its expenses.
How much packaging delivers true customer satisfaction?
Knowing the answer to this question can lead to a substantial reduction in costs as well as the elimination of extraneous materials that nobody wants or needs. The following pages contain suggestions and examples of how companies modified their packaging requirements and saved money doing so.
Use the least amount of packaging possible (or better yet, none at all). Estimates claim that up to 98% of secondary packing (i.e.: a box outside a box, a bag outside a bag…) and a significant amount of primary packaging can be reduced without any perceived decrease in the quality of the product or its package.
In the USA, the State Farm Insurance Company in Bloomington, Illinois saved $23,100 in annual packaging costs by eliminating unnecessary shrink-wrap from the booklets it distributes.
Redesign packaging to reduce material use. Sometimes a small change in the design of a package can significantly reduce the cost of raw materials. For example, Anheuser-Busch reduced its aluminum usage by 9.5 million kilos per year by shaving a third of a centimeter off the rims of its beer cans.
Reuse packaging materials and containers whenever possible. Extending the life of packaging materials saves money. The 3M corporation’s plant in Valley, Nebraska, for example, worked with a supplier to produce returnable packaging that reduced shipping waste by eight tons and saved over $1,500 per shipment in packaging and disposal costs.
Repair and re-use heavy-duty shipping materials. This is particularly true with pallet shipments. For example, like many large companies, Wilton Industries paid over $100,000 every year for approximately 14,000 new pallets. Now the company saves $64,400 annually by repairing and reusing damaged pallets and avoiding unnecessary pallet disposal costs.
Use recycled materials from sustainable, renewable sources or alternative materials (such as wheat straw) whenever possible for packaging. With the third largest emitter of global pollution in the world being the pulp and paper industry the benefits of this practice cannot be overstated.
Maximise the amount of material shipped on pallets and in vehicles. This practice alone has saved many companies millions of dollars a year in shipping costs.
For example, 3M Inc.’s St. Ouen L’Aumone facility in France developed a new stacking system that allowed more materials to be packed onto transport vehicles. The new system has doubled load capacity, reduces the number of daily truckloads by 40%, saves 47,316 liters of fuel, and cut transportation costs $110,000 per year.
Use cardboard edges on the corners of large items (or those shipped in bulk) and shrink wrap what remains rather than boxing each item separately. This practice saves furniture maker Herman Miller, Inc. (of Zeeland, Michigan) $250,000 every year in packaging costs with just one of its products.
Replace cardboard boxes with more durable, reusable containers. This is especially advantageous for warehouses or interdepartmental shipments. In Cottage Grove, Minnesota, a 3M facility designed collapsible, reusable steel crates robust enough to stack on top of one another. As a result, the company avoided producing 315 tons of solid waste and saved $101,800 in the first year alone.