Looking for better packaging solutions? Before you choose a packaging supplier, consider the importance of reducing packaging waste.
The 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) are more than buzzwords today; many companies have developed waste reduction strategies to reduce costs, become more sustainable, and help the environment.
A packaging waste reduction strategy needn’t be costly. On the contrary. It may improve your bottom line, offering savings in energy and power costs as well as shipping costs.
Packaging solutions and waste-reduction: save power and shipping costs
As more companies choose sustainable packaging solutions and eco-friendly packaging suppliers, assess changes your business might make. Even small changes can have big effects over time.
For example, a stretch wrapping machine offers savings on wrapping materials. A machine can use thinner wrap than is suitable for manual application: by wrapping tightly, it uses less wrap too.
Many companies find that an industrial shredding machine is a useful investment. It recycles packaging on your premises, by shredding cardboard and repurposing it into packaging material.
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Let’s look at packaging solutions and tips to reduce waste, with the 3Rs in mind.
1. Review your current product packaging solutions and packaging suppliers
As a first step in cutting packaging waste, assess how you package products individually and how you package them for shipping.
Both you and your customers will appreciate it when you use appropriately-sized boxes and containers for products, as well as lightweight shipping materials. You save on shipping; customers save too and have less waste to manage.
Could lightweight stretch wrapping be an option? This process makes sense not only when moving products around your warehouse, but also as part of your shipping strategy.
Ask your packaging supplier to provide you with options, rather than reordering the same products you always do.
2. Implement processes to find or develop better packaging solutions
To cut costs, find better solutions, or design your own.
- Lighter weight packaging: source or develop new product packaging which is secure, protective, but lighter in weight than current packaging;
- Buy or design better-shaped packaging;
- Eliminate all unnecessary packaging.
3. Reduce: cut your packaging waste at the source to cut costs
Next, assess the type and amount of packaging waste from products and materials you buy. How much waste is involved? What happens to it? Do you recycle? Or dump? What costs are involved in that?
Before ordering goods, assess how they’re packaged and the waste management costs you’ll incur. Chat with your suppliers about the costs involved.
Chances are good that your suppliers are looking for better packaging solutions too. They may offer solutions you haven’t considered.
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4. The 3Rs that can build your company’s reputation
Consumers are concerned about companies’ policies and so are shareholders. When your company focuses on sustainability and environmental protection policies, you’ll enhance your company’s reputation. Company policies to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle make good business sense.
Lightweight packaging cuts shipping costs; if the packaging is recyclable, so much the better. Not everything can be recycled, however, so if packaging must be sent to a landfill, it helps the environment if it’s biodegradable.
Consider promoting awareness of your company’s efforts to implement better packaging solutions on the packaging you use.
5. Reuse and recycle in-house and get suppliers involved too
Companies like Nike have made shirts from recycled plastic bottles, albeit as a promotional tactic.
Can you turn your packaging or other waste materials into an income stream? For many companies, it’s not a viable option. However, you may be able to reuse some packaging waste or recycle it within the company to save costs.
We’ve mentioned using an industrial shredding machine to turn paper and cardboard into packaging materials. Why not ask your employees for ideas to reuse and recycle which you might implement?
Suppliers can play a “reuse” part too. Work with suppliers to develop packaging solutions that allow you to return packaging, so the supplier can reuse it.
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6. Make packaging a company-wide concern: promote and train
Create an awareness campaign to alert employees to the challenges of packaging waste from products leaving your company and from purchased goods.
If your company’s products are packed manually, ask employees to look for solutions to minimize packaging while ensuring that customers will receive undamaged products.
In addition, be alert for a packaging supplier who offers training with its products. Training can ensure that employees optimize their use of products. A few hours of training may result in less waste and smaller costs.
7. Work with suppliers to ensure reliable product delivery to cut packaging requirements
Secure and perfect packaging protects goods from damage while they’re in storage. But what if you and your suppliers could work together to minimize storage times?
Goods that undergo minimal storage require less packaging because avoiding storage-damage or aging isn’t a concern. These goods incur lower transportation costs as well as less packaging waste.