Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Renew. All words you’ve heard of before. But are you aware of how these 4 R’s can help your business minimise the environmental impact of its packaging operations?
Sustainable packaging, green packaging, eco-friendly packaging, whichever term you prefer to use, can be divided into these four categories. We’ll be explaining what these words mean in further detail and take a look at ways you can go green.
Probably the most impactful of the four. Reduce means trying to reduce the amount of packaging materials that your business uses. Take this article by the Daily Mail for example, it shows Amazon customers that aren’t very happy with the amount of packaging being used for products they’ve purchased.
So, how can you reduce the amount of materials you are using to package products?
Shape and design
Without the right shape and design for your products, you’ll be wasting a lot of material. With a creative, more suited package to your product, you’ll be able to save on the amount of material needed. A great way to save money as well. A packaging design that is sustainable not only helps the environment but shows customers that you care.
Correct training of staff is a great way to increase the sustainability of your packaging operation. Train them correctly and ask if they have any questions about how to package products from time to time. Communication is key. If you work together, you’ll be able to create a working environment that is dedicated to increasing efficiency, saving costs and protecting the environment.
Investing in a packaging machine can really pay off. The automation provides consistency to the packaging of your products, reducing the amount of material used. This saves costs and helps to reduce impact on the environment. A good example of this is the pallet wrap machine. In a recent study of ours, we found that using a pallet wrap machine reduces waste by 75%. You’d be silly not to invest in one.
Beyond minimising the amount of packaging you are using, making the most of the products life is essential. Reusable packaging is simply packaging that is used more than one time. It consists of durable handheld and bulk containers, pallets, shipping racks and other items intended to be reused many times. Reusable packaging can be produced from a range of durable materials, from wood to metals and plastic.
I know what you are thinking, ‘Plastic?’ Yes, plastic. When it comes to a great example of reusable packaging, plastic pallets can be a very sustainable option. They’re reliable, reusable and a great alternative to wood.
Here are a few benefits to using plastic pallets:
- Easy to clean
- Lightweight – Reducing transport costs and emissions
- Splinter-free – Handling becomes easier
- Stackable – Maximising storage space
Recycling, everyone knows what this is. It’s straight forward. But ask yourself this - are you using recyclable packaging materials?
Make the switch to using recyclable packaging and you’ll reduce the impact your business has on the environment massively. By using recyclable materials, you’ll score some bonus points with your customers, as they’ll appreciate you are considering the personal effect they are having on the environment as well. Moving away from the obvious ‘use recyclable packaging and you’ll save the planet’ statement. Have you heard of a Carton Shredder?
This machine allows you to recycle your waste cardboard boxes into your own void fill. A perfect eco-friendly alternative to the commonly used bubble wrap and poly chips.
Creating your own void fill from cardboard boxes will not only provide sufficient protection to your products when being shipped but will show customers that you are doing your part in looking after the environment.
For packaging to qualify as ‘renewable’ it has to tick a number of boxes. Pun intended. It must be:
- Sourced from sustainable raw or recycled materials
- Manufactured using renewable energy
- Transported using renewable energy
Renewable packaging should be either biodegradable, good for composting, or be used to generate green energy. And when made well, it can be used in other forms of packaging.
At Swiftpak we recognise the growing demand for green packaging among manufacturers, retailers and also the public. We are constantly looking for ways we can help businesses like you become more environmentally friendly through a sustainable packaging solution. If you would like to improve your packaging operation, along with reducing your environmental impact, get in touch today to speak to one of our experts.