As a supplier of protective packaging and packing equipment, we value the importance of taking responsibility for sustainable packaging practices. We believe that this responsibility should be passed through the chain, from production, to supply, to distribution and eventually the end-user. The negative impact of fly-tipping and landfills is still an issue that the world is facing and one that we can actively reduce by not only appreciating the functionality and practicality of packaging products but also the effect it has on the environment. Promoting your commitment to environmentally friendly practices is beneficial in many ways, so we’ve summarised some of the key ways in which your packaging operation can be improved for sustainability.
How can packaging contribute to sustainability?
Packaging should be effective at protecting the product(s) in question and safe throughout its lifecycle. A huge element of this is choosing the most suitable packaging option for the particular goods, for instance, you must carefully consider what level of protection they actually require, which materials are the best option, and also which size and shape. If you are experiencing issues with packaging breaking or regular cases of damaged goods then it’s time for a review. Three key areas to increase sustainability are Reusing, Recycling and Reducing.
Opt for reusable packaging
Before considering any form of disposal, the first step should always be to reuse your packaging. If the packaging is both good quality and well suited to the application, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t have a long life. Ask your customers if they mind the products being delivered to them in reused packaging, and 9 times out of 10 you will find that they appreciate the environmental consciousness over brand new packaging every time.
Be clear on what you can recycle
Optimising your recycling habits is good for both the planet and your local community. When you get to the point where reusing a certain piece of packaging is no longer possible, the first question you can ask is ‘Can I recycle this?’ Materials such as paper and cardboard should always be recycled rather than thrown away, in doing so you are reducing the amount of pollution created when new materials are produced. Often these are not the only materials you can recycle, check with your waste management company for a full list of recyclable items.
Cut down on packaging waste
Are you finding there’s a lot of excess packaging when goods are unpacked? Firstly, the issue could be that due to the ineffective and poor quality packaging materials you are using more than normal to ensure a product is protected. Also, approach this situation from your customer’s point of view – are they going to be left with large amounts of waste when receiving a delivery? Re-evaluating your packaging is the answer here, considering ways in which you can use as little as possible without compromising the security of the load. For example, it may be possible for an order to be shrink wrapped on a pallet instead of placed in individual boxes.
What is the impact of sustainable packaging?
Overall, adopting these practices can have significant cost savings, particularly on waste disposal costs. You could even be passing this saving on to your customers by cutting down on the amount of excess packaging they need to dispose of. Most importantly it will have significant environmental benefits, such as reducing energy consumption, reducing the risk of pollution and reducing the number of harmful gases being produced on landfill sites.