December 12, 2017

Square bottles cut down on packaging

Dow develops system for shipping chemicals without cardboard boxes.

By DC Velocity Staff

Dow square auto-stackable  bottles
This square bottle won an innovation award for Dow AgroSciences.

Ship a load of bottles in a trailer or container and you'll probably first pack them in cardboard boxes. The boxes make bottles easy to stack, but they also mean added cost and weight. That led logistics professionals at Dow AgroSciences LLC to ask whether they had to use shipping containers at all.

The answer, apparently, was no. Working in conjunction with plastic container specialist RPC-Promens-Innocan, the Indianapolis-based seed and pesticide company came up with a new packaging system for agrochemical products that allowed it to do away with cardboard boxes entirely. Their solution replaces the jerry cans the company had been using with auto-stackable PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles with square sides and shaped bases that fit together like Lego bricks. Handlers can stack the squared bottles directly on pallets, securing the load with lightweight plastic film.

Dow square bottles stacked on pallets
The square-sided bottles fit together and can be stacked directly on pallets. No cardboard cases.

The auto-stackable bottles are 30 percent lighter than the old HDPE (high-density polyethylene) jerry cans, which reduced the company's carbon dioxide footprint by 20 percent per liter of product content and eliminated up to 40 metric tons per year of corrugated paper packaging, according to Indiana nonprofit Centric Inc., which promotes innovation in the state.

Centric was impressed enough with the bottles that it chose Dow AgroSciences as one of the winners of its 2017 Indiana Innovation Awards. Dow was one of nine winners selected from a field of 48 finalists.

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