Supply chain resilience is front and center in today’s global economy. Disruptions caused by transportation, labor and material availability are causing companies to scrutinize their supply chain to ensure their products move faster, safer and more cost effectively. While companies seek to improve their supply chain resilience, they’re also feeling the pressure from consumers to increase sustainability and reduce their environmental impact in every aspect of their operation. A new approach to your supply chain packaging can help tackle both these monumental challenges. Reusable plastic packaging for the supply chain can help ease the flow of product for many trips. And, at the end of its service life, it can be recovered, recycled and reprocessed right back into supply chain packaging. Truly, a circular solution.
Your Packaging Opportunity
By now, it’s no secret that reusable plastic packaging is inherently more sustainable due to its reusability and recyclability. Reusables are designed for a long service life in the circular economy and are intended to replace single-use containers, with pallets being used over and over for several years.
Despite the higher initial investment, reusable packaging demonstrates a stronger return on investment over its lifetime when compared with expendable packaging. The long-term cost savings of reusables extend well beyond just packaging cost to include:
- Reliable, faster picking and fulfillment
- Streamlined automation
- Standard dimensions to optimize transportation and reduce shipping/transportation costs. More product per truck can equal fewer trips.
While your choice of packaging has clear supply chain benefits, your material choices also matter. Using recycled content offers a variety of advantages while impacting sustainability performance, service life, reliability and more. Working with an expert in reusable packaging can help you understand what recycled material options are available to you to increase sustainability.
There are three ways in which companies can increase the amount of recycled content in their packaging, each carrying different environmental benefits:
- Post-consumer plastic waste is discarded after consumer use and includes items such as plastic water bottles, milk jugs and shampoo bottles. Companies can collect, reprocess and repurpose this plastic into new packaging solutions.
- Post-industrial waste is collected when companies look in their own supply chain for opportunities to recycle materials like film, bags, obsolete packaging, etc. and repurpose it into packaging solutions.
- Single-use plastic at risk of entering our oceans can be recovered and repurposed into packaging solutions. Certain reusable plastic packaging providers are utilizing innovative material streams like coastline waste and incorporating it into new products for the supply chain.
Getting Creative to Close the Loop
The circular economy concept – which is governed by the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) and based on the continuous flow of product in the value circle – is the future of a successful, sustainable supply chain. By incorporating more recycled content into your supply chain packaging, you’re designing out waste, keeping products in use, and recycling waste that would otherwise end up in the solid waste stream or our oceans. When it comes to incorporating recycled content, here are your top considerations:
- Rely on trusted supply chain partners to help you select the packaging that is the best fit for your supply chain.
- Utilize buy-back programs from reusable plastic packaging manufacturers to collect your obsolete packaging to be recycled into reusable plastic packaging solutions.
- Look to your packaging partners to help you identify the types of packaging that can be manufactured with high amounts of recycled content. For example, simply switching the color of your packaging products can help increase the amount of recycled resin that is used.
Sustainable, reusable plastic packaging is versatile and suited to a range of industries and products. Work with a trusted packaging provider to evaluate ways in which you can incorporate more recycled content to mitigate environmental concerns and ensure you have packaging when you need it.