Do you want to build your brand image, make a positive impact on your customers and be a caretaker of the environment?
The best way to achieve these goals is to reduce your carbon footprint. And following is your A-to-Z guide on how to develop an eco-friendly packaging plan.
Always Be Testing: Think about how your product will be shipped, how it will be handled, how long it will be housed on a container vessel and what affect temperatures may have. Think about the pressure of stacking, vibration and impacts. Outline your testing around these factors. Proper testing combined with continuous improvements will save you money.
Begin Establishing a Waste Reduction Policy: Engage your staff to assist in separating packaging waste for recycling. Give them guidance on the weight and pressure packaging can take to reduce waste. Teach them to reuse that in the packaging process that cannot be eliminated. Guide them on how to be both careful and meticulous in packaging.
Cartonization Software and Technology: Use cartonization software, which is used to design and produce custom boxes for your products or can help you better fit your products into your existing boxes. The best option – if you have the resources and production volume – is to make custom boxes for each item.
Design Your Packaging to Minimize Waste: There are computer-aided design (CAD) systems you can utilize that will help your more efficiently design packaging that will minimize waste material. Using fewer larger packages rather than several small ones is another option to strongly consider.
Efficient Use of Materials: By simply reducing excess materials is a fast and simple way to become more eco-friendly. It will make your operation considerably more efficient and will have a positive impact on a customer base that is growing increasingly eco-conscious.
Future Availability of Packaging Needs: Determine how accessibility is impacting your packaging needs. Your options will depend some on your needs and location. Whatever your choice, it will lessen the mount of transport packaging material sent to landfills, will help the environment and could save you money.
Get More Consumers To Buy Bulk: This is a challenge, as it all boils down to customer preference. Bulk means larger boxes hard to handle and store. However, customers know buying in bulk means saving money. By fitting more of your product into smaller packaging it will reduce packaging costs and save on fuel and trucking emissions.
Historical Sales Trends: Know and understand the consumption and demand for your goods. That will allow you to avoid ordering too much raw materials for packaging and thus ensure you only have what is needed in stock. Remember, every dollar you save on packaging material is one more dollar added to your bottom line.
Incorporate Educational Materials Into Your Packaging: Information is power, so include an easy-to-see recyclable logo on each box, or add a sticker explaining how to dispose of shredded paper and air-filled bags. Recycling can be tricky, so helping your customers make the right choices not only helps them and the environment, but it raises your company’s value in their eyes.
Just Drop Some Weight: Think lightweight materials for packaging at all times to, most likely, help reduce costs. But, remember dimensional (volumetric) weight (the amount of space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight). Lightweight doesn’t automatically mean it will be cheaper to ship.
Keep Your Packaging Materials Separate, or Stop Packaging Altogether: This should be avoided at all times but, sometimes you have no choice but to mix packaging materials. Since they have to be recycled separately, make it easy for a “breakaway.” Staples are a great option as they can easily be removed in the recycling process.
Lighten the load: Heavy shipping materials mean more fuel consumption, more carbon emissions and greater shipping costs. Instead of using wood pallets, think about using reusable recycled-content plastic containers. They cut waste and weight and, as a result, and cost. And they can be reused.
Maintaining Business: Simply try to meet and anticipate your customers’ – and potential customers’ – demands to patronize eco-friendly suppliers. By switching to green materials, it can help maintain and possibly grow your business.
Necessary vs. Unnecessary Costs: Is your packaging the best solution for your product? Not sure? Itemize your costs. Find out what is necessary for performance and what is there just for looks. Is what you’re paying for aesthetics more costly than their added value? Find out what elements can be improved and what elements can be eliminated.
Optimize Your Packaging Space: Adjust your packaging strategy so more of your products can be packaged with less use of materials. Changing packaging designs and using custom-sized boxes will save you on space and packaging material, and will mean less waste while saving you money.
Prioritize Research and Development: These are smart people. Put them to work testing various designs and material choices for your packaging. Your goal is have an efficiently designed package that is stout enough to survive journeys by land, sea and air. This will mean less damaged goods and more happy customers.
Question How You Are Implementing Safety: Make the safety of your customers and employees a priority. Remove the possibility of injury. If possible, ship materials with lids similar to shoe boxes to reduce the need for tape and the need to use a knife to cut the tape and open the box. No knife means no injuries.
Responsible Packaging Steering Team: A Responsible Packaging Steering Team was created by Unilever in 2007 and focused on five ideas: remove, reduce, reuse, renew and recycle.
1. Remove, where possible, unnecessary packaging layers like outer cartons and shrink-wrap film.
2. Reduce shrink packages to optimal size and weight for their contents. A redesigned Suave shampoo and conditioner bottle was 16 percent lighter with a 12-percent lighter cap. That mean reducing the amount of resin by 670 tons in the U.S. alone.
3. Reuse packaging materials sent by factories. Unilever takes reusable totes, which some cap suppliers use to ship their products, and return them to the supplier to reuse.
4. Research the technical viability of biodegradable and compostable material to maximize the percentage of packaging from renewable resources.
5. Recycle by increasing the use recyclable components in packaging for easy sorting and recycling at the end of its use.
Source Responsibly: Find a supplier who thinks like you. In other words, buy from someone who already uses recyclable material to pack your products. You can not only save money by cutting out the middle warehouse step entirely, but it will add value to your business and your customers.
Think Big, Pack Small : Your objective is to protect the product inside your packaging. With that in mind, use a CAD-based system like Solidworks to figure out the required dimensions and strength for your packaging. It can help save money on damaged goods, customer returns and product rework. Yes, size matters.
Use spatial reasoning: In Brazil, a business added an extra layer of parts in a container, eliminating the need for 23 extra boxes. They also eliminated 38 boxes by rearranging the packaging compartment design from a linear grid to a geometric pattern that took advantage of extra space. These are great ideas; use them.
Value Proper Training: To avoid waste, educate your employees of the processes you have put in place for proper disposal of excess. A training program is the best way to ensure your employees receive the proper training as well as making sure everyone in the workplace is on the same page. Reward eco-friendly efforts.
Ways Can You Increase Consumer Attraction: Bear in mind that many shoppers are like-minded; they too prefer and will often choose a product that is environmentally friendly over a traditional package. Be sure to make them aware – and educate them – when it comes to your packaging products.
Xeriscape Your Supply Chain: If you phone a friend you can begin a co-shipping arrangement where you would share freight space. This could lead to less fuel consumption and reduced shipping costs for both parties. Monitoring your results can improve your supply chain sustainability performance.
Yield Higher Profits Through The Way You Buy: To keep a lean inventory, order packaging in smaller bunches to lessen extra or obsolete inventory. Or you can opt to buy in bulk and try and negotiate price breaks with your packaging supplier. Printing companies often have unadvertised high-volume discounts.
Zero Waste: Put down on paper what you plan to do to meet and execute a zero waste policy in your business. It’s an evolving process, but by putting a plan in place it will allow your organization to become more efficient and sustainable in the future.
As you can see, finding a way to reduce your packaging waste is as easy as picking any letter of the alphabet. So which letter would you like to introduce into your business? Don’t be shy. Pick as many as you want.