What is Packaging Waste?
Packaging waste is unnecessary packaging that does not provide protection, integrity and security to products from the manufacturer to the consumer. I was just reading about food waste is approximately 30% of total food. This is scary in a world of growing population and shrinking agricultural lands with a little global warming thrown in. Much of the waste comes from post consumer – not eating everything on your plate or spoilage at home, from poor farming practices in developing countries. The least amount comes from the manufacturing to retail stream but that is also the easiest on which to focus.
I would like to think this is a credit to great packaging but the carbon footprint for packaging is not where most manufacturers would like to see it. Does packaging waste exist? You bet it does. The problem is that the consumer perception of packaging waste occurs after the product is opened or consumed. Manufacturers need to worry about the integrity of the shelf ready package that the consumer sees as well as the packaging that gets it to the shelf.
Packaging waste exists only if packaging fails to protect the product using the minimum amount of packaging to do the job at every step of the way.
What we are seeing in packaging waste reduction
- Turn chipboard boxes into trays. Using clear or printed film to provide artwork or reveal the contents also reduces weight and cost of packaging. This has a very broad application for anyone using a chipboard one or two piece box.
- Use U-board rather than a tray or box. This also offers weight reduction while providing structural protection and a place for bottom and side seals. This option has proven popular with baked goods but has possible applications elsewhere.
- Bundle wrap rather than chipboard or corrugate boxes. Depending on the size, weight distribution and strength of primary packaging this can offer significant savings in weight and is popular with retailers since it eliminates a big piece of their waste disposal.
- Switch from shrink wrap to overwrap. This offers up to a 20% reduction in film and a 50% reduction in energy costs while improving the look of the look of the product and the ability to use printed film for brand awareness and consumer information.
We have implemented all of these with different customers. We work with a lot of companies who get that packaging waste is irritating to consumers, expensive for manufacturers to create and for retailers to dispose of the intermediate packaging. Let us know how we can help you get the most out of your packaging.
Think carefully about how much product protection is needed in the primary packaging. We are always happy to discuss your ideas for saving packaging costs at email@example.com or 413.732.4000.