Reduce Packaging Costs by Reducing Waste

leanmindsetWhen we talk about solutions to everything from lumber shortages to warehouse costs, we

often suggest using some sort of sustainable packaging. It’s a direct path to saving money and reducing your carbon footprint. But what do we really mean by that? Here are 5 ways you can reduce waste in your packaging.

  1. Know the difference between recyclable and reusable, and use both.

These terms seem interchangeable, but in the world of packaging, they ultimately refer to different things. You can benefit by reusing recyclable/recycled materials, but reusable packaging is its own thing. Here’s what we mean:

Recyclable: this is beneficial in two basic ways. The first is the material can be recycled so that it doesn’t contribute to a landfill. This helps your carbon footprint and pleases a lot of consumers. Overall cost for you may be less, too, depending on the kind of support you need from your container. The second is that the material you use and/or receive can be repurposed or reused. For example, reuse the filler that comes in boxes you receive by supplementing your own filler in boxes you send out. Shredding cardboard can also create new fill (we’ll get to that in a minute.)

Reusable: while boxes and containers can be reusable to recipients, and that is beneficial, reusable packaging is that which the recipient sends back, or that which you can use numerous times onsite before it degrades. This is an especially valid option if you would use wood or plastic containers. You may be able to establish a returnable packaging container program with customers. You may also have some custom-designed containers that can be used again and again by employees. Discussing your needs with an expert packaging company will give you the most comprehensive idea of your options.

  1. Use an industrial shredder

If shredded fiber makes an appropriate filler for the packages you send out, investing in an industrial shredder may save you a lot in the long run. This lets you reuse cardboard and other paper-based products that you’d otherwise throw away to reduce the amount of filler you need to purchase.

  1. Right-size your packaging

When a container is too big for its contents, you’re creating waste in three ways: 1) you have to use extra resources to protect the contents and fill the container, 2) your packages take up more room on a pallet and therefore fit fewer, and 3) your packages take up more room in a truck and cost you more for shipping. If you’re unsure how to right-size your packaging, talk to an expert.

  1. Train your Staff

Waste can easily be created in excess or improperly disposed of if your staff isn’t properly trained. Ensure everyone knows the current disposal process and that proper communication is happening between other warehouse employees.

  1. Cover the obvious: make sure the packaging works

The purpose of packaging is to protect its contents, so if you’re finding that products are frequently damaged or returned, take a closer look at the packaging itself. Replacing orders creates a lot of waste in both materials and labor, and it hurts your relationship with your customers.

If you need help identifying how to change your packaging to reduce waste, get a free assessment from Packnet. Our engineers are experienced at creating solutions that save companies time, resources, and money. We have a wide selection of reusable packaging as well as custom services. You can also call us at 952.944.9124.