Here’s How Reusable Packaging Can Benefit The Circular Economy

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I was reading an article on The Earth Day Network, and I was shocked to know that sadly, there are more plastics wastes (Nanoplastics, Macroplastics, and Microplastics) than the number of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. If around 1, 00,000 living creatures die every day in the marine ecosystem, I hope you can imagine the number of deaths reported from the entire ecosystem, including forests, deserts, tundra and grassland.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. containers and packaging makes up almost 30% of all the waste, and this is not because the plastic consumption has gone up, but because we do not care to put the plastics into the proper recycling channel.

Retailers and the consumer packaged goods, which are the packaging materials enveloped over our products, are accelerating in novel ways to eliminate the packaging. From encouraging the proliferation of the bulk food section and fabricating new plastic bags that can be recycled with the advent of the circular economy, the companies are trying their best to support sustainability.

For instance, Green Eagle, a Pittsburgh-based retailer, revealed that they are on their way to eliminate the usage of single-use plastic bags by 2025. They are developing several goals starting from abolishing single-use straws to bottled beverages as a part of their milestone to achieve a sustainability platform.

On this note, as time flies, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) supply chains are also changing. From higher speciality packing to enhancement in the logistics support and the time requested to deliver a product. We have seen an adaptation on how goods are transported and delivered.

All these positive aspects of the e-commerce industry include low cost, efficient logistics support, global support, and personalization. An increasing amount of packaging waste is being generated right now, for which, the current companies are stressing on words such as reusability and sustainability.

Considering the central point, we do understand that reusable packaging supports a circular economy. At any point in the manufacturing process, packaging can be used, reused, and reprocessed without directly or indirectly affecting the solid waste outflux. The convenience turns out to be one of the prime advantages because the limited and the single-use packaging contributes to the waste crisis. Keeping transportation at the core, various reusable packagings such as the totes, containers, racks, and pallets can be manipulated into a sustainable material handling solution.

Reusable packaging supports a circular economy. At any point in the manufacturing process, packaging can be used, reused, and reprocessed without directly or indirectly affecting the solid waste outflux.

Indeed, the reusable packaging companies (especially the startups) are changing the perspective on how CPGs should be delivered. The CPG companies are now entirely focusing on reusability, by embracing the packing techniques in their warehouses, distribution centers, retail stores, and transportation, to maximize the circular economy; thus, leaping towards sustainability.

Loop has introduced the idea of transiting the everyday packaging with single-use plastics from disposable to reusable. The novel delivery system amalgamates the traditional, old school home-delivery business model with the subscription-based market.  The packaged boxes which they used to send every month have metamorphosed into automatic replenishment, according to the customers’ tastes. The  company calls the strategy as “the first subscription model that manages itself.”

Waste reduction is not the only advantage when we look at reusable packaging. The following points illustrate the other supplementary ideas, which increase supply chain sustainability:

1. Reduces The Packaging Waste

Having a long service life, reusable packing can be used over and over again throughout the entire supply chain; thus diminishing the waste accumulation. Additionally, multiple layers of papers and plastic waste can be eliminated by reusable packing, aiming to reduce waste generation.

2. The Full Load Shipment Increases

Various unpredictable conditions may arise due to inconsistent and inadequate packing, while recycling packaging utilizes standard and consistent packing, using the shipment efficiently by providing a fully cubed-out truckload. Reusable packaging manufacturers are even introducing lightweight options to accommodate for more product weight. In addition to improved pack ratios, these are instrumental features.

3. Minimizes Product Loss And Damage

Efficient packaging is durable and helps customers receive an intact product. Furthermore, with an enhanced pacing ratio, accompanied by stable stackability, these packaging materials retain product integrity throughout the supply chain and logistics.

4. Packaging Recycling Is Enhanced

The advantage of these pacing materials lies in the fact that these can be reused, recycled, and reprocessed into a different packaging material; thus preventing the initial waste from being dumped into the landfill. The reusable packaging can be managed accordingly, and therefore, shall help to maximize the utilization and minimize the absolute waste generation. By investing in innovative supply chain solutions that embrace circular economy principles, companies can ensure competitive advantage, future growth, and customer confidence.

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