PackSmart Blog

Environmental Considerations in Packaging

Posted by Bobby Hutchinson on Jan 18, 2019 3:16:14 PM

Environmentalism, sustainability, and the sense of corporate citizenship that accompanies them are becoming a more and more substantial point of interest and action for industrial companies. Many companies have put initiatives in place to achieve their sustainability goals, but still struggle to identify the best ways to do so without hurting their bottom line.

So, what are some factors to consider as an industrial company in 2019?

Energy Consumption

Something that can often go overlooked when considering a company’s environmental impact is the energy consumption of peripheral machines it is using. Primary machinery, like printing presses or customized manufacturing equipment, are accounted for and non-negotiable; however, machinery and equipment used for things like packaging can be an afterthought. New pieces of machinery and equipment are often more efficient in terms of power consumption (and throughput, but that’s for another post!) than their older counterparts. Despite the fact that the current, older machine can still do the job, it’s likely using more power than it needs to, increasing a company’s carbon footprint and energy costs simultaneously.

Supply Choice

In 2019, there are more options than ever when it comes to deciding which supplies to use in an industrial facility. Similar to the large-scale shift away from packing peanuts years ago, companies have the ability to replace nearly all of their environmentally deficient supplies with more sustainable, environmentally-friendly supplies. This could mean a switch to recycled corrugated products, recyclable paper products as opposed to plastic ones, or products with enhanced biodegradability attributes to ensure functionality while lessening the impact on the environment.

Optimizing Supply Usage

Many companies struggle with consistent, optimal usage of their supplies. It is not uncommon to find boxes overfilled with void fill/cushioning material or see a pallet wrapped excessively. In order to address overuse of void fill or cushioning, sometimes the best solution is to discuss it with an expert. Bringing in someone with the knowledge necessary to identify what optimal usage looks like for your needs is the fastest (and most cost effective!) way to get back on track. Not only is overusing these products causing companies to incur extra expenses, it also leads to that much more going to a landfill.

A perfect example is that of machine stretch film. Many companies have stretch wrappers that are either old or not calibrated properly. This leads to significantly more stretch film being applied per load than is necessary, which increases costs and adds unnecessary waste. A great first step is making sure employees are adequately trained on the stretch wrap machines and then having a packaging professional come out to do a stretch test. A stretch test is used to ensure that your machine is applying stretch film at an optimal level.

 

These are just a few examples of ways industrial companies can begin tackling their sustainability and environmental goals, but the biggest challenge to implementing changes like this is simply knowing that there are options. If you’re not in-tune with the most recent packaging trends and products, that’s okay! We keep up to date on all of them and would be more than happy to find the right solutions for your company and keep you in the loop.

Contact us to find out how achieving your sustainability goals and reducing your carbon footprint can be spearheaded by changes to your packaging operations today!

Topics: Sustainability, Go green, Packaging Expertise, Partner in Packaging

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