What is Reusable Transport Packaging? (Why You Should Use It?)


What is Reusable Transport Packaging? (Why You Should Use It?)

Sustainability is the need of the hour. While it’s true for every company, the burden significantly falls on the packaging industry. 

Simply because the packaging sector is the largest consumer of plastics, and in most cases, this material is irreplaceable as of now. According to a report, the packaging industry is responsible for 40% of all the plastic waste in the world. 

Apart from recycling, another solution the packaging transport industry can adopt is reusing plastic and other materials that contribute to maximum waste in the supply chain. 

If done right, reusable transport packaging can be a game changer for logistics companies in saving costs and improving their sustainability. Check out what is reusable packaging and how it can benefit you as a brand. 

What is Reusable Transport Packaging?

Reusable packaging for transport refers to the containers, crates, and pallets that are designed to be used multiple times throughout their lifecycle rather than using them a single time. While reusable packaging needs to be recycled at some point, its life cycle significantly exceeds that of single-use packaging materials. 

Reusable transport packaging materials are produced using reliable materials such as steel, aluminium, glass, etc. Most even use plastics as they can be reused as a transport packaging material and are even irreplaceable in some packaging. 

The top characteristics of reusing packaging materials are

Durable: The materials are designed to last the roughness of transportation and shipping without compromising the functionality and integrity of the packaging materials. 

Easy to Clean: Reusable packaging materials are easily sanitised to maintain their hygienic standards. This holds especially true for the transport packaging of food and healthcare industries. 

Compatibility: The reusable transport packaging materials are compatible with other technologies in logistics such as conveyor belts and robotic handling equipment. 

Top Benefits of Reusable Packaging

1. Lower Costs

Single-use plastics and packaging can be expensive for logistics service providers. If you think about it, packaging materials consume a significant amount of your logistics budget. And even after purchasing these materials, you’re only using them once, and you again have to purchase them frequently, depending on the frequency of your shipping. 

The process of buying new packaging materials never stops in the supply chain. The shipping materials are replaced with every shipment which leads to more costs and waste. Immediately transitioning to reusable transport packaging material may seem costly, considering that you’re buying durable and expensive materials. But in the long run, those very materials are going to be sustainable and save you the costs of repeated purchases of packaging materials. 

2. Environmental Benefits

There has been a lot of talk about a sustainable supply chain in recent years. It refers to the companies’ effort to consider the environmental and human impact of their supply chain activities. The goal is to minimise waste, pollution, water consumption, energy usage, and so on to leave a positive impact on the consumers. 

Transitioning to reusable transport packaging material means taking a big leap towards reducing the environmental carbon footprint of your company. Think about all the waste you’re avoiding in landfills by scrapping the use of single-use packaging materials with every shipping and even saving energy in manufacturing. 

Reusable transport packaging minimises the use of raw materials, energy, and waste creation. With innovative designs, returnable packaging can also minimise CO2 emissions by enabling stacking and efficient space sizing during transportation. Many plastic containers and pallets are made from completely recycled composite materials which is a big factor that contributes towards environmentally friendly packaging practices. 

3. Increased Supply Chain Efficiency 

When you use single-use packaging materials, it is your responsibility to dispose of the waste that it generates too. It includes breaking down the packaging, box cutting, handling of oversized and heavy packages, and broken wooden pallets that may contain staples and nails. It can create an inefficient and arduous supply chain because of the manual labour and the safety threat it possesses. 

Having reusable transport packaging materials that require less labour and time with redundant activities increases supply chain functionality and even ensures workers' safety. Since the materials are being reused, there is no need to break them down, facilitating their easier and safer processing and handling.  It also eliminates a function or two in the logistics processes, increasing its speed and efficiency. 

4. Fewer Consumer Complaints

Consumers today are becoming environmentally conscious. They care about their carbon footprint and the waste they produce. Research suggests that almost 81% of consumers today seek sustainable packaging from brands. It simply shows that for brands, sustainable packaging is no longer just an option since it is an essential way to increase customer satisfaction too. 

This consciousness is apparent when they make their purchase decisions. For example, while making an eCommerce purchase, they would check how much plastic or one-time bags you use to pack your products. 

Getting five parcels in a month means also throwing ten single-use plastic bags into the trash. Apart from the product packaging, some consumers also look into the sustainability practices of a company, whether they are following the waste management norms, giving reusable packaging bags, limiting their emissions, etc. 

Just adapting reusable transport packaging materials can make a big difference for them. A consumer who cares about the environment would think twice before placing an order from a company that isn’t sustainable. You build customer loyalty and trust, as you’ll likely have a product that is better appreciated by the consumers. 

5. Higher Quality Material 

Reusable transport packaging is less prone to damage and often associated with higher quality. One reusable packaging example would be using plastic pallets over wooden ones. Plastic pallets have stronger corners, reducing product damage chances due to snags and punctures. They also have fewer areas for contaminants to emerge. Reusable transport packaging materials are also more resistant to rust and bad odours than single-use materials. 

While the risk of damage always persists in logistics and transport, using the right and high-quality packaging materials can at least help mitigate the risks. So understand that while using reusable packaging materials may reduce the risks in many ways, it doesn’t completely eliminate it.

6. Mitigating Workplace Injuries

Because of the higher quality, chances are your workers would be less prone to risks of injuries considering the safety of the reusable packaging materials. Single-use packaging, especially when broken or loose, poses a threat to the safety of workers. And as a brand, you understand the repercussions of such a scenario where stakeholders question the safety of your working environment. With reusable packaging materials, you can avoid that to an extent and bring everyone on the same page when it comes to safe working practices. 

7. Enhanced Brand Reputation 

Statistics show that switching to reusable packaging in logistics and supply chains can reduce solid waste by 86% and CO2 emissions by 60%. While these numbers can work great for your costs, it also works well for your brand reputation. More than 80% of consumers today prefer buying products that come in refillable packaging to reduce their environmental impact. 

As a brand, there is some social responsibility that you have to follow. Not just because of the protocols or laws but simply because you care about having a sustainable image. Embracing reusable transport packaging aligns with the global need for sustainability and even resonates with consumers. It is a way for your brand to build trust and a positive reputation amongst your stakeholders. 

Things to Consider Before Adopting Reusable Transport Packaging

1. Modular Packaging Solutions 

The best way to go about reusable packaging solutions would be to opt for customisations tailored to their specific products and supply chain needs. Customised modular packaging solutions allow for flexibility and scalability, where you change packaging designs according to the size and configuration of your products. While it may need some investment and research on your part, custom transport packaging solutions reduce material waste, optimise spaces, and ensure efficient storage and handling. 

2. Collaborative Packaging Platforms 

Another way you can start using reusable transport packaging is through collaborative platforms. They are platforms that allow businesses to share product packaging ideas and pool reusable packaging assets. If you have another company in the same industry or supply chain, you can collaborate to share assets and packaging materials. This way, the initial high cost that we talked about also gets distributed and you can increase the efficiency of reusable packaging systems. 

3. Innovative Packaging Materials 

As reusable packaging initiatives gain momentum in the supply chain, numerous companies have invested in innovative packaging techniques to keep up. You can do the same and explore new materials, packaging trends, and design concepts that open opportunities for reusable transport packaging. Innovative biodegradable packaging materials are an eco-friendly alternative and also align with the automated systems that further enhance packaging efficiency. 

Innovative reusable packaging also makes it easy for you to maintain and clean. If you have resources to spare, consider investing in coming up with new designs that increase the use of reusable transport packaging materials or discoveries of materials that can sustain the rigour of transportation and shipment. 

4. Tracking and Reporting 

With traditional single-use packaging, there was no way to add sensors or track the packages. That changes with reusable transport packaging materials. You can integrate smart technologies such as RFID tags and sensors. They facilitate real-time tracking and reporting of the packaging systems through which you can ensure its proper maintenance and return. It also leads to your supply chain and logistics becoming more efficient and transparent, making room for improvements and optimising the logistics. 

Get Complete Packaging Solutions with PACK & SEND

By adopting environmentally friendly packaging practices and taking a big step towards sustainability, you can create a small difference on an individual level. To learn more about reusable transport packaging and how you can integrate it into your supply chain at optimised costs, contact us at PACK & SEND. We can guide you through your packaging requirements and fulfil your sustainability needs through effective reusable packaging solutions.

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