Greening your packaging process

By Freddie Pierce
I ran across an interesting piece today on the Sustainable Business Forum on helping green your supply chain. According to author Dave Meyer, one of th...

I ran across an interesting piece today on the Sustainable Business Forum on helping green your supply chain.

According to author Dave Meyer, one of the best ways to add sustainability to a supply chain is to rethink packaging.

Meyer starts off the piece by comparing an efficient packaging model to the pea pod, what he calls the “greatest sustainable packaging design nature can provide. It packs a lot in a small space.”

Indeed, packaging is one of the most important sustainable attributes to any supply chain, as packaging starts from product design and goes all the way to delivery. “That’s why sustainable practices in packaging are so important in driving supply chain efficiency,” Meyer writes.

Below are the top nine sustainable initiatives you can take to green your packaging process:

  1. Reducing packaging and maximizing the use of renewable or reusable materials
     
  2. Using lighter weight, less toxic or other materials which reduce negative end-of-life impacts
     
  3. Demonstrating compliance with regulations regarding hazardous chemicals and packaging and waste legislation (such as the European Directive 94/62/EC  on Packaging and Packaging Waste)
     
  4. Optimizing material usage including product-to-package ratios
     
  5. Using materials which are from certified, responsibly managed forests
     
  6. Meeting criteria for performance and cost (e.g., minimize product damage during transit)
     
  7. Reducing the flow of solid waste to landfill
     
  8. Reducing the costs associated with packaging (i.e., logistics, storage, disposal, etc.)
     
  9. Reducing CO2 emissions through reduced shipping loads

Greening your supply chain is a process that faces many challenges and can take months. Despite much of the bad press it receives, Wal-Mart is a leader in green packaging, using its 7 R’s of Sustainable Packing (remove packaging, reduce packaging, reuse packaging, renewable, recyclable, revenue and read).

Read the piece here to get a better understanding of green packaging practices!

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