Green Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry (for using a higher grade of packaging than necessary)

14 Jul 2009 Green Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry (for using a higher grade of packaging than necessary)

mailing-envelope-from-globe-guard-eco-friendly-packaging-productsMuch of the attention on sustainable secondary packaging is rightfully given to using too much of a given packaging material. A compounded example is using a box that is oversized for a shipment, thereby also requiring more void fill product than necessary. We have all seen the examples of bad packaging posted here on ISP and on other excellent green focused sites like Sustainable is Good.

We like to scrutinize not only the quantity of packaging also the quality of the packaging being used for a specific application. Some of this is for good environmental reasons but it is important to note that it often results in a lower cost to our customers, and today, that is a very good thing.

Typical Examples of Over Packaging

These include some of my all time favorites that can often be found in many mail rooms and shipping areas.

  • Using cushioned mailers for products that do not require cushioning such as soft goods, textiles, paper products, etc. I have written many times on bubble and foam mailers that are destined to wind up in a land fill because the plastic and paper used to make the mailer are laminated together. Both packaging materials are recyclable in theory only, since they cannot be separated and effectively recycled.
  • The use of white corrugated and envelope mailers of almost any type and configuration. Why do customers pay more for a product that is less eco friendly, looks less eco friendly and will arrive at its destination looking worse due to its white surface?  When a client wants to be “obviously” green and reduce costs, this is usually one of the first areas we look at and change.
  • Utilizing Tyvek, Nylon reinforced and other premium or reinforced mailer envelopes.There are some marvelous materials being used for applications that do not require them. They usually have excellent specific properties such as moisture protection or puncture resistance but are also not recyclable because of the composition and structure.

Why Do Companies Over Package?

Here are some answers we receive when conducting a usage or green survey.

  • We had no idea the product we are using is not recyclable.
  • I did not know a new, greener product was available.
  • This is the same packaging product we have always used for this purpose.
  • The product we are shipping changed but the packaging spec was not updated.
  • I did not realize we could save money by using a different packaging product

With the wide variety of low cost, eco friendly packaging options now available, there really is no good reason to use a higher grade of packaging than is absolutely necessary.

Helping to discover some of these green and savings opportunities is what we do so please allow us to review your current packaging usage.
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