Monthly Archives: August 2015

Reusable and Sustainable Packaging: Why Today is the Day for Your Company to Make the Switch

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Reusable and Sustainable Packaging: Why Today
is the Day for Your Company to Make the Switch


It’s no secret to anyone that the general public is more aware of the importance of sustainability now than ever before. In fact, the chances are excellent that most people you know have taken at least a few steps toward living cleaner, greener lifestyles on a personal basis. Whether they’re doing their part by recycling whenever possible, or choosing to carpool and use public transportation more often, people everywhere are doing whatever they can to reduce their carbon footprints and preserve the planet’s precious resources.

This move toward global sustainability isn’t just limited to private households and suburban neighborhoods, either. Businesses and corporations everywhere are on the bandwagon, as well, thanks to increased pressure from the media and the government to prioritize eco-friendliness. In fact, recent studies suggest that within the next decade, sustainability could well replace cost as one of the packing industry’s major challenges and priorities. Let’s take a closer look at how sustainability is changing the way we do business and explore the benefits of getting your company on board sooner rather than later.


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What Types of Changes Are We Seeing?

When you’re the owner of a business that does things the old-fashioned way as far as packaging and shipping, it can be hard to picture what it means for a given company to “go sustainable”. The following are some of the most effective and popular ways modern facilities and businesses are making sustainable shipping practices the order of the day.

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Making the Most of Shipping Trailers

Anyone that’s ever explored ways to reduce their own personal carbon footprint already knows that cutting down on transportation fuel costs is one of the first things that should make the to-do list. For instance, instead of each person in a family driving their own automobile everywhere they go, they might carpool, walk, cycle, or take public transportation more often.

Sturdy Reusable Shipping Containers

Reusable/sustainable packaging solutions that can be easily and safely stacked one on top of the other are also becoming increasingly popular. Stronger containers that can be stacked higher than average allow a given company to maximize a trailer’s vertical space and ensure that each truck is truly filled to capacity for each shipping run. This is a great way to make sure the best possible use is being made of warehouse or storeroom space.


Reusable containers also cut down considerably on the amount of shipping waste that is created though the process of doing business, as well as the fuel costs that would be required to dispose of that waste. Instead of one-use cardboard boxes and corrugated containers, alternatives like wooden crates, sturdy industrial plastic totes, and more are the smart business’s pick when it comes to being environmentally responsible.

Increased Visibility

Here in the information age, a business’s clients expect to be given more insight into how an order they’ve placed is progressing. Knowing and understanding more about where their shipment is at a given time and when it can be expected to arrive, in turn, helps them to plan their business expenses better. Better business management ultimately adds up to fewer wasted resources overall.

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How Big of a Problem Are Shipping Containers?

The corrugated boxes and shipping containers many companies still rely on exist in such abundance because they really are typically only used once before they’re discarded. In 1990 alone, producers of such containers manufactured around 25 billion corrugated boxes. (That’s about 100 boxes for every single person living in the United States at the time.) Such boxes were responsible for nearly 13% of all municipal waste – about 24 million tons worth.

In regards to the big picture, packaging waste still accounts for nearly one third of the entire waste stream today. When you seriously consider the magnitude of those numbers, it’s not hard to see why modern businesses are currently under so much pressure to go sustainable sooner rather than later. Efforts that target packing and transportation-related waste in particular are capable of having a significant effect on the nation’s waste situation.

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What Types of Businesses Can Benefit from Sustainable Packaging and How?

When most business owners picture reusable shipping containers, they picture massive crates that are cargo-ready – the kind you see being loaded onto freight trains and cargo ships. While there certainly are freight-sized options that are sustainable, reusable packaging on the whole is really quite versatile. That said, absolutely any business that requires the ability to ship and/or store goods can benefit.

Restaurants, bakeries, grocers, and catering companies are reducing shipping costs and cutting back on product damage by making the switch to sturdy wooden or plastic shipping crates capable of preserving the integrity of produce and other edibles. Offices and retail establishments are getting organized by investing in items like nesting totes and organizer bins. There are even sustainable packaging options available these days for the storage and transport of chemicals, paints, and other toxic substances.

Going sustainable provides multiple business benefits regardless of the industry you’re in. The following are just a few of them.

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When you crunch the numbers as far as what disposable packaging costs your company annually versus what reusable packaging would cost, you immediately see how reusable packaging saves you quite a bit of money, especially over the long haul. Reusable options cost more up front, but, as they don’t represent a recurring cost the way corrugated containers do, they eventually pay for themselves.

Switching to reusable packaging saves you money when it comes to labor costs. Instead of wasting manpower breaking down boxes or preparing disposable packing materials for recycling, you can put your employees to work on other tasks. You won’t need to pay as much in overall disposal costs.

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Relying on disposable shipping options means relying on flimsier, less reliable packaging that won’t protect your product as well as a reusable option will. Naturally, this is going to add up to a certain degree of product damage and lost revenue, especially over time.

Switching to wooden crates, plastic totes, or other similar options is a great way to protect delicate products like produce, artisan products, or glassware. Shipments are more likely to arrive completely intact, and products are better able to withstand extended periods of time spent in storage facilities. Your customers and clients will be happier with the quality of their products.

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Since reusable shipping and storage containers come in so many different varieties, making the switch means you’re opening the door to a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to how you do business. What new products would you add to your catalog if you could be sure that they’d survive a rough shipping trip? How many ways could you streamline your delivery methods if you had more choices as far as shape or size when it comes to the containers you use?

As you can see, reusable containers are about more than simply doing one’s part to preserve the environment. They’re strongly associated with higher profit margins, better customer service, and better business management overall.

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What to Look for in a Reusable Container Supplier

Of course, deciding that your company is ready to make the jump to reusable packaging is one thing … but deciding how to proceed is another. There are naturally a lot of questions you need answered first. Where can you find the best reusable packaging options? Most importantly, what makes the difference between a great packaging supplier and a merely passable one?

Manufacturers, vendors, and distributors that specialize in sustainable industrial packaging solutions are more common than you might otherwise think. However, it’s important to realize that there’s an art to building a partnership with the right one. Here’s what you and your business associates should be looking for.

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GREAT REPUTATION

Naturally, you want to make sure you’re dealing with someone that you know you can trust to supply you with cost-effective, solid packing solutions for a long time to come. That said, reputation really matters. Before deciding on a given supplier, look into their standing with the Better Business Bureau and check out any testimonials they may have on their website.

You’ll also want to see what other customers are saying about their experience with the company via online reviews. Would the great majority of this supplier’s customers choose to do business with them again? In cases where people weren’t happy with the service, what were the reasons? Did the company respond to the person’s complaint and attempt to make things right?

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RESALE OPTIONS

Many businesses that make the jump to reusable containers eventually find that they no longer need some of the containers they originally invested in. Perhaps they want to change things up, the better to suit a new product line or business model. Alternatively, they may simply no longer have a use for the same number of containers they once needed. In many cases, the containers are still in excellent condition and could be just as useful to another facility as they were to theirs.

That said, choose a container supplier that not only sells reusable packing options, but can purchase them back for resale for you. Reselling is a great way to preserve even more resources and be even more environmentally conscious as far as how you do business. It’s also an excellent way to recoup some of your original investment in the materials.


You may find it helpful to determine whether or not the company refurbishes containers that show a little wear and tear. This increases your chances of being able to sell the product back eventually, even if it’s a little banged up from years of solid use.

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COST-EFFECTIVENESS

Yes, reusable shipping containers represent an investment in the future of your business. However, going sustainable shouldn’t break the bank or completely wreck your bottom line. Look for companies that clearly care about providing their customers with product that is not only useful, but representative of a good value.

You’ll also want to find out how the company goes about tallying the final cost of a given transaction. Make sure that any applicable fees and upcharges will be presented to you up front so that you know right out of the gate how much you’ll be paying. Don’t be afraid to ask outright about quality guarantees, special discounts you may qualify for, and so forth. Overall, you should feel like you’re getting a great deal on a superb product you can count on.

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CUSTOMER SERVICE

Last, but definitely not least, you should feel comfortable on a personal level with the supplier you choose. When you have questions or concerns, do reps from the company get back to you promptly with answers? Are you happy with the way they handle customer care overall? Do you feel like the company values your business and is invested in keeping you happy?
Overall, you should be satisfied with the experience of doing business with the entity you select. Transactions should be simple and nearly effortless. You should feel that you have adequate support at all times.

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At the end of the day, making the switch to reusable, sustainable shipping options is more than just a great way to reduce the negative impact your business may have on the environment. It’s a highly beneficial way for your company to take its services to the next level. Explore the possibilities today!