and product packaging can contribute to a large amount of waste.
Packaging materials can include wood pallets, plastic
wrap, product boxes and containers, and information inserts.
Though some amount of packaging is necessary for
informing consumers and protecting the product, companies have
options for creating less waste or recycling what is produced.
REDUCING PACKAGE WASTE
innovative ways to reduce waste include:
Working with suppliers and vendors to receive
stronger, reusable pallets.
Reusing any cardboard shipping containers or plastic packing
Purchasing materials in bulk.
Using air-filled plastic bags when shipping instead of foam
Implementing a pallet return program.
Minimizing the use of containers by increasing
RECYCLING PACKAGE WASTE
reduction cannot be avoided, encourage and practice recycling
within your organization.
Recycle plastic shirt bags.
Collect and bale HDPE left over from packaging.
Unify the type strapping material you receive from
vendors so that recycling is easier to collect.
Offer a way for customers to recycle packaging from
the products they buy.
Wood pallets can often be damaged or misshapen easily due
to their frequency of use. Many companies are switching to
reusable plastic pallets, which have been shown to reduce cost,
labor, and repair time.
One company boasted a 50 percent reduction in wood waste
after the switch.
Corrugated Containers. Many products are often
shipped within large corrugated boxes, creating waste that needs
to be recycled and managed.
Some manufacturers are opting to bind products together
with thin plastic straps rather than hold them within a
container. A large cereal company implemented this practice and
discovered a 30 percent reduction in cardboard use.
Products are often packaged within both bottles and boxes, which
could be eliminated.
Health care products, like mouthwash and medicine, could be sold
safely by shrink wrapping the bottle and eliminating the
packaging box. One
healthcare company reduced their waste by 340 tons by
implementing this simple practice.
For many companies, a small change in packaging design
could mean a drastic reduction in waste. By altering a bottle
design from a cylinder to a rectangle, one company reduced
packaging weight, storage space, and plastic waste.
The company diverted over two million tons of plastic
PACKAGING WASTE SUCCESS
companies made minor changes that had a big impact on waste.
As a national chain store, Target saved approximately 4.5
million dollars and hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste by
altering its clothing packaging for shipping.
The company developed very specific packing and shipping
guidelines for its vendors, which included folding instructions
to maximize space and excluding the use of tape, tissue,
polybags, pins, and clips.
State Farm Insurance.
By changing the amount paper included in each shipment,
this insurance company diverted six tons of waste a year.
The company previously shipped reams of paper in bundles
of 500, which were each wrapped individually. This practice was
changed to ship in quantities of 2,500, all packaged in a
This national food chain has been practicing waste
reduction, recycling, and reuse since 1994.
A redesigned napkin resulted in more efficient shipping
and a reduction in cardboard waste.
The company also reduced plastic waste by over 2 million
pounds by making their trash liners thinner.