How to reduce transport packaging
Reducing your use of transport packaging is cost-effective good for the environment. You can avoid the need for transport packaging altogether, eg by a change in working practices or introducing a new item of equipment.
Ways to reduce transport packaging
You can make reductions in transport packaging by:
- Avoiding extra layers - poor practices result in goods being packaged in too many layers. For example, goods are sometimes wrapped in multiple layers, where at least one layer is redundant.
- Improving cleanliness - better cleaning in the workplace and throughout the distribution chain reduces the risk of product and packaging contamination.
- Improving product handling - eg through staff training and improved equipment. This reduces the risk of product damage and the need for packaging.
- Just-in-time delivery - the product spends less time in the warehouse and is at less risk of contamination and physical damage.
- Bulk delivery - materials delivered in bulk can avoid the need for packaging. Bulk delivery of liquids and powders can eliminate the need for drums and other containers.
- Change the product itself - a minor redesign of a product, eg a slight change to a dimension or a material, may allow you to significantly reduce the packaging used to protect it.
- Alternative on-site handling and distribution - eg you can pipe liquids and powders around the site, while you can move certain light objects around site pneumatically.
- Alternatives to pallets - you can handle quite heavy loads using slip sheets and push-pull units or, where the load is particularly light, by hand.
- Optimise one stage of packaging - eg redesigning a product's shelf-ready packaging to make it stronger could mean you can reduce the packaging needed to protect it during transport.
- Rationalising your packaging - using standard types and sizes of packaging for a range of different products can help with economies of scale, flexibility and reduced warehousing needs. It also enables continuity through the supply chain and the ability to swap out broken or damaged packaging more easily.