Transport packaging

What is sustainable transport packaging?


Transport packaging which can be reused many times and over a long period can save your business money. Savings are possible through cost reductions when dealing with transport packaging waste and the resources needed to make new packaging.

Types of sustainable transport packaging

Some of the most popular types of sustainable transport packaging are:

  • pallets - traditional wooden pallets can be reused many times, while plastic pallets are also now available
  • drums and intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) - smaller steel and plastic drums are available while IBCs usually have a capacity of 1,000 litres
  • crates, boxes and trays - many types, shape and size of crate, box and tray are available, traditionally made of wood but now available in plastic
  • separators, layer pads and collars - these keep layers of goods apart and provide extra stability while collars and frames, cornerpieces and edge-protectors protect the load from any banding
  • pallet boxes/systems - these consist of a robust fork-lift base and lid that lock to a deep and heavy-duty (double or triple-wall) corrugated board sleeve, which is generally collapsible
  • slip sheets and push-pull systems - these are plastic or corrugated sheets that can be placed under loads, as an alternative to a pallet, taking up very little space and are cheaper
  • metal cages and stillages - still widely used in the UK, eg to collect waste packaging around large retail stores, but now less widely used for external transport
  • specialist reusable systems for a specific product - more expensive than using 'off-the-peg' packaging, specialist systems can offer distribution and handling benefits, and can reduce costs in the longer term

Reconditioned and leased transport packaging

Many businesses use reconditioned transport packaging such as boxes, drums, pallets and crates to minimise their transit packaging costs. Over 60 per cent (by weight) of steel drums are reconditioned for reuse in the UK, while over 15 per cent of plastic drums are reused.

Leasing is also common for drums, IBCs, pallets, crates, layer pads, collars, etc and can be organised through third-party organisations.