Packaging waste remains major concern among industry leaders

Among the many issues that affect packing products companies, packaging waste remains a major one.

According to Waste Management World, the European Union has set a target to send zero plastic waste to landfills by 2020. This latest surge to reduce packaging waste comes as the continent sees its landfill material easily reducible.

The news source reports that more than three-quarters, or 77 percent, of Europe’s plastic waste comes from just seven countries, with the United Kingdom being one of the major offenders. This is especially striking because unlike other types of products, plastics sometimes can’t be reused or recycled.

That said, businesses that sell their products directly to the public can see strong financial benefits should they pledge to cut down on waste. For one, they’ll heavily reduce total post-consumer packaging waste in households, which can account for 63 percent of overall waste, the news source said. It’s likely that alternative sources of packaging would also allow for these companies to potentially find more affordable sources of production, or at the very least ones that will allow them to cut down the overall size of their average packages being shipped. In many situations, doing this will help these companies also give their shoppers a chance to change their traditional shopping styles.

More companies reducing packaging waste

Plastics in Packaging reported that a major polyethylene manufacturing company, BPI Group, reduced its packaging waste by a third since 2008, showing companies’ increased levels of interest in reducing the size of their packages.Whether it's coming by innovating with production styles or by completely reusing a normal product, the packing products industry continues to find new ways to change its practices.

The reported 33.4 percent reduction since 2008 is part of the company’s commitment to cutting waste normally generated by manufacturing operations. The company was able to achieve this by cutting back the amount of material normally used in its products at a rate of nearly 10,000 tons per year since 2011.

In addition, the company noted that it used and converted the smallest amount of packaging in 2013 since it first started to monitor its packaging needs. One strategy was to better customize the way it packages material by increasing the finished products it integrates into its overall packaging, and two BPI sites managed to achieve zero-waste-to-landfill.

“We’re extremely proud to have cut waste so significantly in the past six years,” said John Haddow, the group energy manager at BPI. “It wasn’t easy to achieve this milestone figure but it’s a testament to the commitment to innovation and sustainability that runs through our business that we were able to do so. We won’t be resting on our laurels and will continue to look for ways to cut our packaging waste further in the coming years.”

Completely new uses for original packaging waste

Greener Package noted that in some cases, packaging waste can be recycled into entirely new forms. The Garnier Green Garden in Harlem is a key example of that. Plastic patio tables, trash cans and other items were recently made out of solely recovered beauty care packaging.

More than 1,500 pounds of recycled personal care packaging waste was retrofitted into a unique garden in the New York City borough, and a second garden at a Bronx special needs school also received new materials and equipment. What’s more, that’s not the only location for the new materials to be installed, as a community farm in New Orleans is expected to be the next location for these recycled materials to be installed.

Companies looking for more unique solutions to a packaging problem can likely follow this lead if possible.

IPS Packaging is a leading provider of packaging supplies, packaging equipment, and packaging solutions. If you would like to know more about IPS Packaging, call 800.277.7007 or visit us at www.ipack.com.

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