3 ways rethinking packaging can reduce your carbon footprint & costs

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2022 is a challenging year for individuals and businesses alike. The cost of living crisis affects us all and businesses are struggling with staff shortages. Petrol and diesel prices have hit record highs and the Office for National Statistics reports that there were over one million employment positions waiting to be filled during the first quarter of this year.

This all drives a “perfect storm” for businesses as they wrestle to increase operational efficiency, be more sustainable and keep costs down.

Packaging represents an untapped opportunity for many companies to tackle rising fuel costs and the need for lower emissions. It can also help them deal with labour shortages in their logistics operations. Reviewing how packaging is used throughout a supply chain can reveal quick ways to lower costs and improve sustainability.

We’ve identified 3 ways you can rethink your packaging that will help you reduce your carbon footprint, lower fuel use, and save money…

1. Optimise your packaging materials to maximise vehicle loads

Did you know the right packaging materials can have a huge impact on your transport emissions and costs?

If you’re not maximising space in your vehicles, you could be doing more journeys than necessary, using more fuel. This all adds up to increase emissions and costs.

Maximising vehicle loads can play a key role in reducing fuel use, increasing efficiency in goods loading and driver hours. Ultimately, this will also reduce your carbon footprint.

Rethinking the size of packaging you use or switching to a lighter solution can make all the difference. If you improve your packaging materials, you can lower the dimensional weight of a parcel or enhance palletisation for stock distribution. For example, timber pallets are strong and durable, but they can be quite heavy. A simple swap to a corrugated pallet, which can hold up to 750kg, can reduce overall shipment weight by 16kg.  This weight reduction all adds up if a business is delivering a full load of pallets that are double stacked!

2. Maximise your warehouse layout & packing processes

If you’re under pressure to deliver quickly and efficiently, a well thought out warehouse layout, combined with the right packing processes, can support optimal productivity.

Packing times are vital if you want a smooth logistics operation. Shaving seconds, or minutes, off your packing process could save hours of labour time every day. And there are ways of doing this that won’t affect quality.  This will free up time that can be reallocated to other tasks, or you could review your labour needs.

For example, solutions like packaging automation can help save time and bolster productivity. Automation can also reduce emissions by controlling material use and pack size. Think about hand wrapping pallets – it can be a time-consuming job. Introducing a stretch wrap machine with performance film can reduce wrapping costs by up to 50% and save valuable labour time. This can simultaneously cut packing material out of your supply chain.

If you don’t wrap pallets there are other ways to engage packaging automation in your operation. from tape application right through to integrated automated boxing solutions. These help reduce the number of operator touches per pack and optimise packaging material application. The result is a reduction in pack time and a further lowering of your carbon footprint.

Women in packaging industry

3. Take the time for a packaging review

A packaging review can help you to uncover hidden costs and efficiency gains in your operation. It will also deliver packaging material cost reduction and help lower your carbon footprint.

Allowing one of our packaging experts to walk through your existing process could revolutionise your logistics operation. Firstly, they can help you optimise your warehouse and packing room layout. Secondly, they can advise on ways to use less packaging without any loss of protection or packing time. Optimising these two aspects of your operation alone can deliver big savings to your business and the environment. And, finally, you can choose to have your whole packaging operation reviewed, or task us to help with a specific project or challenge. At Macfarlane Packaging, we use our Packaging Optimiser to show you how a packaging review can positively impact your business. Click here to learn more.

For support reducing your carbon footprint and lowering your costs when it comes to packaging, ask how Macfarlane Packaging can help you.  Contact us today.


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